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Ducati Monster 821, Aprilia Shiver, BMW F 800 R in comparison test

Asphalt sympathizers

Even if there is no gray in the photo: the European mid-range two-cylinder models shown love the country road. Which one goes to the top of the scoring? And which one goes to the heart? Warning: This comparison test contains traces of personal opinion.

S.In the tough world of strictly fact-based quality motorcycle journalism, ympathy and antipathy have at best a marginal place. Acceleration, engine characteristics, steering behavior, ergonomics, braking distance, in short: the 1000 points, that is MOTORRAD’s purity law. Together, the test professional and the editor judge strictly according to this scheme, with a lofty goal: to achieve the greatest possible objectivity in the evaluation of all relevant categories. After all, where would we end up if the rose-colored glasses for the beautiful Italian woman with a melodious name led to overlooking a trampled strut, absurd drinking clothes or dubious quality, just to name a few examples?

Ducati Monster 821, Aprilia Shiver, BMW F 800 R in comparison test

Asphalt sympathizers

Shiver 900 and the update of the monsters, the monstrous shouldn’t happen. The Shiver 900 has, as the model name suggests, increased displacement. A stroke that has been extended by eleven millimeters gives the 90-degree V-engine, with the bore unchanged, now 896 cubic meters and thus in fact considerably more pressure over the entire speed range. And to achieve (almost) the unchanged rated power of 95 hp – earlier 750s owed a few nags too much for the homologated power. On the country road, the Aprilia is superbly motorized, the unit pushes extremely meaty from the lowest rev range, enables full, endorphin-containing acceleration without turning horror. The bassy, ​​thunderous, snotty sound from the old-school under-seat exhaust fits perfectly. The drive exudes full-size American muscle bike flair, supplemented by revving – it really gets into your blood. Real progress also in terms of throttle response, which compared to earlier (the 750 was the first production motorcycle with ride-by-wire in 2007) is very smooth, jerk-free and finely linear thanks to all three riding modes. An extremely drivable, characterful, and for a V2 also extremely smooth-running engine.

Such charm is lacking in the 798 cubic row twosome from Spandau. The twin ignites unconventionally at a distance of 360 degrees, sounds tinny, technocratic like the big boxer and not necessarily subtle for a Euro 4 motorcycle. It vibrates more strongly and at a more unpleasant frequency from medium-high speeds. Objectively, however, despite the rather poor entry into the rev range in this comparison field, the longer-stroke drive has to be granted good torque, revving, powerful top performance and surgically correct throttle response. Neither of them give each other anything at top speed, but the measured values ​​actually show a slightly better acceleration for the F 800 R. Reasons? Propere 225 kilograms of ready-to-drive press something on the performance, the Shiver is not one of the lightest in its class. So the bottom line is motor stalemate.

Unfortunately, it is the other way around with the Shiver 900. Much shorter wheelbase (1465 millimeters) suggests agile handling, which, however, only wanted to adjust to a limited extent on the test drive. Here, too, the key lies in the tire: Dunlop’s Sportmax Qualifier is a wooden rolling, diffuse feedback, ancient rubber, especially compared to the Pirelli Angel ST, which was partly mounted on earlier 750s. In addition, the rear of the 180 is stretched on an extra-wide six-inch rim (instead of the usual 5.5 inches), which leads to an extremely flat contour that hinders turning. Punished with this tire, the Shiver resists at the entrance to the curve, demands concentrated guidance in connection with a noticeably high center of gravity (underseat exhausts are not by chance out of fashion) – that costs driving pleasure and points.

It helps to conjure up improvements by adjusting the suspension: the rebound stage of the shock absorber of the test machine was almost completely closed, which resulted in too tough rebound of the rear. Opening it on 15 out of 34 clicks eliminated the staggering response to impulses in an inclined position. However, one peculiarity of the fork could not be remedied: it often reaches its final progression during normal driving. Not because of slack springs, but apparently because of an insufficient air cushion, so it works hydraulically "we block", does not use all of its travel. In other words: The Shiver is a bit high at the front, the balance is not quite right. Apart from this point of criticism, the suspension elements made a good impression with their accurate response, appropriately sporty spring rate and smooth damping behavior.

