Mon­ster 821

‘It’s easy to ride, steers nat­u­rally, and isn’t in­tim­i­dat­ing’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week In Mcn -

Mon­ster 821

The Mon­ster has been a mas­sive foun­da­tion of the Du­cati range for 25 years now, and this new 821 – launched just two weeks ago, con­tin­ues the leg­end.

For 2018 Du­cati have played around with the styling: it’s slightly thin­ner than be­fore, the fuel tank is smaller – 16.5 litres from 17.5 litres – and now comes with a ski-boot style clasp on the tank, which is a nod to the orig­i­nal M900. There’s a new head­light and si­lencer, and they’ve re­vised the foot­peg assem­bly – pil­lion pegs are now separate and neater. The most no­tice­able dif­fer­ence is the new full-colour TFT dash, now on a par with Tri­umph’s Street Triple R/RS. Each rider mode has a dif­fer­ent dis­play, just like the Mon­ster 1200 range-top­per.

The 2018 bike re­tains the same Tes­tas­tretta 11° twin en­gine and chas­sis also re­mains the same, as are the three rid­ing modes, three­level Bosch ABS and eight-level trac­tion con­trol.

The 2018 model feels very like the old model, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s easy to ride, steers nat­u­rally and isn’t in­tim­i­dat­ing, and there’s pro­gres­sive power through­out the rev range. A very nice lit­tle Mon­ster.

Two years have passed since we had our socks forcibly re­moved by the bonkers Ninja H2, Kawasaki’s game-chang­ing su­per­charged litre-beater. But while it was sent to wow us, the long game was al­ways about the in­tro­duc­tion of pro­duc­tion su­per­charged en­gines.

And this is the first more mass­mar­ket des­tined model to emerge from the project. Still boast­ing the Ninja H2 moniker, the key let­ters here are ac­tu­ally ‘SX’ – de­not­ing its tour­ing in­tent. While it would log­i­cal to as­sume that Kawasaki have sim­ply bolted a rear sub­frame to their nuts Ninja, the changes are ac­tu­ally far more ex­ten­sive. The chas­sis is new, the en­gine is new, and the rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence will be, too.

The sub­stan­tially re­worked en­gine also boasts a new flavour of su­per­charger to smooth out the power de­liv­ery, and soften the H2’s dra­matic punch. It’s also there to al­low the 998cc in­line­four to muster 207bhp peak power and 101.3ftlb, while achiev­ing much-im­proved emis­sions, and the same sort of fuel econ­omy you’d ex­pect from the less wellen­dowed Ver­sys 1000. Not only is it fru­gal, but it al­lows the SX to run a rel­a­tively small 19-litre fuel tank, while still go­ing the dis­tance.

Elec­tronic in­ter­ven­tion

The SE gets cor­ner­ing lights, and the top-spec dash, which com­bines an ana­logue tacho with a multi-func­tion TFT colour dash (the stocker gets LCD), and there are two se­lectable dis­play modes (Tour­ing or Sport) to al­low riders to pri­ori­tise what they see on screen.

There’s also elec­tronic cruise con­trol, and KCMF (Kawasaki Cor­ner­ing Man­age­ment Func­tion), which uses an IMU to mon­i­tor en­gine and chas­sis per­for­mance through­out the cor­ner, mod­u­lat­ing brake force and en­gine power to get the best tran­si­tion from ac­cel­er­a­tion to brak­ing and back again. There’s also trac­tion con­trol, a bi-di­rec­tional quick­shifter, launch con­trol, and en­gine brak­ing con­trol.

Shock­ing news

Once sur­prise is the lack of elec­tronic sus­pen­sion. None­the­less, it is fully ad­justable at both ends and there’s a re­mote rear preload ad­juster, too.

There’s plenty of com­pe­ti­tion in the fast tour­ing mar­ket, whether any of them can com­pete with the SX will be one of 2018’s most in­ter­est­ing ques­tions.

O Power 107bhp @ 9250rpm O Weight 180.5kg O Seat height 785/810mm Colour TFT dash is a classy ad­di­tion

Clean and clas­sic Mon­ster styling

O Power 207bhp @ 11,000rpm O Weight 260kg O Seat height 835mm

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