Ducati Monster S4Rs (2006 - 2008) review

A bike with tremendous ability, attitude and character. Very pricey but has the specs to match.
Details
Manufacturer:
Ducati
Category:
Naked
Price:
£ 9495
Overall
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Powerful and smooth delivery
Stacked exhausts get in the way of your right foot.

Not Tested

S4Rs is built to handle. For anyone considering a jump from a super-focused supersport, this is a great way to go.The motor is the Testastretta 999, the unit used in the 999S superbike; the previous eight-valve Monster, the S4R, used the old generation 998 engine. Testastretta – ‘narrow head’ – refers to the narrow valve angle, which creates a compact, cleaner and therefore more efficient combustion chamber, while flat crown pistons produce a smooth and linear flame front. The Marelli fuel injection system uses race-derived 12-hole injectors and adds to a powerful and totally smooth delivery, giving you glitch-free throttle control.

The performance refinements pervade the bike: brakes are from the 999R, it has Marchesini alloy wheels and Öhlins 43mm forks almost identical to the 999R’s. The S4Rs is a well finished motorcycle. Naked bikes can show too much and, conscious of this, the loom and cables have been hidded. But the Testastretta engine isn’t the most beautiful thing. It lacks shape and definition. Ducati has done what it can – a carbon cam belt cover for example – but the motor was designed for function, not form and to be hidden behind a fairing. Otherwise, styling and finish is hard to fault.

The venue for the launch was a circuit. I prefer a mix of track and road, for obvious reasons, but we were confined to the Ascari Race Resort near Ronda in southern Spain. In many ways though, this bike, with its spec sheet reading like a full-house superbike, is well suited to the track.

I was comfortable straight away. The wide, high bars put you in the classic ‘proper motorbike’ posture. That said, the stacked exhausts touched my right heel; it didn’t interfere with my riding, but it did melt my boot. Throttle, clutch and brakes are light and finely metered, connecting intimately with the more critical functions. The 999 motor is a gem, providing a gravelly delivery of flowing power which pushes you on in any gear, hauling you out of trouble with muscley torque and then catapulting you down the straights till you bounce off the 10,500rpm limiter. It’s a rush. Wheelie? Try one in second gear.

The brakes are phenomenal, almost too much. They’re Brembo four-pot radial calipers on 320mm discs, straight from the 999R. They’re progressive at first, then bite like a pit bull. From high speed this equates to huge stopping power and show the class of the Öhlins forks.

Ascari race track is 5.4km of flowing curves, many reminiscent of famous corners from tracks around the world. The S4Rs was an easy bike to take around them all. Only where fast direction changes were necessary would the bike feel light at the front, the bars floating for a second before settling down. A good test of stability under pressure was the last corner, a huge sweeping bend a bit like Monza’s Parabolica, but faster in. It would hold a steady line all the way, with perhaps a slight shimmy of the bars from the last upchange.

The only frustration was that we were confined to the track. It dealt with that brilliantly and I couldn’t find anything that could potentially compromise road performance. We’ll see. What I can be sure of is that the S4Rs is exactly what it set out to be in terms of outright high performance – the ultimate Monster.

Grant Leonard, Launch Report, April 2006 Issue

Not Tested

S4Rs is built to handle. For anyone considering a jump from a super-focused supersport, this is a great way to go.The motor is the Testastretta 999, the unit used in the 999S superbike; the previous eight-valve Monster, the S4R, used the old generation 998 engine. Testastretta – ‘narrow head’ – refers to the narrow valve angle, which creates a compact, cleaner and therefore more efficient combustion chamber, while flat crown pistons produce a smooth and linear flame front. The Marelli fuel injection system uses race-derived 12-hole injectors and adds to a powerful and totally smooth delivery, giving you glitch-free throttle control.

The performance refinements pervade the bike: brakes are from the 999R, it has Marchesini alloy wheels and Öhlins 43mm forks almost identical to the 999R’s. The S4Rs is a well finished motorcycle. Naked bikes can show too much and, conscious of this, the loom and cables have been hidded. But the Testastretta engine isn’t the most beautiful thing. It lacks shape and definition. Ducati has done what it can – a carbon cam belt cover for example – but the motor was designed for function, not form and to be hidden behind a fairing. Otherwise, styling and finish is hard to fault.

The venue for the launch was a circuit. I prefer a mix of track and road, for obvious reasons, but we were confined to the Ascari Race Resort near Ronda in southern Spain. In many ways though, this bike, with its spec sheet reading like a full-house superbike, is well suited to the track.

I was comfortable straight away. The wide, high bars put you in the classic ‘proper motorbike’ posture. That said, the stacked exhausts touched my right heel; it didn’t interfere with my riding, but it did melt my boot. Throttle, clutch and brakes are light and finely metered, connecting intimately with the more critical functions. The 999 motor is a gem, providing a gravelly delivery of flowing power which pushes you on in any gear, hauling you out of trouble with muscley torque and then catapulting you down the straights till you bounce off the 10,500rpm limiter. It’s a rush. Wheelie? Try one in second gear.

The brakes are phenomenal, almost too much. They’re Brembo four-pot radial calipers on 320mm discs, straight from the 999R. They’re progressive at first, then bite like a pit bull. From high speed this equates to huge stopping power and show the class of the Öhlins forks.

Ascari race track is 5.4km of flowing curves, many reminiscent of famous corners from tracks around the world. The S4Rs was an easy bike to take around them all. Only where fast direction changes were necessary would the bike feel light at the front, the bars floating for a second before settling down. A good test of stability under pressure was the last corner, a huge sweeping bend a bit like Monza’s Parabolica, but faster in. It would hold a steady line all the way, with perhaps a slight shimmy of the bars from the last upchange.

The only frustration was that we were confined to the track. It dealt with that brilliantly and I couldn’t find anything that could potentially compromise road performance. We’ll see. What I can be sure of is that the S4Rs is exactly what it set out to be in terms of outright high performance – the ultimate Monster.

Grant Leonard, Launch Report, April 2006 Issue

Dryweight (kg)177
Seats2
Seat Height (mm)800
Suspension FrontOhlins 43mm USD forks
Suspension RearOhlins monoshock
Adjustability FrontFully Adjustable
Adjustability RearFully Adjustable
Tyres Front120/70-17
Tyres Rear180/55-17
Brakes FrontTwin 320mm discs, four piston, four pad radial calipers
Brakes RearSingle 245mm disc, two piston caliper
Tank Capacity (litres)13.5
Wheelbase (mm)1440
Rake (degrees)24
Trail (mm)130
ChassisTubular steel trellis
ColoursRed/white stripe, White/red stripe, Black/white stripe
Cubic Capacity (cc)998
Valves8
Max Power (bhp)130
Max Power Peak (rpm)9500
Torque (ft/lb)77
Torque Peak (rpm)7500
Bore (mm)100
Stroke (mm)63.5
Compression Ratio11.4
Valves Per Cylinder4
CoolingLiquid
Fuel DeliveryEFI
Stroke TypeFour Stroke
DriveChain

Powerful and smooth delivery
Stacked exhausts get in the way of your right foot.