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Ducati Monster 1200 R in the top test

Best monster ever?

More power, more chassis, more bling-bling and a racing stripe – the Ducati Monster 1200 R is the most powerful and most expensive monster. But is she also the best monster ever? The top test clarifies that and more.

D.ucati Monster – that has stood for fine naked bike construction from Bologna for almost a quarter of a century. Born out of the sheer necessity of putting a roadster on its wheels with manageable effort, the success of which depends no less than the survival of the factory, “il Mostro” quickly became a mainstay of Ducati. Soon an icon. The recipe is as simple as that: an air-cooled, desmodromic-controlled L-Twin, a tubular space frame, both of which are already there, humpback tank on top, slim rear end – done. Countless other variants have since carried this formula into almost all displacement and performance classes. But the monsters were forced to evolve soon after they were conceived, because at least since Darwin we have known that those who cannot or do not want to adapt to a changing environment share the fate of dinosaurs or the dodo. “Survival of the fittest” is the motto, especially when wrestling in the prestigious Super Nakeds market. Air-cooled engines are just as much history for the naked Reds as the dry clutch rattling blissfully on in their grave.

Ducati Monster 1200 R in the top test

Best monster ever?

Monster 1200 R. R like top model: 160 hp, 210 kilos (factory information), Euro 4, 18,390 euros.

The most important changes to the engine compared to the Monster 1200 S: larger throttle valve diameter (56 instead of 53 millimeters), increased compression (13 instead of 12.5 to 1), thicker exhaust manifolds (58 instead of 50 millimeters) and two liters more exhaust volume. The chassis components are basically the same, fully adjustable Ohlins parts as on the 1200 S, but the longer fork and strut raise the vehicle level overall. After all, the Ducati Monster 1200 R rolls on a rear tire that is 200 mm wide instead of the 190 mm standard in its class. The hyper-sporty Supercorsa SP replaces the much more civilian Diablo Rosso 2. Visually, a bikini cockpit fairing and the new, slimmer rear underline the R-claim, and racing stripes bring enormous speed even when stationary.

Ducati Monster 1200 R is quieter, but not quiet

Just vain courtship? Or does the Ducati Monster 1200 R have what it takes to claw its way to the top of the fast naked? Not an easy task given the high power density of this class. The much cheaper Monster 1200 S had to keep a respectful distance there. And that, we remember, in spite of noteworthy qualities. It presented itself as an extremely potent, but primarily very balanced power naked. A rigid chassis, neutral and precise, wonderful braking performance, modern control electronics and a lot of smack across the entire speed range. Those were and are the strengths of the 1200 S. Only the artificially brisk throttle response, the exaggeratedly riotous snapping off when applying the gas, it has to be reproached. This may come across as sporty at first, but it makes fast driving more difficult simply and unnecessarily.

Right here, and with it to the point, the Ducati engineers have made great progress. In the course of the changeover to the strictter noise and emissions regulations, they finally dictated an exemplary throttle response to the EPROM for the 1198 cubic centimeter Testastretta L-Twin. While the throttle potentiometer is a bit at war with the other Monster 1200s, the Ducati Monster 1200 R has an intuitive, organic connection to the engine room from the first few meters, in all three mapping modes. This is pleasantly noticeable at every single curve apex. Sport is now also mobile for non-Iannones, here the twin reacts greedy and lively to command, simply hangs on the gas. The touring fashion is a bit more dignified, more subtle, but still direct. Which makes the comparatively tough urban mode, throttled to 108 hp, which the city has previously gratefully accepted, now somewhat superfluous. In any case, the green cure has not harmed the engine’s manners, on the contrary. Any fears regarding sound can also be dispelled. Of course, the Ducati Monster 1200 R has become a little quieter, but by no means quiet. While its Euro 3 sisters are still able to delight the world with their admittedly ingenious, but rather intolerable walrus tubes, the Monster R now sounds socially acceptable and dull below, but still hard and angry above.

What now? 149 hp, 152 hp or 160 hp?

Top performance? As expected, the popometer registers the promised plus of punch in the upper speed range when storming the pass. But the Ducati Monster 1200 R doesn’t unpack the really big hammer. Wait a minute, we’re talking about 160 hp? A look at the vehicle registration document brings clarity. Unlike the prospectus, 152 Cavalli are noted here, we know this practice from Ducati. The test stand then certifies around 149 horses on the rear wheel. So the gap to the measured 143 PS of the Monster S, which is of course still allowed to exhaust according to EU 3, shrinks quite a bit. The R also only outperforms its sister at around 7,500 turns. Below that, the S is always a few horsepower ahead, and it also has the nicer torque curve.

