Ducati Monster 1200 S test


Monster return to origins

Legendary bestseller of the Italian brand, the Monster is renewing itself in efficiency through an essential evolution. Pure extract of its sensational DNA, the new Ducati Monster 1200 S once again combines agility and power in the service of a unique style.

The Italian Naked icon is renewed again for 2017. After a quarter of a century, the stripped roadster, bestseller of the Ducati firm, wants to find a sporty and stripped evidence that a certain gentrification had made it lose. Indeed, marketed in 1993, the Mostro M900 laid the foundations for a new motorcycling style: the naked. Deliberate concept of its designer Miguel Galluzzi, of the Monster where everything superfluous is eliminated: "All you need is: a saddle, a tank, a motor, two wheels and a handlebar".

The Monster 1200 S is available in gray or red

In 1996, the Mostro then becomes Monster and is available in a range expanded over the years, acquiring in 2001 the injection (name ie). The big aesthetic and technical change took place with the arrival of the M696, M1100 and M796. These novelties, without breaking the original Mostro line, adopt more modern codes. In this movement, the M1200 and M1200 S were revealed in 2013, designed around the Testastretta 11 ° block, already powering the Multistrada and Diavel. With its iconic status, the transalpine seemed to abandon asceticism in favor of a more opulent appearance, thus responding to ostentatious competition. For some, the beautiful then lost a little of her attractive personality. An appreciable 1200 R version that we tested in 2015 corrected a perfectible ergonomics, giving hope for a rapid evolution of the family.

It is now done. Ducati offers the main evolutions of its top of the range on the complementary models, in an update renewing the Monster spirit: chassis and mechanical efficiency in a refined aesthetic. It is in the surroundings of Monaco that we take the measure of the evolutions of the monster of Bologna, in its over-equipped version 1200 S and approved Euro 4.


Chassing the useless seems to be the motto of the 2017 vintage, resuming its quest for the essentials started with the R model. The latter serves as the basis for the new opus, resuming or adapting its characteristics. Compared to that of its predecessor, the overall lines of the Monster are refined, lightening the visual presence without diminishing its strength. On the contrary, its new plastic gives it the sportiness of an athlete and more of a bodybuilder. Less outrageous, its appearance thus serves a more faithful filiation.

2017 Ducati Monster 1200 S review

The novelty retains a strong build on the front in an elegant and timely bestiality. Keeping its shape, the optics evolve slightly in technology, again integrating a LED bar in its center, but in a much more discreet way. The S version is fitted with daytime running lights with automatic (or manual) switching to low beam. The headlight still fits between the sleeves of a massive inverted fork, ahead of the redesigned volumes of the tank. Reduced by one liter (16.5 L), the container narrows significantly, limiting the depth of its notches. Major point of the Monster style, it thus takes more of the style of its predecessors and is even equipped again with a fixing buckle like its ancestor M900. This accessory emphasizes sportiness, but somewhat mimics an element of ski boots (the Lock inscription could very well be Look….)

Ducati Monster 1200 S in profile

Aerial, the new rear loop inherited from the R optimizes the line of the stern. Composed of a thin steel trellis, it supports a one-piece saddle of suitable thickness topped with a saddle cowl. It all ends with a fire and LED indicators..

Rear light of the Ducati Monster 1200 S

This elegant set is based on the inevitable tubular steel trellis, a historical element as much as genetic and aesthetic. Fortunately, however, the improvements made to the R model are now available on the standard and S versions. Thus, composed of two elements, the fine rear loop finally benefits from passenger footrests separated from those of the pilot. End of massive turntables as annoying as they are not very graceful! A set in cast aluminum. At the front it is associated with a more massive compact structure. Including the engine as a supporting element, the assembly is directly anchored to the cylinder heads and crankcases (beware of falls).

