THE FLASHIEST MONSTER
2008 Ducati S4RS Tricolore
Many devotees only consider the aircooled models to be true Monsters. The original M900 had a minimalist philosophy but that certainly wasn’t the case with the new S4RS. Some were put off by the unappealing appearance and complexity of the water-cooled engine when Ducati introduced the first radiator- clad model back in 2000-01. The first S4 had more in common with the ST4 touring bikes than other Monsters, both sharing a modified version of the legendary 916 water-cooled engine.
In 2008 Ducati launched a new generation of Monsters with completely new styling and engine displacements, but kept the old S4 alive with the S4RS Testastretta Tricolore, the very last S4RS which we are lucky enough to have on test, and still looks stunning today.
Ducati threw the accessories book at the last remaining S4RS. It’s draped in carbon bits and quality parts such as fully adjustable Öhlins suspension front and back, huge Brembo radial brakes and lightweight Marchesini wheels. The distinctive single-sided swingarm continues, as does the highlevel twin exhaust. Despite being eight years old, our mint example still looked stunning and was attracting attention at every stop on our Scottish tour.
With 130bhp on tap, the S4RS was described at the time as one of the first super-nakeds. It was in many ways a comfortable sports bike and remains one that can still cut it today.
Our test bike felt lighter than its modern-day 1200R equivalent and the suspension behaved as if it was brand new, with a plush ride from the Öhlins units front and back. I had to take it gently on our S4RS, which had been kindly loaned by Ducati Glasgow, but could still push on hard enough to remember how good the S4RS was in its day. There is little to fault in either chassis or engine performance, and you could argue that its blissful, galloping 130bhp is better suited to the roads we ride than today’s ultraaggressive super-nakeds.