THE LAT­EST & GREAT­EST MONSTER

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Monster Special -

2016-present Du­cati M1200R

The R ver­sion of the cur­rent 1200 is the ul­ti­mate Monster, the most pow­er­ful Monster and at £15,250 the most ex­pen­sive Monster. To jus­tify that price it has arm-rip­ping power and torque, plus the very lat­est elec­tron­ics to keep both wheels in line (three rider modes, eight-way trac­tion con­trol, and change­able ABS). Add to that list the lat­est Öh­lins sus­pen­sion front and back, light­weight wheels and unique R body­work de­sign and you start to see why this Monster car­ries such a salty price tag. Com­par­ing it to the orig­i­nal M900 on per­for­mance alone is like com­par­ing a speed boat to a barge.

Du­cati have played some clever tricks to make the new bike at least ap­pear like the orig­i­nal, not least the re­ten­tion of a small trel­lis frame. The new bike, how­ever, uses its en­gine as a stressed mem­ber with the shock and sub­frame bolt­ing di­rectly to the rear cylin­der. And though the tank may ap­pear the same it is ac­tu­ally a dummy plas­tic tank.

On pa­per both the orig­i­nal and 1200R weigh around the same, but at a stand­still the new bike feels much larger and slightly heav­ier. The new R ver­sion is 2kg lighter than the slightly lower spec S model, but ever-tight­en­ing EU reg­u­la­tions have clearly added ki­los to the Monster fran­chise.

On the move the 2016 bike is so much quicker than the orig­i­nal that it takes me by sur­prise, and it steers with so lit­tle ef­fort too. The wheel­base is con­sid­er­ably longer on the new bike but the rake is much steeper, which makes the new 1200 Monster feel ner­vous; good job they’ve fit­ted a proper Öh­lins steer­ing damper.

On the old bike you’d have to be trav­el­ling at Tt-rac­ing speeds to get into any real trou­ble be­cause it sim­ply doesn’t have the power, not for an ex­pe­ri­enced rider, but the lat­est bike is in a dif­fer­ent league.

It revs so quickly and, though it is much more rounded and mel­low than a Pani­gale, isn’t far off the range­top­ping su­per­bike in terms of punch. You can change the rider modes on the move so you al­ways feel in con­trol, but switch ev­ery­thing off and let her loose and it be­comes a big fanged and an­gry Monster, not the nice lit­tle furry one like the orig­i­nal.

Twenty three years later, the Monster’s grown in size, weight and per­for­mance Fully dig­i­tal dash is Monster’s in­ter­face Du­cati as a whole has a lot to thank the hum­ble Monster for

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