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Ducati Monster S2R (2005-2008): Review & Buying Guide

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2005 Ducati Monster S2R Review Used Price Spec_00
2005 Ducati Monster S2R Review Used Price Spec_01


Price: £3500-£5500 | Power: 77bhp | Weight: 179kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


Ever since its inception in 1992, Ducati’s Monster has always been a mainstay of the Italian firm’s model range. However in the early 2000s they rather over-egged the pudding with an increasingly cluttered and bewildering array of Monster models in a variety of capacities. Due to the sheer number of Monsters for sale, this saw some really rather good versions generally overlooked. Which is exactly the case with the Monster S2R. Unveiled in 2005, the S2R took the S (presumably for Sport) that was first used on the 2001 water-cooled S4 (4 as in four valve head) and deployed in on an air-cooled model – the result was the S2R (2 as in two-valve head). Effectively a pimped-up Monster 800 using S4R parts, the S2R is nonetheless a brilliant bike that looks great, has a superb motor and a really fun chassis. If you are looking at buying a used Monster, the S2R is one of the best air-cooled models Ducati ever made. Let’s hope it remains relatively undiscovered because at the moment, its price tag is fairly reasonable.


Ducati Monster S2R (2005-2008) Price

In 2005 the S2R cost £5999, which was £1500 less than the S4 but £500 more than the Monster 800 models. Never the most popular, the main issue the S2R had was that while it gained a bit of bling, it was powered by the 800 engine and buyers often sacrificed the R’s cool single sided swingarm for the power the more traditionally styled Monster 1000 delivered. When Ducati rectified this in 2006 with the S2R 1000 model, it harmed the S2R’s sales even further, much to the angst of dealers. Nowadays an S2R will cost you between £3500 and £5500, which isn’t bad value. There are a few cheaper ones on the market but with a Ducati it is always best to buy a good one to avoid yourself potential issues further down the line. Although generally seen in the more popular red paint with a white stripe, there was a yellow with black stripe, black with a red stripe and also a Dark model, which is all black and slightly lower spec in terms of its add-ons.


  • Cool looks

  • Reliable engine

  • Sensible price tag

  • A bit uncomfortable

  • The S2R 1000 has more grunt

  • It does need regular servicing


Engine and Performance

The S2R is powered by the Desmodue 800 motor, which is a thoroughly tried and tested unit and one that the firm has used in a huge variety of models. Fuel-injected and with a capacity of 803cc, despite its Sporty tag the air-cooled engine is identical to the M800 model’s but it does gain a few cool tweaks for use in the S2R. The most obvious update is the twin stacked exhaust system, which is an identical layout as used on the S4R models. It may not make any extra power but it certainly looks good! The other update is harder to spot but makes a huge difference to the S2R’s ride quality.

Nowadays APTC clutches are commonplace, however after it was debuted on the Monster 620 the S2R was the first ‘big’ Monster to gain it. A clever design that adds a slipper clutch as well as a reducing the weight of the lever action, the APTC clutch makes the S2R really easy going in town, something that certainly isn’t the case on other bigger-capacity Monster models. And riding the S2R is a joy.

While buyers at the time were put off by the S2R’s ‘small’ engine, in reality the 800 twin is a cracking motor that is reliable, easy-going and lots of fun. Not that far removed from the current Scrambler engine, it simplistic nature is at the heart of its charm and while it is quite sporty, it is much better suited to relaxed riding.

When it comes to buying used there are no major dramas so it is down to the usual air-cooled Ducati checks. The first is service history as the cam belts need changing every two years and the valve-clearances checked every 7500 miles. Some owners extend this as the engine is pretty under-stressed but it is always best to stick to them. As the engine is very exposed, flaking paint is common and the starter motor also takes a hammering, so check its connectors for corrosion as if they break you generally end up needing to buy a new starter. And while you are there, check the oil cooler as well for corrosion and leaks. The fuel injection system is robust but the sensors can fail, so check for warning lights and see if it ticks over nice and smoothly (well, for a Ducati...), and be a bit wary about fuel lines as they are known to start to fail on older bikes. Speaking of fuel, be wary of expanded fuel tanks, the polymer can start to swell with age and the effect of modern fuels so look for cracks in the paint that hint it may be growing.

A few bikes have replacement twin stacked pipes (usually Termi or other cans with Termi stickers on them, always check!), which isn’t a bad thing as the 800 does sound good when allowed to breath. Overall, thanks to its basic nature, usually the 800 motor is hassle-free.