The Testastretta twin-cylinder of the Ducati Monster 1200 S

See info and technical details

Ducati Monster 1200 S from behind

Always attractive, both stupid AND beautiful, the Italian combines charming details. Brushed steel radiator sides, arabesque manifolds and more discreet thermal protection plate, faceted oil sump, tapered black and silver double silencer (original 1200 R), the monster dresses with taste…. right side. In contrast, the visual is less pleasant, three large hoses barring the profile of the machine. We console ourselves with a set presenting a flawless finish, both in the fit of the components and the appearance of metal or plastic surfaces. On the practical side, maintenance is spaced out: oil change every 15,000 km or every 12 months as well as valve clearance check every 30,000 km.

The double silencer of the Ducati Monster 1200 S

In the end, the new Ducati Monster S seems to have moved to the gym, promising better capabilities, but without reducing its weight: 211 kilos ready to ride. However, this is very correct data for a modern 1200 model..

In the saddle

Adjustable, the saddle of the Bolognese character goes very easily from 820 to 795 mm in height via a simple plate under the saddle. We therefore gain 10 mm maximum welcome for the older ones. Even more than these values, it is above all the narrowness of the arch of the leg that makes it more accessible. The flexion of the legs is hardly exclusive for my meter eighty-four and one is more at his ease thanks to the narrower tank. Low profile, rider and passenger footrests are sheathed, but are slippery with wet soles.

The bust gently tilts forward, resting the hands lightly on a wide straight handlebars with variable diameter. Saddles and plate ganities fix it on an upper tee displaying the same neat finish. Dressed in a short carbon fender, the wheel appears to be placed again directly above the flat handlebars as the front is compact..

The TFT dashboard is customizable and it is always possible to choose the display mode, regardless of the selected Riding Mode. The instruments are always concentrated in a single color TFT screen whose display, the amount of information relayed and the assistance settings vary according to your personal choices or the three driving modes available (Urban, Touring or Sport). The digital display concentrates the tachometer, bar-graph tachometer (except in Urban mode), engine temperature, speed and average and instantaneous consumption, odometer and two partials, clock, quishifter indicator, daytime running lights and side stand. Good news, fuel gauge and gear indicator are now present. At night or when going through a tunnel, the brightness of the device varies automatically, opting for a black background and highlighted indications.

The instrumentation of the Ducati Monster 1200 S

All this electronics are directed to the left stalk via new, more ergonomic push buttons. Unfortunately, the flashing light is also still used for the choice of injection modes, all working very slowly in terms of validating the choices. It should be decided before driving. To personalize the assistance, the navigation turns out to be a little complex. Of course, we won’t go there every four mornings.

Clutch of the Ducati Monster 1200 S

Finally, the levers are adjustable in spacing via discreet knobs and press radial master cylinders. On the right hand, a button controls the daytime running light and we find the starting system with sliding cursor button.

In the city

Taking control of the Italian monster is always a moment of slight thrills, as the mechanics know how to speak to the heart. Now leaving the bridle to oblivion, the boiler offers its full force. The new nasty creature speaks, as soon as it wakes up, in a language that is not very polished and very cavernous as we like it…. From the mouth, in both senses of the word. Devoid of inertia to gas shots in static, the mechanics take their turns with loud humming sound. Beautiful promises in perspective that the Monster 1200 S should keep without difficulty.

In Urban mode, the transalpine takes you with surprising softness. This mapping gives a lot of flexibility to the surly twin; we can almost have the fourth report in town. Therefore, riding the Ducati on a daily basis is not a challenge. The injection does not generate any jolts, resuming without hiccuping in two or three at less than 2,500 rpm, significantly softened by the electronics. Also, the gearbox locks gently and precisely and its tiering facilitates urban journeys. Between the walls, the shifter is logically of little interest and sometimes turns out to be a little abrupt on the descent, especially between 2 and 1, even leaving the machine in neutral. Logical and unimportant, the clutch lever is very attractive.
Strongly civilized in urban evolution, the Monster 1200 S easily slides its short measurements in traffic. Even the U-turns are quite acceptable without struggling too much in the small streets.

Ducati Monster 1200 S in town

All this seems too calm, and, in fact, if by chance we switch to Touring mode, the Monster is already cracking the varnish of urban areas in an unequivocal movement of backbone…. Let’s quickly give him some space.