The fork of the F 800 R also offers a fine response, as well as good comfort. However, the non-adjustable part is underdamped, resulting in a lot of movement from the front at a brisk pace. At the back, however, the surcharge works "small" ESA to the fullest satisfaction. "Comfort", "normal", "Sports" – The rebound adjustment is adjusted at the push of a button on the left end of the handlebar – and that works both objectively and subjectively great. The Shiver’s first tires hailed the chassis section, here too the BMW is logically ahead, which in turn throws the Aprilia out of the race in view of the well-known outstanding everyday properties of the F 800 R (more on that in a moment) . Hopes rest on the 821 Stripe.

Apparently not too much has changed in the course of the Euro 4 renovation. No optical changes, the performance remains the same with measured 107 HP, but Ducati homologated 109 horses instead of 112. The obligatory reflectors are on the fork legs – done. Anyone who hoped that the medium-sized Bologna Roadster would receive the larger 937 L-Twin from Hypermotard and Co. in the course of the facelift would be mistaken, but at the same time reassured. Because even in Euro 4 garb, the 821 Testastretta remains a wonderful country road sports engine, a powerful, hungry, emotionally charged cream unit. Below the hard-running Desmo-Twin attacks anything but weak-chested, leaving only a small gap to the beefy Aprilia. Extreme revving as well as the considerable plus in top performance more than make up for this minimal deficit from around 7000 turns. In addition, the unit roars unabashedly to chubby through the speed ladder, which fans are sure to find good. It is remarkable that this exhaust received the green light when it was typed. Compared to the first 821, Ducati programmed the throttle response to be less gimmicky, more linear, so that the 821, if you add up the superior performance, the good clutch and the decent transmission (the latter as with all test candidates), wins the engine chapter. Hooray!

Monster driving behavior? Bad memories of the 2015 Alpine Masters are awakened, where an 821 Stripe just didn’t want to find a line despite the fully adjustable fork (and racing stripes). The opposite is the case with this test machine. Here, too, the screwdriver needs to be brought into the stop and the front pressure stage closed with a few clicks (suggestion: 5 of 17 open), this calms the front, especially on the brakes. Then the Stripe circles playfully and easily, precisely, neutral and stable, conveys the most binding driving experience in this trio. The fork’s response and damping behavior are great, the rear shock absorber parries tightly, the still good Diablo Rosso II gives a lot of feedback and sticks, the lean angle is even better than that of the Aprilia. In short: The Monster not only has the most powerful engine, but also the best chassis. But their ergonomics remain somewhat special: wide handlebars far forward, tight seat hollow, high notches and correspondingly narrow knee angles. As always typical monsters and tends to be more suitable for smaller ones. Really annoying, however, are the unspeakably attached pillion pegs, whose wide arms are constantly in the way. Model maintenance would have been nice here.

thanks to the "tough" Drive and chassis values, the Monster stays at striking distance when the F 800 R is in "give way" Everyday chapter known mercilessly stands out: excellent passenger ergonomics, fabulous equipment (adjustable levers, main stand, luggage rack, comprehensive on-board computer, etc.), payload, range – everything is there, no weaknesses. The Shiver is not necessarily bad here, the Monster is actually quite good, but the F 800 R is outstanding for a roadster. This is how it is with motorcycles designed for 1000-point utility value. Luggage racks are not sexy, but they are practical.

Ultimately, the decision is made with the brakes and electronics. All roadsters decelerate vehemently with little effort, with slight advantages for Ducati. Long free travel in the lever and therefore less than perfect controllability cost BMW important meters. The Shiver’s ABS, which can be switched off, regulates extremely late – watch out, stop! With its two-stage anti-lock device as well as the excellent eight-stage traction control, the Monster 821 Stripe collects the decisive points, especially since it is only marginally worse off than the F 800 R in terms of costs thanks to its lower consumption.

And with that it is done. Strictly objective and without any fuss (word of honor!), The 821 Stripe with Desmo-Power, this time really first-class chassis performance (and racing stripes) just before the white-blue. For the sake of fairness, however, it should be added: The 800 R offers the better price-performance ratio because it is even lavishly equipped and Cheaper than the 821 Stripe, which is not quite cheap at almost 12,000 euros. But the winner of the category is – Tusch! – Shiver 900, by far the cheapest motorcycle in this field. Which then puts the tire question into perspective: if you treat yourself to a new set of rubbers for the first inspection, you still won’t break the 9,000 euros with the Shiver. A follow-up test with a different tire will therefore follow soon.

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