Ducati Monster 796 (2011 - 2014): Review & Buying Guide


The world of the Ducati Monster can be a confusing one as there are so many models and variations on the theme – and not all the numbers actually equate to the capacity of the bike in question! So, with that in mind, what’s the deal with the Monster 796? Launched in 2011, the Monster 796 was targeted as being a ‘transition’ bike so riders of the 696 had something to progress onto before the step up to the bigger 1100 capacity Monster models. Claimed by Ducati to offer the ease of the 696 with a bit of the sporting attitude of the 1100, the 796 featured a brand new motor (which isn’t actually 796cc...), underseat pipes and a single sided swingarm alongside inverted forks and Brembo brakes. Replaced by the Monster 797 (which was also 803cc...) in 2015, the Monster 796 makes for a cracking middleweight that has bags of charm and a good amount of sporting ability. Not to mention very cool looks...


Ducati Monster 796 (2011 - 2014) Price

The Monster cost a hefty £6995 (or £7695 with ABS) in 2011, which was a fair chunk above the Japanese inline four rivals such as the Yamaha FZ8 or Kawasaki Z750 and also more than the class-leading Triumph Street Triple. Nowadays you need to fork out from £4000 to £6500 for one, which seems quite a lot of cash when you see a brand new Yamaha MT-07 is £6902. There again, the Ducati is a bike bought by the heart and not the head and owners generally accept they will pay a premium for one. Ideally, aim to pay £5000, get a good one and keep it that way. Or personalise it a bit...


Power and torque

It may be called a 796 but the Monster is powered by a 803cc V-twin which makes a very respectable 87bhp with 57lb.ft of torque. Brimming with character the motor has enough go to be enjoyable but can start to feel a bit lacking when you really up the pace. A very friendly engine thanks to a wide spread of smooth torque and good fuel injection system, it is certainly a step up from the disappointing 696 but it stops well short of the thumping power delivery that the air-cooled 1100 desmo packs. Low down in the rev range it can start to stutter a bit but once into its stride it does all that is required and when combined with an agile chassis it makes the bike feel a very well balanced, and enjoyable, overall package.


Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The 796 engine was all-new for the Monster and even features a crank that owes its design to the 848 sportsbike, so you know Ducati meant business. Add to this the excellent APTC ‘wet’ clutch (so no nasty rattles), which has a slipper function as well as a very light lever action, and it is all very impressive. As with all of the air-cooled models, it only has a single overhead cam and two valves per cylinder, which helps keep the servicing costs down, and Ducati even introduced 7500-mile intervals on the Monster. When buying used a full service history is certainly something to watch out for as, you’ve guessed it, there are a few little niggles that Ducati experts will catch before they develop into something more annoying. The cam belts need to be swapped every two years (or 15,000 miles), which is a bill of about £300, and the valve clearances require checking every 7500-mile service, which is another bill of roughly £300. So if it is a two-year service you are looking at around £600, which is quite a sting. A lot of owners take a chance and run the belts for five years (more modern Ducati models are happy to do this) but that’s your call when you have bought the bike... There are very few major issues highlighted by Monster 796 owners and as most bikes do fairly limited mileage and generally in summer only, corrosion isn’t a huge worry. Buy on service history from a known Ducati dealer rather than mileage.


Ducati Monster 796 2011 Review Used Price Spec_04


Ducati Monster 796 (2011 - 2014) Economy

There seems a real split in opinions when it comes to the Monster’s economy figures with some riders struggling to get out of the 30mpg numbers and others touching the high 40mpgs. Expect to get roughly 43mpg in a mix of urban and B-road riding and you won’t be disappointed at its economy or tank range. Unless you have a bike with ABS...


Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Ducati really wanted to emphasise the Monster 796’s sporting ability and while it lacks any adjustability in its inverted Showa fork at least you do get preload and rebound damping to fiddle with on the rear, which you may well want to do. Set a bit on the firm side as standard, the Monster does benefit from a bit of adjustment if you tend to ride on bumpy roads – you bum will thank you for it! Once on the go the trellis frame hits the mark and gives the Monster impressively light and agile handling without the 696’s slight tendency to feel skittish due to the fact the 796 has fatter tyres (the same size as the 1100) and a bit more weight. In town it is really easy going, helped by the excellent APTC clutch, and Ducati have even given it a fairly good (for a Monster...) amount of turning angle with 32 degrees either way. As on any bike with a single sided swingarm, give the hub a really good inspection for any signs of it being seized or the pinch bolts over-tightened but as with the motor, it is pretty basic so as long as there is no crash damage and the consumables are ok (pads, bearings, tyres, sprockets, chain etc) all should be well.


Ducati Monster 796 (2011 - 2014) Brakes

Pleasingly, Ducati didn’t skimp on the 796’s brakes and you get twin four-piston Brembo radial calipers as well as braided lines, which deliver more than enough in terms of power. Some may say they are a little wooden in their feel but it’s not a huge drama. Early bikes came with ABS as an optional extra where it was standard fitment on later models so always check to see what spec of bike you are buying. Not a bad system, it is probably worth having but don’t pay over the top – although there is a downside... Oddly, adding ABS reduces the Monster’s fuel tank size by 1.5-litres, taking it from 15 litres to 13.5 litres on the ABS-equipped bikes! How strange but that’s the price for a stripped-back style of bike – there is nowhere to hide an ugly ABS pump aside from in a recess in the tank!



Comfort over distance and touring

Ducati based the Monster’s riding position on the bigger 1100 and not the smaller 696 but they reduced the seat height by 10mm to 800mm and also raised the bars by 20mm to make the 796 a bit less aggressive and more comfortable. Would you want to tour on it? Not really, the firm suspension quickly gets a bit tiresome on uneven roads and the lack of wind protection will take its toll fairly soon.


Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Aside from the option of ABS, the only other bit of gadgetry on the 796 is Ducati’s Data Analyser (DDA) which is a plug and play USB data acquisition system. It was an optional extra on the Monster but to be honest isn’t worth having on a naked bike. One option that was far more exciting was the fact the three standard colours (red, white or black) were joined by 13 ‘Logomania’ designs, which were panel kits and featured very cool retro designs inspired by Ducatis from the 1960s and 1970s such as a Super Sport 900 black/gold, Hailwood rep and 1972 Paul Smart Imola racer. How many were bought? Well, we haven’t see a Monster for sale with a kit on it yet... The kits cost from £449 to £649 in 2011 and arrived with tank panels, a mudguard, pillion seat cover and bikini fairing in the design of your choice. On a more practical note, bigger screens help deflect a bit of the wind and aftermarket exhausts make the Monster sound much fruitier.


Ducati Monster 796 (2011 - 2014) verdict

It is a bit of a shame the Monster 796 has such a high used price tag as it does make for a lovely, and great looking, bike to ride on sunny days that has stacks of character. If the price (of servicing as well as buying) doesn’t bother you, and you aren’t interested in the (brilliant) Monster 1100, it is a much better longterm purchase than the Monster 696.


Three things we love about the Monster 796…

  • Classic Monster looks
  • Light weight
  • Ease of use


Three things that we don’t…

  • Servicing can be expensive
  • Pillion provisions aren’t great
  • A bit more power wouldn’t go amiss


Ducati Monster 796 2011 Review Used Price Spec_07


Ducati Monster 796 (2011 - 2014) spec

Original price

£6995 (£7695 for ABS)

Current price range




Bore x Stroke


Engine layout


Engine details

SOHC, 4v, air-cooled


87bhp (64kW) @ 8250rpm


57.6lb-ft (78Nm) @ 6250rpm

Top speed



6 speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

15 litres (13.5 litres on ABS model)

Max range to empty (theoretical)

150 miles

Reserve capacity

30 miles

Rider aids

ABS optional on early bikes


Tubular steel trellis

Front suspension

Showa 43mm inverted forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

Sachs monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Adjustable preload and rebound

Front brake

2 x 320mm discs, four-piston radial caliper. ABS

Rear brake

245mm disc, two-piston caliper. ABS.

Front tyre

120/70 - ZR17

Rear tyre

180/55 - ZR17


24°/ n/a


2114mm x n/a x 1079mm (LxWxH)



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight

167kg (dry)


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