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2018 Ducati Monster 821 - Road Test Review

2018 Ducati Monster 821 - Road Test Review

Snapshot: Calling it the best-looking motorcycle of its segment will be an understatement because there is much more to it than just the looks!

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The moment I received the call, ‘new Monster 821 is ready for pickup’ I was gushing out with excitement and why not, I've been a Monster virgin all my life. Out of all the bikes, Monster is clearly the most distinguished Ducati and it has a huge significance in the world of street naked motorbikes. It has been around for decades now and for 2018, the Monster line-up turns 25 years old. The 821 sits in the middle of line-up, and is perhaps one of the most sensible of them all, and you are about to find out why I think that way.


Ducati Monster has always been the brashest character in the room. In the pond of middle-weight naked bikes, Monster, like its name, has been a brutal and unforgiving creature that simply can’t be ignored. The new 2018 Monster 821 gets the same bodywork as seen on the last year’s Monster 1200, which naturally makes it more desirable in many ways. It now features a slimmer tank, new headlight and a redesigned tail section, reminiscent of the older M900 motorcycle. It is now also available in Yellow, which is my personal favorite in all three as it highlights the muscularity of the bike in a very likable way, for example, have a closer look at the tank and you’ll feel the bike is all pumped up after a heavy gym session. Also, the way the exhaust pipes touch the engine headers and bend spirally is a pure work of art.

It gets a new multi-color TFT display which looks modern and packs all the necessary information you may expect on the go. The display is clear, bright and highly readable in both daylight and night time.

Engine and performance-

The 821 cc Water-cooled L-Twin is same as the previous year, the only difference is that it’s now BSIV compliant. It puts out claimed 109 hp of maximum power at 9,250 rpm and 86 Nm of peak torque hits at 7,750 rpm. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed transmission. As soon as the first gear is clicked in and the clutch is released, the Monster accelerates fiercely and lunges forward with front lifting force. The engine loves to rev hard and the bike loves to power wheelie. The delivery isn’t abrupt but is rather linear and the torque wave keeps getting stronger till the engine hits the rev limiter. And at that point of time, you are in serious trouble because you are going way faster than expected. The slipper clutch, on the other hand, takes good care of the rear wheel when you decide to smash down the gears paddle, the rear end remains on the line.  

The throttle response is smooth and so is the fuelling, the on-off transitions are jerk free, making the bike easy to manage even in the jam-packed traffic conditions. Talking of which, you’ll have to keep the bike in lower gears while trundling at slow speeds, anything above 2nd gear won’t do.

The bike can be ridden in three modes - Urban, Sport, and Touring. Each mode is customizable with personalized ABS and Traction Control levels. 

Ride and Handling –

Like on all previous bikes, the new 821 has a slightly sporty riding position. The rider bends forward a degree or two, and the wide handlebar provides decent leverage on the bike. The rear set footpegs feel sporty and at the same time, there is enough room for the rider to move around the bike freely. The seat is decently comfortable for short rides, and there isn’t much to complain about. It’s just the handlebar feels awkwardly straight and takes a toll on the fist when riding for longer intervals.

The Monster 821 is easily the sportiest handling naked bike I’ve ridden in a while. It is eager to change directions like a housefly and feels light when doing so. The front-end provides ample feedback that only boosts the confidence when leaning hard and its steel trellis frame feels rigid and provides good support. It weighs around 206 kgs (wet) but is very good at hiding all that weight when on the move.  

It runs on non-adjustable 43 mm Kayaba front forks, and Sachs single rear monoshock which has adjustable spring-preload and rebound damping. The suspension has been tuned to flatten out all the undulations without any drama and it does the same very well without ruining the fun. Also, it comes loaded with Brembo M4-32 calipers which are truly impressive in terms anchoring down at high speeds. 


Looking back in time you’ll see how glorious its history has been, and even though it has gone totally modern over the years, it is yet closely attached to its legacy which prevails strongly in the Monster 821. Calling it the best-looking motorcycle of its segment will be an understatement, and there is much more to it than just looks. At Rs 9.51 lakh, it might be minutely costlier than its competition, but then no one has such electronics or the character of the Monster.  

Also read my views on the Triumph Street Triple RS!

Photography - Mohd. Nasir

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