DUCATI MONSTER 821 (2014 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
Power: 112 bhp
Seat height: Medium (30.9 in / 785 mm)
Weight: Low (395 lbs / 179 kg)

Prices

New £8,995
Used £5,100 - £9,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Ducati Monster 821 motor is more than enough, it's manageable, easy to ride, yet has a turn of speed and handling that makes it fun too. Yes, it's expensive new, yes there are a few little niggles with it, but overall it's an excellent bike. 

Ducati Monster 821 updated in 2018

The new-for-2018 Monster 821, boasting some key revisions that drag it ever-closer to its bigger capacity, and more expensive stablemates – with the most overtly high-end being the addition of the full-colour TFT dash, giving the 821 a level of tech bragging rights in the class matched only by Triumph’s Street Triple R/RS.

Visually, it takes a few moments to work out what’s changed. But put the 2017 and 2018 versions next to each other and the newer model is slightly more streamlined, with a redesigned tank and tail unit, a new silencer, new headlight, and useful practical changes – such as the splitting of the cheap and bulky looking combined footpeg unit into separate rider and pillion pegs.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Monster 821 features a steel trellis chassis using the engine as a stressed member, similar to the Panigale Superbike. The chassis is a little more basic than the 1200's, featuring a conventional double-sided swingarm in place of the 1200's single, which is also slightly shorter to quicken the steering. But the 821 is light, the ABS-assisted brakes are excellent, and the adjustable seat works well too. It's forgiving and easy to ride around town, has a light clutch, adjustable brake lever, informative clocks and would be suitable for a new rider moving up to their first big bike. The only annoyance is the lack of space to slide your feet backwards unhindered. When really attacking corners, your heal constantly clips the rear pegs.

Update in 2018

From the rider’s view, the ski-boot style clasp on the tank is a pretty nod to the original M900, while the TFT dash couldn’t be further removed from the simplistic single-dial clock and idiot-light panel of the original. It also boasts a much-needed gear indicator and fuel gauge.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Hypermotard-derived, 8v V-twin doesn't just sound good, it delivers just what you want and need. There's loads of usable low-down torque, which is perfect for city work and darting out of tight corners And when the power builds, it's linear and smooth. There's a slightly lumpy bit low down, but considering it's a fuel-injected V-twin, the fuelling is impressive and the engine has that instant torque and power.

For 2018 there was no tangible change to the motor, the Euro 4 compliant liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° engine delivering a usable 107bhp at 9250rpm, and 63.4lbft torque at 7750rpm – still with the impressive 18,000mile valve-check interval. That’s all quite high in the rev range, but the Testastretta’s smoothness means it’s all accessible with the need for repeated dental work.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Service intervals are longer on the 821 and you needn't pay any attention to jokes about the reliability of Ducatis anymore - they've really pulled their socks up in recent years and reliability is top notch.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Monster 821 is not a cheap bike and we could rightly expect higher-spec suspension as fitted to similarly-priced bikes in this segment; the 821's 43mm Sachs shock is adjustable, but the 32mm Kayaba fork isn't. But despite these gripes, you can't help but enjoy the Monster 821. 

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The 821 is equipped with three-level ABS which can be adjusted on the move with a closed throttle, and even turned off if you wish. It also benefits from a plethora of rider aids which Ducati groups together in the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP). You don't get the fancy colour TFT display from the 1200, which is a little disappointing, instead having a Hypermotard-style mono LCD version. It's informative enough, just a little bland in comparison. It's s shame there isn't a gear position indicator as standard. 

During 2018's update The full Ducati Safety Pack was also onboard (3-level Bosch ABS system and 8-level Ducati Traction Control), along with three pre-set rider modes, and three power modes. For riders who have an aversion to clutch levers, the Ducati Quick Shifter is available as a plug-in upgrade, giving clutchless snickerbility up and down the ’box.

Specs

Engine size 821cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 821cc, 8v V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 17.5 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 179kg
Front suspension UD non-adjustable 43mm
Rear suspension Sachs fully-adjustable shock
Front brake Brembo 2 x 320mm semi-floating discs, radially-attached M4.32 Monobloc 4-piston calipers, ABS as standard
Rear brake 245mm disc 2-piston caliper, ABS as standard
Front tyre size 120/70 x17
Rear tyre size 180/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £160
New price £8,995
Used price £5,100 - £9,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 112 bhp
Max torque 65.8 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 150 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2014: Model introduced

Other versions

None

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI MONSTER 821 (2014 - on)

10 owners have reviewed their DUCATI MONSTER 821 (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.

