‘To change is difficult. Not to change is fatal.’ Now, this William Pollard quote perfectly fits the bill for the all-new Ducati Monster. The latest or fourth-gen Monster has ditched its forefathers’ traditional trellis frame and, in doing so, lost its iconic look. But then, breaking with the past was a necessary evil for the Monster, for to get back to the top, the only way for it was to go for the kill – even if it meant losing its aesthetic appeal.
The Monster now features a Panigale V4-like aluminium frame, a brand new 937cc Testastretta 11° L-twin engine, updated electronics, and a lightweight body – it’s just 166kgs (dry). Suffice it to say, all these changes make a world of a difference and render the new Monster a truly transformed machine.
On the track, it’s a bit of a revelation, to be honest. The Monster no longer feels top-heavy or cumbersome. Thanks to its new frame and suspension, it now feels light and nimble, like a naked supersport. You no longer have to muscle your way around the track to point it in the right direction. Instead, during quick directional changes, its sharp steering can even make it feel a bit twitchy. However, that doesn’t come at the cost of confidence. The bike just feels more alive and ready to dance at all times. The more you ride it, the more you appreciate its engineering and the more rewarding it gets. And all this before you get to the engine and electronics!
Since the Monster has lost 18kgs and gained more power and torque – it produces 109.4bhp and 93Nm! – it’s plenty quick. The L-twin motor has oodles of torque at low-revs, which gets stronger and headier as it climbs all the way up to 10,000rpm. The performance is intoxicating but never overwhelming. The Monster is shipped with a quick-shifter as standard, and on the track, it works wonders. You do also get different riding modes, wheelie control, traction control, launch control, cornering ABS – the electronics work beautifully in the background, without sapping fun or performance.
Simran clocked a lap time of 1:05.9 on the Monster, which is quite remarkable. According to him, ‘Ducati’s electronics are number 1 as we all know, and it’s so evident in the Monster. The power delivery is strong, and it’s very easy to flick around corners, unlike the old model. The brakes are amazing, and it’s, surprisingly, very fast.’
Truth be told, it’s very hard to find flaws with the Monster. Yes, you could say that it does look small for a ‘big bike’ and no longer has the Monster DNA in its design, but if you assess it on its merits, you’d have no reason to doubt the brilliance of this machine. And a look at its scores is enough to realise that it lost the ‘Best of 2021’ title by only a whisker. It may not have a trophy to flaunt this time, but there is no doubt that it’s a winner in its own right.
- 2021 Ducati Monster (Lap Time – 01:05.9)