Skip to main content

Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020): Review & Buying Guide

Massively experienced road tester



Ducati Monster 821 2014 Review Used Price_05


Price: £4500-£10000 | Power: 112bhp | Weight: 205.5kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


The Monster 821 signified the end of an era for Ducati as its release saw the last of the air-cooled Monster models consigned to the annals of history. Well, until the Scrambler emerged (which is pretty similar to a Monster) and some far eastern markets still got the 696 and 796 Monsters... What brought about this change of heart from Ducati? Emissions laws mainly but also the fact the middleweight game had moved on with the likes of the Triumph Street Triple leading the way and in truth, an air-cooled V-twin was never going to match a liquid-cooled triple when it came to outright performance and while the Monster 1200 was there to flex its muscles, it was a very pricy option and also quite a chunky bike. Nope, Ducati needed to assert some authority in the middleweight class and the only way to do this was through a liquid-cooled motor. Luckily they had one ready to go, all they needed to do was mimic the classic Monster silhouette and hope buyers didn’t mind too much about the water jacket...


Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020) Price

The Monster was quite pricey when it was launched in 2014 at £8995, although the Dark version did reduce this by a few quid at £8795. The higher-spec Stripe model, which was released in 2015, cost a touch over £9000. There are two generations of 821 with a colour TFT dash added in 2018 alongside some slight bodywork and footpeg tweaks. The 821 is plentiful in the used market so prices aren’t as bad as you may expect. An original one will set you back from £4500 for a fairly tatty bike to £7000-£8000 for a late-model 2017 bike or a Stripe. Prices for the updated 2018 bike start at £6000 for a high-mileage model and rise to just under £10,000 for 2020 bike with minimal miles on its clocks. It is generally best to buy on service history rather than using mileage as a guide, so buy a well looked after model, even if it has topped 10,000 miles, over a low mile bike which lacks a dealer history.


  • Lovely V-twin engine

  • Classic Monster silhouette and sound

  • Light handling

  • Annoying interference issues with your foot and the exhaust.

  • Firm ride quality and hard seat

  • It can get a bit stuttery at low revs


Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020) Engine

The water-cooled engine is taken from the firm’s Hypermotard models, which arrived on the scene before the Monster but in 2014 also received the new second generation V-twin. Called the Testastretta 11-degree, the 821cc desmo V-twin features a significant number of upgrades and comes with an APTC clutch with a ‘slipper’ function and pleasingly light lever action, ride-by-wire throttle and much longer service intervals than before. On this generation, the valve clearance check (desmo service) is set at every 18,000 miles, which is extremely reassuring for used bike owners as this service will set you back about £700. Pleasingly, the cam belts only need changing every five years and the minor service is set at every 9000 miles, although you should change the oil and filter every year. So that’s the major worries about Ducati ownership covered, onto the good parts...

Yes, the 821 lacks air-cooling, but it is still a V-twin and sounds and feel like a Monster should. At tickover there is a pleasing growl that is far from sterile and it certainly isn’t left lacking in power with a claimed 112bhp and 89.4Nm of torque. Up and running and the Monster is a spirited performer and despite sounding lazy, the V-twin picks up pace quickly and comes with a pleasingly fluid throttle connection and slick gearbox. It doesn’t feel as fast as a Street Triple but it is still fun and more importantly, authentic to Ducati. When you drop very low in the rev range it can start to stutter a bit, but this is just a trait of a V-twin engine and it doesn’t ruin the ride, even in town where the Monster is surprisingly at home.

A lot of used Monsters come with Termi pipes fitted (some owners buy cheaper alternatives) which do make it sound a touch fruitier but always get the OE cans included in the sale if possible, not everyone wants to wake up to a howling Monster!

Reliability isn’t really an issue on the 821 engine and owners seem quite happy with the level of finish on the motor, which tends not to look too shabby as the years go by. This is probably mainly due to the fact few Monsters venture out in winter conditions, it’s just not that kind of bike, but the paint on the OE exhaust can start to flake a bit so just check this area. A few owners give the Monster a bit more punch by fitting a one tooth lower front sprocket, which isn’t a bad thing to do but not 100% necessary. Try it out and see if it works for you as a new front sprocket is only about £30.



Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020) Handling & Suspension

Interestingly, there was a slightly higher-spec model of Monster 821. The Stripe was launched in 2015 and featured fully-adjustable forks where the stock bike has no adjustment. It’s not really a full-on S model as the forks are still made by KYB and not Öhlins, but it is an upgrade. Is it worth holding out, spending an extra £200 or so and getting a Stripe over a stock Monster? Not really, although they are adjustable you are probably better off spending the saving on getting the slightly overly firm forks rebuilt to your specification by a professional suspension guru.

When it comes to the Monster’s handling and ride quality, the first thing that needs to be mentioned is the terrible footpeg positioning. The righthand footpeg, which is a huge cast unit that includes the pillion peg hanger, is situated in such a way that the exhaust pipe pushes your heel out if you try and ride on the balls of your feet – which is extremely annoying. There isn’t much you can do about it, and owners just ride in a way that suit them, but it is a frustration that Ducati did actually (partially...) resolve in the 2018 update when the rider and pillion pegs were separated out. If you like to ride sportily, you are advised to go for a 2018 model or buy a set of rearsets to allow you to position your foot slightly more comfortably.

