Posted: 10 Jan 2013
Monster here, Monster there, Monster everywhere – and so there should be because the Ducati Monster breed has been the Italian company’s biggest seller since it was first seen in 1992. You’d think, therefore, the latest big Monster would be the best version yet? You’d be right.
Monster 1100 Evo sticks rigidly to the design ethos of its creator Miguel Galluzzi, that being a bike only needs an engine, two wheels, seat, fuel tank and handlebars. Except today’s Monster also has 20 years of improvements and modern technology built into it.
Saying that, you can’t get much more old school than an air-cooled engine - check Harley-Davidson’s range for proof if needed. This Ducati air-cooled Desmodue Evoluzione is bored and stroked to 98x71.5mm for a capacity of 1078cc. In this form, it is the first two-valve air-cooled Duke engine to knock on the 100bhp door. And it is telling.
Considering it’s air-cooled, the motor revs cleanly and briskly. The moment the clutch is dropped the Evo pulls surprisingly hard and will catch out the unknowing big-cubed sports bike rider. This amusing instant grunt is widely spaced across the rev range but is more noticeable in the mid-range where 70 per cent of riders spend their time.
Overtakes are simple procedures of opening the throttle and very rarely demand the gearbox to be stirred. Ample torque can also make corner exits interesting especially when delivered by a big twin-cylinder. Not quite cannon-shot drive but enough to warrant Ducati-fitting traction control, which works perfectly.
The frame is the famed Ducati steel trellis, honed, lightened and stiffened to make it tough enough to handle the power and give sports-like steering with stability from a lightweight 188kg fully gassed bike. It also shows of the Monster engine to a Tee – as much a part of the Monster’s minimalist look as the hunched ‘Monster’ styling originally penned by Galluzzi.
Ducati has finally realised that semi-flat handlebars are a pain – in the wrists as well as the neck. Today’s bike has the highest bars of any Monster and it makes a difference to riding dynamics and rider comfort – it’s only taken 20 years for Ducati to figure what previous Monster owners knew after a 100 miles.
One of life’s joys is watching the faces of first time Monster 100 Evo riders. The resulting smile says it all really: they can’t believe how good the handling is and how much fun can be had from a Monster. Isn’t it good to know there is a thriving Monster that is appreciated in today’s world and that it is still available in glorious Ducati Red?
+ points – sorted piece of history and an excellent to ride to boot.
- points – more performance available from competitors and with keener prices.
Power: 98.6bhp, 76ft lbs
Kerb weight: 188kg
Seat height: 810mm
Colours: Black, red