Ducati 900 Monster

Ducati made their reputation by building uncompromising sports bikes for those with the discernment and money to appreciate them, but in recent years they have branched out in another direction. In late ’92 Ducati unveiled the M900 Monster to a stunned public, proving that they could build exciting bikes for all tastes, not just for the race replica sports rider.

The M900 was the first Ducati for many years to appeal to a wide range of riders, from the traditional Ducati fan to the rider in search of something ‘a little different’. And the Monster is certainly different. Although it uses the same engine as the Ducati 900SS, the Monster is designed to be a muscle-bike. A bike that accelerates with startling rapidity, and which is more at home cruising the urban jungle looking for traffic-light Grands Prix to take part in than jockeying for position into turn one at Monza.

The Ducati 900SS has an engine blessed with masses of low-down power and usable torque, so to make it into a serious muscle-bike Ducati lowered the gearing and slotted the engine into the steel trellis frame that is their trade-mark. The engine puts out 84 bhp at 7000rpm, power enough to hustle the Monster to a top speed of almost 130 mph. That’s not all that fast for a 900cc machine, but this is a bike built for cursing and back-road riding, so there is no fairing and the riding position is very upright. That makes is great in town or on country lanes, but painful at speed on motorways.

Where the Monster is really at home is cruising the Promenade des Anglais in Nice or parked outside Tre Scalini in the Piazza Navonna in Rome. This is a bike for being seen on, for posing on, for getting you around town in style and comfort, and with a large grin on your face. And that grin is there not only because the Monster is very fast from a standing-start, not only because it is equipped with the best suspension and brakes around, but because it is stupendous – looking machine. The feel-factor gained from riding II Mostro is enormous.

Of course it does help that the Monster will out drag all but the most powerful sports bike or supercar, that it comes with state of the art 41mm upside-down forks and a multi-adjustable rear monoshock, and that it wears a massive pair of Brembo disc equipped with four position calipers. All the elements come together to make a bike that it is real pleasure to ride, and even more of a pleasure to look at.

For the head core Ducati fan (a devotee of rock solid suspension, agonizing riding position, and ‘idiosyncratic’ electric) the Monster will be a disappointment. But to everyone else the combination of good looks, lightning quick steering, excellent suspension, eyeball popping brakes and a lusty motor will ensure a huge grin and a much-depleted bank balance.

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