R for relatively modest progress? As for the nit-counting performance data, maybe. But the improved manners of the revised two-cylinder still make it a much better drive. Driveability stands out. And taken in isolation, the performance deserves the rating "heavy" anyway. In view of so much pressure, revving and running smoothness, the desire for more should only arise on the racetrack or at the regulars’ table. However, the desire for an automatic switch would be justified. Because they not only make sense with sports motorcycles and increase driving pleasure immensely. The Ducati Monster 1200 R would suit the Ducati Monster 1200 R as well.

Monster 1200 R and Supercorsa SP harmonize

No wishes remain unfulfilled but, perhaps more importantly, when it comes to driving behavior. Even the Monster 1200 S is a toy in the best sense of the word on country roads, without any noteworthy chassis deficits. The Ducati Monster 1200 R drives even better, even sharper. Pirelli’s Supercorsa SP is primarily responsible for this. You might think that a hypersport tire on a naked bike, top model or not, is a bit too much of a good thing. And maybe image reasons also played a role in the choice of the rubber, after all, the tire must also meet the R-claim according to Kapelle.

But Monster 1200 R and Supercorsa SP harmonize really well. It is difficult not to fall into worn-out sentences. Be that as it may: precise and willing turn-in, light-footed handling, high neutrality, excellent feedback and unbelievable grip, this is what the Monster, soled with Supercorsa SP, offers. The test team particularly liked the almost complete lack of righting moment when braking. Sure, the operating temperature of such a tire needs to be reached first, but the warm-up behavior is transparent and predictable. In other words: the tire tells you when there is grip. Incidentally, the lush 200 mm width of the rear tire does not have a negative effect on handling. It remains to be seen whether it really needed lifting the vehicle and the associated increased lean angle off the racetrack.

But there is no question about the flawless functionality of the Ohlins chassis parts on the Ducati Monster 1200 R. The 48-millimeter upside-down fork with titanium nitride-coated dip tubes and the shock absorber with “piggyback” damper look classy, ​​especially but work nobly. The response is good, waves and impacts are smoothly dampened. At the front, it is advisable to open the pressure level a few clicks from the factory setting, which noticeably improves responsiveness and comfort without compromising stability and precision. As befits fine components, the dampers have a wide adjustment range. Useful suggestions from Ducati for setting the suspension can be found under suspension adjustment. The standard steering damper can, be careful, close almost completely. Kickback is almost always an issue with such powerful naked bikes, which is why it is a really useful bonus.

Traction control is not a spoilsport

The brakes on the Ducati Monster 1200 R work at the same high level as the chassis. 330 millimeter discs at the front, one-piece Brembo M50 calipers and radial pump, as used on the Panigale and Monster 1200 S, leave nothing to be desired open. The pressure point is crisp, the controllability excellent and the achievable delay brute. The ABS, which can be switched off, offers three levels and controls with great sensitivity. At level 1, without detection of the rear wheel lifting, the control intervention takes place very late. The anti-lock device does not intervene too early on the other two levels either, but the promised rollover detection allows for huge stoppies. We think: if the ABS already offers different modes, the most defensive one would have to keep the rear wheel reliably on the ground in any case, in order to guarantee maximum safety during the panic braking. Because the control behavior at level 3 appears a little more harmonious than at level 2, and because the average delay is almost identical, this is recommended in everyday life. Risk-conscious sports drivers can let off steam in level 1.

The traction control, part of the Ducati Safety Pack, is one of the best on the market. Adjustable in eight levels, it makes beginners and racers equally happy. The system manages the balancing act of never intervening too early or in a disruptive manner with courageous gasping and still being reliably on the spot. That creates enormous trust. The intervention is initially carried out by adjusting the ignition angle and so gently that the flashing warning in the cockpit is absolutely necessary. In addition, the traction control is not a spoilsport and allows courageous powerwheelies. That, in turn, looks great on the Ducati Monster 1200 R..

