DUCATI MONSTER 821 (2014 - 2020) Review
- Premium naked middleweight
- Steel trellis frame
- Typical Ducati handling and performance
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£160|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Ducati Monster 821 is 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.
- Related news: New Ducati Monster for 2021
The Ducati Monster 821 was launched in 2014 and replaced the 796 as the middleweight version of the model range. At the same time, the range-topping Monster 1100 was replaced by the 1200 and then later on, Ducati relaunched a smaller version with the 797.
Ducati did an impressive job of keeping the launch price of the Monster 821 close to £9000 without sacrificing too much in terms of spec. The swingarm is double-sided, unlike the sexy single swinger on the range-topping Monster 1200, and the clocks are simpler too, but it’s still an alluring bike and appears exotic.
The 90-degree V-twin engine snarls and crackles even with the standard exhaust and pops and bangs on the overrun. The clutch is incredibly light, the gearbox is smooth, the light steering requiring minimal input; it’s brilliant.
There are a few problems though. The heat from the exhaust is cooking my inner thigh even on a cool morning, so it’s not going to be pleasant come mid-summer. The fuelling has been calmed down by the electronics but it’s still a little snatchy, and even more so in Race mode.
The clocks are informative but there’s no gear indicator, something we’ve come to expect as standard, and which is especially useful for newer riders.
The riding position is much more relaxed than previous Monsters, but it’s still not natural. It’s more comfortable than older versions, with less of a stretch across the tank, but it’s still not perfect. But these feel like minor niggles when you’re basking in the admiring glances of pedestrians and revelling in that gorgeous soundtrack.
Ducati Monster 821 video review
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.
Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to consider joining an online group to meet likeminded people. We'd suggest Ducati Owners' Club GB.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
We also ran the Monster 821 around Mallory Park where it managed an impressive 54.7s (on the old track layout). The Ducati felt at home on the track with its racy ergonomics, sharp steering and the suspension that gives great feedback.
But there is a problem with the 821, and while it’ll be a massive pain for some it might be less so for others.
If you like to ride with the ball of your foot on the peg, then the lack of space around the pegs will really annoy. You can’t slide your foot back on the peg without hitting the exhaust or pillion pegs.
I personally ride with my toes on the pegs, especially on track, but this just isn’t possible on the Ducati. Around the long right-hander at Gerrards I always ended up dragging my boot.
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
nd 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 qualityNext up: Value
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.
Our Ducati Monster 821 owners' reviews are positive, with the only prevailing negative comments surrounding Ducati's realtively expensive service and maintenance costs.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
The Monster 821 faced stiff competition from the likes of the Triumph Street Triple R, BMW F800R and then the F900R and in later years the Kawasaki Z900.
Ducati Monster 821 or Triumph Street Triple R?
In January 2018 we pit the Ducati Monster 821 against on of its closest rivals, the Triumph Street Triple R, to see which one we preferred on UK roads.
At a quick glance, you could be forgiven for thinking these two are an odd couple, but this pair of European middleweights have more in common than you might think.
Both are priced in the sub- £10,000 category, have full-colour TFT dashes, selectable rider modes, multilevel traction control and high-spec ABS. They also share identical Brembo brake calipers up front (M4.32 radial monoblocs), and their very different engines kick out very similar peak power. Both are highly desirable, and squarely aimed at the same target rider. So which one is best?
Triumph’s Street Triple R is an outstanding bike; it’s easy to see why the RS version won our Bike of the Year award in 2018. It’s versatile, practical and fun, and you don’t really need any more power than this on the road.
It’s a rampant sales success because it’s fun, and has an excellent blend of skills, spec and price. Ducati’s new 821 is impressive, with added style and character, but in almost every measurable way it’s one-step behind the Triumph.
The only places it has an advantage are in mid-corner torque and ownership appeal. The Ducati gets my heart’s vote – but my brain chooses the Triumph for outright ability and value.
Ducati Monster 821 vs BMW F800R
In 2015, we took a Ducati Monster 821 and a BMW F800R from central London through commuter traffic to Mallory Park circuit in a head-to-head test.
As we waited to get going in central London passers by were ignoring the BMW but plenty were stopping to take phone pictures of the Ducati. The BMW was the newer bike but it was the Italian everyone wanted in their selfie.
And that encapsulates the difference between the two bikes. On paper, the BMW is better in almost every way. It’s easier around town, smoother, more refined, comfier over long distance and you can take it on a track, just. It may not be as quick or as loud as the Ducati but it’s more user-friendly, and a real gem.
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.
The Ducati Monster 821 has been available in black, red, white, yellow and grey, plus in 2018 the Stealth version was added as a blacked-out Monster.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 821cc, 8v V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||17.5 litres|
|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||£96|
|Annual service cost||£160|
|Used price||£6,000 - £9,500|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
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
2014: The Ducati Monster 821 replaces the 796 as the middleweight version of the model range.
2021: The 821 is dropped from the range and is replaced by an all-new Ducati Monster.
The Ducati Monster 821 was launched alongside the flagship Monster 1200. Later, in 2017, the Ducati Monster 797 also joined the range.
