DUCATI MONSTER 796
YEARS SOLD: 2011–2014 MSRP NEW: $9995 (’11) to $9995 (’14) BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $7085 (’11) to $8175 (’14)
BASIC SPECS: Housed within its iconic red painted steel-tube trellis frame is an equally recognizable 803cc, 90-degree, air-cooled V-twin featuring fuel injection, six-speed gearbox, light action hydraulically actuated wet slipper clutch, and Ducati’s ubiquitous desmodromic valve train. Chassis treatment includes a nonadjustable 43mm Showa fork and Sachs single rear shock offering rebound damping and spring preload adjustability. Braking is handled by a pair of radialmount, four-piston Brembos up front biting 320mm discs with standard ABS from ’12 on. Weight is an easily manageable 421 pounds with a full 3.8-gallon fuel load.
WHY IT’S DESIRABLE: Compared to its 1100 sibling, the more affordable 796 delivers big Monster style with a seat that, at 31.5 inches, is almost half an inch lower and, in combination with its higher handlebar, delivers a less stretched-out riding posture. Handling is agile, surefooted, and capable of seriously crankedover lean angles. The torque curve feels flat to its 9,000-rpm rev ceiling, with no dips or sudden surges—a positive virtue that makes the Monster 796 a friendly mount with broad appeal to experts and novice riders alike.
THE COMPETITION: The middleweight naked segment saw several offerings during the 796 era, including the Triumph Street Triple, Aprilia Shiver 750, Ducati’s own Hypermotard 796, and value-priced Japanese twins from Kawasaki and Suzuki. The three-cylinder Yamaha FZ-09 joined the fray in 2014.