Motorcycle News (UK) - - Monster Special -

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.

White-faced clocks scream per­for­mance

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