Ok, annoyances out of the way and on a twisty B-road the Monster is a joy. Although undeniably a firm ride, the Monster is a sporty middleweight that loves to be muscled into bends. Tipping the scales at just 205.5kg wet it is light, agile and fun to ride, which is exactly what you want with a Monster. You can certainly keep up with any of its rivals in corner and the fact it has ABS and TC as standard is also reassuring when the conditions deteriorate. Some owners feel the Brembo brakes are a bit too sharp on the Monster but this is down to personal preference and they have the backup of ABS (with three levels of sensitivity) if you get a bit too eager.

As with the engine, there isn’t much to worry about in terms of the chassis as its double-sided swingarm isn’t prone to seized hubs like a single-sided unit and the suspension is robust. Check it over for any signs of scrapes, be wary if the mirrors have been changed (although to be fair the OE ones are absolutely crap, so they may not have been changed due to a spill...), and focus on the consumable items such as the tyres, chain and sprockets and brake pads as replacing these can cost quite a lot of cash.



Comfort & Economy

The Monster isn’t a great bike for covering distance on and owners complain about the firm ride quality and unforgiving seat (which is adjustable in its height). You can look at upgrading the seat or fitting a bigger screen but in all honesty, if comfort bothers you that much then maybe look at the Hyperstrada or a middleweight Multistrada model instead.

In terms of economy, expect roughly 43mpg from the Monster and a tank range of around 160 miles with 140 miles until the fuel light illuminates.



Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020) Equipment

The Monster comes with a lot of tech as standard – a situation that improved even further when the bike was updated in 2018. The first generation gets 3-level ABS as standard as well as 8-level TC and three riding modes – Sport, Touring and Urban. In Sport you get a more direct throttle response, Touring eases this slightly and Urban chops the power to 75bhp with a gentler throttle response. The ABS also alters its sensitivity alongside the riding mode. That’s the good news, the bad news is that the LCD dash is a bit disappointing as while it does contain a lap timer (why???) it lacks a fuel gauge – which would be much more handy. In the 2018 update the dash was upgraded to a TFT unit with a gauge, so if you want that feature, you need to spend a bit more cash. The updated bike is also ready to accept the Ducati up/down shifter as a ‘plug and play’ option, which the early bike isn’t. You can get shifters for it, but only aftermarket units which are generally best avoided unless fitted and set up very carefully by a professional.

When it comes to accessories, it is the usual story for a Monster. Most owners fit a tail tidy to clean up the back end, replacement mirrors (generally bar-end style) are common, the twin-stacked pipes get swapped for a single unit (the cheaper alternative) or a replacement aftermarket twin-stack unit (generally Termi), a pillion seat cover is fitted (standard equipment on a few models) and there is the occasional fly screen or bigger touring screen.



Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020) Rivals

In 2014 the Monster was very tech-heavy and as such it was a step up in price when compared to its generally lower-spec Japanese rivals. With this in mind the (very low-tech...) Yamaha MT-07 certainly feels far more basic while the (slightly higher-tech) Kawasaki Z800 lacks the Ducati’s ‘wow factor.’ The MV Agusta Brutale 800 (the 675 is best avoided) is a fickle beast so really, the best alternative is the second-generation Triumph Street Triple, with the top-spec R the pick.


Yamaha MT-07 (2014-2018) | Approx Price: £4000-£6000

Power/Torque: 74bhp/50lb-ft | Weight: 179kg


MV Agusta Brutale 800 (2013-2016) | Approx Price: £6000-£8000

Power/Torque: 125bhp/59lb-ft | Weight: 189kg


Triumph Street Triple R (2013-2017)| Approx Price: £4000-£7000

Power/Torque: 105bhp/50lb-ft | Weight: 189kg



Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020) Verdict

Although purists lament the lack of air-cooling, the Monster 821 is a much better bike than the air-cooled Monster 796 it replaced. Sporty, good-looking and with a high level of tech, the Monster 821 is seriously worth considering in the used market. Its popularity ensures that you don’t pay a ‘Ducati tax’ and at £5500 for a good one, it represents reasonable value for money. If you hanker after a new 2023 Monster but your wallet only allows you to buy used, the Monster 821 won’t disappoint – especially if you can stretch to the updated 2018-onwards model.



Ducati Monster 821 (2014-2020) spec

Original price

£8995 (Dark £8795)

Current price range

£4500 -£10,000



Bore x Stroke

88mm x 67.5mm

Engine layout


Engine details

DOHC, 8v, liquid-cooled desmo


112bhp (82.4kW) @ 9250rpm


65.9lb-ft (89.4Nm) @ 7750rpm

Top speed



6 speed, chain

Average fuel consumption


Tank size


Max range to empty (theoretical)


Reserve capacity


Rider aids

3-level ABS, 8-level DTC, 3 riding modes


Tubular steel

Front suspension

43mm KYB inverted forks

Front suspension adjustment

None (fully-adjustable on the Stripe)

Rear suspension

Sachs monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Adjustable spring preload and rebound damping

Front brake

320mm discs, Brembo four-piston calipers. ABS

Rear brake

245mm disc, two-piston caliper. ABS

Front tyre


Rear tyre



24.3°/ 93.2mm

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2154mm x n/a x 1061mm



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight

205.5Kg Wet


Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance