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Ducati Monster: the models, the rivals and the verdict

Ducati Monster 797

Over 300,000 Ducati Monsters have been sold since the range was introduced in 1993 with the air-cooled 904cc M900. 

From 1993 to 2000 the Monster family accounted for 42% of all Ducati's sales and helped steer Ducati through some troubled times to keep the Bologna company trading.

Here's your complete guide to the entire Ducati Monster range.

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1993 – M900 Monster

The origin of the species

Ducati unveils the M900 Monster. By combining a steel trellis chassis based around the 888’s unit with an air-cooled 904cc SOHC engine from the 900SS, Ducati give their Monster agile handling and loads of gutsy drive as well as café racer styling. The £7500 price tag is its only issue - a FireBlade cost £400 less...

Ducati M900 Monster specs
Engine: 904cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 67bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque: 60ftlb @ 6000rpm
Weight: 185kg

1994 - Ducati M600 Monster

Ducati M600 Monster

The baby monster

The first small-capacity Monster is unveiled. Taking its styling cues directly from the M900, the M600 uses a smaller 584cc air-cooled 600SS motor in a lower specification chassis with a single front disc. It proves a massive hit all across Europe, thanks in a large part to its budget £5000 price tag.

Ducati Monster M600 specs
Engine: 584cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 51bhp @ 8,250rpm
Torque: 38ftlb @ 6,000rpm
Weight: 175kg

1996 – Ducati M750 Monster

The first failure

Keen to build on the success of the M900 and M600, Ducati transplanted the 700 Sport’s air-cooled engine into a fairly basic Monster chassis. A kind of halfway house between the budget M600 and premium M900, the M750 costs £6800 but fails to capture the public’s imagination.

It is discontinued a year later and briefly rebranded the M750 Dark in 1999.

Ducati Monster M750 specs
Engine: 748cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 62bhp @ 7500rpm
Torque: 45ftlb @ 6850rpm
Weight: 178kg

1997 – Ducati M600 Monster Dark

The dark side of the Monster family

Ducati releases the first of its ‘Dark’ Monster models, the M600 Monster Dark. This new subclass of Monster comes with a mean and moody look thanks to black paint on their tanks and plastics and silver instead of gold painted frames. The lack of red also drops a few quid off their retail price.

Ducati M600 Monster Dark specs
Engine: 584cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 51bhp @ 8250rpm
Torque: 38ftlb @ 6000rpm
Weight: 175kg

1997 – Ducati M900 Monster Cromo

The first special edition Monster

The new Cromo is little more than a M900 with reflective chrome-look finish on its tank, but it is a toe in the water by Ducati to see if by creating special editions, as many owners were already doing themselves through customization, it could tempt more owners to buy its naked bike.

Ducati M900 Monster Cromo specs
Engine: 904cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 67bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque: 60ftlb @ 6000rpm
Weight: 185kg

1998 Ducati M900 S Monster

The first high specification model

Having seen the benefit, and ease, of creating higher specification models with its 748 and 916 sportsbike range, Ducati tried the same trick with the Monster.

Avoiding the traditional Öhlins route, Ducati instead upgraded the M900’s Showa suspension to make its forks fully adjustable and the shock a bit more effective, while adding carbon side panels, mudguards and a small fly screen to give a sportier look.

Ducati M900 S Monster specs
Engine: 904cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 67bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque: 60ftlb @ 6000rpm
Weight: 183kg

2000 Ducati M900ie Monster

Fuel injection arrives

Two small letters after the Monster’s name signified that the 2000 M900 was the first Monster to gain fuel-injection. Alongside injectors, the M900 also received a refresh with the S model’s uprated forks now standard fitment and a digital dash replacing the old unit.

The motor is also refreshed to produce more power and torque.

Ducati M900ie Monster specs
Engine: 904cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 78bhp @ 8250rpm
Torque: 62ftlb @ 6750rpm
Weight: 188kg

2001 Ducati Monster S4

Water-cooling and four valve heads arrive

Ducati takes the controversial (at the time) step of introducing water-cooling in the shape of a retuned 916 motor into the Monster range. The S4 is the sportiest Monster to date but the jumble of cooling hoses detracts from the bike’s traditionally clean look.

