Ducati S2R Monster 1000 (2005 - 2008) review

A fun bike let down by a daft exhaust-routing and heavy clutch. However, the engine and bike's character will still win you over.
Motor, grin factor
Poor steering lock, not very good in town

EVERY TIME I ride a Monster I'm reminded that I'm not the right shape to fit one comfortably. The pegs feel high, which puts you into a crouch, but the bars are wide and far away, which stretches you forward. So the ideal shape for a Monster rider is someone with short, stumpy legs and long arms. In other words, Tarzan's best mate. But the new S2R 1000 has an added complication. Once you sit on the bike it feels like any other Monster; slightly heavier due to the larger motor, but on the whole typically Monsterish. But then you get moving and within a few yards realise two things. First, the new exhaust routing forces your foot out so you have to stick it on the footpeg at a funny angle; and second, this bike is a brilliant laugh to ride.

First things first, though - the exhaust. From what I can work out, the 1000cc version of the S2R uses a wider rear tyre and larger diameter exhaust pipes than the excellent 800cc S2R. That in turn means the exhaust heat shield sticks out further than the footpegs, so when you ride with the balls of your feet on the pegs, as many riders do, the heat shield forces your heel out and away from the bike. It's all a bit cack-footed, and is almost an inexcusable piece of design - or lack of it. I say 'almost' for a reason, and that reason is point two:the S2R is simply a brilliant bike to ride, and that almost excuses the stupid footpeg/exhaust arrangement.

What gives the S2R its character is the engine. I've long been a fan of Ducati's air-cooled 1000cc lump, and the S2R shows it off in its best light. Accelerate in first, and as the revs rise the front follows suit; nothing drastic, just a gradual, controllable lift. If you want a bit more silliness then it's there to be had. If not, simply change up a gear using the precise (if clunky) gearbox.

Throughout the whole rev range the motor remains smooth, while still allowing enough of the Ducati V-twin vibes through to the bars and footpegs to ensure it doesn't feel sanitised or soulless. Like most V-twins the mid-range is excellent, with the S2R happily pulling low in the range too, but the Monster is also helped by its low gearing. It has three teeth more on the rear sprocket than the faired SS1000DS, which shares the same motor. This gives better acceleration, which is a sensible change on a naked bike that simply doesn't need an excess of top speed. The change means the engine always feels like it's in the power band - good on the open road but it can be pain in town.

In fact the S2R isn't a very good town bike at all. The low gearing means you're constantly changing between first and second, the steering lock is poor (no surprise) and the clutch is heavy. It's a huge shame but Ducati hasn't fitted its lightweight APTC clutch to the 1000 (the S2R 800 gets one), because it would make a huge difference. As it is, the effort of constant clutch use takes its toll in town.

So is Ducati's S2R 1000 a worthy buy? It's a tough call because I really loved riding the bike, but ownership depends on what you plan on doing with it. If you want a Monster mainly for town riding, the S2R 800 is a better bet, if only because of the clutch. Its engine isn't quite as strong, but it looks nearly identical and is a great bike to ride. For out-of-town use and general messing about the S2R 1000 is a good bet and has a lot to offer. It has quirks - mainly the footpeg arrangement and riding position - but the engine and handling will take your mind off that.

EVERY TIME I ride a Monster I'm reminded that I'm not the right shape to fit one comfortably. The pegs feel high, which puts you into a crouch, but the bars are wide and far away, which stretches you forward. So the ideal shape for a Monster rider is someone with short, stumpy legs and long arms. In other words, Tarzan's best mate. But the new S2R 1000 has an added complication. Once you sit on the bike it feels like any other Monster; slightly heavier due to the larger motor, but on the whole typically Monsterish. But then you get moving and within a few yards realise two things. First, the new exhaust routing forces your foot out so you have to stick it on the footpeg at a funny angle; and second, this bike is a brilliant laugh to ride.

First things first, though - the exhaust. From what I can work out, the 1000cc version of the S2R uses a wider rear tyre and larger diameter exhaust pipes than the excellent 800cc S2R. That in turn means the exhaust heat shield sticks out further than the footpegs, so when you ride with the balls of your feet on the pegs, as many riders do, the heat shield forces your heel out and away from the bike. It's all a bit cack-footed, and is almost an inexcusable piece of design - or lack of it. I say 'almost' for a reason, and that reason is point two:the S2R is simply a brilliant bike to ride, and that almost excuses the stupid footpeg/exhaust arrangement.

What gives the S2R its character is the engine. I've long been a fan of Ducati's air-cooled 1000cc lump, and the S2R shows it off in its best light. Accelerate in first, and as the revs rise the front follows suit; nothing drastic, just a gradual, controllable lift. If you want a bit more silliness then it's there to be had. If not, simply change up a gear using the precise (if clunky) gearbox.

Throughout the whole rev range the motor remains smooth, while still allowing enough of the Ducati V-twin vibes through to the bars and footpegs to ensure it doesn't feel sanitised or soulless. Like most V-twins the mid-range is excellent, with the S2R happily pulling low in the range too, but the Monster is also helped by its low gearing. It has three teeth more on the rear sprocket than the faired SS1000DS, which shares the same motor. This gives better acceleration, which is a sensible change on a naked bike that simply doesn't need an excess of top speed. The change means the engine always feels like it's in the power band - good on the open road but it can be pain in town.

