New Du­cati Mon­ster rid­den

‘ This isn’t your typ­i­cal splash-of-paint up­date’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents - ANDY DAVID­SON STAFF WRITER andy.david­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Du­cati have given their big Mon­ster a se­ri­ously thought­ful re­fresh for 2017. It gets an ex­tra shot of power, re­designed tank and chas­sis, a bunch of styling tweaks and posh elec­tron­ics.

It might not sound earth-shat­ter­ing – but when you con­sider how good the outgoing model is al­ready, it’s ex­tra treats like this that push the bar even higher.

Du­cati’s en­gi­neers say their goal was to make the V-twin sportier and more ag­ile. And, after a full day of rid­ing around Monaco, I’m im­pressed.

They’ve em­ployed the lat­est, Euro4- com­pli­ant ver­sion of the Tes­tas­tretta 11° DS pow­er­plant, which is near-iden­ti­cal to the one used by the range-top­ping Mon­ster 1200R. This sees power pumped up to a claimed 150bhp at 9250rpm, 5bhp more than the outgoing S (and 15 more than the outgoing stocker).

Rolling through the hills around Monte Carlo that ex­tra power is un­necce­sary, but still ap­pre­ci­ated. The Mon­ster surges out of cor­ners with more than enough low-down grunt, and rails round bends with com­plete pre­ci­sion. It’s helped along by some gold Swedish con­trol, cour­tesy of Öh­lins, with the fork be­ing slightly tweaked and the rear shock given a lit­tle more length. It’s well damped, mak­ing it per­fectly sta­ble on the straights, and com­pli­ant in sweep­ing cor­ners.

The Mon­ster also re­tains its trac­tion

con­trol sys­tem and three rider modes (Sport, Tour­ing and Ur­ban), along with beefy twin 330mm discs and Brembo M50 calipers. But the set-up is now com­ple­mented by Du­cati’s Wheelie Con­trol Sys­tem and the in­creas­ingly ubiq­ui­tous Bosch cor­ner­ing ABS.

Du­cati have also added a bi-di­rec­tional quick­shifter al­low­ing ef­fort­less up and down­shifts as you link cor­ners with ag­gres­sion. They reckon they’ve also made the Mon­ster even more ag­ile and im­proved the han­dling by short­en­ing the wheel­base and swingarm and rais­ing the seat height by 10mm (seat height has two eas­ily ad­justable set­tings). The rid­ing po­si­tion feels near-per­fect, and de­spite the power in­crease this Mon­ster is well-tamed and smooth, es­pe­cially lower down in the rev range. The throt­tle re­sponse is re­fined, mak­ing it an eas­ier bike to ride than the outgoing model.

The tank has lost a litre from its ca­pac­ity and the tail unit has been short­ened for a sportier look. It’s al­to­gether more com­pact and sleek.

Our big­gest gripe with the old model cen­tred on the pil­lion peg po­si­tion, which ob­structed the rider’s heel. But Du­cati have sep­a­rated the rider and pil­lion hang­ers, and pulled the pil­lion ones back – giv­ing the rider’s feet more room. We’re now treated to a fuel gauge and gear in­di­ca­tor on the freshly up­dated TFT screen (bet­ter late than never) and the 1200S gets the pre­mium R model’s ex­haust. But it doesn’t stop there – there’s also a new head­light with day­time run­ning lights, LED side lights, and a car­bon-fi­bre front mud­guard. One thing’s sure: this isn’t your typ­i­cal ‘give it a splash of paint and let’s call it an up­date’ job.

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