It’s fair to say that the Ducati Monster is an icon for the Italian brand.
Other models may have grabbed the headlines with their race track success and bedroom poster good looks (we’re talking ‘bout you, 916) but in the mid 1990s it was the original Monster 900 (and the later 600 and 750 versions) that saved the company from bankruptcy. Parts bins specials they may have been, but the Monsters sold like nothing else Ducati had made before. Over the decades the Monster has remained a staple in the Ducati range evolving over the years and selling more than 350,000 units over 27 years.
It could be argued that the Monster’s evolution from a simple, stripped down air-cooled roadster into a more sophisticated and expensive motorcycle had robbed the model of some of its essence, but Ducati is looking to redress that with an all-new 2021 version.
At first glance the styling looks more generic than recent Monsters, which have had more ‘aggressiveness’ engineered into them in the past few years, as Ducati have gone back to the basics and created a new generation motorcycle which is lighter and more accessible than the outgoing model.
Replacing the old 821cc model, the 2021 Monster utilises Ducati’s 937cc Testastretta engine which has previously seen action in the Hypermotard and SuperSport. The Euro5 spec engine is said to deliver 111bhp, similar to the old 821 unit, but is almost two-and-a-half kilos less than the outgoing motor.
Saving weight has been Ducati’s mantra with the new Monster. Where older models have become more and more bloated with each passing generation, Ducati has started with a clean sheet of paper and put its legend on a crash diet.
Out goes the trellis frame, to be replaced by an aluminium front frame in the style of the Panigale V4 superbike. That weighs just 3kg, 4.5kg less than the old item: wheels are 1.7kg less, rear subframe is 1.9kg down and the swingarm 1.6kg to the good. In total the new Monster is 18kg down on the outgoing model, weighing in at just 166kg dry.
With a standard seat height of 820mm, the Monster remains easy to get on with for riders of all sizes. There’s also a 20mm lower saddle available as an option too, while a low suspension version is a factory option and reduces the height by a further 25mm. Although the styling feels more generic than recent models, Ducati says that it is full of good old-fashioned Monster DNA – including a ‘bison back’ shaped fuel tank and a ‘shoulder embedded’ round headlamp.
Electronics have been an area where Ducati has bossed the opposition in recent years and the Monster features a neat package of rider aids that includes three riding modes, cornering ABS, adjustable traction control, wheelie control and an up and down quickshifter. Other spec includes a 4.3” colour TFT screen, LED headlights and sweeping direction indicators.
What’s more? The 2021 Ducati Monster goes on sale in April, priced from £12,295. Three colour options are available, with black or grey (with red wheels) available in addition to the traditional Ducati Red option. Ducati are also making a big play on customisation for their new model, so expect a full range of accessories to be available for owners looking to modify their ride.