Ducati Monster SP long-term review update two | A motor that packs a real punch even at low revs

It’s been many years since I’ve had to run-in a box-fresh bike. As the Ducati Monster SP arrived in my possession having only done 11 miles, I thought I’d need all of my self-control in order to stick with the sub-6000rpm requirements. However, that’s not been the case. 

Now, perhaps I’m mellowing in old age or maybe it’s because my throttle hand has not been led astray by one of my rev-demanding two-strokes in a while, but low-rpm life on the 937cc V-twin Monster SP naked bike hasn’t been a chore at all. In fact, it’s been lots of fun, and a big part of that is down to its ballsy motor. Let me explain…

The last time we had a Ducati Monster 937 on the MCN dyno we discovered two things: one was that its claimed peak power (109bhp) was only four horses shy of what it actually produces at the rear wheel (104.7bhp), and I appreciate that honesty.

Ducati Monster SP vs Triumph Street Triple RS dyno results

And secondly was that it has a flat torque curve which sees it generate 90% of its peak torque (about 52lb.ft) from 4000rpm to 6000rpm, then kicks up again at 6000rpm to give the full 63.9lb.ft and holds on to the majority of that until the 10,000rpm limiter. 

Combine this with the Monster’s short gearing and the result is a bike that feels totally alive at lower revs, and it is a genuine struggle to prevent it wheelying off the throttle in the low gears; it’s probably the keenest, unintentional wheelie bike I’ve ever ridden (when in Sport mode or with the DWC turned off). But more on that another day.

All these low rev revelations have been compounded by the fact that I’d just spent over a year with one of the Monster’s direct competitors, the Triumph Street Triple RS.

Emma Franklin admires the Ducati Monster SP long-term test bike

Although the 765cc Triumph makes more peak power (on our dyno 117bhp rather than the 128bhp claimed), the Ducati beats it for torque thanks to its larger capacity/bigger bore and stroke; the Triumph makes 42lb.ft-50lb.ft from 4000rpm and 6000rpm, before topping out at a maximum of 56lb.ft at 9300rpm. No wonder I’d felt such a difference with the Ducati.

Although life with the Monster has been impressively fun up until this point (I’ve not even really had to go that slowly, either, as it’ll happily do 80mph while still keeping under 6000rpm) I am looking forward to unleashing its full performance soon. That first service can’t come soon enough.