The Ducati Monster traces back its origins back to when Ducati wanted to cash in on the popularity of the cruiser market in the 1990’s. But instead of making a long swung cruiser they looked the other way and made a bike that was easier to ride, fast off the mark and was almost a comfortable daily use alternative. Fast forward to the 21st century and as of today there are basically four Ducati Monster’s that you can choose from, the 696, 795, 796 and the 1100 EVO.
The one we rode couple of days back was the Ducati Monster 796. The 796 sits between the 1100 and the 696, with its chassis from the 1100 and the engine from the Hyperstrada with a longer stroke. It produces 87 HP @ 8,250 RPM and 78 Nm of Torque @ 6,250 RPM. In the spirit of full disclosure, the Monster we rode was not stock and had bit’s of cosmetic and performance mods. Till date the bike has clocked 9,600 kms on some very varied terrains that also include the mighty Himalayas. (Way to go Sumit!)
- Grab Rails for pillion comfort
- Rear seat cowl
- After-market Brake/Clutch levers
- Puig visor
- Crash protectors
- Front wheel bobbins
- HealTech Pro Gear Indicator
- MWR After-market air filter
- Two brother Slip ons
- 14T front sprocket
After having spent the morning with Monster 796, there is one thing that you realise the moment you get going on it. It is not even remotely as intimidating to ride it as much as it is to look at. You just hop on and get going. Surprisingly you need a bit of clutch slipping for a clean get away, as below the 2.5 – 3K RPM the bike is a bit unhappy. This problem is somewhat sorted out with the front sprocket replaced (from 15T to 14T) to get a slightly shorter gearing but according to Sumit, this problem was a bit more pronounced before the change making it a pain in the city.
The riding ergonomics is very comfortable with the wide handle bars, and even with a slightly sporty riding position the Monster 796 is easy to manoeuvre through traffic. The only hiccup probably would be the 800 mm seat height making it uncomfortable for riders of shorter stature. The clutch is hydraulically actuated and is super light making it easy on your hands. Speaking of city riding, this being a air cooled engine does give you some ‘tandoori thighs’ if you are stuck in very slow moving traffic. But pin that throttle and the Monster will take you past the ton in almost the blink of an eye and all is forgiven. A solid mid range waits for you here and novice or expert you will definitely enjoy pushing this bike around, be it on the highway or the winding mountain roads. In 3rd gear at about 6K RPM you will have a new found respect for this machine, it shoots forward with such ease. Things happen quick though from here and the rev’s build up fast, and moving through the gears, very soon you will be doing some high triple digit speeds with the engine not showing any sort of drama. Add to this mixture the Two brother exhausts and you have the aural pleasure to mute all your thoughts and just sink in with the ride. I really need to get hold of a stock one for a good idea of what this Monster actually sounds like.
The Ducati Monster 796 has brakes that will make your eye balls pop out of their sockets if you go hard at them. A mild touch with a single finger is enough to bring the Monster to a halt in almost all situations. It has a very progressive and precise feel. The steel braided lines and the twin 320 mm Brembo’s doing a great job here. Suspension in as expected on the firmer side with the rear adjustable and combined with the very strong trellis frame the handling department is pretty much as good as it can get. The pillion seat is adequate and with the grab rails on this particular bike the pillion has some solid grip to hold on to. There are many things that add to the mixture of making it a good take it ‘almost’ anywhere bike. The ground clearance for one, it is pretty high and in our country where on-road is sometimes is off-road aswell, this is so much welcome. Cruising speed with a good balance of negotiating the wind blast and keeping this L twin happy is at about 130 kmph. The fuel tank is an all fibre type and is actually below the massive upper cover. Tank capacity could have been better with the usable capacity from the 15L tank at just about 13.5 L. The instrument console has a reserve light and a separate trip meter once you are low to track how many kilometres you have run since. Mileage within the city was around 16 kmpl and on the highways at a respectable 21 kmpl.
All in all quite the surprise experience I must say, I did not expect the Ducati Monster 796 to be so easy to ride, and that’s the same response that I got from Sudeep and Pavan both of whom had a equally good time with the bike. Of-course the power was no surprise but it hardly took any time for me to get acclimatized with the bike, I repeat that here again especially because I generally do take that extra mile to get familiar with a bike and grow confident on it. Also do check out the Ducati Monster 796 wallpaper set we have for download.