Want to make the last of the big air-cooled Mon­sters hairier? Our ex­perts show you how...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words Jon Urry | Pho­tog­ra­phy Du­cati & Bauer Archive

How to make a Mon­ster 1100 bet­ter

IF THE THOUGHT of a big, air­cooled, sporty naked tick­les your fancy, then there is re­ally only one bike for you – the Du­cati Mon­ster. And con­sid­er­ing Du­cati have been build­ing Mon­sters since 1993, you are some­what spoilt for choice. How­ever, if you want the best of the bunch in terms of per­for­mance, han­dling and modern elec­tron­ics, then you need to head to­wards the last of the air-cooled big-ca­pac­ity mod­els – the fan­tas­tic Mon­ster 1100. Or, even bet­ter, the S-ver­sion with its up­rated sus­pen­sion.

Launched in 2010, the M1100 and M1100S are pow­ered by Du­cati’s Dual Spark air-cooled desmo mo­tor which, in true Mon­ster style, has just two valves per cylin­der and a sin­gle over­head cam. But don’t be fooled into think­ing this makes it some weak­ling: the 1078cc en­gine thumps out nearly 70ftlb of torque, which is more than enough to en­ter­tain on a bike that is pretty waif-like. Add to this qual­ity sus­pen­sion, a trel­lis chas­sis that has Du­cati’s rac­ing DNA run­ning through it and a cool café naked look and it all adds up to a bril­liant bike for blat­ting around the back lanes on. But as with all Mon­sters, Du­cati only pro­vide the start­ing point...

The whole Mon­ster scene is built around cus­tomi­sa­tion and the M1100 is no stranger to ex­tras be­ing added to it. From full-on tun­ing to sim­ple vis­ual en­hance­ments, there is a smor­gas­bord of good­ies out there for own­ers to dis­cover and splash their cash on. But what works and what doesn’t? Here is what our panel of ex­perts reckon...

CHAS­SIS Dar­ren Wnukoski

“I have no idea which roads Du­cati use to set their sus­pen­sion up but I bet it bears ab­so­lutely no re­sem­blance to the UK’s. I reckon they just fire the bikes around a smooth cir­cuit like Monza and then kick them out of the fac­tory’s doors as they are al­ways set way too firm and can’t cope with bumps.

“With the S ver­sion’s Öh­lins you are ba­si­cally a set-up and maybe a new shock spring away from be­ing sorted, but as stan­dard they are too firm. The forks are good, they just need set­ting up cor­rectly so don’t need a re-valve, but you need to be care­ful if they have ever been apart. The air gap is crit­i­cal and if we see an is­sue, gen­er­ally it is due to the forks hav­ing too much oil, the air gap be­ing too small as a re­sult, and the end of the forks’ stroke then be­ing too firm. Just check they are us­ing all of their travel if you are un­sure.

“The Öh­lins shock gen­er­ally ben­e­fits from a softer spring and once this has been fit­ted we can then set them up with the shock run­ning the re­bound a long way out in or­der to get the com­pres­sion cor­rect. Ba­si­cally the damp­ing bleeds through the same hole so you need to get the oil flow­ing nicely and that means

‘If we see an is­sue, it is gen­er­ally due to the forks hav­ing too much oil’

wind­ing out the re­bound.

“For the stan­dard bike with Showa and Sachs sus­pen­sion you re­ally need new springs and new oil in the Showa forks and prob­a­bly a re-valve on the Sachs shock. It is a lit­tle bit more costly, but still not huge amounts of money.”

EN­GINE John Hack­ett

“The two-valve air-cooled mo­tor is a beau­ti­ful en­gine and very strong and re­li­able, so you can treat it to some light tun­ing work with­out any worry of un­re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues creep­ing in.

“Most Mon­ster own­ers swap the orig­i­nal pipes for af­ter­mar­ket items, gen­er­ally Ter­mignoni. Twins like to breathe, and freer flow­ing pipes and a qual­ity af­ter­mar­ket air fil­ter al­lows more air into the mo­tor and the ex­haust gases to es­cape un­hin­dered, which boosts the bike’s midrange sig­nif­i­cantly. Don’t worry about

fit­ting an in­line fu­el­ing mod­ule, just get the Du­cati Per­for­mance chip in­stead as it is cheaper.

“A re­ally good mod for the Mon­ster is to lighten the fly­wheel, which al­lows the mo­tor to spin up faster. This isn’t some­thing peo­ple al­ways think about do­ing but it is a great mod­i­fi­ca­tion and not huge money to get done. You need to strip the left hand side of the mo­tor to ac­cess the fly­wheel, but Du­cati make an off-the-shelf lighter item that is ready-bal­anced, which makes it an eas­ier job. A lighter fly­wheel doesn’t re­ally in­crease the power much, but the en­gine feels far more spir­ited and freer revving.

