What other bike is there in the world that even most of the un-savvy will recognize before seeing the label? There's barely any! Some will know Busa, some will know Ninja, maybe one or two will know Indian... But almost anyone will know Monster. The sleek but aggressive lines, the naked frame, the down-pipes bulging on its sides like veins on a mad... Oh, I don't know... Monster?
In the case of the new Ducati Monster 1200 S it is the same story. You will never mistake it for anything else. Yes, the bike has gone a bit slimmer, but you can't really tell and yes, there are some other changes like the shorter tail section and a new tail light, but all it does is enhance the bike.
Due to the Euro 4 legislation, it is a bit quieter than its predecessors and it doesn't have as much bass in the tune, but in no way does it sound dull or boring. Ducati have given the new Monster exhaust from the 1200 R and here is what visordown.com had to say about it - "It might lack some of the low-end boom and rumble of an older Monster 1100 on a set of fruity set of cans but the standard exhaust tickled my eardrums enough. Its aural aptitude was definitely when off the throttle and on the brakes, approaching one of the 3,179 hairpin bends on the test route, the twin silencers would emit a subtle but notable burble on the overrun."
Now I have not ridden one... Ever... So I will probably stick with drulling over it's beautiful sides and muscular chest, but here's what Simon Greenacre had to say about new Monsters performance -
"The engine has bags of smoothly delivered torque and pulls like Wayne Rooney in an old people’s home. The torque makes itself noticeable from 3,000rpm but between 6 and 10,000rpm is where this Monster become most savage as it surges forward with the front wheel hovering over the tarmac (or floating above it, depending on the wheelie control).
Without doubt, the Monster 1200’s torque is king, and although 150hp isn’t to be sniffed at, punching out of bends and using the bike’s considerable midrange shove always put the biggest smile of my face because that relentless shove is so accessible and alluring. When you add in the peachy fuelling and excellent throttle response in all riding modes (Sport, Urban, Touring), the Monster 1200’s engine is hard to fault.
Complimenting the reinvigorated engine is a suite of electronics from the 1299 Panigale, so the 2017 Monster 1200 S has cornering ABS thanks to the addition of an IMU. It also boasts a quickshifter and auto-blipper as standard (a first for the Monster), along with eight-stage traction and wheelie control, plus three levels of ABS intervention.
On the damp switchback roads in the hills north of Monte Carlo, the traction control performed superbly. With a lot of the roads being bumpy, dusty and having a sheer drop on one side, I wasn’t pushing my luck with the traction control but on the couple of occasions where I detected it working as I exited wet hairpins, I could feel it doing so with the utmost grace and subtley to keep the rear tyre (and overzealous rider) in check.
If you’ve not used a quickshifter before, you’ve got to give one a go; they’re a lot of fun and the Monster 1200 S’s Ducati Quickshifter (DQS) is no exception. Smooth clutchless changes up and down the box are the order of the day, although it definitely worked best for me when I wasn’t pootling around. In town I preferred to change gear with the clutch as meant I could avoid the occasional clunkiness of the quickshifter’s performance at low speed."
But it's all nice and wonderful to read how the bike feels for someone else while (at least for the time being) I can only afford to have it as my screensaver on the mobile phone, however, the most important question for me is - what is this new Monster like? And from what I read, I feel like I have the answer. The new Ducati Monster 1200 S is like every Monster there has been before. It's like Ronda Rousey - looks sexy, strong and will rip you apart if you do something she doesn't like.