First Ride

First ride: Ducati Monster 1100 Evo review

MotoGP tech meets Monster

Quarter of a million Monsters and eighteen years later, Ducati’s sub-brand is still going strong.

They've just launched their new 1100 Evo and we've ridden the new £8995 model around the roads of Mount Etna in Sicily.

It’s no coincidence that the Ducati factory chose this location. Endless second and third gear switchbacks really suited the strong mid-range power of this new, biggest and most powerful two-valve motor, to date.

The 1079cc capacity is formed by way of the 98mm bore and 71.5mm stroke. A fairly giddy 11.3:1 compression ratio, 5mm more inlet valve lift and re-worked inlet port throats mean that this latest variant on the thirty year-old basic design now punts out a claimed 100bhp and 105Nm of torque. Thanks to massively improved tolerances and production methods service intervals are now at 7,500 miles.

Compared to the basic twin-carb set-up of the original 900 Monster in 1993, the 1100 Evo’s engine management system is on a different planet. There are three ECUs on board, one to control the fuelling and ignition maps, one for the ABS system and one for the Traction Control. Two Lambda probes constantly monitor exhausts gases to adjust the fuelling and an exhaust valve (quite exposed and quite visible) keeps a cap on noise levels for testing purposes and to improve bottom end torque figures. The twin alloy silencers contain the catalytic converters.

Other interesting engine tweaks? Vaccum-cast crankcases are lighter, thinner and stronger than conventionally cast items. There’s a new self-servo wet clutch with slipper mechanism and an in-built cush drive , revised oil cooling of the cylinder heads and a much lighter 848-style flywheel assembly.

In the chassis department it’s all familiar fare. Tube steel trellis frame with detachable cast alloy sub-frame  (87mm of trail, 24 degrees of rake) and 43mm Marzocchi USD forks and a Sachs off-set monoshock unit at the back. Bow and stern are both adjustable for bump and rebound damping and spring pre-load. One of the nicest components on the new 1100 are the gorgeous ten spoke alloy wheels, just a shame they’re hidden by the huge 320mm floating discs at the front and those big, fat alloy silencers at the back.

For current Monster owners, the ergonomics are only slightly different from what you might already be used to. An 810mm seat (narrow at the front) height still suits people with short inside leg measurements and the wide, flat, taper bars are apparently 20mm higher due to new risers to reduce the stretch across the fuel tank. An LED rear light, redesigned number plate holder and rubber mounted indicators complete the picture.

So what’s it like to ride? Not much fun with two fractured ribs, but that’s by-the-by.

The first thing you notice when it fires into life is the real crack from the twin pipes. It’s loud but the noise is good: deep, bassy and suggestive of a high compression ratio. Throttle response is lively and the revs rise and fall very, very quickly – maybe also thanks to the much lighter flywheel assembly.

Click for the Ducati Monster 1100 EVO review page 2/2

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