Ducati’s Il Mostro naked bike has been on produced non-stop since 1993 with dozens of different specs based on largely the same formula. It fits many different motorcycle lifestyles depending on spec and accessories, from daily commuter to track kaiju. It was the relatively inexpensive and highly accessible motorcycle that probably saved Ducati from the scrapheap of history. Hundreds of thousands of Monsters have left the factory, selling in an average year between half and two thirds of Ducati’s entire output.
More or less, the Scrambler has since taken over the role of Ducati’s big unit mover, but they are still pumping out Monsters pretty fast. The Monster is elemental. It’s simple. It’s just a light, fun, fast motorcycle that hails from Italy. You can see why people like it.
Since the start, the Monster has been typified by a tubular steel trellis frame and a 90 degree V-twin with desmodromic valves. With the new-for-2021 model, all of that goes away. The new bike has a lightweight aluminum main frame, a glassfiber-reinforced plastic rear subframe, and the 11-degree Testastretta engine is a stressed member of the chassis. All of this means the new bike is nearly 40 pounds lighter than the current Monster 821 with a dry weight of 366 pounds, which probably means a ready-to-ride weight under 400 pounds. That’s pretty astonishing for a Monster.
Add in that the new Testastretta engine is now Euro-5 emissions compliant and still manages to make more power than the outgoing 90-degree 821, and I’m sold. If you pop down to your Ducati dealer you can pick up a current 821cc model with 109 horsepower and 63 lb-ft of torque. The new 937cc engine is 5.3 pounds lighter than the mill it replaces, and manages to churn out 2 more horsepower and 5 more foot lubs. Apparently those extra ponies and pounds feet come at a lower RPM, making the bike more street-friendly than the outgoing model. So it’s lighter, torquier, more powerful, and more streetable. All of that sounds great.
The new Monster comes standard with Ducati’s exquisite quick shifter, launch control, ABS cornering, traction control and wheelie control, three riding modes (sport, urban, and touring), a 4.3" tft color display, LED lighting, self-cancelling turn signals, and a USB plug for $11,895. If you want a small flyscreen on the front of the bike, and a monoposto seating configuration, you can pony up $12,195 for the Monster+. As far as I can tell that’s all you get for the + moniker. You can also choose to get your bike in Aviator Grey with bright red wheels, or Ducati-favorite matte black with black wheels, both of which run a $200 premium over Ducati Red. Honesty, if I could get a red bike with red wheels, I’d do it.
So where did Ducati lose all of the weight to get this bike so light? The wheels drop a combined 3.75 pounds. The swingarm is 3.5 pounds lighter. The GFRP rear subframe is 4.2 pounds lighter. The big one? The aluminum main frame is just 6.6 pounds, which drops ten freakin pounds from the steel trellis icon of the previous bike.
This seems like a lot, or maybe rather a little, of bike for the money. The old Monster was revolutionary when it launched, but got a bit long in the tooth. Maybe this new one can revive some of the original’s iconic flavor, even without the iconic looks. Of everything Ducati has launched this year, this might be the one I’m most excited about. I can’t wait to try it out.