Ducati Monster 620 motorcycle test


Biker testing: Garfield

Ducati and me, it’s a long platonic love story.

Ducati Monster 620Between
in high school in the late 80s, the teenager I was
did not fail to swoon over the very recent GSX-Rs,
the Yam FZR and their debauchery of technology, even the
RC 30… Remember, at that time the CBR did not yet exist
only in the imagination of its designers! And among the sportswomen of the time,
funny rumbling and vibrating machines, with the dress
red so typically Italian, attracted me more than any other. One
crush, it can’t be explained!

A couple of years later on a bright April 2004 day,
I finally took possession of MY Ducati: a brand new Monster 620 ie,
a Dark in satin silver livery, "double
disc ", therefore equipped with gearbox 6 and clutch
APTC. We will come back…


The first time I saw a Monster, I thought to myself: "this is
The motorbike".

Ducati Monster 620So
what a builder could achieve by getting rid of
all the vanities specific to sports cars: a frame, an engine,
two wheels … do we really need more to taste the pleasure?
to ride in the fresh air?

The Monster has rekindled public interest in
simple and stripped-down motorcycles, and in 12 years its aesthetic
seems not to have moved one iota, except for recent
S4R and S2R evolutions. The mark of a well-born design without

Its appearance is therefore distinguished by great simplicity: we find
the tubular trellis frame dear to Ducati, bolted in
4 points on a carrier motor which supports the axis of the swing arm. Yes
this L-twin is no longer very young (its origins go back
to the 80s …), it still looks good, with its
finned cylinders that spare us an invasion of pipes,
jars, radiators and other plumbing … I never tire of observing
this machine, which puts forward the mechanics, without
uproar. The beauty gives herself to you for € 7395, but she will
reward for your effort with presentation and equipment
Flattering: 43mm inverted fork, double pinched 320mm discs
by Brembo 4-piston calipers, avia hoses, exhaust line
in stainless steel, and the 2 pots, typical of the model, in brushed aluminum…
Note also an original fitment in Pirelli Diablo, and a wheel flush
in back.
Casually, it exudes quality, and when you know that
Brembo, which has also bought Marzocchi, delivers to Ducati
full front axles, we are not surprised to find
their signature on the rims and master cylinders.
Finally, if we must consider that the wrapping of a motorcycle, it is
all of its painted elements, then the inventory is
quickly on the Monster: the front fender, the tank, basta!
Naked, we tell you!

In the saddle

Ducati Monster 620To go up
above, nothing could be simpler, the "height" of the saddle culminating
at 77 cm! With my meter 80, no need to tell you
that the feet are flat on the ground…

The bike is very thin, thank you the two cylinders aligned,
and very compact: at the front there is nothing, the instrument console
prevent you from seeing the wheel, we will be in direct contact with
the road! The set is very light between the legs: to
stop, you can wriggle at ease without fear of being
destabilized by weight, thanks to a center of gravity
rather low. Girls will appreciate it for this ease

Surprise when you don’t know the beast: the handlebars are far away,
you have to bend down to grab it! In addition, it is wide and oddly
arched, the branches seeming to "fall". In use, we
get used to it very quickly! The retro ones, which seem tiny,
turn out to be rather well placed, they really show you
what goes behind, in my opinion it is better
what great mirrors that reflect your elbows! European norm
requires, the headlight switch has disappeared, the rest calls no
remark. Apart from BMW, a comodo is a comodo!


Since 2001, the Monsters have switched to injection. They
benefit from an immobilizer by coded key,
but Ducati saw fit to leave a starter order, for folklore
without a doubt! Finally, let’s not complain, she’s on the handlebars…

Contact, the electronic dashboard wakes up,
understand by this that the lights all come on together
and that the 2 needles make a return trip between their stops.

The injection pump makes its little bee buzzing sound,
nothing to do with the permanent whistling of a Z750 for example.
Another surprise: the "sequential" starter.
You push the button, the electronics take care
moreover, by driving it until the engine starts!

When cold, it is better to give it a little air by accelerating
idling up to 1500 revolutions.
Ducati recommends letting it heat up for 2 minutes when stopped,
let’s say you will take the time to adjust your gloves and helmet!