What else was there? The seating position is basically the same as with all current monsters, so in a nutshell and for the sake of completeness, ticked off: upright, sporty, slightly forward, medium-wide handlebars. Exactly right for the purpose, only because of the higher chassis with a noticeably increased seat height. This is no longer adjustable, but a lower bench is available as an accessory. The back bench is not only chic to look at, but also reasonable for a Sunday morning excursion for two. It is narrow and tight, but has enough space and a tolerable knee angle. Like all TFT displays, the Ducati Monster 1200 R also reflects in the sunlight, but is otherwise really nice to look at and provides very comprehensive information. About the continued low average consumption of less than five liters, which does not immediately increase into astronomical terms, even if it should go a little faster. Finally, it should be noted that minor processing defects, as they were still found here and there with the first water monsters, are no longer an issue, so the appearance at least relativizes the steep purchase price.

Suspension adjustment in the test

Of course, the chassis of the Ducati Monster 1200 R is fully adjustable, the suggestions from the factory are shown here. In contrast to some cheap hardware, the components offer a wide setting range that works linearly over the entire spectrum. The standard setup fits well for the sporty solo ride, only the front pressure stage acts a bit tight, costs response and comfort. It is therefore advisable to open them a little according to your own preferences. Comfort-oriented drivers can open the compression and rebound stages of the fork wide without the vehicle getting out of hand. As always, it is advisable to put a little more tension on the rear for pillion rides.


default Road sport Comfort Track
Pressure level 10 K of 28 K 10 K of 28 K 26 K out of 28 K 6 K by 28 K
Rebound 14 K out of 29 K 12 K out of 29 K 29 K by 29 K 8 K out of 29 K
preload 9 U from 15 U 10 U from 15 U 9 U from 15 U 11 U from 15 U
Steering damper 6 K out of 20 K 6 K out of 20 K 6 K by 20 K 6 K by 20 K


default Road sport Comfort Track
Pressure level 14 K out of 19 K 12 K by 19 K 19 K of 19 K 10 K of 19 K
Rebound 16 K by 44 K 15 K out of 44 K 16 K by 44 K 12 K out of 44 K
preload 12 mm 13 mm 12 mm 16 mm

Driving mode setting

default Road sport Comfort
fashion Sports trip Urban
SECTION 1 of 3 2 of 3 3 of 3
Traction control 3 of 8 4 of 8 6 of 8
Engine tuning high medium low

MOTORCYCLE measurements

Three times Monster 1200, one comment in advance: All of them have so much punch in the middle that hardly anyone should complain about a performance deficit. Nevertheless: The plus of the Ducati Monster 1200 R compared to the S is quite manageable. It is difficult to say to what extent Euro 4 will play a role. Much more important in everyday life: the new engine has significantly better responsiveness and is therefore enormously easier to drive.


Top speed * 255 km / h
0-100 km / h 3.2 sec
0-140 km / h 5.0 sec
0-200 km / h 9.0 sec
60-100 km / h 3.4 sec
100-140 km / h 3.3 sec
140-180 km / h 3.7 sec
Speedometer deviation
Effective (display 50/100) 48/97 km / h
Tachometer deviation
Display red area 10,500 rpm
Effectively 10,400 rpm

Power on the crankshaft. Measurements on Dynojet roller test stand 250, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation ± 5%.


Country road 4.9 l / 100 km
At 130 km / h 5.1 l / 100 km
Theor. Reach country road 357 km
Fuel type Great

Dimensions + weights

L / W / H 2150/910/1210 mm
Seat height 830 mm
Handlebar height 1030 mm
Turning circle 6700 mm
Weight with a full tank 212 kg
Payload 178 kg
Wheel load distribution v / h 49.5 / 50.5%


Transmission measurements of the Ducati Monster 1200 R.


Brake measurement from 100 km / h. Mode 1: 38.6 m, mode 3: 40.6 m (remaining speed 22.2 km / h).

