DUCATI MONSTER 797 (2017 - 2021) Review
- Air-cooled engine
- Manageable middleweight power
- Fun handling
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£260|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Ducati Monster 797 is that most rare of modern bikes – a turn-key fun machine. It is simple, fun, handles well thanks to its light weight and is pleasingly devoid of modern electrical assists. Just get on and enjoy without the need to read the instruction manual!
- Related: Best naked motorbikes
This is a stripped-back, aircooled naked that delivers simple pleasures. Uncomplicated, uncluttered and above all, great fun to ride. It’s what the Monster was always meant to be. Bravo.
The Ducati Monster 797+ is the very same bike, but with an added fly screen and pillion seat cover. It was £355 more when bought new.
- Related: 2021 Ducati Monster review
Sadly, the Monster 797 was dropped from the Ducati range as Euro5 regulations took effect in 2021.
Watch: Ducati Monster 797 video review on MCN
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Tipping the scales at just 193kg wet, the Ducati Monster 797 is pleasingly light and agile.
When you’re carving through the bends on the new 797 all you see before you is the road ahead. There are no distractions, and the LCD dash is set nicely below your eye level so that it is easy to read when required, but not obstructive to your view.
This is a bike that’s all about enjoying the sensation of beingon two wheels – and thanks to the wide, flat, bars you feel exposed and open to the elements, which is exactly the feeling you want from a bike like this. Yes, I could moan about the lack of weather protection, but if you want a screen to hide behind, buy a tourer.
Handling has always been an integral part of the Monster’s heritage and the 797 doesn’t let the side down. The suspension is quite firm, and down a twisty (and it has to be said smooth) road the 797 displayed stacks of agility.
This is a bike that can really be enjoyed in the bends by both newer and more experienced riders alike. As you would expect, those Brembo brakes bite hard, adding to the 797’s sporty feel, but I think they could do with a bit more feel. Those braided lines deliver a dead sensation that I’m not sure suits a bike aimed at retro riders or those wanting a good-looking town bike. And, unlike Monsters of old, the 797 really does work in city streets.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The addition of Ducati’s APTC clutch (which first appeared on a Monster) means your left hand doesn’t get a workout at every gear change, and although the ’box is quite clunky, it’s fitting part of the bike’s overall retro appeal.
And the air-cooled motor is the icing on this Monster’s cake. Some riders go all misty-eyed over an air-cooled Desmodue engine, personally I’m more practical.
Yes, it certainly looks far more aesthetically pleasing than the water-cooled 821, but for me it is the way it responds that I like so much. The throttle connection is superb, the deep rumble from low revs is just what I want a Ducati to sound like, and it’s got more than enough get-up-and-go to be fun.
The revs run out at around 8500rpm, and with just 74bhp on tap it’s not that fierce, but V-twins are about their low-to-midrange drive, and the Ducati Monster 797 has more than enough of that. In fact, 80% of its maximum torque is delivered by the time 3500rpm is visible on the dash.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The air-cooled engine is very reliable and has pleasingly long service intervals of 7500 miles, which helps keep running costs down, but the cam belts still need changing every 15,000 miles. The quality of finish appears high and Ducati tend not to skimp when it comes to small items such as fasteners.
Our Ducati Monster 797 owners' reviews show nothing too concerning regarding reliability. One buyer says his gearbox is a little crunchy, but that seems an isolated issue.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Monster is at the higher end of the middleweight market, but that is to be expected from a model made in Bologna. The pleasing thing about the 797 is the fact it comes with quality items such as inverted forks and Brembo brakes, helping justify its price. The fact it costs £100 more to get it in anything other than red is, however, a bit disappointing.
Group test: Ducati 797 vs Yamaha MT-07 vs Kawasaki Z650 vs Suzuki GSX-S750
First published in MCN 10 May 2017 by Adam Child
During 2017 tester Adam Child set the ever-popular Yamaha MT-07 against the Ducati Monster 797 and Japanese rivals Kawasai's Z650 and the Suzuki GSX-S750, to find out which made the most sense as a value buy.
If money wasn’t an issue then we might be tempted by the Ducati Monster 797 as it’s the most desirable and has the sweetest handling. And although the motor lacks a little gusto it’s more than sufficient for road riding.
But if it were my money on the table, it would be the Yamaha MT-07 every time – at £6099 it’s an all-round bargain and, pound-for-pound, one of the greats of motorcycling.
At only £69 a month on PCP, the Kawasaki is pretty tempting, even cheaper than the Yamaha at £89, and if you intend to spend more time in the city than out of it, the Kawasaki could be ideal.
The Suzuki exceeded our expectations. It’s comfortable, quick and stylish – as well as being our first choice for big miles and outright power – but there’s no way it can touch the Yamaha for its all-round versatility.
You don’t get traction control or power modes on the Monster 797, but ABS is standard and so are Brembo monoblock radial brake calipers and a USB port under the seat. Ducati’s Multimedia System can be retro fitted but the inverted forks are non-adjustable and the shock only has spring preload and rebound damping adjustment.
A Ducati Monster 797+ adds a pillion seat cover and fly screen, which are useful additions if you're thinking about going touring.
|Engine type||Four-stroke, air-cooled desmo V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||16.5 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm inverted forks, non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, adjustable spring preload and rebound|
|Front brake||2x320mm disc four-piston radial monoblock caliper, ABS|
|Rear brake||245mm disc, one-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70X17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55x17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||53 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£260|
|Used price||£5,600 - £7,500|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||74 bhp|
|Max torque||50.8 ft-lb|
|Top speed||120 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||180 miles|
Model history & versions
2017 - Ducati Monster 797 launched alongside 797+ version with a few extra features for touring. Also available as A2-friendly model.