Review your DUCATI MONSTER 821 (2014 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Equipment: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
5 out of 5 Still in love!
25 April 2020 by Bangbourneman

Version: Stripe

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £150

Aesthetically, exhaust note & redness are addictive but the whole package is quality with Audi influence evident & would definitely recommend.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Stripe has multi adjustable suspension so getting personal preference for set up is possible. Handling is superb & instils confidence, as do brakes which are excellent. No pillions on this one but riding position suits me fine with no aches or pains on rides. Bike is not a mile munching tourer & is most happy on our tighter country roads.

Engine 4 out of 5

Power is strong & builds but can be a bit lumpy on small throttle openings.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Bike is now nearly 5 years old, has admittedly only just covered 2500 miles & no corrosion or reliability issues.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Returning to dealer for servicing etc is a must but not overly expensive & always lots to look at in showroom while you’re there!

Equipment 4 out of 5

More than enough toys to play with from ride modes to trips & possible to personalise ABS & TC. Gear indicator would have been good which is on newer models.

Buying experience: Bought from Ducati dealer W M Snell & they couldn’t have been nicer. From first seeing the bike to collection there was great communication & understanding that I did not want to collect the bike in atrocious weather conditions & no pressure to get it out of their way.

5 out of 5 Yellow 2018 model 821
25 January 2019 by Jim

Version: Yellow

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £180

Love the sound, the ride and the comfort, feels small, but is great fun to ride.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Decent bike, very comfortable whilst being slightly on the firmer side of standard, non adjustable front fork does an ok job, but if it bothers you that much, change it.

Engine 5 out of 5

Plenty powerful enough for the road. You can wring its neck without terrifying yourself. Love the v twin burble. A very characterful motor.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No issues so far.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

a lot of money for an annual service where they don't do a lot!

Equipment 5 out of 5

I've fitted bar end mirrors, so much better than seeing your shoulders only. new colour tft dash is spot on, everything missing from previous models is there, so no complaints.

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer new, so good service from on yer bike in Aylesbury.

4 out of 5 Great bike for the road, however...........
25 July 2016 by Dukerider

Version: Stripe

Year: 2016

It would get 5 stars easily, however there are definitely some build quality issues - certainly on my bike! Maybe someone in the factory was on the limoncello that day..........

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Easy 5 stars! It may lack a little in giving confidence in long sweeping corners but it is so easy to ride. It is also very comfortable for a sporty(ish) bike and no real weight on the wrists. For us shorter riders it is easy to put both feet down in traffic. The brakes are very good too, the front is a little snatchy but the rear is superb, great feel on them. And the ABS is just right in all modes.

Engine 5 out of 5

Another easy 5 stars. It is a V-twin so expect it to be a little vibey, but it has so much torque! I haven't tried the 1200 but I can't see how you could need more power, especially on the road. The sound is also incredible. Well done Ducati!

Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5

Within two days of receiving the bike, the gear linkage fell off. Not a great start and had to ride the bike to the garage in 2nd gear. However worse was to follow when the pin to hold the swing arm to the rest of the bike came loose three days later! The nut to hold it in place on the other side was missing. I was out enjoying some twists, so doesn't bare thinking about had I not noticed and stopped there and then. Fortunately, the bike comes with roadside assistance - which was very good.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Not sure about the running cost as I have just run the bike in and had the first service done (£140). I get about 50 mpg overall so not bad. However it is a Ducati so the parts may not be cheap.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Love the brembo brakes. For the price, all models should really come with adjustable suspension. And is it too much to ask for a fuel gauge!?

Buying experience: Got good professional service from P&H motorcycles in Crawley, although I wish they had checked the bike a little bit more before delivery.

4 out of 5 All you need in a street-bike
11 April 2016 by Dwezil

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £180

Great Street Bike with cachet. Well executed design but don't think you will be riding all day on it or carrying much in the way of luggage; It is tiny.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Rigid ride which has got better with miles. Front end not so harsh now. Eased off by 2k miles. front brake is too angry. What rear brake?

Engine 5 out of 5

The best part of the bike is the physical experience underpinned by that lovely engine. Very quick-fire throttle on Sport mode and a joy to ride as long as you are not on a windy motorway. Makes you feel special.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

A couple of minor niggles but nothing major. You pay a premium for that cachet though

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

The mandatory annual service is a joke if you are doing very few miles, but it seems that many manufacturers insist on this now. Tyre wear seems low considering the torque it pumps out.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Everything works and is sensible. Minimum required for a modern motorcycle. Anything else is just a distraction from riding anyway.

Buying experience: Very good. Ducati dealer in Crawley; Sales are better than servicing.

5 out of 5 Stripy fun
02 January 2016 by Biking Bob

Version: Stripe

Year: 2015

Great paintwork finish good mechanical

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

A simply superb handling bike it just gobbles up the twisty bits and is so much fun to ride it also has a very comfortable seat, the only downside is the very small mirrors are almost impossible to see anything behind.

