Ducati Monster 1200S final long-term test review

Almost 4000 miles and eight months in and the Bike Social Ducati Monster 1200S is going back to Ducati. Before we begrudgingly hand the keys back to Ducati UK’s press man Alan Jones, we had one last ride on the 145bhp Monster.

Here we take a look at our time with the bike and sum up our experience with the super naked. Cheers Ducati, it's been a hoot.

Highlights of our year with Ducati’s Monster 1200S:

  • Taking delivery of a fire-breathing Ducati Monster 1200S with full Ohlins suspension, and that incredibly strong 145bhp motor. The bike is instantly an office favourite with lots or riders at Bike Social choosing to use it over other glamorous test bikes.

Our Ducati Monster 1200S at Beaulieu.

  • A trip to the South visiting some Ducati dealerships and the world’s biggest collector of Ducati race bikes with Ducati UK's MD Tim Maccabee, showed the Monster can tour as well commute. On more than one run the bike hit 165 miles to a tank of fuel too, at 50mpg! It also shows that with a big bag on the back it can handle anything you throw at it. It’s no tourer, but can do 250-miles a day no worries.

Monster took some scalps at the Silverstone Ducati track day.

  • A Ducati track day with Carl ‘I’m the King of the Jungle’ Fogarty. At that point Fogarty was ‘just’ four-times World Superbike Champion, and hadn’t been near a Camel’s Anus. Even pre jungle training for ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, King Carl was still staggeringly fast on a track he didn’t really know. The Monster isn’t a track bike and suffered from a lack of ground clearance, but was a hoot off the corners, and incredibly stable on the brakes.
  • Despite being ultra-exotic the Monster 1200S can do the regular commute too. It’s good in town and not lumpy and snatchy like a Ducati of old. The switchable mapping helps when you put it into ‘Urban’ mode too, reducing the power for town use.
  • It’s a hoot. It wheelies in  the first four gears (should you wish on a private runway...), and makes the daily ride in to an event everytime the bike is fired-up. We’ve lubed and adjusted the chain, checked the oil and changed the tyres. It’s required no more maintenance than that.

Mugen engineers get distracted by the Italian's charms at Mugen Shinden shakedown test.

  • Japanese engineers from Mugen were drooling over the Monster when it was used for a 266-mile run down to Castle Combe and back to watch TT legend John McGuinness shaking down his Shinden electric TT bike.
  • A higher seat from Ducati lifts the rider up by an inch or so, changing the seat height from 785 to 81mm. Bizarrely, shorter riders on  the Bike Social team preferred it, as well as me at six foot four. The Touring seat is 25mm higher and costs £198.53. It’s also appears to have extra padding so is more comfortable on long distances.

Ducati is at home on twisty back roads.

  • A 260-mile summer run to see some colleagues that help us run Bike Social was one of the best riding days I’ve had this year. Red hot roads, a Ducati at my disposal and some incredible roads where the perfect way to enjoy the Monster’s Ohlins suspension and that incredibly strong V-twin 1200 motor. A million flies died on the Monster’s headlight, but what a day’s riding.
  • Monster draws a crowd wherever it’s parked, we used it at a number of bike meets throughout the year and it was always photographed.
  • Bridgestone’s brilliant T30 sports-touring tyres are the perfect compromise on the Monster 1200. Good warm-up on cold mornings and plenty of grip for hard riding and track days. They’re wearing well too and give really good feel when it’s a bit patchy and damp on the road. Recommended.

Ducati Monster at Bruntingthorpe.

  • The Monster holds its own, just about, in a high-performance day at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground and it’s 2.2 mile runway against the 180bhp KTM Super Duke 1290R.
  • The traction control is simply brilliant.  On track it stops you spinning the rear and hurting yourself when getting a bit giddy. On the road in wet and damp conditions it will save you even when trying to entice it and  dialling in more throttle than required to test the system  Incredible.

And some slight lowlights with the Ducati Monster 1200S:

  • Ducati becomes Ucati as the tank sticker peels off. Ducati say this would be replaced under warranty. We’ve had no other issues with the bike. In fact, we’ve only really had to check the oil and adjust the chain!
  • Standard Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II tyres are brilliant and suit the bike incredibly well. No surprise as they were developed for it. But, the rear did wear out at just over 2000 miles! They work great, but could do with more life from the rear tyre. Or, opt for a harder compound if you’re not using the bike too hard and spending more time on straight roads.

Ducati on Bridgestones was a suprisingly good track day bike, within reason.

  • Bridgestone S20 tyres speed-up the handling a lot for sports type riding, but make the bike feel slightly unstable at speed on the road. A great track day choice though as it improves the feeling from the front-end.
  • It can do 50mpg on a run, which for a booming 1200cc V-twin is impressive, but use it as the Ducati test riders intended and it will get as low as 29mpg!

A massive thanks to Ducati UK for the loan of the Monster 1200S, to Pirelli and Bridgestone for the tyres. And thanks to the weather gods for the glorious summer of biking memories.