The Ducati Monster was losing its edge towards the end of the noughties,. First introduced in 1993, the once all conquering Monster had been relegated to an as been, so for 2009 Ducati created the Monster 1100. It’s widely regarded as the best air cooled Monster that they ever built, high praise when you remind yourself that they’ve now been building them for a quarter of a century.
The heart of the bike is a whopping L shaped twin cylinder engine, stretched out to a capacity of 1078cc, the same engine that lives on in this year’s new Scrambler 1100.
It’s good for 95bhp, and the rest of the Monster got sharpened up too, with the single sided swing arm giving the Monster an aggressive look. Typically Ducati didn’t just leave it at one model, in 2011 they gave the Monster 1100 another shot in the arm and created the Evo model. This had more power courtesy of a lightened crank and redesigned cylinder heads, and took the bhp figure up to a round ton. The Evo got some electrical aids, traction control and ABS, adding to rider safety as well as pleasure. With hindsight, it’s easy to see why the Monster 1100 is a sought after bike. It offers good looks and plenty of punch, making for a great road bike that’s full of character.
What’s it like to ride?
The Monster isn’t a stripped back race rep, rather a bike that’s been designed to make road riding a hoot. The L twin engine keeps the chassis slim, with foot pegs and handlebars complimenting each other nicely, with the comfy saddle encouraging you to take the long route whenever you can.
The engine is a jewel, there’s dollops or torque right through the rev range, short shifting is a grin and so is taking the revs to the red line, it’s easy to see why people call this the best air cooled Monster. The suspension is more than capable to dealing with real world conditions, and wouldn’t be out of place on a track day either, if that’s your thing.
With no fairing to hide behind the Monster keeps you in touch with the speed you are travelling at. While this Monster isn’t scary, but it can get you into trouble. Thankfully the good quality Brembo brakes are there to get you out of the poo if you do. Even if the Monster 1100 wasn’t the top Ducati’s range, it still packs a fair spec sheet.
The sound of that rumbling bike V twin is probably the second thing you might notice out on a run, the first being the amount of heat generated. With no water cooling to keep things cool and the fact that the saddle sits right above the rear cylinder, the Ducati Monster 1100 certainly puts you in the hot seat.
What to look for when buying a Monster 1100?
We spoke to Vinny Styles, Sales Manager at Wheels Motorcycles in Peterborough and he shared his years of experience in buying and selling Monsters. He told us: “Ducati owners are good at keeping their bikes serviced and bikes with a healthy wad of receipts will appeal to more potential owners than one that’s been looked after by a bloke in his shed. Accident repairs are well worth looking for, the steel frame is painted on this model and it’s easy to spot any touch ups to the trellis frame. Also check the fins on the engine, they can get damaged if a bike goes over. Some owners of the earlier bikes will retro fit parts from the Evo model, the later spec bike Marzocchi forks are a popular upgrade. Just check they weren’t fitted because the bike was accident repaired.
Out of the two models there isn’t much in it, some people like the traction control and ABS of the later EVO models, while others prefer their Monster to be more raw. You pay your money and take your choice.”
What goes wrong with them?
We spoke to Chris Tombleson from Grumpy 1260, a company that service and repair bikes at their workshop in Norfolk. He added: “The engine is a pretty old design and the biggest responsibility of the owner is to check that the timing belts are changed in accordance with the manufacturers servicing plan. It creates a lot of chat here whenever a Ducati comes in, new owners struggle at times to understand the logic behind the whole timing belt debate. It’s something you should research before buying the bike. The Monster 1100 runs an engine check light, which is separate to the service light. It comes on if there’s an electrical issue or such like. It can also come on for no real apparent reason!
“This will have owners reaching for the phone to call up a mechanic. We’ve found that the connectors on the wiring loom can let in moisture and water if ridden in heavy rain, this can often result in the warning light coming on. Some silicone grease or spray can often avoid this inconvenience, some owners go one step further and put duct tape over the connectors, though it might appear to be a good idea, it can actually trap water that gets inside and create its own issues.”