DUCATI MONSTER 1200S (2014 - on) Review
- Torquey Ducati V-twin
- Öhlins suspension
- Sporty roadster with a dash of retro charm
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
In isolation I like the new Ducati Monster 1200 S, which has character, looks good and is modern but still very much a Monster. The new liquid-cooled engine is much better than the old bike’s. There’s loads of mid-range and low-down grunt, and it sounds fantastic for a standard bike.
The handling on the S model is excellent, just as happy on road or track, and light and easy to ride. Yes there are a few niggles, a lack of room for feet if you ride on your toes could become annoying, and some would argue there’s too much cooling and piping on show. But this is the best Monster Ducati has ever made.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Unlike some Ducatis, the suspension is conventional on the Monster 1200 and doesn’t alter as the rider switches between modes. There are different specifications with the Monster S getting Ohlins while the standard model doesn’t.
The suspension works well; especially under load. You can dig the rear into the ground as you wind on the torque and the feedback from the tyres is excellent. My only slight criticism is it feels a little skittish over bumps on the up stroke of the rear shock when it’s not under load.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The 1198cc V-twin is very similar to the Multistrada, but with modifications to increase low-down and mid-range power. The grunt gets going early with a satisfying punch from as little as 2000rpm.
Lean back and the front will go skywards with a whiff of the throttle in the first two gears, and thankfully the traction control knows the difference between a wheelie and wheel spin… The fuel modes are easy to scroll through and you do use them and they aren’t just a gimmick, and they can be personalised to your own settings.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The 1198cc engine is tried and tested so shouldn’t throw up any surprises.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Ducati Monster 1200 S occupies a niche in the market these days somewhere between a supernaked and a retro.
There are some other options to consider though, including the neo café Honda CB1000R (£11,299 for the last model but there’s a new version for 2021), classy and comfortable BMW R1250R SE (£14,140) and retro flat tracker style Indian FTR1200 S RR (£14,099).
The Monster 1200 S is the most expensive of the pack but with Öhlins suspension and cornering electronics it is also the highest-spec.
Ducati Monster S 1200 vs BMW R1250R SE
We took the Ducati around the UK’s toughest test route, the MCN 250, to find out how it compared to competition from the BMW R1250R SE.
Where the original Monster benefitted from a sportsbike chassis to bring an unexpected level of handling to the naked market, this latest generation has reaped the rewards of modern electronic assists to take it to another level. Aside from a horrible quickshifter, the Monster’s electronics are faultless and the performance of the V-twin combines with a sorted chassis boasting top-rate components.
Next to the Monster the R1250R does lose a bit of its shine, but is far from a bad bike. The traction control struggled with wet and slimy autumnal UK roads but as a do-it-all roadster it is a tremendous ride with a spec list of creature comforts that (at a cost admittedly...) is incredibly impressive. The only fly in the R’s ointment is the fact the Monster is simply more fun to ride.
To be fair to both firms, these nakeds are at slightly different ends of the spectrum. The R1250R is a roadster, aimed at the rider who wants to ride everyday, while the Monster is more aimed at fun weekend blasts. So, if you want a bike to commute on, the BMW would most definitely be the one to go for.
The Monster comes with three fuel modes, traction control and ABS although no gear indicator.
|Engine type||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 8v desmo V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||17.5 litres|
|Front suspension||48mm inverted forks, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Fully adjustable rear shock|
|Front brake||2x330mm discs. Brembo four-piston radial monobloc calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||1x245mm disc, Brembo single-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70ZR17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55ZR17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||50 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£200|
|Used price||£6,800 - £13,000|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||145 bhp|
|Max torque||92 ft-lb|
|Top speed||150 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||170 miles|
Model history & versions
2014: Model introduced
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI MONSTER 1200S (2014 - on)
5 owners have reviewed their DUCATI MONSTER 1200S (2014 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Annual servicing cost: £200
The ride is firm but not jolting or unstable corners like on rails. Some tyres are sticky (super corsa's) but don't feel as secure and accurate as others (Metzler Roadtec 01). Very comfortable for rider and pillion. The footrests are very comfortable for road riders who keep need to keep their foot over the brake :)
Smooth and fierce like a hammer. Beautiful fuelling but the torque is massive and builds so it is hard for humans to ride above 7000 revs
11000 miles no hiccups no problems
big services are expensive: also has single sided swing arm so chain adjustment can seize if not stripped and greased
with that engine in that frame what other equipment do you need?
Buying experience: Fine -from a shop
Annual servicing cost: £200
Brilliant bike - with a few drawbacks... Great engine, sound, looks, acceleration, display. Poor foot position, service cost and reliability
Brakes should be a lot better then they feel, although still have plenty for the job at hand.
Fantastic big lumpy twin with good power throughout and 3 engine modes
Italian electronics are not the best problems with a poor 12v battery trying to turn over two massive pistons. build standard is fantastic though.
High service costs, high fuel consumption, expensive parts and accessories
Avoid Michelin tyres advised standard Pirellis/bridgestone, no fuel gauge - very missed, recommend changing mirrors to bar end as the standard positions are pretty useless
Buying experience: Dealer £9000 2014 reg 1200s with 8000 miles
Version: 1200 (non-S)
Annual servicing cost: £180
You buy a bike because of how it makes you feel: this has got the whole package - tons of kerb appeal, shattering power and torque, great handling and that throaty V twin growl (well, with a decat pipe...) Here's my 2 part video review: Part I - general overview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6u91Bk0sSY Part II: POWEEEER! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffHLZUKLF1o
Solid brakes - not quite M40s but still Brembos - and plush enough ride. Could use a suspension tune up but that'll only cost £70!
Not as smooth as a 3 or a 4 but that's the beauty - you get this enormous surge of power all at once that gives the illusion of it being faster than its competitors. Very smooth fuelling in Touring mode, not at all snatchy which is quite something for a huge V twin. Doesn't feel lumpy at all like the 2014 M1200 did.
Reliability not tested yet but the build quality is exceptional. It feels really solid and all the usually cheap looking parts - switchgear, mirrors etc are well designed.
First service was £180 (600 mile) which is a little steep for an oil change! But the value of the bike is solid - it's as cheap as any other super naked when you factor in the low rate finance.
All the kit you could want, with the possible exception of cruise control. Up and down quickshifter is £240 - a must! You don't get cornering ABS in any bike cheaper than this.
Buying experience: An absolute pleasure although i'd bloody hope so for a £12k toy!
Annual servicing cost: £200
Traded up from a Yamaha FZ8 (fantastic bike, fast, comfy and sounds good with an Akrapovic) as this was in another league. I had the standard 1200 Monster for the day when my Yamaha went in for a service, they saw me coming, obviously. I loved it so much, I ordered the 1200s when I came back from my day of galavanting. This is a beautiful bike and the noise it makes really draws attention. I get people staring at her when she is parked up anywhere. You can see little and big boys drooling.
With Brembo brakes all round and dual discs upfront, she stops as well as a 1299. Ride is good especially with the adjustable suspension. I am 6'3" and have no hassles riding. She is light weight and chuckable in the corners, highly responsive.
Engine is rapid, really rapid. Responsive and sounds brilliant, either standard or with the Termignonis, not the smoothest at lower revs, but that is the nature of twins. One has to use 2nd and 3rd in town to keep the ride smooth, open roads and the torque comes alive, crazily so.
Touch wood, no issues as of yet, still early days.
Pricey to buy, but to me, great value. Ducati are quite transparent with their fees.
Added a small fly screen, reminiscent of the original monsters. Tyres are good as standard, but she will get the Michelin Road pilots later on.
Buying experience: Great, purchased from Metropolois in Barnet, recommended.
My review is based on just two days of usage but in the absence of any other reviews thought may be useful to others. I was lucky to be given the standard (non S) bike to loan. It is a very comfortable bike (I'm 5'7), seat is plush and comfy, bars in the right place. I didn't find the footpegs to be a problem (size 8). Seemed to offer around 50mpg at motorway speeds and windblast was not a problem at all. Battery – why did Ducati put this by the rear shock? It means you can’t plug a battery optimiser or leads to your heated gear into it. Also has no fuel gauge. It has a real presence so if you are the shy and retiring kind this bike is not for you! Noise is good but a tad loud for my tastes. Looks good, a real head turner. It never felt blisteringly fast but it did pull quickly through the gears. I’m not used to a V2 so probably wasn’t in the right rev band anyway. A smidge jerky at really low speeds. Something I could live with. 3 riding modes probably aren’t needed though. I stayed in Sport mode mostly. I found it entertaining ;-) Overall, if there was no Street Triple in the world I would really consider this bike. A great bike.