Ducati Monster 821: Still a Monster we love after 25 years
The Ducati Monster may have gone through many evolutions in its 25-year heritage, yet the look of the Monster has largely remained the same.
That is because purists would not have it any other way.
The iconic Italian naked motorbike is instantly recognisable thanks to its trellis frame, exposed L-twin engine, upside-down forks and palatable horsepower figure.
The latest Monster 821 ($37,800 inclusive of certificate of entitlement) retains the legacy of its forefathers but keeps abreast with modern technology to make riding safer.
Unlike other sophisticated-looking Ducati motorcycles, the design of the Monster is kept simple. A removable rear seat plastic cowling gives it a racer vibe.
Up front, its compact TFT dashboard retains all the information you need at a glance.
There are digital gauges to indicate the anti-lock brake system and traction control intervention levels, gear indicator, ride modes and average speed.
Astride the Monster 821, you can immediately understand why the model is well-received by fans who demand daily-commuter rideability plus that little extra sportiness when roads lead to bends.
Without a doubt, the riding position on the 821cc Ducati is more forgiving than on race-bred Ducati motorcycles.
The reach to the wide handlebars is natural, just like the riding posture. Your feet rest firmly on tarmac while your knees are not raised uncomfortably high like on most sportsbikes.
With a horsepower of 109bhp and 86Nm of torque, the six-speed, ride-by-wire Monster 821 sits in the middle of the range.
At the top is the Monster 1200S with 147bhp and better, adjustable suspension while the base Monster 797 has 73bhp. The horsepower figures for the Monster range of motorcycles are humble compared with the 200bhp of Ducati superbikes.
But it is all about choices and what you can live with when you ride a Monster as a stylish daily commuter.
What makes the liquid-cooled Monster 821 a worthy road bike is its ease of handling in city riding.
With a dry weight of about 180.5kg, it is fairly easy to manoeuvre in slower traffic. Its sporty wheelbase of 1,480mm allows it to steer quickly when curves present themselves to you as the pace increases.
Before you relegate the Monster 821 to the back of the class just because it is road capable, here are some facts.
The Monster 821 sprints from 0 to 100kmh in under four seconds. It also has a top speed of over 220kmh.
In top gear with 4,000rpm showing on the rev counter, the Monster 821 cruises at about 90kmh before reaching a rev ceiling of 11,000rpm.
But when you hunker down on the 16.5 litre fuel tank during high speed runs, you are blasted by oncoming wind - a common issue faced by naked bikes which are not equipped with windshields.
I realised in that position, my right heel also rests awkwardly on the exhaust shield for the new exhaust mufflers.
There is also that love-hate relationship with the heat from the Ducati's rear cylinder which gives your thighs the slow-roast effect.
But if you are a Monster fanboy, these are minor naked bike traits that you will come to accept.
What you will love are its robust braking system and the sure-footed acceleration of a twin-cylinder when exiting turns.