In the mid 1990s, Ducati got around to figuring out that there was a market for motorbikes that didn't have a sport riding position and big fat tyres, yet still made use of its wonderful V-twin engine. The Ducati Monster motorcycle was the result of that realisation.
Using the 900cc air-cooled version of Ducati's timeless twin, the Monster did away with the fairings and the racy seating position to arrive at a bike that was absolutely perfect for zipping around town. But, with that 900cc twin on board and quality suspension, the Ducati Monster could still keep sports bikes honest on a twisty road. The perfect combination of useability and sporting smarts? Some people thought so and the Monster motorbike sold loads.
Ducati Monster on the road
Any Ducati V-twin has a personality all of its own and the Monster is no exception. From the moment you fire it up, there's a real sensation that the motor is the focal point of the machine. Slide out the clutch and nothing much change there. The power comes on strong and relatively smoothly from the bottom end and builds in the mid-range. There's not a whole lot of top-end rush, but by then you should have shifted up and made use of the torque curve anyway.
Shorter gearing than Ducati's sports bikes helps make the Monster feel lively, too. You sit fairly upright so there's a real feeling of control over what's going on. It's reasonably comfy, although the seat will grow teeth after a couple of hours. The only real niggle is a lack of equipment and, in its simplest form, the Monster doesn't even have a tachometer.
Buying a used Ducati Monster
A lot of Monsters have been treated to aftermarket exhaust systems and that's no bad thing. A rortier exhaust will help free up some horsepower as well as make the engine feel smoother.
Don't be worried by a rattling noise when you let the clutch out in neutral; the Ducati twin uses a dry clutch so what sounds like a death rattle is actually quite normal.
Servicing is relatively simple although you need to know what you're doing when it comes to setting the valve clearances. Carburettors instead of fuel-injection help keep things simple and provided you keep and eye on brake pads and tyre wear, the Monster shouldn't be too challenging to run.
A word of warning, though; the side-stand is a joke. It's a self-retracting thing that has dumped more than one Ducati on its ear in a driveway tumble.
Ducati Monster Final Verdict
+ Sensible fun with that Ducati V-twin
+ Simple but charming air-cooled engine
+ Upright riding position makes sense
- Lack of standard kit
- Needs aftermarket mufflers
Ducati Monster standard specifications
Model: Monster 900
Years: 1996 - current
Engine Size: 900cc
Fuel System: Carburettors
Standard Transmission: 5-speed