Ducati Monster 821 - first thoughts

The Monster 821 has new clothes, but technically not much has changed

Ducati Monster 821 - first thoughts

IN the first of its five-bike offensive for 2018, Ducati has launched the updated Monster 821.

With a new muffler, LED headlight and TFT display but not much else the 821 is, arguably, not that technically different from its predecessor.

But it has inherited the tank of its bigger brother, the Monster 1200, along with a streamlined appearance and muscly lines. 

With styling inspired by the original Monster 900 – launched 25 years ago this month – it really is an attractive beast.

Visordown’s Laura Thomson has ridden it at launch in Rimini. Here’s what she thought.

‘While the Monster may have come a long way since its debut in the 90s, this model is extremely similar to its previous guise. It's got the same Testastretta 11 engine, making 109hp and 63lf-ft and technically very little has been changed.

‘It’s more a facelifted version of its predecessor but as facelifts go, Ducati has done well. The 821 now combines the muscly looks of its bigger brother – the 1200 – with the useable power of the middleweight L-twin powertrain. Launch colour is the exclusive ‘Ducati Yellow’, a sunny throwback to the original 900.

‘Unfortunately, the roads around Rimini weren’t the best proving ground for any motorcycle, let alone a middleweight naked with firm front forks.

‘We took on a 160km loop of twisting, broken tarmac – enough to unnerve even the most experienced of riders.

‘The firm non-adjustable forks made themselves immediately noticable, sending shocks through my wrists and arms. The adjustable rear is reportedly preloaded for an 80 – 85kg rider, however at 56kg I found it incredibly bouncy.  On smoother tarmac the front felt sporty and sharp, while the rear still required adjustment to make it firmer.

‘The brakes are sharp, and a handful of front was enough to make the suspension dive, despite it seeming so firm while riding.

‘The TFT display is smart and simple, on which you can access and adjust the three riding modes while on the go.

‘Sport was my mode of choice, giving the bike a torquey, almost-urgent nature, although without a steering damper the front end feels slightly wobbly under heavy acceleration.’

‘Ducati offer an up/down quickshifter as an accessory for the 821, but costing only £160 plus VAT, its questionable why they didn’t just up the price and fit it as standard.

‘It will be in dealerships from December, priced from £9,895.’