Engine 5 out of 5

Grunty and loud with loads of power.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No problems so far

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Good fuel economy, no service cost yet

Equipment 4 out of 5

I would try and get better mirrors

Buying experience: Got from a dealer in Spain for a good price and a good trade in for my old BMW R1200gs

5 out of 5
13 August 2015 by anon

Version: Red

Year: 2015

sounds great, looks great. what more do you need

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

fork dives a bit into corners. breaks are good.

Engine 5 out of 5

sounds great. just got Competition Werkes GP style exhaust makes it sound even meaner.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

cheap fix, but mirrors don't work if you can only see your shoulders

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

expensive initial cost plus taking it to an authorized dealer to have an authorized mechanic work on it for$100+ an hour isn't ideal

Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Great! guys (and gal) at MunoeMotors SF were awesome.

4 out of 5
03 August 2015 by owensj

Version: Stripe

Year: 2015

This is a real bike. The exhaust pops and crackles which sounds great! It is smooth when moving but not entirely happy round town - a bit jerky. It isn't perfect, but that's why I bought it.It is different.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Very comfortable. The pegs are fine even though the exhaust intrudes a bit on the right. Seat nice. Minimal vibrations which is surprising given the v-twin engine. Mirrors though are very buzzy. Suspension is like any other. Back brake mushy, front brake very sharp. Neutral hard to find till you get the knack. Sidestand has a habit of flipping back up - so make sure you put it down all the way!

Engine 5 out of 5

It's a V-Twin! Lumpy low down. Loads of torque. Is plenty fast but deceptive about it.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Quality parts. If the display pannel is good enough for the Panigale it is good enough for the Monster 821.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Getting 55-57 mpg. Probably high compared to others. I do mostly motorway mileage. Have not yet given it any welly. Service schedule is 9k miles so good. Not a cheap bike to buy or insure. But then it is Italian exotica.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Loads of nice instrument panel features. 9 traction control levels, 3 ABS levels, temperature, time, mpg, trips..... but no fuel gauge. But you know from the trip when it will be fuel up time. Most I can potentially squeeze into the tank is 15 litres (sitting on bike filling upright). Supposed to be a 17.5 litre tank. All manufacturers lie about the tank size.

Buying experience: From Woods Abergele - great dealer good PX price. They are always willing to do all they can to make the experience a good one. Paid list price, got some freebies.

4 out of 5 Red Arrow
14 July 2015 by Vortex

Year: 2014

Very impressive, reliable and well made motorcycle.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

With the Termignioni exhaust the front peg gets on the way and keeps touching the exhaust cover.

Engine 4 out of 5

Fantastic torque and power. The only thing that is anoying is the grunt at lower gear and speed.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The bike is a solid piece of engineering.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

As it is a fun bike for me I have not used enough

Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Wonderful bike, with loads of fun.

4 out of 5 Ducati cachet, great tech with minor annoyances. Love it though!
12 June 2015 by Dwezil

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £150

I opted for the white and red model and it is a stunner. Beautifully made with great detailing and Ducati cachet. Sounds amazing, gets a lot of attention. Relatively comfortable but cheap and harsh suspension is a shame - Ducati should have done better. Improve that and it would be 5/5.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I give it four out of five because the suspension is harsh (reducing front tyre by 2 psi helps), but the front break is awesome and it needs to be. The rear brake is, well, an expensive light switch. ABS is welcome under these circumstances! Very easy to ride.

Engine 4 out of 5

Wonderful between 3 and 8 k revs. Sublime. Sounds great too. Sport mode is very punchy at lower revs. Great character.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Just 1200 miles to date. No issues.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Getting 55 mpg and an easy 150-160 per tank before fill ups. Ideal for a naked bike riding duration.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Some whinge about lack of gear indicator, but the gearing is perfect for the road and I always seem to know what gear I am in. Very easy to understand and clear instrumentation. Annoying main beam switch.

Buying experience: Very good at my local dealer.

5 out of 5 I love it!
26 May 2015 by Ian M

Version: stripe

Year: 2015

Fantastic road bike, great handling, great noise, uber cool. Best Ducati engine ever!!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Superb grunty engine that delivers power just where you need it

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Expensive but well worth the money, makes mt09 look cheap by comparison

Equipment 5 out of 5

Has excellent safety equipment, brilliant brakes and adjustable suspension front and rear. I changed tyres to Rosso Corsas which suit bike giving mega grip and fantastic feel at big lean angles. Bike is also much more pillion friendly than rivals.

Buying experience: Bought from St Neots Motorcycles who are both expert and friendly. I would fully recommend them, mechanics are excellent.

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