Long wheelbase, powerful hardware, the bottom line is a top braking performance with the Ducati Monster 1200 R. The enormous deceleration is also achieved thanks to the very late and sensitive ABS. However, a mode in which the rear wheel is reliably prevented from lifting under normal conditions would be desirable. So it is up to the driver to prevent the rollover.



maximum number of points Ducati Monster 1200 R
Draft 40 36
acceleration 40 34
Top speed 30th 24
Engine characteristics 30th 25th
Responsiveness 20th 15th
Load change 20th 14th
Smoothness 20th 12th
coupling 10 8th
circuit 20th 11
Gear ratio 10 9
Start 10 7th
total 250 195

Pulling power, acceleration, top speed are on their own top, but are hardly above the level of the Monster S. In terms of responsiveness and smoothness, the Ducati Monster 1200 R can clearly improve. Although the clutch requires a lot of manual force, it can be precisely metered and has a good anti-hopping function. The transmission is typical Ducati: dry, hard, binding. The idle search turns out to be quite tricky, and between levels five and six must be switched cleanly. An automatic gearshift would be a nice bonus.

landing gear

maximum number of points
Ducati Monster 1200 R
Handiness 40 30th
Stability in turns 40 32
Steering behavior 40 32
feedback 10 9
Inclined position 20th 19th
Straight-line stability 20th 17th
Suspension tuning in front 20th 16
Chassis set-up at the rear 20th 16
Adjustment options undercarriage 10 6th
Suspension comfort 10 6th
Driving behavior with a passenger 20th 12th

In terms of driving behavior, the Ducati Monster 1200 R delivers an impeccable performance. Handy, willing, neutral, that’s how the top monster drives. Much of it, especially the very good feedback, is due to the Pirelli Supercorsa SP, which, however, wants to be brought up to temperature on country roads. Then the lean angle can hardly be explored. The spring elements also work at the top level and can also be completely adapted to the needs of the driver. If you are not afraid of the wrench, you can adjust everything from racetrack to comfort.

everyday life

maximum number of points
Ducati Monster 1200 R
Ergonomics driver 40 27
Ergonomics pillion 20th 10
Windbreak 20th 1
view 20th 12th
light 20th 14th
Furnishing 30th 21st
Handling / maintenance 30th 18th
Luggage storage 10 1
Payload 10 4th
Tidy 30th 22nd
processing 20th 16

Everyday life is not necessarily the best discipline the Ducati Monster 1200 R, but it works quite well without stressing too much. Overall, the ergonomics are rather sporty, even more so for the pillion passenger than for the pilot. Wind protection, luggage storage and payload are rather marginal. On the plus side, there are decent equipment, good instrumentation, full range and, after initial difficulties, now fully satisfactory workmanship.


maximum number of points
Ducati Monster 1200 R
Braking effect 40 34
Brake metering 30th 27
Braking with a passenger / fading 20th 12th
Righting moment when braking 10 8th
ABS function 20th 13
Handlebar slapping 20th 15th
Ground clearance 10 7th

The Ducati Monster 1200 R can brake. Damn good actually. Effect and controllability are right at the forefront, there is almost no installation moment. The ABS regulates late and sensitively, but lets the rear wheel take off. The steering damper reliably prevents the handlebars from shaking when accelerating, and the ground clearance is very good for a naked thanks to the raised level.


maximum number of points
Ducati Monster 1200 R
guarantee 30th 17th
Consumption (country road) 30th 20th
Inspection costs 20th 18th
Maintenance costs 20th 6th

Class-standard two-year guarantee, very low consumption, rather cheap inspection costs – the cost chapter doesn’t look too bad. Other Power Nakeds are even more expensive to maintain.

Overall rating

maximum number of points
Ducati Monster 1200 R
Overall rating 1000 713
Price-performance note 1.0 (top grade) 2.6

Oops! The Ducati Monster 1200 R scores 713 points, which unfortunately also applies to the purchase price. The bottom line is a halfway conciliatory 2.6.


It goes without saying that the Ducati Monster 1200 R is the best monster of all time. But not superlatives, but their balance makes them so good. The Euro 4 engine trumps with punch, fine manners and enormous driveability. The driving behavior was already top-notch, and thanks to the super-sporty tires, it is a tad sharper. This makes the 1200 R fit for the Super Naked Showdown 2016. Just a special offer, it is not.

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Data Ducati Monster 1200 R

23 Pictures

Pictures: Ducati Monster 1200 R in the top test

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Offers and price comparison for Ducati Monster 1200 R in Germany

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The Ducati Monster 1200R offers a unique driving experience.

The Ducati Monster 1200 R is the right choice for those who want the best and sportiest naked model from the Italians and still do not want to forego balanced rideability. The price is higher, but the driving experience is also unique. Both the used market and the range of new vehicles offer a fine selection. Here is a price overview of the current range of Ducati Monster 1200 R in Germany.

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