The first Monsters were all parts-bin bikes to help keep the cost, and therefore price, down. The M900 came first, in 1993, and was followed by the M600 in 1994 and the M750 in 1996. The M900 used the engine and part of the frame of the 900 Supersport mated to the fork of the 750 Supersport. The only thing designed specifically for the bike was the tank, and its muscular styling was paired with minimalist body work to achieve a visual language of strength, like a bull about to charge.The 1990s Monsters looked a lot like mid-2000 Suzuki SV650s and went largely unchanged until 2000, when the M900 was upgraded with fuel injection. Then, in 2001, came the S4, which brought the first liquid-cooled, four-valve superbike engine to the line. With 2005 came the S2R 800 and 1000, both of which used a two-valve desmodromic engine.
Ducati’s electronics are present of course, with the Ducati Safety Pack providing ABS and Ducati Traction Control, with Riding and Power modes allowing the choice of Sport, Touring or Urban to vary power and delivery for a more enjoyable ride in the varying road conditions you’re likely to face, particularly for an everyday ride.Power delivery is strong down low, with Urban mode ideal for stop and start city traffic, or commuting at lower speeds but feeling noticeably more restrained and a little laggy at higher speeds when opening the throttle wide to take off. Urban mode does however reduce power to an easily manageable 75hp from the peak 112hp and does double duties for a wet mode in really poor conditions.Sport on other hand is noticeably more lively with much more instantaneous throttle response, especially higher in the rev range and when moving at speed, while Touring caters more towards the safety aspects, without hindering overall power too greatly, instead using the RbW system to soften the connection between throttle and engine.
The APTC slipper and self-servo wet clutch also come into play, ensuring that rolling off the throttle doesn’t unsettle the 821, with more aggressive downshifting possible and producing additional excitement through the wicked exhaust note it produces. Shifts are easy via the cable-operated clutch and much lighter than many of the hydraulic clutch systems I’ve used, while the gearbox itself is positive but relatively clunky.The brakes are also top notch, with Brembo M4 radial Monobloc calipers providing plenty of stopping power on the front end and backed up by ABS, while on the rear a two-piston Brembo caliper grasps a 245mm rotor for additional control and providing a good level of bite and stopping power for a rear brake system.The stainless steel mufflers are tasteful items and dual cans in black really stand out from the plain stainless sheathe they protrude from.