Motorway and expressways

As if enraged, the monster rushes towards the horizon, vociferating and growling. After 7,000 laps, the thrust of the Italian twin is just like the concept: monstrous. From the bowels of the roadster springs a tremendous force, always ready to orbit the crew. The legal is held at 5,000 revolutions per minute, leaving healthy vibrations to the mount. We could hardly see more on the multi-lane tape, the test course limiting this use to the extreme in favor of often tortuous roads. Who would complain? In any case, not very conducive to this kind of exercise, the Italian requires more rhythm so as not to get stuck..

Ducati Monster 1200 S on the fast track


Few machines can, like the Monster 1200S, give so much mechanical feeling. Both revised, engine and cycle part agree to make the 2017 opus a reference Monster. The evolution is obvious. The 211 kilos of the monster disappear to make way for the predator of the secondary network. Now no longer available at any speed, the twin still has a substantial extension, propelling the roadster with force on our tormented track. Characteristic, but docile, reacting to the slightest request of the handle with great precision, the savage mechanics gain in efficiency. Maintained between 5 and 9,500 turns, the twin cylinder is a block of raw sensations that increases tenfold by the roar of the exhausts. In Sport mode, the electronics let go of the machine to leave all the measure of an additive ferocity. The reactions are then instant. Multisensory pleasure.

Ducati Monster 1200 S on the road

But it is above all the progress of geometry that we appreciate the most. Formerly a little reluctant to place on the angle, the Monster 1200 S now finds a much greater agility. You can feel the unique feeling of holding the front wheel more. Its more compact ribs give the cycle part liveliness and precision. Passing from one side to the other without dead time or inertia despite a rear envelope in 190, the machine leaves complete freedom to the pilot to concentrate on the trajectory. Each pressure on the handlebars or footrests tilts the machine to the desired degree.

A real tool for cutting curves, the Bolognese monster scratches the landscape with its hoarse breath. However, the roadster appreciates more little bumpy bitumen. A bleeding approached on the angle makes the Monster oscillate, but the course holding remains always healthy, merit by returning in particular to the excellent Ohlins suspensions. On the back of the monster, we must accept and appreciate the life that inhabits the transalpine. The most demanding will equip it with the steering damper of the R version.

Ducati Monster 1200 S in a corner

Less easy in tight hairpins, the Monster 1200 S can however enter a strong curve on the brakes, especially with its ABS connected to the inertial unit. The beast then extracts itself with force from the turn, martyring the rear envelope under the very appreciable control of the DCT and the anti-wheeling. However, it is not uncommon for the front axle to take off on a go-around in Sport mode. The traction control is also activated gently, without a clear cut in traction, thus maintaining all the effectiveness of the revivals. The reports are then linked quickly, the shifter being transparent to use. Ditto for the stacking type descent. The limited-slip clutch accepts the load without complaining. In general, the electronics are replaced in favor of the pleasure of piloting, working with discreet efficiency..

Ducati Monster 1200 S on departmental

Powerful, the decelerations produced by the on-board braking system are up to the capabilities of the machine. Even the rear element shows a hitherto unknown vigor. Here again, the IMU limits the lifting of the rear axle, keeping the Monster an optimal trim despite a fork a bit flexible. Easily adjustable, this default setting leaves the roadster with appreciable comfort on all types of asphalt. The whole serves at best a rhythm which is quickly not to be acknowledged. If, however, you adopt a more fluid pace, the progressive damping allows pleasant trips.

Cycle part

Noticeably evolving, the cycle part benefits from a geometry more focused on sport, in accordance with the original philosophy of the machine. More obvious and precise, the Italian can be taken along with ease, whatever the rhythm adopted. Its high-end suspensions also work for the best efficiency..

Cushioning Ohlins from the Ducati Monster 1200 S


Always a strong point of the Italian. The bite of the calipers is progressive, enduring, particularly reassuring in town where reflex braking is numerous. And the ABS with angle detection watches over the decelerations. The rear clamp, now really present, brings a real plus in sporty road driving, allowing the machine to sit on a curve or correct a slightly optimistic entry..

