Swinging a leg over the Monster is easy and I, at 5’7’’ didn’t have trouble flat-footing even with its fairly tall seat height of 820mm. This is courtesy of the seat that has been narrowed towards the tank. The motorcycle also comes with lower seat and suspension options that drop the seat height as low as 775mm. The handlebars are easy to reach too.
Although they convey a sense of you being over the bars, it feels quite natural to hold on to. Even the seat has decent room to move around, the tank offers decent thigh grip and the footpegs are set slightly further back. So, overall, the Monster’s ergonomics are engaging and snug for a racetrack.
Between the rider’s legs are the tried-and-proven 937cc, Testastretta engine from the Supersport 950, Hypermotard 950, and Multistrada 950. This motor has replaced the previous Monster’s 821cc motor. And with the higher displacement comes slightly higher power and torque with the new Monster offering 111bhp and 93Nm, if we speak numbers.
So I cranked up the engine, only to be welcomed by a rather subdued gurgle of the Testastretta, thanks to all the environment-saving tweaks it has gone through. As I left the pit lane, the Monster expectantly shuddered as its other 937cc siblings do under 3500rpm.
But as we got onto the track, the Monster seemed like it was itching to be revved. And so I did. With a smooth throttle response, the Monster bared its teeth, a spirited initiative to have its front wheel in the air over 5000rpm. Unlike the insanity of its supermoto sibling, the power delivery on the Monster is never terrifying. Instead, it feels linear and predictable but still managed to leap out of corners with a whiff of the throttle. And with the electronic aids at hand, your skill, or lack thereof is properly compensated.
On the corners, the 18kg weight loss is even more apparent. The Monster is light on its feet, switching sides with minimal inputs. And when leaned in, it manages to hold its line and is quite forgiving when mid-corner corrections are needed. While many would writhe about the Monster missing out on adjustable suspension at the front, the setup felt planted and composed through corners, only unsettling a bit while giving it full gas at the exits- mainly due to the lack of a damper.
And when it was time to drop anchors, the Brembo M4.32 brake calipers did a splendid job, offering sharp bite with little lever action. While the bite from the rear was adequate too, the foot lever could do with more feel. That said, the Ducati Quickshifter, which is offered as standard equipment on the Monster worked smoothly apart from a few instances wherein the downshift from 6th to 5th felt clunky.