Ducati Monster S2R (2005-2008) Handling & Suspension

Although Ducati claimed the S2R was built to allow ‘more extreme riding’, and actually gave it better ground clearance than the M800, don’t think they have gone too far. The addition of 43mm inverted forks and a fully-adjustable shock are great to see, and so is the cool single sided swingarm, but the S2R was more a styling exercise than a full-on sporty one. That said, don’t write the S2R off when it comes to enjoying the bends on one...

Thanks to a balanced chassis and light weight, the S2R is a really good handling bike that is heaps of fun to attack twisty A and B-roads on. Thanks to a wide rear tyre (180/55) the Monster has bags of grip and it stops well too thanks to twin Brembo brakes.

As with the engine, the chassis is solid with your only real concern the usual issues with a single sided swingarm (seized rear hub, check it moves freely) and worn suspension and bearings. All of these components are fairly easy to get access to and inspect properly so take your time and check all is well. It is unlikely but also give the 5-spoke Marchesini wheels a good check over for dings, they aren’t lightweight items but if used in a city environment may suffer pothole damage. Also be careful of the S2R’s sidestand, which is made from aluminium and can crack if the previous owner was a bit rough with it. Never turn an S2R by spinning it on its stand and don’t sit on the bike when it is resting on the stand as that puts extra stress on it.



Comfort & Economy

The S2R uses the S4R’s footpegs, which are set at a more extreme angle than the M800’s and that means comfort levels are slightly compromised. It’s not horrific but it is certainly more compact in its riding position as a result. Does that matter on a Monster? Not really, this is a short-hop bike (the seat is quite firm) and not one that many riders are likely to want to take touring and as such the fact the nose cowl provides small relief rather than full-on wind protection also isn’t an issue.

In terms of economy, it is good news. The 800 engine is quite frugal and you should see economy figures in the 50s, which is excellent. Expect 52mpg and you shouldn’t be disappointed and by the time the fuel warning comes on at 130-odd miles you will be wanting to stretch your legs anyway.



Ducati Monster S2R (2005-2008) Equipment

The S2R didn’t come with any special parts, not even a fuel gauge, which is all part of the charm of the Monster model range. That said, owners did get a pillion seat cover included with the bike... The cheaper Dark model lacks the front fairing and pillion seat cover and has steel bars rather than the aluminium variable cross section items on the other S2R models.

Oddly, despite being ripe for customisation, not many S2R models get that heavily modified. You get quite a few with aftermarket pipes and maybe bar end mirrors and a tail tidy, but generally that’s it, which is uncommon for a Monster. Maybe it is a scale of numbers thing, with fewer S2R models sold, there are less owners around wanting to modify them.



Ducati Monster S2R (2005-2008) Rivals

Although initially targeted at sporty riders, the S2R suits anyone wanting a cool-looking air-cooled Monster so its fanbase is quite extensive.


Ducati Monster 800 (2003-2007) | Approx Price: £3000-£5000

Power/Torque: 77bhp/54lb-ft | Weight: 181kg


Triumph Speed Four (2002-2006) | Approx Price: £2000-£3500

Power/Torque: 97bhp/50.5lb-ft | Weight: 170kg


Yamaha FZ6 (2003-2010)  | Approx Price: £2000-£4000

Power/Torque: 98bhp/49lb-ft | Weight: 187kg



Ducati Monster S2R (2005-2008) Verdict

The S2R is one of those bikes that riders in the know will sing its praises but those who aren’t that hot on some of Ducati’s less well known models will generally overlook. Better looking than the Monster 800 and heaps of fun to ride, the S2R is a great middleweight Monster model and one that is certainly worth searching out. Arguably the S2R 1000 is even better but it lacks the easy-going charm of the 800 and is a bit more serious to ride...


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Ducati Monster S2R (2005-2008) – Technical Specification

Original price


Current price range




Bore x Stroke

88mm x 66mm

Engine layout


Engine details

Air-cooled, SOHC, 4-valve, desmo


77bhp (56.7kW) @ 8250rpm


54lb-ft (72.6Nm) @ 6500rpm

Top speed



6-speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

14 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

150 miles

Reserve capacity

33 miles

Rider aids



Tubular steel trellis

Front suspension

43mm inverted forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension


Rear suspension adjustment


Front brake

2 x 300mm discs, four-piston calipers.

Rear brake

245mm disc, two-piston caliper.

Front tyre

120/70 – ZR17

Rear tyre

180/55 – ZR17


24°/ n/a

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2105mm x n/a x 1222mm



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight

179Kg Dry


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