“If you are chas­ing power, you can swap the V-twin’s cams for more ag­gres­sive items, gas-flow it and even big-bore it, but gen­er­ally most own­ers don’t go this far. If you are con­sid­er­ing this route, I’d rec­om­mend gas-flow­ing as you are im­prov­ing how

the mo­tor works and runs and it won’t af­fect re­li­a­bil­ity.”

BOLT-ONS John Bur­rows

“You very sel­dom see two Mon­sters that are iden­ti­cal, that’s just the kind of bike they are. Vis­ual mod­i­fi­ca­tions are a com­mon part of Mon­ster own­er­ship and we see loads of bikes with tail ti­dies, smaller in­di­ca­tors, rearsets, re­place­ment levers and the like fit­ted. Quite of­ten own­ers swap the bars to bring them in closer to the rider, which is a good mod as long as you check there is enough clear­ance and you won’t hit the tank on full lock. But this is only the start... “If you want to want to en­hance your Mon­ster’s han­dling you can fit lightweight March­esini wheels from other Du­cati mod­els. The 1100’s sin­gle-sided swingarm’s wheel fit­ment is the same as the 848 and even the 916 (but not the 1098), so you can put a three-spoke wheel in or a lighter March­esini one from the 848. The same goes for the front wheel, it’s gen­er­ally just a case of a few spac­ers – how­ever, al­ways check the discs’ off­set as this varies be­tween mod­els and can cause is­sues. And re­mem­ber that Öh­lins forks have larger di­am­e­ter lower tubes, so you will need to buy an S model’s bot­tom triple clamp or get your lower one mod­i­fied to suit. “The Mon­ster is a great bike for any­one who has an in­ter­est in mod­i­fy­ing and up­grad­ing their bike, it’s a won­der­ful blank can­vas that re­sponds re­ally well both vis­ually and per­for­mance-wise to up­grad­ing.” Next month: Suzuki SV650S – proof that great things can come in small pack­ages...

Sim­ple, pared-back naked fun. But you can re­ally give it teeth

1 STOCK VS S MODEL The stan­dard and S Mon­sters share an iden­ti­cal frame and air-cooled en­gine, how­ever the S gains ti­ta­nium ni­tride-coated Öh­lins forks and an Öh­lins shock where the stocker has Showa forks and a Sachs shock. It also has alu­minium front brake disc car­ri­ers and car­bon belt cov­ers, si­lencer guards and front mud­guard. Al­though its Y-spoke wheels are painted gold, they aren’t lightweight March­esini items. 2 ABS ABS was an op­tional ex­tra on both the stan­dard and S model Mon­sters for the 2010 and 2011 model years be­fore be­ing made stan­dard fit­ment on the 2012 Evo model. 2 1

Smooth roads are its friend. UK rid­ers need some set-up as­sis­tance to get the best from its sus­pen­sion

S model's Öh­lins shock is too stiff as stan­dard

EVO MODEL In 2012 Du­cati re­leased the M1100 Evo ABS, which added four-level trac­tion con­trol, a wet clutch and a re­vised low-level ex­haust sys­tem (which boosted the bike’s mid-range and added 2bhp to the peak power) along­side new Mar­zoc­chi forks. The Evo re­placed both Mon­ster 1100 mod­els in Du­cati’s range. 4 3 GEAR­ING To cel­e­brate AN­NIVER­SARY 20 years of the MOD­ELS Mon­ster (and shift stock be­fore it was re­placed by the M1200) in 2013 Du­cati re­leased a special ‘An­niver­sary’ ver­sion of the M1100 Evo that gained a bronze colour frame and a few other nods to the orig­i­nal M900 Mon­ster. There was also a Diesel link up with the Evo painted in Diesel Brave Green matt paint – or green to you and me... As stan­dard the Mon­ster runs a 15-tooth front sprocket with a 39-tooth rear, but some own­ers fit a 14-tooth front sprocket to give the bike a bit more poke. You can also go for a 43-tooth rear, but if you go this route it is best to stick with the OE 15-tooth front sprocket or it can all get a bit too wild. DDA (Du­cati Data Anal­yser) is stan­dard fit­ment in all Mon­ster 1100 mod­els, but to ac­cess it you need to buy the soft­ware and don­gle, or get a dodgy copy from the in­ter­net... 3 4 DATALOGGING1100 air-cooled mo­tor presents lit­tle in the way of re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues

Lightweight fly­wheel mod will re­sult in a freer revving mo­tor

Own­ers tend to treat their 1000s as blank can­vasses. They are ripe for mod­ding

Ter­mignoni ex­hausts are one of the most pop­u­lar choices, nat­u­rallyBe­low: Three-spoke wheel from Du­cati 916 will slot right into the Mon­ster

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