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 details. Accessible A2

October 2, 1992: at the Cologne Motor Show, under the eyes of a stunned and incredulous crowd, Ducati presents il Mostro to the whole world. It would change its name a bit later, but this monster, which takes the form of a minimalist and aggressive machine, embodies a form of motorcycling minimalism and essentialism. Under the pencil line of Miguel Galluzzi: a handlebar, two wheels, a little mouth and a nice engine, what more could you ask for ?


Nothing, in fact and especially not unnecessary equipment or excess weight, synonymous with hindrance to pleasure. In the form of a carburetor 900, of modest power (67 hp) and at a high price (identical to that of a contemporary Honda 900 CBR, much more sophisticated and efficient!), Il Mostro will embody a new genre: that of the roadster capable of delivering pure and slightly sporty sensations.

The Monster will then be widely available, from 400 to 1200 cm3, air-cooled then liquid, with or without single-sided, in a high-end version or in a dark entry-level version. Whether it is available to young drivers or borrows its engine from the Superbike of the day, the Monster has become a myth. And a myth all the more interesting because it is synonymous with a beautiful package of steaks in the cash drawer of the factory of Borgo Panigale, in the suburbs of Bologna.

For six months, times had become a little hard for the Ducati 821, which appeared in 2013. Admittedly, it has long played the role of access machine, in the shadow of the sulphurous, explosive and somewhat delicate 1200. But Here it is: for six months, therefore, it is the new Monster 797, with its air-cooled Scrambler engine, which was in charge of bringing new customers into the Ducati Stores..

The Monster 821 was starting to have a blast despite the Dark version, so Ducati took care of it..

Note that the machine, although making more than 70 KW in free version, may be available for A2 licenses: just ask when ordering. Then, two years later, when unlocking, it will remain limited to 94 hp and will not be able to access its full power..


You have to play the game of 7 errors a bit to be sure of being in the presence of this new vintage of Monster 821. So, for 2018, the beauty has: a new headlight, a new exhaust, new support plates. feet and a new saddle shell, more indented at the rear. There is also a return to the reservoir attachment, a ski boot closing hinge, as on the original Mostro.

Ducati Monster 821 sideways

As we can see, nothing radically different. At the same time, the Monster is an iconic machine, immediately identifiable and it was not necessarily necessary to want to reinvent the wheel! Too bad the integration of the hoses on the left side did not receive a little more care, because otherwise it was a kind of faultless.

Oh yes: the colors! Red is the "access" model, insofar as opting for black or yellow, a historic color of the Monster and which is making its return to the color chart, will require an extension of € 200.

Ducati has provided some accessories for this bike: small windscreen, carbon front fender, Termignoni dual-outlet exhaust, some parts machined in the mass (protection parts, mirrors, levers, etc.), a tank bag and a lower saddle, at 765 mm.

Rear view Ducati Monster 821

In the saddle

Nice attention that this low saddle, because the original, the Monster 821 already offers two saddle heights (785 and 810 mm, thanks to a set of cleats). The machine is easy to handle, the saddle and the tank being thin at the crotch.

Once on board, we discover another evolution of this 2018 vintage: the dashboard, now entrusted to a color TFT panel. It incorporates new information, such as the gear engaged indicator and a fuel gauge. The on-board computer is complete: two trips, range, average and instantaneous consumption, air and water temperature, clock, driving time.

The dashboard offers three different display modes, depending on whether one has opted for one of the three maps: Urban (75 hp), Touring and Sport (109 hp in both cases, with a more direct response of accelerator in Sport). Each mode comes with its own level of ABS (there are 3) and traction control (there are 8).

This dashboard is also pre-equipped to receive the DMS, the Ducati Multimedia System. Want to know who is calling you or the title of the playlist you are listening to? It’s possible !

Ducati Monster 821 on the road

Engine and transmission

With Euro 4, the Monster 821 lost a little performance, but that’s okay at all because there are still 109 horsepower at 9,250 rpm and 86 Nm of torque at 7,750 rpm.

The gearbox is six-speed, with a cable control and a non-adjustable lever. New: Ducati offers an up & down shifter on this machine. It is offered as an option and was not fitted to our test machines.

In the city

For any city, we made an entry and an exit in Rimini during rush hour, which is nicer than to fade a Creteil / Aubervilliers, you will agree.

Under these circumstances, the Monster 821 is doing quite well and that’s a good thing as this machine is aiming for some versatility. Already, we forget the days of the Ducati in general and the Monster in particular, which did not steer much better than a trawler with its net…. There, it turns without great difficulty. Then, the engine is flexible, because it picks up on the boulevards a little below 3000 rpm at 50 km / h in fourth gear and it is even smoother with the "urban" mode selected. The controls are generally smooth so everything is fine. On the other hand, no space under the saddle even to put even a small lock. On the other hand there is a USB port under the saddle to recharge what you want ….

