What is it?
Holding its head high for the best selling Ducati ever, this is the all-new third-generation Monster. If you know motorcycles well, you’ll notice a lot has changed with the new Monster. While Ducati must have had a hard time making this decision, it is hard to digest the fact that the 2021 Monster doesn’t get the trellis frame anymore. Instead, what it gets is a new aluminium frame that has been derived from the Panigale V4. The main benefit would be? It weighs just 3 kg, which is a staggering 4.5 kilograms lesser than the trellis frame in the old Monster. And the Ducati engineers didn’t stop there but went on slicing weight in other areas like the swingarm, wheels, engine and rear sub-frame, all contributing to a whopping reduction of 18 kilos. Talk about going on a diet, I say! I don’t remember the last time a bike manufacturer managed to shed this much weight off a motorcycle.
Then, there’s the revised design that would upset Monster purists. Apart from the trellis frame, the new Monster is a lot sleeker and modernised. The bike now has a not-so-circular headlamp design and turn indicators that are now flush with the body of the motorcycle. However, the motorcycle feels a lot more compact while the upswept twin-barrel exhaust ups the sporty ante of the street naked.
Whom is it for?
Ducati says the new Monster is designed to be more approachable and forgiving, which is exactly what is needed for any budding motorcyclist. And after riding at the BIC, I can confirm this without any margin to doubt. With the big weight shedding and revision of riding ergonomics, I barely needed a few laps to get well-accustomed to the motorcycle. And I am saying this after only one prior visit at this Formula 1-grade racing track. The motorcycle feels very connected as you are mostly sitting in the bike, rather than on it. The handlebar reach is just right and the balls of the feet land correctly on the pegs without any need to look down.
And while I’ve said all this, don’t even think for a moment that the Monster is that easy of a motorcycle to be taken lightly. Whack the throttle open in first gear, and the front will rise up without any double-clutching. On the track, although the riding was limited to the part of the track that mainly comprised corners, a good pull through the first three cogs, the 4.3-inch TFT display (also inspired from the Panigale V4), is always happy to show 160kph in no time. And by all of this, what I mean to say is, the new Monster can be an absolute delight even for an experienced rider. The 937cc 90-degree V-twin has more than enough power and torque in reserve to keep things exciting. The 6-speed gearbox is smoother than ever, and the bi-directional quickshifter along with the hydraulic clutch operation keeps matters simple.
How does it handle?
This Monster is nothing like its predecessors which required a planned approach before entering a corner. This one is more like an Italian ballerina, eager to lean into corners with poise. The bike’s mass is low and concentrated at the centre which helps in keeping it planted while corners. With the correct entry speed and turning point, the Monster sticks to the intended line like rails. Also contributing to the handling aspect are the sticky Pirelli Diablo Corsa 3 tyres that offer phenomenal levels of grip.
The suspension setup on the Monster features a 43mm USD fork at the front and a progressive link, preload-adjustable monoshock at the rear. Since all the riding was limited to the racetrack, the damping even in its stock setting was good enough to go on a corner attacking spree without much to complain about. Also, the dynamics of the Monster are forgiving that lets one make mistakes with enough margin to correct them as well. With limited experience riding at BIC, I ended up making a few errors in the initial laps, which the Monster took in its stride without any fighting. Which much is being said about the agility of the Monster, what also needs to be highlighted are the brakes. The 320mm twin rotors at the front with Brembo M4.32 monobloc calipers are simply fantastic at shedding speeds. Not only is the bite strong but it is also progressive with lots of feedback to the rider on what is happening down there.
How fast is it?
Now the entire length of the racetrack wasn’t available, which means, the main and back straights were out of bounds. So, there was no scope to test the top speed of the Monster here. But, given the engine performance and the weight-shedding that the Monster has undergone, I can assure breaching the 200-kph mark won’t take much time. The Monster comes with three fully customizable riding modes (Sport, Touring and Urban). Since it was a track day event, I rode most of the time in Sport mode. The throttle response is sharp and precise while the 937cc motor was pumping out all of the 108 bhp of power and 9.5 kgm of peak torque.
Is it fun?
For what Ducati went out to achieve with the new Monster, it fulfils all the required boxes making it an absolute riot around corners. With all the rider aids like cornering ABS, different levels of traction control, wheelie control and ride modes, one can set up the motorcycle as per one’s skill. The new Monster is an excellent handler as it just loves to corners, and the proof of that is scraping the knee sliders around every corner. Besides that, is its kerb weight of 188 kg which is easy to manage and doesn’t feel heavy even at slow speeds. In conclusion, the Ducati Monster makes for an excellent street naked that is fast, sleek and nimble to hoot the streets.
Displacement: 937cc, L-twin
Max power: 109.96 bhp@9250 rpm
Max torque: 9.48 kgm@6500 rpm
Type: Aluminium alloy
(F/R): 320-mm dual discs / 245-mm disc
(F/R): 120/70 R17 / 180/55 R17
L/W/H (mm): 2083/868/1236
Wheelbase: 1474 mm
Ground clearance: 202 mm
Seat height: 820 mm
Kerb weight: 188 kg
Fuel capacity: 14 litres
PRICE: Rs 10.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)