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI MONSTER 821 (2014 - 2020)
12 owners have reviewed their DUCATI MONSTER 821 (2014 - 2020) 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:||£160|
Good... handling and ride with suspension front and rear set softer than standard, comfortable even at speed (my height is just under 5 ft 6 inches), wind blast minimal compared to earlier Monsters and other naked bikes I have owned, quick enough, fun (especially in the Sport setting which gives a direct throttle response), range around 140 miles which matches my age-related need to stretch my legs... Less good... pillion sits high with very bent legs (apparently it is not a comfortable position), seat is not truly adjustable (in the lower position there is an appreciable negative effect upon handling), footrests are cramped if riding on balls of feet (no problem if riding with arches on pegs)... Would I recommend? Oh yes... I have owned most of the Monster iterations at some time or the other... this is the best of breed.
Two hours is my normal maximum ride time but I have traveled long and fast through France riding all day. Pillion would be a different matter (see earlier comment) However, this bike has a sport orientated riding position with relatively bent legs. Sadly, my age related aches and pains in my legs and hips will mean that I will be changing this bike for something with a more relaxed riding position. This is to do with me not the bike.
The engine in standard form pulls like a train. In this iteration of the 821 engine there is no real advantage to be gained by changing the pipes (except to lose some weight). I have geared the bike down by one tooth on the front sprocket - a worthwhile modification that increases the ability to embarrass bigger and supposedly sportier bikes.
Battery life has been a problem but this might be down to the aftermarket Tracker and the need to keep it trickle charged through the winter. Battery goes flat at around two weeks with no charging. If the battery is low it can throw out the digital dashboard display.
The bike is 5 years old, 23,000 miles and I have owned it from new. New tyres each year, chain and sprockets at 10,000 mile intervals, sundries as per service intervals. The "big" service where the belts are changed is no longer the great cost that it was on older Ducatis and is comparable to any major service on a modern bike.
The only major change I have made is to lower the gearing.Pirelli Diablo tyres suit my riding style so I have stuck with them.
Buying experience: Bought new from a dealer at standard retail price.Pro Twins in South Godstone... I have nothing but praise for them in all aspects.
When leaving the garage, I normally turn back and have a long look at it - enough said.
Fantastic front brake, and ok rear brake. My only other comparison is the Z650 that I learned on, and that had a very impressive rear brake. Very comfortable to ride, smooth and engaging.
Plenty powerful enough for me. Much more fun when used in Sport mode with a much more direct feeling between throttle and pick-up
All seems very nicely put together - stays looking very sharp and so far, has been very reliable. I did get a yellow engine warning light but that was after stalling it and dealer explained that it would likely automatically clear (which it did).
Not a cheap bike, but it is a quality item. I’m a relatively new rider and so I’m not giving the tyres too hard a time.
The quick shifter (not too expensive an addition) is worth every penny. I found (new rider) that there is a bit of a knack to avoiding false neutrals, but the rumbles changing down through the box are brilliant!
Buying experience: I bought an ex-demonstrator from On Yer Bike, bear Aylesbury. All very straightforward and a happy experience.
Annual servicing cost: £150
Aesthetically, exhaust note & redness are addictive but the whole package is quality with Audi influence evident & would definitely recommend.
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.
Power is strong & builds but can be a bit lumpy on small throttle openings.
Bike is now nearly 5 years old, has admittedly only just covered 2500 miles & no corrosion or reliability issues.
Returning to dealer for servicing etc is a must but not overly expensive & always lots to look at in showroom while you’re there!
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.
Annual servicing cost: £180
Love the sound, the ride and the comfort, feels small, but is great fun to ride.
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.
Plenty powerful enough for the road. You can wring its neck without terrifying yourself. Love the v twin burble. A very characterful motor.
No issues so far.
a lot of money for an annual service where they don't do a lot!
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.
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..........
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
A couple of minor niggles but nothing major. You pay a premium for that cachet though
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.
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.
Great paintwork finish good mechanical
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.
Grunty and loud with loads of power.
No problems so far
Good fuel economy, no service cost yet
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
sounds great, looks great. what more do you need
fork dives a bit into corners. breaks are good.
sounds great. just got Competition Werkes GP style exhaust makes it sound even meaner.
cheap fix, but mirrors don't work if you can only see your shoulders
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
Buying experience: Great! guys (and gal) at MunoeMotors SF were awesome.
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.
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!
It's a V-Twin! Lumpy low down. Loads of torque. Is plenty fast but deceptive about it.
Quality parts. If the display pannel is good enough for the Panigale it is good enough for the Monster 821.
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.
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.
Very impressive, reliable and well made motorcycle.
With the Termignioni exhaust the front peg gets on the way and keeps touching the exhaust cover.
Fantastic torque and power. The only thing that is anoying is the grunt at lower gear and speed.
The bike is a solid piece of engineering.
As it is a fun bike for me I have not used enough
Buying experience: Wonderful bike, with loads of fun.
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.
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.
Wonderful between 3 and 8 k revs. Sublime. Sounds great too. Sport mode is very punchy at lower revs. Great character.
Just 1200 miles to date. No issues.
Getting 55 mpg and an easy 150-160 per tank before fill ups. Ideal for a naked bike riding duration.
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.
Fantastic road bike, great handling, great noise, uber cool. Best Ducati engine ever!!
Superb grunty engine that delivers power just where you need it
Expensive but well worth the money, makes mt09 look cheap by comparison
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.