Simply the best!
The most appropriate word that we could use in the beginning of the Ducati Monster 1200 S test is the word „best“.
The new Monster has the most powerful engine and the biggest displacement so far, total of 1198 cc and 145 hp.
Wheelbase is also largest in the Monster family, 1511 mm (1440 mm old models).
Dimensions are very busty, the lines of the bike are combination of curvy and sharp details, so we can say that this Monster is the best designed one so far.
And regarding the fun factor and riding experience, we can confirm, the best!
So let us start from the looks.
Ducati Monster 1200 S draws shape from combination of curvy and sharp lines, fuel tank is designed within the lines of the older models but its capacity has risen to 17.5 litres and the tank is little bit wider and taller, which means that taller riders will now have more leg space.
The front end of the bike, fuel tank, fully adjustable 48 mm Ohlins forks and the Trellis frame attached to the cylinder heads of the L-Twin Testastretta 11 DS that makes 145 hp at 8750 rpm and 124.5 Nm at 7250 rpm (135 hp at 8750 rpm and 118 Nm at 7250 rpm Monster 1200) is really massive and it makes a statement like some pumped up Bullgod on steroids or a Bull that is ready to charge on the El Matador.
And as this is not enough, the look is completed with a big cooling radiator and very nicely designed oil cooler under the front cylinder head.
Back end, the tail of the Monster, has stayed more faithfull to the lines of the older Monster models than the front end.
Therefore the tail has a recognisable seat designe and the seat cover, which has wider dimensions than the one on the older models.
In fact, the entire seat is wider and very comfortable.
Tail section and the seat height can be adjusted from 785 mm up to 810 mm and under it there is a Ohlins monoshock fully adjustable mounted on aluminium single-sided swingarm.
Exhaust system is designed like a „Shotgun pipes“ which is a solution we had already encountered on the Monster 1100 Evo, and it produces a thudering sound typical for V-Twin engines, well because of Euro standards the sound is very reduced over the 3500 rpm, so there is a solution for this problem in the aftermarket offer and its called the Termignoni exhaust system that makes the V-Twin symphony goes on over 3500 rpm and ads a little more power with a character improvement.
Monster 1200 S has machined Y- shaped, 3 spoke wheels in light alloy which are much lighter than the ones on the standard Monster 1200.
Front wheel has 120/70-17 tyre and two 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Evo M50 4 piston callipers with a radial pump and ABS as a standard.
Rear wheel, 190/55-17 tyre and 2-piston callliper mounted on a 245 mm disc, also ABS as a standard.
The brakes on this bike are awesome!
Braking is so progressive and powerful that it makes you feel safe all the time in all the situations.
In fact the brakes are so good that at first it took us a while to get use to the extra meters of road that we had left entering the corners during the agressive riding, after adjusting, the fun has begun.
As we mentioned before, the new Monster 1200 S has the most powerful engine in the 23 years old history since the first model was produced.
Testastretta 11 DS is well known from the Multistrada 1200 and the Diavel 1200 and on the Monster 1200 it is modified, so it has fuel injection system with 53 mm throttle bodies, compression ratio 12.5:1.
Above said means that in 23 years the Monster has evolved in the 1200 cc, 145 hp beast, without loosing any charisma and its distinguished looks.
Before we can make way to our performance impressions let us say something about the instrumentation color TFT display.
The TFT disply has all the information and options that you can imagine, over the button on the left side of the steering you can go trough riding modes, Touring, Sport and Rain and you can change the sensitivity of the ABS and DTC (Ducati Traction Control).
Color TFT display has one flaw similar to the modern cell phones, it is unreadable when the sun hits it, its almost black.
The rest of controls are very intuitive and easy to use, which we cant say for the footrest.
During the whole test we just couldnt adjust on the footrest postition, the foot pegs are making foot to be in the position that is too horizontal.
The riding position is similar like on the older Monsters, but the uper body is more in the upright position and the handlebars too, well the biggest difference is in the foot position.
The foot pegs are positioned more towards front and in the horizontal position, so sometimes its hard to find brake lever or the gear shifting one, in order to do that, rider must first change foot position and put the heel up, so that makes the gear shifting sometimes slow during the sport riding, during the relaxed cruising it isnt so bad.
Our opinion regarding foot pegs is, that they should be positioned about 2 cm towards the rear and they shoud be under steeper angle like they were on the older models.
The above said can be achieved buy buyng a Ducati performance foot pegs from the aftermarket catalogue.
While riding, Monster feels very compact and light, regarding the fact that is a little bigger bike than the rest of the Monster family.