In slow motion, the twin distills "good vibrations", oh nothing
invading, it is not the heaving of a titanium line 916 or
even an outdated 1000 with its original tips! No, the 620
is a very smooth motor, very discreet, your neighbors do not
will not be angry when you go to work at dawn!

First turns of the wheels

And there, you have to put your feet up on the toe clips! The big ones
jigs do not say thank you! A little gas, the APTC clutch is
surprisingly soft, but it only bites at the end of

With a correctly tensioned chain, the first one engages
silently. The second, on the other hand, needs to be locked.
firmly, otherwise you will have to go back to neutral!

From the first turns of the wheel, the twin makes its voice heard,
around 3000 rpm the admission emits a very "broap"
sympathetic, when releasing the throttle the admission still grunts
and the engine brake is felt immediately.
The brakes need to be handled with care:
it bites!

In the city

The city is not the cup of tea for such a machine. Handlebars
is both wide and low, it is inevitably found
the height of the mirrors of the cars. At first glance, the brake
front is brutal, the turning radius is catastrophic, and you stay
stuck like a con between two cars while the scooters
and the 125s turn you around. You are unable to maneuver
between two lines … When it starts again, you are constantly hesitating
between a first too short and a second too long:
the gearbox staging is the same as for the 800, only the
crown changes!
In summer, the oil thermometer peaks,
sometimes 120 °…

So, the Monster in town, hell? Not at all! With habit, you
learn the instructions for use, and you run it as quickly as possible
tilting it excessively, tilting to the opposite side
to balance it. Above all, you do not touch the front brake,
and you learn to use this rear brake which,
contrary to what a stubborn rumor says, slows down … And you
you enjoy the efficiency of the engine!

On the road

Undoubtedly the best element to enjoy a
Monster 620. A Ducati is an engine and a cycle part!


Ducati Monster 620While
the first 1000 kilometers, you do not exceed 4500/5000
turns and you feel that something is happening, when unfortunately
you have to break the momentum of the twin by going up a gear.

After the first compulsory service, the running-in
is still not finished, you should not exceed 7,500 laps
before the 2,500 km mark. Most of the time this is good enough, the
maximum torque having already been reached. Do not let you
deceive by the figure of "only 60 horses": the curve of
torque is of the flat type, from 3000 rpm you have
the best of this twin, you turn the handle and it starts again,
you catch yourself following the train of much more powerful motorcycles
without ever forcing!
With summer come the holidays, it will be an opportunity to
traveling with Miss Monster.
Before the start, the bike has 5000 km, I then do an oil change to
leave with fresh oil. And above all, I replace the original pinion
in 15 teeth by a 14 teeth!

So there, the bike is transfigured! The engine is fine
more flexible, the revs are very straightforward,
a brief twist of the handle takes you to
7000 laps in the blink of an eye. Remember, on this diet
which represents half the capacity of a 600
4 cylinders, you are already enjoying the best of this twin at
2 valves!
If necessary, you can extend the acceleration up to
10,500 laps where the breaker will call you to order so

In the meantime, you will have enjoyed the absolutely demonic rumble
of the admission and a frank push which weakens however after
8,500 turns.
Finally, with an operating range of between 3,000 and 10,000 revolutions,
do not complain that this twin lacks extension! At the bottom of 4, you
are at 140 and there are 2 gears to go … On the way back
holidays, the engine is finally free: at 8000
km, it shows an astonishing renewal of vitality, the break-in
is finally over! And yes, that’s how it is, a Ducati twin!

The cycle part

Rigid, the bike turns one block. Ducati resisted
the temptation to overbid, by mounting a rear tire
160 mm on a 4 "1/2 wide wheel. With preload
set very firm, the Monster 620 swallows large
curves with reassuring stability.

The front axle is very precise, the turning radius
aircraft carrier that disabled you earlier in town has
a surprising liveliness.
Obstacles caught on the angle will be swallowed roughly, it is not
it is not uncommon for the handlebars to make a small round trip or even that
the motorcycle takes off from both wheels in certain cases (expansion joints
on a curve for example), but everything remains under control and the machine
stay the course.

