Du­cati Mon­ster

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -

Beauty’s more than skin deep

Du­cati’s new en­try-level Mon­ster is cer­tainly the most at­trac­tive bike on test and still very ob­vi­ously a Mon­ster – the shape of the fuel tank isn’t dis­sim­i­lar from the orig­i­nal Gal­luzzi de­signed Mon­ster 900 from 1993.

Qual­ity is found every­where. The switchgear is neat, all the wiring is hid­den or neatly tucked away, lovely racy wheels boast qual­ity sporty Pirelli Rosso II rub­ber and Brembo ra­dial stop­pers come as stan­dard. It’s the one that grabs your at­ten­tion.

On the move, the 797’s class shines through. The ride is sporty but not firm enough to be a pain. There’s a sub­lime level of con­trol and damp­ing at both ends that con­trasts dra­mat­i­cally with overly soft sus­pen­sion on the Kawasaki Z650. But some heav­ier rid­ers may find the rear a lit­tle harsh. The brakes are by far the strong­est, with­out be­ing too sharp for new rid­ers, and when we wanted to have fun on fa­mil­iar twisty roads, the Du­cati was ev­ery tester’s first choice. The Mon­ster glides be­tween turns and car­ries clas­sic Du­cati cor­ner speed; it may be the en­try-level model in the range but is a grace­ful and re­ward­ing mo­tor­cy­cle to ride.

While we all loved the han­dling we were left a lit­tle de­flated by the air­cooled Scram­bler V-twin en­gine. It’s not slow and it sounds great, but it does lack a kick of power when you want it, es­pe­cially com­pared to the 112bhp Suzuki GSX-S750. Even Yamaha’s ‘bud­get’ MT-07 felt like it had more zest, de­spite both bikes mak­ing a claimed 74 peak horse­power. Jump on to the Du­cati af­ter a few vig­or­ous miles on the MT and the Italian’s en­gine feels lazy.

In town, the Du­cati’s bars are too wide to make it a gap grab­ber, while the steer­ing lock is ridicu­lously re­stricted and any­thing but novice-friendly. The clutch is one-fin­ger light but in traf­fic the Yamaha and Kawasaki are much eas­ier to live with. There were also com­plaints about the ex­haust rout­ing, which doesn’t give much room for the larger footed, their heels hit­ting the ex­haust on oc­ca­sions.

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