DUCATI MONSTER S4 (2001-2007) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Possibly one of the maddest roadster motorcycles money can buy"

Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding

"Possibly one of the maddest roadster motorcycles money can buy"

  • At a glance
  • 916cc  -  97 bhp
  • 42 mpg  -  120 miles range
  • Medium seat height (802mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Take one ageing naked roadster, add the Ducati 916/996/998 series sportbike motor, tweak the suspension and paint it red. It's been a winning formula for Ducati and the latest Ducati Monster S4RS, with its Ohlins suspension, radial brakes and 130bhp engine is possibly one of the maddest roadster motorcycles money can buy. All Ducati Monster motorcycles need TLC to maintain performance and their looks. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Again, things gradually improve throughout the lifespan of the Ducati Monster S4/S4R series. Suspension is sporty, a bit hard for some people, but offers precision and the chance to enjoy the motorcycle on twisty roads. You could trackday a Ducati Monster S4Rs and not embarrass yourself. The Ducati Monster S2R isn't in the same league, but makes a softer, more relaxed road motorcycle for weekend fun at a slower pace. 

Engine 4 out of 5

Once you ride the larger Ducati Monster S4R motorcycle, it's hard to get your head around the idea of owning the lower-spec Ducati Monster S2R with its feeble 800cc engine, or the earlier Ducati 916 powered Ducati Monster S4 bikes. The first Ducati Monster S4 was good fun in its day, and the engine still makes plenty of grunt for road riding, it's just that the latest Ducati Monster S4Rs is a hooligan's delight.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Ducati Monster S4R series in particular look stunning, but all the Ducati Monster motorcycles take a huge amount of cleaning to keep corrosion at bay. The motorcycle is packed with nooks and crannies where grime builds up and the Ducati 916, 996 and 998 series motors need more TLC than the average Japanese V-twin as well, plus the fuel injection can feel a little bit on/off sometimes.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

The naked roadster motorcycle market segment is one of the most competitive in biking and the Ducati Monster S4Rs at nearly ten grand new, is an expensive, albeit beautiful sounding, summertime toy. At the entry level end, the Ducati Monster S2R 1000 looks the best buy of the range with a punchy 1000cc engine and seven grand price tag, but you could find a whole boatload of big roadster motorcycle for the same dosh that can handle pillions/touring and deliver more performance.

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

There are some lovely bits of engineering on the Ducati Monster S4 series. Classy suspension, brakes and a more comprehensive dashboard than the old 90s Ducati Monster motorcycles. You get an immobiliser as standard too. On the downside a small fuel tank and joke pillion position restrict the practical side of the motorcycle.

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their DUCATI MONSTER S4 (2001-2007) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
1 out of 5

Monster S4

22 April 2013 by hornseyboy

I brought my Monster S4 with just 5,500 miles on the clock, and it came with nearly £2000 worth of main dealer service bills – That should have been my first warning sign ! The bike has now cover nearly 16,000 miles in total and all I can is that... Read more it’s the most unreliable bike I have ever come across in my 25+ years of riding. The dealer network and serving costs, even from indies specialist is nothing short of a joke. Allow £650 plus for a belt service that needs to done every 2 years regardless of mileage is totally unrealistic in this modern day ( my old Fireblade didn’t did a spark plug change until 16K miles ) I would sell it tomorrow but the S4 has an immobilizer issue now that even…….Ducati UK can’t resolve ! Avoid avoid avoid at all cost to your wallet.

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Monster S4RS Tricolore

22 February 2009 by rossdean

Excellent and fun bike with fantastic acceleration and handling. The ride position is agressive and adds to the desire for speed. You can reach 100 mph with acceptable windblast in a very few seconds so care and experience are required :-) Okay... Read more for touring - the tank's capacity is a bit small though. The colour scheme is just the business.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

monster S4

31 March 2008 by sad500

Superb motorcycle, quick, comfortable and just great fun to ride. Crap tank range but cant have everything. I just love riding it!! Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

s4r mean machine

07 April 2007 by ducatis4rman

i love my s4r it is what i like and want in a bike, iwas in the local malaga bike store for a new (helmet) and came away with a reciept for the s4r that blue with the offset stripe yummy, apart from the test bike mine was the first to come out the... Read more dealers, did i like the looks and comments i got (well a tad maybe)out of the bikes we ride and the ones for the tours it is still my fav steed, i love the power, and for me it handles as i want of it, my son on the other hand prefers the 620i or the buell,suits me!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

A great choice for your first bike - beauty and power (but not too much to worry you!).

13 June 2006 by pjhoughton

My S2R 800 is my first 'big bike' having taken my test after about a year riding around on a Honda 125 Varadero. For me the Monster is ideal as it is perfectly manageable and well behaved but quite exciting enough for me at the moment without... Read more generating any fear of running away with you. It looks simply superb and the naked style ensures the airflow reminds you slow down! On the motorway or in town it has performed faultlessly and has considerably more to teach me over the coming months. Strengths: Styling, size (I'm 6'2" but its entirely comfortable), gearing and smoothness of engine response, big back wheel. Weaknesses: Turing circle is not great and a passenger peg just randomly fell off! Expensive Ducati servicing but such exclusivity and technology always comes at a price.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £8,295
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 97 bhp
Max torque 64 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 120 miles
Specification
Engine size 916cc
Engine type 8v, V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tubular trellis
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 802mm
Bike weight 192kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2001: Ducati Monster S4 launched                                                                  2003 Ducati Monster S4R appears with 996 motor.
2004: Ducati Monster S2R appears with 800cc engine, plus Ducati Monster S2R Dark variant.
2006: Ducati Monster S2R 1000 launched.
2006: Ducati Monster S4RS with 998 motor, Ohlins, radial Brembos etc launched - the best Ducati Monster ever.

Other versions

Ducati Monster S2R: 800cc 2-valve engine.
Ducati Monster S4R: 996 engine.
Ducati Monster S4RS: 998 engine. See above.

Photo Gallery

  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Top view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Top view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS motorcycle review - Side view