In the winding, the very light part-cycle twirls
like a ballerina, and you will sometimes be corked by big
cubes that do not have this agility! You will find anyway
the limits of the Monster 620 if the coating deteriorates: the
Very frequent barbings will remind you
to order,
the fork then becomes excessively hard,
the handling that amazed you becomes frankly worrying
and you surrender your hand while waiting for it to happen…

Another annoying detail: the ground clearance is too limited.
You don’t have to force the Monster much to rub the pots
or the crutch lug! Your "fear band" will not be seen
therefore not on your rear tire, but under your exhausts!
In addition, the front tire, a 120 / 60×17, is not very careful on
angle: at the end of the turn, when the steering suddenly becomes lighter,
it is high time to rectify the situation!

On the highway

The highway is a punishment with a Monster … The "dark" versions
naturally do not offer a screen, if you want to "fart
a stopwatch "you will have to lie down on the can and take cover behind
the counters.

Under these conditions, with a shortened gear ratio, you
will still reach 200 km / h at 9500 revolutions (the
speed, electronics, not affected by modification
because it is on the rear wheel).

In duet

The Monster maintains its reputation as a selfish motorcycle!

However, the two-seater saddle can accommodate a passenger,
preferably light, because one more passenger
of 70 kg will destabilize the motorcycle, giving the unpleasant impression
unusually light steering.

The rear combination is adjustable in preload
and trigger, but the hook wrench that would allow you
to intervene is not part of the on-board equipment … With the pinion
14 teeth, the small twin shows good will, and you
you will still move with vivacity.

Your passenger will "appreciate" the acceleration
always sinful, and diabolical braking. Handles
under the saddle are inaccessible for small sizes: privacy

Either way, even with the best will of the
world, you will not escape the blows of helmets due to the
single engine brake…


But good!

Ducati Monster 620Brake
consequent engine, a pair of 4-piston Brembo
the front, avia hoses, a rear brake that works if you
give the paine to break it in…

I let myself be fooled: the jar of liquid
is very small, its level drops very quickly with wear
platelets! Obviously, they must be filled, the 8 pistons…

The tires

The Pirelli Diablo are the original equipment. (120 / 60×17 and 160 / 60×17)
: an excellent ride, to recommend. They heat up quickly,
hold the road on fat and wet…

At the end of the life of the rear tire, I drove a whole
day in the rain, without loss of grip or control.
The wear indicators had been reached for a few days…
However, at this stage, it degrades to
eye view.

I replaced it at 6500 km, but it was starting
to crumble; 6000 km
would have been a more reasonable deadline.

Replaced on vacation, no Pirelli on site, I chose a
BT20, which has 4000
km today. He’s doing very well too! The regulars
of Ducati recommend to mount a 120 / 70×17 at the front, more progressive
to the setting on the angle.

Revisions, maintenance

The angry things … Ducati does not charge for the provision
of the new motorcycle, but you will pay 260 € for a first
compulsory visit at 1000km.

Then, 362 € for an overhaul at 10,000 km or 1 year,
and 550 € for an overhaul at 20,000 km or 2 years (including
this will drain the fork and replace the belts of the
distribution). I had an oil change before going on vacation, the filter
oil costs ten euros at Ducati.

Consumption is very reasonable, even when scouring
like a pig, you will rarely exceed 6 liters per 100 and
you will have a good laugh when your friends tell you that you have done
between 8 and 10 liters with their gear!
Even if the tank is rather tight,
with 14 liters, you will be able to travel 200 km before seeing it light up
the reserve indicator (no tap).
Used mainly in town, on the other hand, you will refuel at
from 160 km.

You will finally appreciate durable suspensions, an exhaust
These elements will last the life of the motorcycle, users
Japanese women will unfortunately not be able to say the same. In 1 year,
even with 4 months spent outdoors, even with a week
vacation where the motorcycle slept in the rain every night,
electricity has never played tricks on me.

The mechanics are very accessible, the tank
is mounted on a hinge, it tilts without tools and
provides access to the air filter, fuses, battery
and the rear cylinder (distribution inspection hatches).

Strong points Weak points
  • ease of use
  • timeless line
  • quality equipment
  • overall robustness
  • original anti-theft protection
  • mediocre suspensions if the road is too
  • no storage, nowhere, do not look!
  • somewhat limited duo
  • sale price and maintenance

The opinion of the one who appreciated:

My brother, used to his 500 GPZ, came back down
with the banana, in me
saying "So that’s what we call an internal combustion engine!"

The opinion of the one who does not like:

A friend who rides a Pan European, "I can sit on it,
to see
how is a mini-motorbike? "

An essay by Garfield

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