|The Ducati Monster line-up has quite a strong legacy from the Bologna manufacturer. Its Monster 795 was selling very well, so is the successor model, the Monster 796. And in 2014, Ducati had also added the Monster 821 and 1200 S to the line-up.|
<!–more–We had the opportunity to review the Monster 1200 S, and it was a few weeks prior to Ducati having unveiled its faster sibling, the 1200 R recently. As always, any motorcycle having an engine capacity of 1,000cc and above looks intimidating at first glance, with the question ringing in the mind of the biker being “it’s so huge and menacing, could I control it well to ride one?”
Indeed, the Monster 1200 S looks menacing and intimidating, even to us. But as soon as we hopped a leg across the bike and started the engine, it roars off into the distance without us even blinking as the performance is so fluid and easy to handle that we even forgotten we were riding a 1,200cc Monster and not the 821 nor a 796.
But there was something that we were a bit cautious of initially – the placement of the twin exhaust pipes where they rest is parallel with the right leg. Despite the heat protector that shields the rider’s leg against any accidental burn when the exhausts are heated up during a ride, we were left wondering how effective it would be.
Our cautious approach was later revised as the heat protector did its duty perfectly, and there was no fear of the rider’s leg been scorched as a result of touching the hot pipes. It is to be noted that the right leg constantly comes into contact with the heat protector each time we rode the Monster 1200 S aggressively. Whenever that happens, we did not feel any heat running thru the right leg.
In a way it might sound a bit silly for being cautious over this matter but we had experience having both legs feeling the uncomfortable sensation of being “burned” while flanking the main chassis of the BMW HP4 as it absorbs the heat from the inline four engine while doing our review ride.
Riding the Monster 1200 S is a world by itself – the engine is so responsive and smooth, giving it the grunts needed to just open the throttle and let it be. The bike gets up to speed in a short amount of time and doesn’t try to spit the rider out of the way no matter what the rider did with the throttle control, with the exception of executing certain types of bike stunts which you are not well trained to try. Its response is so good that it tempted us to have a go at bike drifting but that’s against the regulations of conducting a bike review we had agreed to.
On the highway, riding the Monster 1200 S is a breeze as it overtakes almost any slow and medium speed vehicle effortlessly but against the might of a gung-ho driver behind the wheels of a Ferrari or a Nissan GTR, it takes a little more throttle response to be ahead – technically-speaking, these cars are faster on the straights over the Monster 1200 S but the local highway is littered with plenty of slow-cruising drivers which only a high capacity two-wheeler could cut thru the traffic with ease, thereby limiting what the sports cars were capable of.
From highway to the old twisty roads, the Monster 1200 S resumes what it does best, taking the S-curves and bends effortlessly, and reversing the gears one or two notches allowed it to overtake slow-moving trucks and cars as though they weren’t moving. The firm Ohlins suspension front and back give the Monster 1200 S a planted feel as we negotiated the corners at high speed.
Surprisingly, fuel consumption is quite economical for a bike with such an engine capacity, especially given the performance it is capable of delivering. We manage a distance of 289km before stopping for a refuelling, where the Monster 1200 S still had a 0.8-litre leftover from its adequate 17.5-litre tank. Of course, we were pushing the bike to almost its last drop tendency as the low fuel warning lights up blink when the distance clocked was 228km (approx. 13-litres consumed).
The reasonable consumption was based on cruising speed, which we did at between 115 and 155kph. Pushing it all the way to 200kph and beyond will see the Monster 1200 S guzzles up more than the cruising method so be prepared to see the low fuel warning lights up below 200km of distance travelled.
If there’s one issue we have a gripe with the Monster 1200 S is its variable colour-coded LCD speedometer, which changes depending on the brightness of the surrounding condition the rider/bike are in. During night-time or low-light situation, the LDC switches to white letters rendering against a black background, making it clear to read. But riding during daytime and super bright conditions, the menu changed to black lettering against a gray-white background – which made it difficult to read amidst the reflection of the sun on the LCD speedometer itself.
Ducati Monster 1200S specifications:
Engine: Liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° L-Twin, DOHC 4-stroke
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Transmission: Manual, 6-speed
Bore & Stroke: 106 x 67.9mm
Maximum Horsepower: 145hp @8,750 rpm
Maximum Torque: 124.5 Nm @ 7,250 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 17.5-Litre
Seat Height: Adjustable from 785 – 810mm
Suspensions: Front – Ohlins 48mm inverted forks, Rear – Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock
Brakes: Dual 330mm discs (front); Single 245mm disc (rear)
Dry Weight: 182 kg
Sales Price: RM119,888 w/GST
Text and images: Philip Chong