“All a bike needs is a saddle, engine, two wheels, handlebars and a tank to fill with fuel,” said designer Miguel Galluzzi as he created the first Ducati Monster in 1992 – the raw, simple motorcycle that was the answer to the demands of the Italian company’s manager – Massimo Bordi.
Over the years, the monster has gone from an 888 sportsbike chassis with a 904cc air-cooled SOHC motor (in 1993’s M900), through the 1000cc S2R in 2006, to the water-cooled 126bhp S4RS in 2007, and on to the 135bhp 1200 and 1200S of 2014.
2015’s Monster 821 saw the end of the air-cooled 696 motor. Making a claimed 112bhp @ 9250rpm and 65.8lb-ft @ 7250, it was a world apart from the 67bhp @ 7000rpm and 60 lb-ft @ 6000rpm of the M900. But – no doubt thanks to Euro 4 restrictions – the new 821 drops slightly to 107bhp @ 9250rpm. Torque is slightly down too: 63 lb-ft @ 7750rpm.
The 2015 Monster 821 – above – has been tweaked for 2018
The redesigned, slimmer tail – fitted to a steel trellis subframe – offers a seat height of 785 or 810mm, while the tank is the same, sleeker design fitted to the 1200. The rounder-shaped headlight is also lifted from the larger model.
The Thin Film Technology (TFT) screen is a first for the model, and takes on different designs depending on the riding mode selected: Sport, with its direct ride-by-wire throttle response, reduced traction control, level 1 ABS and disabled anti-stoppie; Touring, with a more progressive throttle response, increased TC, level 2 ABS and moderate anti-stoppie; and Urban, with a maximum power of 75bhp, a high level of traction control, level 3 ABS and full anti-stoppie.
The 2018 machine promises a sleeker design
The three-level ABS is Bosch’s 9.1MP system, which doesn’t include lean-angle sensors, while the traction control offers eight levels, which can be selected to suit the rider.
The 821cc Desmodromic Testastretta motor is a stressed member of the steel trellis frame, with what’s said to be an ‘ultra-low effort’ cable-operated clutch.
Brakes are twin radially-mounted Brembo M4-32 four-piston Monobloc calipers biting 320mm discs up front, with a single Brembo and 245mm disc on the rear. Both run sintered pads.
The 43mm upside-down front forks are unadjustable, while the rear monoshock can be tweaked for preload and rebound damping. Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres are fitted; 120/70-17 at the front and 180/55-17 at the rear.
So will a reduction in power matter? We’d be inclined to think that it won’t – many in the BikeSocial office believe that 100bhp is more than enough to have an absolute blast on the road, and we’ll be testing this bike next week, so will be able to give you our impressions very shortly.
Do you think the 821 is all the Monster Ducati needs to build? Do you long for the days of air-cooled elegance? Tell us in the comments below…