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Ducati Monster 821 First Ride Review

13 June 2016, 02:55 PM Pratheek Kunder

Introduction

Products that have come out of the Bologna, Ducati factory have amassed a special affection in the hearts of motorcycle enthusiasts. Speed being one of their major attractions, Ducati's Italian horses do behave like the wind once on the road. Speaking about speed, we recently sampled the Ducati Monster 821. Introduced in 1993, the Monster range from Ducati just keeps getting better with age. 

Replacing the Monster 796 (and the 795 too, which was for the Asian market), the Monster 821 was launched in India last year. It is superior, better looking, more powerful and comfortable than the outgoing Monster models and yes, it’s now liquid-cooled. And things doesn’t just stop there. This motorcycle has the ability to turn heads each time you’re on the road with its style and the typical L-Twin motor sound. And in a market like India, these aspects are usually in the top 3 list. So is the Ducati Monster 821 the best street naked bike to buy in India? Well, we took the bike for a spin to get you the answer. 

How does it ride?

The Monster 821 is one of the friendliest big street naked bikes I’ve ever ridden. It is very easy to ride in the city as well as on the highway. Yes, it might look heavy at 205kg kerb, but the brilliant weight distribution has helped this Italian bike to be agile and fun. The ergonomics in this motorcycle has been updated too and is more rider friendly now. The handle bar has been moved 40mm higher and 40mm closer to the rider and this makes it a pretty upright position. There’s more than enough space on the side of the big 17.6-litre fuel tank to rest your knee. The single-seat is wide, well-cushioned but the new design makes the riding quarters a bit too cramped and needless to say it affects the rider when he decides to go full throttle. But, the seat height is very accessible to a  wide range of riders. Why? Because it’s adjustable (785mm-810mm). 

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Ducati Monster 821 [2017]

Ducati Monster 821 [2017]

  • Displacement821 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)110.4 bhp
  • Kerb Weight205 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 10,24,021

The suspension setup of the Monster 821 – 43mm upside-down forks at the front and adjustable monoshock at the rear have been tuned to balance between city and highway riding. It isn’t soft nor is firm, it is semi-soft and this balance soaked most of the bumps and potholes of Mumbai roads with ease. The front suspension isn’t adjustable, so you’ve a certain limitation there. 

But the party piece of this motorcycle is its engine and the technology it is loaded with 821cc, L-Twin, 112bhp, 89.4Nm – these figures are surely not best in the segment but it does the job and it does it really well. This engine has the urge to perform fantastically all the time. The mill churns out more low-end torque than you’d expect and it’s the same story at mid-range. Open the throttle, and there’s a sudden surge of power and torque reminding you that this is one of the finer things in life. And this wouldn’t have been possible with the six-speed gearbox that is operated via a light slipper clutch. It is smooth, has the right amount of engagement sound, but I did encounter a couple of false neutrals, especially in the Sport mode. Talking about the modes, this engine is equipped with three maps – Urban – limits the power to 75bhp and the throttle response is the laziest here. I found this to be the most useful during heavy in-city ride and in wet conditions. There’s the Touring mode, which gives you full 112bhp but with decreased throttle response. Sport mode gives you the ability to enjoy the bike more with 112bhp at your disposal and the throttle response here is quicker and more sensitive. The Monster 821 sounds really good at lower-revs, especially in the Sport mode. In Urban mode, there’s a reduced exhaust sound. Also, this motor heats up quite a bit in heavy traffic conditions. 

While riding the Monster 821 in city is the best feeling ever, it’s the same story in the corners. The motorcycle with its new chassis is confidence inspiring and has the ability to go faster every time you want to. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres, which are grippy and warm up pretty quickly. And there’s more. The Brembo brake setup is equally brilliant, has a very good bite and feedback. Doesn’t matter if you’re hitting the brakes at 70kmph or 140kmph – both the times you’ll have the same confidence level to bring the bike to a halt. 

Anything else should I know?

Oh, I could write a poem about it and that wouldn't be the end of things about this bike, but the Monster 821 deserves it. In terms of features and technology, none of the Monster 821’s rivals come close. This bike gets the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP) as standard which includes 3-level ABS system and 8-level traction control system (9 if you consider switch off profile). These profiles are factory pre-set for each of the three riding modes. But the best part, Ducati has given the rider the option of customising the ABS and the DTC and this makes it quite the deal. There’s rear-wheel lift-up mitigation and yes, you can switch of the ABS too. 

For those who are impressed by digital drawings, the instrumentation on this bike is right up your alley. The big LCD display shows good amount of ride data but interestingly, even with large set of data to play with, the usability level of the cluster is quite easy and friendly. 

Now, comes the best part. You can share this Monster with a pillion. There is a rear seat cowl you see and underneath, there’s a wide cushioned seat for the passenger. But yes, you need some amount of tooling to remove the cowl. You should also know that the Monster 821 comes with a service interval of 15,000kms which is pretty good. Valve clearance is scheduled for every 30,000kms.

Why should I buy one?

What happens when you’ve limited options for your million rupees? You’re confused. But this Italian thoroughbred, loaded with tech, is probably the safest middle-weight naked bike you can buy in India right now. Buy the Monster 821 if you’re looking for a fully-loaded motorcycle and you want to a bit of exclusivity too. If I had the money, I would buy this bike straightaway. Unfortunately, robbing a bank is a criminal offence, so...

Where does it fit in?

With a price tag of Rs 10.25 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Ducati Monster 821 is not really an affordable bike. The Triumph Street Triple is priced at Rs 7.91 lakh and the Kawasaki Z800 at Rs 7.5 lakh, both are way cheaper and have better service accessibility. There’s the upcoming MV Agusta Brutale 800 too, but it’ll come at a price point that will make it more expensive than the Monster 821. 

Photography by Kapil Angane

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