The life of an automobile journalist is a pretty exciting one. There’s scope to travel, drive or ride the latest machines in the market and be the first to know about said vehicles. However, there is a certain kind of event which makes this profession all the more exciting – track days! Yes, that’s right. Every once in a while, if you’re lucky, an event at a track will present itself and trust me when I say this, the temptation and excitement are unparalleled. That was exactly the case when Ducati invited us to sample their latest motorcycle in India on the Buddh International Circuit. I’m talking about the 2021 Ducati Monster, of course, and before we get to the nitty-gritty of the track experience, here’s all that’s changed on this formidable motorcycle. You can even go ahead and check out our launch story to know things in greater detail.
First off, the Monster is about as old as I am in the world. It first came into existence back in 1993, and this recently launched version is the ninth one overall. The biggest change in this latest iteration has to be that of the frame, design and engine. The former is now a new aluminium front frame replacing the legendary trellis frame in the older model. The most significant detail here is the immense weight reduction Ducati has implemented all across the board. Infact, the 2021 Monster weighs 18 kilograms lesser than the Monster 821, which puts the total kerb weight at 188 kilograms. Now, if you consider the fact that the brand new Monster comes with the same 937cc, L-Twin, water-cooled motor from the Multistrada 950 and Supersport, things only get more interesting. By the way, the power figures are up too! The 2021 Ducati Monster puts out 110 bhp and 93 Nm of torque and comes mated to a six-speed transmission (Quickshifter equipped, of course).
Another major area of change is the design language. The 2021 Monster looks a lot more countered than before while feeling a lot more compact. The signature round LED headlamp has been carried over and looks a lot more handsome, and bison back-shaped fuel tank just adds to the overall visual appeal of this feisty motorcycle. Then there’s that stylish swingarm and sub-frame at the rear along with insanely well-integrated LED blinkers right below the fuel tank. The 4.3-inch TFT colour display is said to be inspired by the Panigale V4 HMI design, and looks quite crisp and sharp, even under the beating sun. Although, I must mention that we did not get to fiddle with it as much as I would have liked. The 2021 Monster is shod in Pirelli Diablo Rosso 3 tyres while the braking duties at the front are handled by a 320mm disc with M4.32 Brembo callipers. Furthermore, the fuel tank capacity is down from 17.5 litres to 14 litres and Ducati is said to have increased the steering angle as well. Last but certainly not least, the 2021 Monster is equipped with a non-adjustable 43mm USD fork and a preload-adjustable mono-shock.
All in all, as far as the design is concerned, the latest Monster looks fantastic. Now that you know of all that’s changed and all that hasn’t, it’s time to get back to the track experience. Before I do, I must mention that we didn’t really get to try out the three riding modes (Urban, Sport & Touring) or the launch control. As per Ducati’s instructions, we kept the bike in ‘Sport’ mode to understand the full capabilities of the Monster. Since we had only three sessions (15 minutes, each), there wasn’t really time to check the different electronic aids the bike has, but we did have time to go into full attack mode. Now, I must be honest here, I’m a novice rider when it comes to the track. This was the very first time I was out riding a motorcycle of this much power and precision, and boy, what a way to start! Dilip Lalwani, factory rider for Ducati India, was more than generous with his knowledge and taught me quite a few lessons to ride better at the track. Since BIC isn’t really a two-wheeler track, it was slightly harder to understand the racing lines, as well. Nevertheless, I swallowed my fear and headed out onto the track with far more experienced riders all around me.
But, as time passed and my form increased ever so slightly, I began to feel the full extent of the 2021 Monster. The new and improved street-naked feels so much lighter on its feet. I’d go so far as to say that the changes on the Monster are exactly what the doctor ordered. It feels more powerful without being intimidating, the vibrations too are almost non-existent, in comparison to the older model and just feels easier to get used to as well. The standard 820mm seat height can be adjusted to 800mm or even 775mm, to match the needs of the rider. Every time I came across a straight, the 2021 Monster would zip across from one corner to the next with brute force and then carve the corner (even with a beginner like me) with surgical precision. As much as I tried to get my knee down, it just didn’t happen. Trust me though, that’s all to do with my capabilities rather than the motorcycle. That’s what hit me at the end of the day. For an individual out there looking for a motorcycle that is an absolute beast in the streets and can hold its own on the track, the Monster strikes the perfect balance. If a neophyte like myself can go out on the track and have that much fun, just imagine the possibilities or rather the capabilities the 2021 Monster has to offer. There’s no doubt in my mind, the folks at Ducati have another winner in their stable. Period.
(Images by Asif Zubairi)
Engine – 937cc, L-Twin
Power – 110 bhp @ 9,250 rpm
Torque – 93 Nm @ 6,500 rpm
Gearbox – 6-speed
Price – Rs 11.00 lakh (ex-showroom) onwards
Kerb Weight – 188 kilograms
Fuel tank – 14 litres
For – Lightweight dynamics, powerful engine, fun handling
Against – Slightly compact for tall riders