YEARS SOLD: 2011–2014 MSRP NEW: $9995 (’11) to $9995 (’14) BLUE BOOK RE­TAIL VALUE: $7085 (’11) to $8175 (’14)

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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.

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