Monster 1200 S inverted fork and carbon fender

Comfort / Duo

Once the seat cowl has been removed, the duo remains reserved for the pocket template accepting spartan comfort. The independent footrests remain high perched and the exclusive character of the Monster hardly encourages sharing the mount. The overall comfort for the pilot is correct, especially in the S version, but the older ones will still be able to feel a little tight..

The two-seater saddle of the Monster 1200 S


Unchecked, the thirst of the Monster S seems to oscillate between 7 and 8 liters; to be confirmed on a more varied and long test.

The tank of the Ducati Monster 1200 S


Evolution in the form of a revolution as the machine is evolving for the better, the 2017 vintage marks the return of a more typical Monster 1200. The contribution of R genetics effectively renews an iconic model. Mechanics, cycle parts, but also electronics unite again to compose an essential roadster. Thus, always seductive, the Monster 1200 S convinces again in dynamics, boosted by the liveliness of an incisive geometry.
Priced at 16,790 € (i.e. 700 euros increase) for the S, the monster of Bologna is then only 1,700 € from the ultimate version R: 18,490 €. The latter offers 160 hp, steering damper, titanium valves, more carbon and forged Marchesini rims. As standard, the Italian claims € 13,990.
It will be opposed by competitors of character: the BMW S 1000 R and its formidable four-cylinder overpowering, associated, as standard, with an electronic offer (traction control-ABS) convincing for a price which is not less: 13,250 €. Another sulphurous European, the KTM 1290 Superduke R sets the bar of bestiality very high for a price of € 15,995. Weapon of massive seduction, the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR is exchanged for € 14,650.
Perfectly placed in price on its high-end suspensions, the Ducati Monster 1200 S offers a part of myth superbly revisited. A monster of efficient sensations, the legendary roadster once again pursues its history with panache.

Strong points

  • Powerful aesthetics
  • Engine character and availability
  • Agility of the cycle part
  • Intoxicating sound
  • Electronic equipment
  • Ergonomics
  • Finishes

Weak points

  • Ostentatious hoses
  • Movements in bumpy curves

The technical sheet of the Ducati Monster 1200 S

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: countryside, highway and city mix
  • Motorcycle Mileage: 250


Fresh concrete gray

Video test of the Ducati Monster

Related articles

  • Ducati Monster 797 test

    A Monster charm Since its origins, the Monster Desmodue saga has been written in tandem, combining high displacement models (from M900s to M1200s) with a…

  • Ducati Monster 821 Dark test

    Light up your dark side The Monster saga has been written since 1993 with its large displacement models M900, M1000 ie, S4R, M1100. But the younger girls…

  • Ducati Monster 1200 test

    Naked original 3.0 Legendary bestseller of the Italian brand, the Monster is the archetype of the undressed roadster. Dressed in essentials, the new…

  • Ducati Monster 1200 R test

    THE Successful Monster Ducati has been offering its successful roadster since 1992. The R versions symbolize the maximum sportiness of these machines. We…

  • Ducati Scrambler 800 Icon test

    Uninhibited rebel L-Twin of 803 cm3, 73 hp and 67 Nm, 189 kg, from 9,350 euros Long the main muse of the Italian manufacturer, the Monster has found an…

  • Ducati Scrambler 800 Icon Dark test

    Gothic fun attitude L-twin, desmodromic distribution, 54 kW at 8,250 rpm, 189 kg, € 8,850 A successful model, the Ducati Scrambler 800 benefits from its…

  • Ducati Scrambler 1100 test

    Authentic sensations Ducati knows how to offer models that transcend its history, such as its Monster, in its range. The success of the latter is based…

  • Triumph Thruxton 1200 RS test

    Queen of Hearts Twin of 1200 cm3, 105 hp, 112 Nm, Brembo M50 calipers, Metzeler Racetec RR tires, 16,700 euros A historic sporting legend led by equally…

  • Ducati Monster 821 test

    V2, 821 cm3, 109 hp at 9,250 rpm, 86 Nm at 7,750 rpm, 180 kilos dry, from 11,450 € Ducati’s mid-size roadster is getting a makeover and fine-tuning the…

  • Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 8V test

    The Mandello wader gets better for 2011, both in style and in dynamics Efficiency, seduction and character, the Stelvio can be summed up in these three…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *