The Ducati 696 Monster is still distinctively a Monster, and feels like the original model on board, but it’s not an uncomfortable over stretch like the old bike. It still feels light and is easy to throw around.
The understeer feeling of the old bike has been rectified and so has the poor ground clearance thanks to the new re-routed exhausts.
The cylinder head of the Ducati 696 Monster is very similar to the two valve 1100 Multistrada’s. Bore and stroke remain the same as the 695 but Ducati have managed to squeeze out an extra 9% of power. Thankfully it’s not lost any of its character, and still sounds and feels like a Monster
As you’d expect from Ducati in recent years, the finish on the Ducati 696 Monster is very high even for a 'budget' model. The engine hasn't changed too much and the old motor took a thrashing in its stride. Keep the bike regularly serviced and you shouldn’t have many problems.
Cheap for a Ducati. You’re buying into a cool, fashionable brand but the competition is still considerably cheaper, bikes like the Kawasaki ER6f and Suzuki SV650. If you are buying with your heart then you’ll go for the Italian but if money is tight or you want a machine you can commute all-year on go for one of the Japanese bikes.
Ducati Monster 696 - what else should I consider?
We'd suggest looking at a used Suzuki SV650.
According to MCN's road testers, the SV650's v-twin motor is "so smooth and eager it makes most European v-twins seem crude and impotent". Said engine puts out 69bhp (slightly more than the Monster 696) and loves revs. Plus it's mated to a Suzuki-smooth gearbox and light clutch.
The suspension and brakes might not have the fancy labels you'll find on the Monster 696, but they work - the SV650 is great fun and as happy thrashing down back roads as it is touring big distances.
Plus the SV's engine is un-stressed and bulletproof, it'll chug on forever. The only issue is that the SV650 is prone to corrosion (good for haggling a few quid off the asking price) and some were thrashed and abused in Mini Twins, so avoid anything that looks like it may of been raced.
Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
The Ducati 696 Monster’s clutch is feather light and comes as a slipper clutch as standard. The Brembo radial brakes up front are powerful but still progressive and ideal for novice riders. However, only the shock is adjustable and we’d expect fully adjustable suspension on a bike at this level.
In February 2008 Ducati announced you could have white or black paint as well as the standard red.