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI MONSTER 797 (2017 - 2021)
7 owners have reviewed their DUCATI MONSTER 797 (2017 - 2021) 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:||£260|
Version: Monster 797 +
Annual servicing cost: £150
Lack of gear change indicator and fuel gauge
It’s a naked bike, but comfortable for at least two hours
Low down grunt, is lacking a little requiring frequent changes in slow traffic,
Some fasteners in exposed locations, eg cylinder head bolts, and brake calliper bolts are beginning to show wear and tear, having said that I bought the bike SH, and have no idea what the previous owners, maintenance regime was like
Ducati’s servicing regime is much much better than it used to be. People who are unaware prob don’t want to know
For a naked bike without weather protection, I think heated grips should be standard, apart from that the bikes great, I think I’ll add the grips and a quick shifter
Buying experience: Dealer SH, price advertised 6,800 paid 6,500 to include a service and delivery 400 miles, very happy. Only issue was the service didn’t show on the clocks annual service reminder, as the dealer didn’t have Ducati’s software. I’m not worried trust the dealer, and will have a service at Ducati next year to take the reminder off the clocks
Version: Monster 797 plus
Annual servicing cost: £350
People think I'm mad going from a Katana 1000 to a Monster 797, but I promised myself a Ducati before I was 50 and found a 900 mile Monster plus in white. I've always loved twins and singles and after riding the Ducati I can't help but smile. It's fun, easy to pop to the shops or go for a 200 mile blast. It's well built, paint and fasteners are all top quality and put the Japanese manufacturers to shame. I was torn between the scrambler and Monster, but after riding them I fell in love the seating position of the Monster and its beautiful timeless looks. Some refer to this as an entry level bike, but I've been riding constantly for 32 years all manner of things and find the 797 an absolute joy to own and ride, I don't have to worry about my licence and just love its easy going nature, and the handling is superb.
Super smooth, forks are a bit soft with no adjustment and I'm only 13 stone. But after years of 1000 cc sports bikes and naked bikes, it's refreshing to ride a bike with character that's as easy to pop to the shops or do a 200 mile stint. Comfortable for rider and pillion with decent reach to the bars. Steering lock is a bit limited but overall really good apart from the forks. Radial calipers can ferl a bit grabby, but are super strong. Rear brake... yep it's got one, not the sharpest.. but does the job.
Air cooled super smooth 893 cc L twin. Take it for what it is. Its not a performance bike, but its more tractable than an SV650 and doesn't judder or complain if the revs drop too much. Smooth, character, basic and brings a smile to your face every ride.
Super reliable and a joy to work on.
Cheap to insure, around 50 mpg. Desmo service needed at 7500 miles, but after owning Japanese bikes for 32 years the service costs are high, but worthwhile.
Abs.... er and thats pretty much it. People moan as no Fuel gauge or gear indicator, but I grew up with RGV250's, FZR600, Gsxr's etc and they never had these. To be honest after my Katana 1000 I don't really miss them, but does remind me the clocks are pretty basic and bland although USB port under the seat.
Annual servicing cost: £200
Great bike, crunchy 1st gear, and elusive neutral.
Great commuter bike. Very nimble. Desmo service can be DIY is you find the Scrambler instructions from www.ducatitoolrental.com. I've owned dozens of motorcycles, and my biggest complaint of the 797 is that the gear box is crunchy and unrefined.
You will need some specialized tools. Crankshaft turner and some belt tools. Not that complex to maintain at home. No need to take it to a dealer other than for computer stuff.
The clock doesn't work on mine. Don't care enough to take it back to the dealer. Puig windscreen, Shad and Givi luggage, and Barkbuster handguards make it a year round commuter. Even taking it on a 3,000 mile roadtrip From Oklahoma and all over Colorado wasn't unbearable.
Buying experience: I found my 797 as a new 2017 model in 2019. It was $7,200.
Annual servicing cost: £300
Really happy with it, uncomplicated and great fun.
Strong and powerful.
It's not the most powerful bike, but it got enough so you can play and do anything with it.
Really good materials, you really notice a premium feel when you seat on it.
Not much here, only the essentials. Lacks a gear and gas indicator. (I think 2019+ version has it)
Buying experience: Very well received and welcomed.
Why have anything else? Not perfect - but ticks my boxes. Fitted gruntier exhaust, Puig flyscreen, Acerbis hand guards, mirror extensions. Maybe some Shad panniers next? Keep wishing that Honda made the gearbox though...
Suspension decent - but firm. Seat is not great after couple of hours. Front brake powerful but you need to haul on it. Back brake pathetic.
Good mid range, weak at the top and bottom. Feels great.
So far, all good
Chain adjustment instructions: 'refer to dealer'. Come on....
Would benefit from fuel gauge, gear indicator
Buying experience: Ex demo from main dealer, fair price
Great first 'big boy bike' but oozing with the Italian spirit and style.
Amazing brakes, sharp and punchy.
Only complaint is the lacking in the toy department.
Buying experience: Straight from Woods in Abergele, brilliant guys there.
Annual servicing cost: £300
no gear indicator and no fuel gauge keep this from being five of five stars
brakes are very good, ride quality is better than I expected. Very easy to ride and adaptable to a number of riding scenarios.
I like an air cooled big twin that produces power and torque low in the rev range and this one produces. Exhaust is too muted, swapped the OEM exhaust for a Termignoni that provides great sound and power too.
I bought it new so I expect it to be clean - but seems very well made, quality parts, well assembled and finished.
anticipated value adjustment cost is the real downside here
Get the Termignoni exhaust if you can - it's not cheap, but really makes the bike sound great and provides a bit of power in the included remap.
Buying experience: My dealer was great to work with.