Ducati Monster S4 specs
Engine: 916cc, liquid-cooled desmo V-twin, 8v, DOHC
Power: 101bhp @ 8750rpm
Torque: 68ftlb @ 700rpm
Weight: 193kg

2002 Ducati M620ie Monster

The baby Monster grows in stature

A big year for the smallest capacity Monster sees not only did it gain fuel-injection, but its capacity also increased to 618cc and its name changed to M620ie. The first ‘S’ model small capacity Monster is also released and the M750 gains fuel-injection.

Ducati M620ie Monster specs
Engine: 618cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 57bhp @ 9500rpm
Torque: 39ftlb @ 6750rpm
Weight: 177kg

2002 Ducati Monster S4 Foggy Replica

King Carl gets his own Monster

To celebrate Foggy’s success in WSB, Ducati releases a limited edition Foggy Rep S4. With a more powerful 916 motor, uprated suspension and a unique paint scheme, only 300 Replicas are built.

Ducati Monster S4 Foggy Rep specs
Engine: 916cc, liquid-cooled desmo V-twin, 8v, DOHC
Power: 110bhp @ 8750rpm
Torque: 70ftlb @ 7000rpm
Weight: 188kg

2003 Ducati Monster S4R

The first single sided swingarm appears

With the likes of the Aprilia Tuono now on sale, Ducati ups the power of its water-cooled Monster by using a retuned 996 engine. To separate the water-cooled bikes from the air-cooled ones, a single sided swingarm and stacked pipes are also added.

Ducati Monster S4R specs
Engine: 996cc, liquid-cooled desmo V-twin, 8v, DOHC
Power: 113bhp @ 8750rpm
Torque: 72ftlb @ 7000rpm
Weight: 193kg

2003 Ducati M1000 Monster

Bigger capacity air-cooling

Ducati Monster M1000

More of an update than a full-on redesign, the M900ie grows in stature to become the M1000 thanks to a larger capacity 992cc motor. It is joined in the range by the higher specification M1000S and also an M800 with an 802cc air-cooled motor.

Ducati M1000 Monster specs
Engine: 992cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 84bhp @ 8000rpm
Torque: 62ftlb @ 6000rpm
Weight: 189kg

2003 Ducati M620ie Monster

APTC arrives

While the actual bike isn’t changed, Ducati adds its APTC (Adler Power Torque Clutch) to reduce the heavy clutch lever action and also add a slipper clutch element. This system is still used on current Ducati models.

Ducati M620ie Monster (2003) specs
Engine: 618cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 57bhp @ 9500rpm
Torque: 39ftlb @ 6750rpm
Weight: 177kg

2005 Ducati Monster S2R 800

The first change in styling for the air-cooled bikes

The short lived S2R 800 and subsequent S2R 1000 give the air-cooled two-valve Monster range a bit of style by adding the stacked pipes and single sided swingarm from the liquid-cooled models.

Ducati Monster S2R 800 specs
Engine: 803cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 77bhp @ 8250rpm
Torque: 54ftlb @ 6500rpm
Weight: 179kg

2006 Ducati Monster M695

Another growth spurt for the baby Monster

As the M900 has grown in capacity, Ducati also gives the smaller capacity Monster a bit more poke through a larger capacity 695cc engine. The rest of the bike remains virtually unchanged.

Ducati Monster M695 specs
Engine: 695cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 73bhp @ 8500rpm
Torque: 45ftlb @ 6750rpm
Weight: 168kg

2007 Ducati Monster S4RS

The first testastretta Monster

The most bonkers and aggressive Monster to date arrives in the shape of the RS. With Öhlins suspension, lightweight wheels and the 998 testastretta motor from Ducati’s sportsbike, it’s a wild ride.

Ducati Monster S4RS specs
Engine: 998cc, liquid-cooled desmo V-twin, 8v, DOHC
Power: 129bhp @ 9500rpm
Torque: 77ftlb @ 10,600rpm
Weight: 177kg

2008 - the underseat pipe Monsters arrive

A new look for a new generation

For the first time since its launch in 1993, Ducati completely overhauls the Monster’s look. With underseat pipes and a stubby and squat stance, the new M1100, M1100S and M696 models also gain radial brakes as well as heavily revised motors and chassis.

2011 Ducati Monster M1100 Evo

Electronics arrive

Having avoided them for so long, the Evo model now adds traction control as well as ABS to the top of the range Monster’s specification. The traditional dry clutch is also consigned to the bin, replaced by an oil-cooled unit.

