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New Ducati Monster 1200R revealed

Published: 14 September 2015

Updated: 11 September 2015

This the world’s first glimpse of the new Ducati Monster 1200R which is packing 160bhp from a heavily revised V-twin engine and is the most powerful Monster ever made by the Italian firm.

The bike has been revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in Germany as part of Ducati's part in the new model reveals of parent company VW Group and Audi.

The new bike will sit at the top of the Monster family of bikes that ranges from the 821 Dark model through to the existing Monster 1200S but this bike has seen far more than just slotting a new engine into the existing Monster chassis and running gear.

This bike is Ducati’s answer to the growing number of super naked bikes which have been appearing in recent years as the power war between the manufacturers has seen the class now split into two main groups. Ducati has now covered both bases with a wide-range of Monsters to choose from.

The engine has been tuned for a peak power output of 160bhp at 9250rpm and peak torque of 97 lb ft at 7750rpm thanks to a lot of work on the internals which includes new pistons, new elliptical throttle bodies, a larger diameter exhaust, new silencers, inlet manifold, increased compression ratio.

The bike also benefits from bigger brakes, new Ohlins suspension, a new steel trellis subframe, new design of tailunit, increased ground clearance, an adjustable steering damper, new full colour dashboard and to the relief of anyone who has ridden the current Monster range; the annoying cast aluminium mount for the pillion footrests have been ditched and no longer get in the way of your heel.

Work on the Monster 1200R started 18 months ago and, according to Ducati, was always planned as part of the model evolution. It now means there are a total of six models in the Monster range. Effectively this bike replaces the old and pretty universally unloved 1098 Streetfighter, which, except for a few markets around the world, was a sales disaster.

Ducati bosses were also at great pains to explain this was going to be the pinnacle of performance for the Monster range and any rumours of a naked Panigale had no foundation in truth and no such bike is being planned. Various Ducati department heads officially confirmed no such bike is being worked on currently.

The new R model is aimed at experienced riders who want a naked bike that not just gives them road thrills but can also perform on track. In this regard the bike gets 1299 Panigale style wheels, the same 200-section rear Pirelli SuperCorsa rear tyre, hugely-powerful Brembo M50 four piston brake calipers up front with large 330mm twin discs and a 245mm rear disc with twin-piston Brembo caliper. The latest Bosch 9MP ABS braking system is also on this bike.

Other electronics include the Ducati Safety Pack which adds the eight-way adjustable Ducati Traction Control system to the ABS. The 1200R also gets three riding modes of Sport, Touring and Urban. Sport and Touring keep the full complement of 160bhp but Sport has a sharper throttle response than the more relaxed Touring setting. Urban drops power to 100bhp, ups the electronic intervention for ABS and TC and softens off the throttle response even further.

The Monster 1200R is one of the first Ducati models to achieve Euro4 certification and the amount of work this has taken to get the Testastretta 11 motor up to specification has been fairly in-depth. See the separate story on page six for more detail on this from the engine project leader.


<ANNOTATIONS> Monster 1200R changes?

New tailunit: The tailunit is not just set higher by 20mm but thanks to the new steel trellis subframe it had to be completely redesigned to be thinner and shorter by 30mm. The pillion comfort wasn’t abandoned but it only had to be ‘acceptable’ rather than luxurious as pillions are seen as occasional.

New exhaust: The routing of the downpipes is now 8mm wider in diameter and leads to a new pentagonal pair of silencers which were styled to be more technical and also be higher to increase ground clearance for track and fast road riding.

New footrests: Gone are the irritating and heel-fouling cast aluminium footrests on the standard Monster range in favour of forged aluminium footrests with separate (and removable) pillions footrests.

New suspension: Ohlins fully-adjustable 48mm titanium nitride coated forks get unique black anodised fork bottoms. The Ohlins shock is also of a higher specification than standard Monsters. Both ends have longer travel to increase the ground clearance.

Wheels and tyres: The Monster 1200R gets three-spoke lightweight wheels inspired by those on the 1299 Panigale superbike and the bike is fitted with track-friendly Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres and the rear is the massive 200/55 size seen on the Panigale superbike.

Brakes: The Brembo braking set-up has been upgraded too with huge 330mm twin discs, Brembo M50 four-piston calipers up front and a single 245mm rear disc with twin-piston caliper working with Bosch 9MP ABS. The ABS can be switched off.

Weight loss: Every element of the 1200R was considered as the company attempted to lose weight from existing parts to offset new Euro4 compliance that has seen extra parts fitted. Even the cast aluminium numberplate hanger has had holes designed in to reduce weight. The forged wheels and new exhaust lose 2kg combined.

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