In fact the S2R isn't a very good town bike at all. The low gearing means you're constantly changing between first and second, the steering lock is poor (no surprise) and the clutch is heavy. It's a huge shame but Ducati hasn't fitted its lightweight APTC clutch to the 1000 (the S2R 800 gets one), because it would make a huge difference. As it is, the effort of constant clutch use takes its toll in town.

So is Ducati's S2R 1000 a worthy buy? It's a tough call because I really loved riding the bike, but ownership depends on what you plan on doing with it. If you want a Monster mainly for town riding, the S2R 800 is a better bet, if only because of the clutch. Its engine isn't quite as strong, but it looks nearly identical and is a great bike to ride. For out-of-town use and general messing about the S2R 1000 is a good bet and has a lot to offer. It has quirks - mainly the footpeg arrangement and riding position - but the engine and handling will take your mind off that.

Dryweight (kg)178
Seats2
Seat Height (mm)800
Suspension Front43mm USD forks
Suspension RearSachs monoshock
Adjustability FrontFully Adjustable
Adjustability RearFully Adjustable
Tyres Front120/70-17
Tyres Rear180/55-17
Brakes FrontTwin 320mm discs, four piston calipers
Brakes RearSingle 245mm disc, two piston caliper
Tank Capacity (litres)14
Wheelbase (mm)1440
Rake (degrees)24
Trail (mm)130
ChassisTubular steel trellis
ColoursRed/white stripe, Black/white stripe, Grey/black stripe
Cubic Capacity (cc)992
Valves4
Max Power (bhp)95
Max Power Peak (rpm)8000
Torque (ft/lb)69
Torque Peak (rpm)6000
Bore (mm)94
Stroke (mm)71.5
Compression Ratio10
Valves Per Cylinder2
CoolingAir
Fuel DeliveryEFI
Stroke TypeFour Stroke
DriveChain

EVERY TIME I ride a Monster I'm reminded that I'm not the right shape to fit one
comfortably. The pegs feel high, which puts you into a crouch, but the bars are wide and far away, which stretches you forward. So the ideal shape for a Monster rider is someone with short, stumpy legs and long arms. In other words, Tarzan's best mate. But the new S2R 1000 has an added complication.
Once you sit on the bike it feels like any other Monster; slightly heavier due to the larger motor, but on the whole typically Monsterish. But then you get moving and within a few yards realise two things. First, the new exhaust routing forces your foot out so you have to stick it on the footpeg at a funny angle; and second, this bike is a
brilliant laugh to ride.

First things first, though - the exhaust. From what I can work out, the 1000cc
version of the S2R uses a wider rear tyre and larger diameter exhaust pipes than the excellent 800cc S2R. That in turn means the exhaust heat shield sticks out further than the footpegs, so when you ride with the balls of your feet on the pegs, as many
riders do, the heat shield forces your heel out and away from the bike. It's all a bit cack-footed, and is almost an inexcusable piece of design - or lack of it. I say 'almost' for a reason, and that reason is point two:the S2R is simply a brilliant bike to ride, and that almost excuses the stupid footpeg/exhaust arrangement.

What gives the S2R its character is the engine. I've long been a fan of Ducati's
air-cooled 1000cc lump, and the S2R shows it off in its best light. Accelerate in first,
and as the revs rise the front follows suit;
nothing drastic, just a gradual, controllable lift. If you want a bit more silliness then it's there to be had. If not, simply change up a gear using the precise (if clunky) gearbox.

Throughout the whole rev range the motor remains smooth, while still allowing enough of the Ducati V-twin vibes through to the bars and footpegs to ensure it doesn't feel sanitised or soulless. Like most
V-twins the mid-range is excellent, with
the S2R happily pulling low in the range too, but the Monster is also helped by its low
gearing. It has three teeth more on the
rear sprocket than the faired SS1000DS, which shares the same motor. This gives better acceleration, which is a sensible change on a naked bike that simply doesn't need an excess of top speed. The change means the engine always feels like it's in the power band - good on the open road but it can be pain in town.

In fact the S2R isn't a very good town bike at all. The low gearing means you're constantly changing between first and
second, the steering lock is poor (no
surprise) and the clutch is heavy. It's a
huge shame but Ducati hasn't fitted its lightweight APTC clutch to the 1000 (the S2R 800 gets one), because it would make a huge difference. As it is, the effort of
constant clutch use takes its toll in town.

So is Ducati's S2R 1000 a worthy buy? It's a tough call because I really loved riding the bike, but ownership depends on what you plan on doing with it. If you want a Monster mainly for town riding, the S2R 800 is a
better bet, if only because of the clutch. Its engine isn't quite as strong, but it looks nearly identical and is a great bike to ride. For out-of-town use and general messing about the S2R 1000 is a good bet and has
a lot to offer. It has quirks - mainly the
footpeg arrangement and riding position - but the engine and handling will take your mind off that.

Motor, grin factor
Poor steering lock, not very good in town