Ducati Monster 821 in town

On highways and main roads

Not much was done on this test, but the riding position is tilted a bit forward and allows for a little bit of wind control. The seat is quite comfortable, with a saddle that does not bruise the bedrock and a rear shock absorber, a bit stiff but never brittle. Suddenly, we could scroll the kilometers in a monotonous way, our mind elsewhere, when suddenly we remember: on October 2, 1992, Il Mostro was just an ode to pleasure. Quick, let’s change biotope !

Ducati Monster 821 on motorway

On departmental

With a riding position that allows you to easily form one body with the motorcycle, (on this subject, the new footrest plates finally allow you to drive without having your right leg duck-like that had polio! Even, if, suddenly, with the leg better tucked in, large riders may have the knee rubbing a little against the lower anchor point of the frame), with a relatively contained weight, with a torquey engine, we say to ourselves that we are standing there the three main ingredients to have fun on a bendy road.

And that’s the case ! Sure, the power is there, well calibrated, but we don’t get overwhelmed either. You might as well put the mapping in Sport mode right away, as was quickly the case during this test, and keep it that way.

Ducati Monster 821 in virolos

Suddenly, when the conditions are right (good weather, good road, good humor), we rediscover the original spirit of the Mostro, with this rare and delicate feeling that man and machine are one. It bends to your desires, without opposing resistance, we move forward, carried by the couple and the deep sound of V2. This is real pleasure, even the absolute pleasure of riding a motorcycle.

However, the Monster 821, like all mid-capacity roadsters, is not a thin knife either. A little questionable asphalt, bumps, a little too much improvisation and the spell is broken. Then remains a light and responsive machine, which is already not bad.

Ducati Monster 821 on departmental


Classic, here: inverted front fork 43 mm in diameter and 130 mm of travel, of course, but without possible adjustments. At the rear, the mono-shock stretches over 140mm and has the advantage of being adjustable in preload. As set on our test bikes, the suspensions had a little bit of a mismatch between a softer front end than a rear. Nothing dramatic given the target (bikers who do not yet have a deep experience and a certain requirement on the bike), but enough to give a little hand on the small road to the attack. The tires are the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso III.

Ducati Monster 821 from above


At first it feels like despite the Brembo M4-32 radial princes and 320mm rotors, the bite is nothing out of the ordinary. And then you remember that when Ducati starts to bite, it can be really, really bite. So, given the target, again, it does, since the power is not at fault, as long as you pull the lever a little more. A few kilometers later, once we saw that the fork was a bit soft in compression and that this destabilizes the bike a bit on the initial phases of heavy braking, we say to ourselves that all this is coherent, in do. On the other hand, in all cases, the rear brake is really timid. A constant on the Monster, however. ABS has the merit of not being triggered easily.

ABS braking

Comfort and duo

No duet on this test and we suspect that this will not be the first quality of the machine. On the other hand, the saddle is comfortable and the Monster 821 is just as comfortable, since our route was still, on the whole, very poorly paved, this shows that comfort is a quality of the bike..

Consumption / autonomy

At the end of our walk, the average consumption indicator showed 6.0 l / 100, which is not bad at all because we rarely passed the sixth! With 16.5 liters in the tank, the range exceeds 280 kilometers, which is very good for the category..

Sweet life for the Ducati Monster 821


It has a name, a look, a story. Riding a Monster, somewhere, is choosing a legendary machine. Wedged between the 797 and the 1200, the Monster 821 evolves smoothly, but that subtlety doesn’t make it any less attractive. State-of-the-art electronics, color dashboard, revised ergonomics: all of this is going in the right direction.

The only thing is: the mid-size roadster segment is extremely competitive. For 3000 € less, the Aprilia Shiver 900 is a little less sporty in its presentation, but it relies on a very torquey and super nice V2 and does not lose points on the electronics or dashboard. The Kawasaki Z900 and Yamaha MT-09 are formidable competitors and the Triumph 765 Street Triple will satisfy those looking for a sparkling roadster, for 10,300 euros in R version, with comparable equipment.

So yes, the Monster, like Will Smith, is a legend. A legend that is priced a bit expensive…. which leads us to think that the shifter, so vaunted by Ducati, could have been part of the standard equipment.

Strong points

  • Nice line
  • Pleasant, flexible, lively, torquey engine
  • 25 years: it’s a piece of history !
  • Very good comfort
  • Complete dashboard
  • State-of-the-art electronics
  • New footrests: finally !
  • A2 license compatible !

Weak points

  • We don’t see anything in the retro
  • disagreement of suspensions
  • Unsightly hoses left side
  • Price a tad high in the category
  • Shy rear brake
  • Shifter no series

Ducati Monster 821 technical sheet

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: A 160-kilometer loop in the Apennines, west of Rimini (Italy), mainly on small bumpy mountain roads
  • Motorcycle mileage: 200 km
  • Problem encountered: the asphalt would have to be redone because it’s super slippery over there !

Competition: Aprilia 900 Shiver, Kawasaki Z900, Triumph Street Triple 765, Yamaha MT-09

The Ducati Monster 821 video test

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