Ducati Monster M1100 Evo specs
Engine: 1078cc, air-cooled desmo V-twin, 4v, SOHC
Power: 100bhp @ 7500rpm
Torque: 76ftlb @ 6000rpm
Weight: 188kg

2013 The Anniversary models

Happy birthday Monster

To celebrate 20 years of the Monster family, Ducati releases ‘Anniversary’ models throughout its range that feature the same gold frame and red paint as the original 1993 Monster M900. But is this a celebration or a wake as there are rumours of liquid-cooling on the horizon and an end to the air-cooled motor…

2014 Ducati Monster M1200 & 1200S

Water-cooling takes over

With the liquid-cooled testastretta 11-degree engine replacing the air-cooled unit and a new sporty attitude, not to mention the very latest technology such as ride-by-wire and a full electronics package, the latest generation of Monster is unveiled and both air-cooling and the 2-valve SOHC engine disappear.

Ducati Monster M1200 and 1200S specs
Engine: 1198cc, liquid-cooled desmo V-twin, 8v, DOHC
Power: 135bhp @ 8750rpm
Torque: 87ftlb @ 7250rpm
Weight: 182kg

2015 Ducati Monster 821

Ducati Monster 821

The final air-cooled Monster dies

The Monster 821 took over from the M696 as the smallest capacity Monster in the European market, killing off the last of the 2-valve SOHC air-cooled bikes. Like the M1200 models, it’s a new generation and features all the latest tech.

Ducati Monster 821 specs
Engine: 821cc, liquid-cooled desmo V-twin, 8v, DOHC
Power: 112bhp @ 9,250rpm
Torque: 65.8ftlb @ 7,250rpm
Weight: 179kg

2016 Ducati Monster M1200R

A real monster of a Monster

2016 saw the most powerful Monster to date launched in the shape of the M1200R. With a fearsome 158bhp at the rear wheel, it made over twice the power of the original air-cooled Monster M900. It was also available as an S and standard model.

Ducati Monster M1200R specs
Engine: 1198cc, liquid-cooled desmo V-twin, 8v, DOHC
Power: 158bhp @ 9250rpm
Torque: 97ftlb @ 7750rpm
Weight: 207kg

2017 Ducati Monster 797

Air-cooling returns

Ducati Monster 797

2017 saw a return to the air-cooled Monsters for the first time since the 2015 821. Light, easy and lacking electronic gizmos, it is a simple turn-key fun machine that uses the Desmodue V-Twin as the 800 Scrambler range. It is also available in a + model.

Ducati Monster 797 specs
Engine:
803cc
Power:
74bhp@8250rpm
Torque:
50.8ftlb@5750rpm
Weight:
193kg

2018 Ducati Monster 821

Existing bike gets raft of updates

Updated for 2018, the Monster 821 received a range of small tweaks, including to the styling and the fuel tank, which shrank from 17.5 litres to 16.5 litres. The engine has also been revised to ensure it complies with Euro4 regulation.

Ducati Monster 821 specs
Engine:
821cc
Power:
107bhp@9250rpm
Torque:
63.4ftlb@7750rpm
Weight:
195kg

The above video shows former Senior MCN Road Tester Adam Child riding one of the latest Ducati Monsters; the 821. An update on the previous bike, it sits in direct contention with other premium middleweights, such as the Triumph 765 Speed Triple R and Yamaha MT-09.

The Ducati Monster's rivals

Over its 25-year life span, the Ducati Monster family has done battle with a wide range of motorcycles, ranging from the cheapest commuter bikes to the most premium of supernakeds and muscle cruisers. 

This includes bikes like the bargain-basement Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, which went up against the early 600 Monsters as a cheaper alternative to the Italian marque, as well as Honda's CB600F Hornet and the FZS600 Fazer from Yamaha

Sportier Monsters like the S4RS and the M1200R have also gone head-to-head against fellow European machines, such as Aprilia's Tuono, which has slowly morphed in power, configuration and appeal over its lifetime. 

The current M1200R also faces competition from Honda's latest CB1000R. Launched in early 2018, it bridges the gap between supernaked and retro and offers the same raked-out, big power thrills as the 1200.

This also puts it in direct contention with Ducati's own Diavel range, which appeals to those wanting a more relaxed riding position alongside superbike performance. 

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