All Duels – Head to head European: the new Monster challenges the Speed ​​Triple! – Two balls of nerves that require fingering!

Face to face at the European: the new Monster challenges the Speed ​​Triple !

All Duels - Head to head European: the new Monster challenges the Speed ​​Triple! - Two balls of nerves that require fingering!

Since the mid-90s, Ducati Monster and Triumph Speed ​​Triple have brilliantly combined a strong visual identity with an engine as big as this! A comparative test between the new 1100 rital and the last vintage of the English 3-legged was required…

Two balls of nerves that require fingering !

If the health of the two mills allows this kind of fantasy, the lack of protection and the large handlebars – not to mention the radars … – quickly brought us to our senses. Despite its small gust of wind, the Ducati tortures the lumbar muscles from 140 km / h and the sentence is of course the same – even worse! – on the Triumph, which combines the absence of the small appendage to a more upright position – therefore more exposed – and a handlebars more apart.

Playful and agile despite the overweight granted to its rival of the day – especially noticeable during maneuvers at a standstill -, the Speed ​​Triple welcomes the virolos with the same delight as the Ducati. So think: with two motorcycles with a couple of trucks, quality suspensions and rigid cycle parts geared towards sport, inevitably the arsenal was there. !

Bewitched by the melody of the three-cylinder and its crackling sounds when decelerating, the driver of the Triumph takes full advantage of the upright position to tackle the curves in complete relaxation: the Speed ​​allows very late braking, aided in this by a powerful and progressive Brembo device and a wide handlebar that allows good control of the bike when entering a curve.

Other side of the coin: if the pilot takes advantage of the measured width of the three-legged to properly enclose the 18-liter tank, the position with the arms apart does not promote movement on the bike during lightning angle changes, especially as the slightest tension on the handlebars when exiting a curve can cause a slight blur of the front. Difficult indeed to curb the tonic accelerations of the 1050 cc despite the excellent – but firm – combination of fork and Showa mono-shock. !

Incredibly rigid, the English handle absorbs mass transfers like laughing and its very aesthetic single-swinging arm efficiently passes power to the ground. No curve seems vicious enough to disconcert her and the bike manages to keep a cool peculiar to the most famous British spy in cinema (his name is Bond, James Bond!) When approaching a sloping hairpin, or this right. , just in front, there, which closes severely !

Requiring more experience to go fast in small tight bends, the Ducati puts its driver to the trouble, especially in exit: the 24 ° chase, the featherweight and the Dantesque accelerations of the Monster 1100 cause significant unloading of the front axle , a phenomenon much less marked on the Triple which takes the opportunity to spin … English style, of course !

However, the Italian prides itself on having a chassis whose development has been entrusted to the Ducati Corse service and which uses tubes of a thickness and diameter identical to those used during the design of the 1098 R. or bow the wheel with which Ducati has dominated the World Superbike for two seasons…

In fact, this chassis is never faulted and even offers a feeling less sharp and more "communicating" than many previous versions. But the engine response is too difficult to manage – compared to the Speed ​​Triple – whether out of a hairpin or a slow curve. In addition, the brutality at the start of the race of the Brembo braking system of the "Mostro" does not help matters. !

Without a doubt "badly run, even icy"According to Ducati France, the four pads – actuated by radial pistons – pinch the two 320 mm floating discs with immediate force that is difficult to manage at reduced speed. However, at high speed, the grip does not offer the same consistency past half of its guard, and asks to be pulled with more force than the Speed ​​to obtain the same result. Suffice to say that the Triumph has no trouble taking the ascendancy over the Ducati under braking…

But the Speed ​​will have to take care to have the modest "Triumph": as soon as the coils of the road open slightly, the Monster pulls out its claws and emphasizes the Italian experience of competition! More comfortable to move with the motorcycle – thanks to the slightly inclined handles and the compactness of the bi -, the rider then benefits from the exceptional chassis of the Ducati and especially from its high-end suspension tuning.

Because – and this is undoubtedly the clearest break with previous versions – the Showa fork and the Sachs monoshock of the 1100 are both effective and … comfortable! Admittedly, the word should be taken with a grain of salt and the concept is relative in the category of sporty roadsters, but the Ducat ‘tolerates much more than the Speed, without conceding anything on the dynamic level. Forza !

The fork thus works perfectly in hydraulics and pushes to always return faster in curve, in spite of the two or three small imperfections of the road which force the Speed ​​Triple to give a little gas. Rigid as a teak board, the English is a pure treat on a pool table but suffers – not to mention the driver! – when the road crumbles. Nothing dangerous, but a few parasitic reactions sharply returned to the handlebars in the event of denting require more restraint than with the astonishing Ducati !

Catapulted by the couple of the bi in fourth, in the cavernous rumble – although a bit too discreet – of the two silencers, the speeds of passage in long curves begin to become frankly unreasonable … And yet, the Monster seems to light years from its limits, well helped by a generous ground clearance and a finely dosed go-around! Getting out of the bends with the handle in the corner, the thighs well wedged against the tank, the bust slightly leaning forward and shifted towards the inside of the curve causes practically the same sensations as with the sports cars of the Bologna firm !

Equally efficient and stable at high speed, the Speed ​​Triple follows the rhythm without struggling … as long as the coating does not disturb its suspensions too much! At ease for the fight, the Triumph also offers its pilot a rear brake much more usable than that of its transalpine rival – always useful for correcting an optimistic trajectory! – and a much less sensitive engine brake than with the large 1078 cc twin cylinder, which requires attention when downshifts a little dry !

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