There are too many motorcycles on the market that are just little and too compact, so the visual effect that they are making is that, one would think that its 125 cc motorcycle and in fact its 750 or 1000 cc one.
Thats why we didnt had anything against the busty lines and curves of the new Monster 1200 S and we remebered the old days when the motorcycles where big and the helmets were smaller.
Dry weigt of Monster 1200 S is 182 kg, wet 209 kg, but on road it feels much less, in fact the bike is very easy to ride and it follows any command no problem.
What ever rider thinks, plans, wishes, Monster just does it and most of the time it does it with extra reserve.
Suspension does its job in a very precise and awesome way, so Monster goes through curves like a train on the railroad and it even tolerates certain mistakes like wrong gear ratio or abrupt deceleration, during which, it stays very stabile and doesnt have a tendency to take the bike of the trajectory rider had in its head.
If the mistake should happened, suspension, DTC and lots of torque should remedy the situation in a very sophisticated way.
Monster 1200 S has a Monocoque frame, that means that the front part of the frame is mounted on the cylinder heads and the rear swingarm is mounted on the engine block.
This tecnology is introduced from the Ducati Moto GP competition so all high end Ducati products have Monocoque frame like Panigale 1199.
Panigale 1199 is a Ducati superbike model and Critics say that this bike is unstable at high speeds when cornering because of Monocoque frame that doesnt gives enough rigidity.
Monocoque frame has it advantages like light weight and innovative design, and disadvantages like less rigidity, sometimes thats the price you have to pay when you are inventing something new.
That price wasnt payed in the case of the Monster 1200 S, because we didnt notice any instability or back end dancing during the agressive riding, maybe because Monster 1200 has a much longer wheelbase than the Panigale and a heavier front end.
Nevertheless primary usage of Monster is, every day riding, shorter road trips and maybe a racetrack now and then.
We didnt had a chance to compare te Monster 1200 S with the comeptition on the racetrack, but we are sure that the Monster has a lot to show to all his rivals.
Something we are not used to see on the V-twin bikes especially Ducati products is, that Monster has a over rew area, about 1000 rpm extra when the engine reaches max power.
On road, Monster lets you know all the time that you are riding a beast that wants to put front wheel up, the torque is always there and always very rich.
The acceleration is so powerful that you have to hold on to the handlebars hard when you pass 5000 rpms and kiss the fuel tank cause there is no aerodynamic protection at all, so during the hard accelerations the air pressure builds up very, very fast on the helmet and shoulders.
The power delivery on the rear wheel is very smoothe and precise so the 145 hp and 125 Nm of tourqe are easy to handle and the Monster can be very tame when a rider wants it to be.
On the other side the Monster can be very brutal, especially during the accelerations on the straight lines in between curves and exiting curves when Monster pulls away like a rocket.
Clutch lever is very soft and the clutch system is very progressive so even the less experienced riders will have no problem start moving from full stop.
Front brake lever is very good, precise and rider can always feel the reserve thats left.
Front braking system is so good that we dont believe there is a better one currently on the market.
Rear brake is good but not so perfect as the front one cause it has too much idle and because of mentioned foot position.
Fuel consumption is a big plus, during our test it was around 5.5 and 7.5 litres on 100 km.
Its a very good result regarding the fact that the Monster has 1200 cc and 145 hp.
To conclude the test, we can say that the Monster 1200 S i really the best Monster yet and one of the best naked motorcycles on the market.
Ducati has made a product that is three levels above the other bikes we are used to seeing from this motorcycle manufacturer, in terms of quality, preformance and design.
After all day riding, Monster has shown as a very comfortable motorcycle, there was no pain in the back, neck, arms and no feeling exhausted.
We have a good news for the riders who avoided Ducati products because of expensive maintenance and frequent valve clearence.
Ducati Monster 1200 S has valve clearance cheks every 30.000 km, because of new technology that is introduced to all L-Twin Testastretta 11 DS engines, so the maintenance costs are greatly reduced.
Only flaw that we could find was the foot pegs, maybe its something that not everyone will notice, but in our opinion it spoils the good impression of the bike during the argressive riding so we recommend installing sport foot pegs from the Ducati performance catalogue.
EU price for the Ducati Monster 1200 S is around 16.000 eur.
Closest rival in the naked V-twin category is KTM Super Duke 1290 R, around 17.000 eur, with the same package but more power on the wheel.
Its all about taste, tradition and charisma. So we could say, who has a strong taste for tradition and charisma chooses Ducati and the ones that have a strong taste for a little less charisma and tradition but like to have fun on race track, chooses KTM.
Author, Test Rider: Marko Heder.