The Monster has been a major success story for Ducati, ever since 1993 when the first 900 appeared. The 2010 Monster 796 is a welcome addition to the line-up that combines the user-friendliness of the smaller 696 with the sporty character of the big 1100.
Delivering 87bhp, a dry weight of just 167kg (368lb) and with optional ABS braking, the stylish new Monster 796 balances the best features of all-rounder motorcycling and adds that unmistakeable Italian style, and V-twin sound.
You get a micro-bikini fairing, single seat cover as standard and the 796 features a new seat, designed with a comfort-enhancing shape, further accentuated with stylish red stitching. Additional new features also include a rear sub-frame constructed ready to accept new accessory grab-handles. It should be a little easier for passengers to hang onto the bike.
The riding position has been revised by reducing the seat height by a modest 10mm to 800mm, whilst the handlebars have been raised by 20mm. Ducati claim this has improved rider posture and increased comfort, but such tiny differences are unlikely to affect the traditional feel of the Monster. It always was a bike that felt snug, compact – you sat `in’ the bike, rather than on it. That said, the new Desmodue 796 engine will provide a fresh, punchy responsiveness, which the old Monster 750/800 model never really had for many riders.
Colours? Traditional Ducati red of course, plus new arctic white silk or diamond black silk. All three colours are set against a red trellis frame and black wheels, which feature a new short-style red flash around the rim side that creates a full red stripe at speed.
It remains an utterly beautiful bike to many biker’s eyes and is definitely one of those machines you can park outside a city cafe at lunchtime and effortlessly draw a crowd.
Launched in May 2010 and priced at £6,995, with the ABS version at £7,695, the Ducati Monster is more expensive than perfectly capable all-rounders like the Suzuki Bandit 650, Triumph 675 Street Triple, or Honda CB600F, but it has the dolce vita factor.