Zonko’s attack on the Ducati Monster 1200 R

Zonko’s attack on the Ducati Monster 1200 R

Monster love

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When Ducati rolled out the first monster in 1992, an awesome murmur went through the world. 23 years later, the monster is still around: the Ducati Monster 1200 R with an enormous 160 hp and killer-thick manifold pipes.

Of course it was embarrassing. I was lying on the cool asphalt, the brand new monster next to me. By an extremely lucky stroke of fate, I had the first D.ucati monsters registered in Europe were allowed to take hold directly from the Ducati plant in Bologna, and one day later the specter was over. Madness. Outrage. Barbarism. But it all happened so quickly.

Zonko’s attack on the Ducati Monster 1200 R

Monster love

Well done. What a defeat!

Blessed with this knowledge, I briskly reduced the gas and landed. So far so good. The only devastating thing was that I had to drop anchor right away because the sense of sight reported a detonation alarm because of the rapidly approaching curb with a narrow strip of green and the house wall towering behind it.

Under normal circumstances, the Brembos would have easily defused the situation, but the combination of cold front tires and abruptly harsh brake bite meant that the front smeared away in a flash and I turned over the asphalt like a synchronized swimmer next to the Ducati Monster. Well done. What a defeat! I didn’t have a scratch myself, but due to shame my insanely dashing skull was the color of the unfortunately badly battered monster tank.

The prehistoric monster had already fascinated me in 1992

That was in 2003. At that time, Ducati launched the air-cooled 1000 cc monster with a 992 cc two-valve engine and dual ignition (84 hp and 84 Nm). And now – twelve years later – I should get my second chance. Count Seitzmo had arranged everything in Bologna, the Ducati Monster 1200 R was waiting for me in the factory in Borgo Panigale. A dream! Ducati, I’m coming!

The prehistoric monster had already fascinated me in 1992. The throw by designer Miguel Galluzzi was simply brilliant. Purely in terms of values, the M 900 with the SS two-valve engine (904 cm³, 67 hp and 75 Nm) wasn’t a blast, but the look of the slim machine with the dominant tank was grueling. The only problem was that the engine torus at the chain below 3000 rpm. It jerked so horribly that no decent progress was possible in the city without the aid of the clutch. To make matters worse, Ducati installed clutches that required considerable manual force. It puffed up your forearms in the city like Luis Trenker climbed the north face of the Eiger.

207 kilos with a full tank and 160 hp

Galluzzi’s great design was continued from Ducati to the S4 RS (2006, Testastretta with 130 hp). Only then did you turn away from the typical tubular space frame with the narrow tank and let the monster appear a bit baroque. But even if, as an old, stubborn dog, as they say, I cry a little after the slim archetype, I was very moved when I saw the Ducati Monster 1200 R in front of the factory. Wow! A goddess with an aura of anger. Slim, extremely well-formed rear end with a mighty 200 mm roller on a forged Marchesini rim, fully adjustable Ohlins rear and front, 330 mm Brembo monoblock from the Panigale, 1198 cm³ Testastretta with 58 mm manifold pipes and the clear display behind the minimalist , dashing bikini panel. Ducati! Monster! Monster love.

Despite the damp fog that never clears in Bologna at this time of year, I was on fire. 207 kg with a full tank and 160 hp – the first roundabout should be a revelation. “Sssonko”, I heard a wonderfully melodious voice, “you know the tires are brandnew!” I unpacked all of my Italian, said: “Mille Grazie!”, Closed the visor, nodded confidently – as if I had everything in Had a grip, put in the A and thundered out towards Passo della Futa, anyway.

I cried with happiness?

The seating position was perfect. The distance between the handlebars, seat and footrests was as measured for me. It was also great that I was able to put my 43 boots on the pegs without being hindered by the exhaust. So far, that has mostly bothered me on the monster machines.

A bit more front wheel orientation would be desirable on the racetrack (Graf Seitzmo has already fired the super monster on the Ascari Racetrack – see Ducati Monster 1200 R in the PS driving report), but in the open country the geometry suited me perfectly. I felt at home straight away. The only thing that was uncomfortable was the announcement with the brand new tires. With four degrees outside temperature and fog, the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP was not the first choice anyway, and it was still new! Sneeze once in the curve and lowsiden – disgusting idea.


With the monster it can be robbed properly.

To make matters worse, I could have shouted the central sentence of the fall theory to the cold body afterwards: "Don’t forget: You are a rubber ball!", But I knew his answer: "Everything in the freezer loses elasticity! "

So I gave myself the strict command: “Don’t scrap, shredded skulls!” The fact that I burst into tears after the first ten kilometers without a fall was not an expression of happiness, but a consequence of the cold air that was pouring in from below Helmet pulled.

The Ducati Monster 1200 R’s throttle response is brilliant

The fact that the damp cold couldn’t hit my moral or crawl into it was mainly due to the incredibly great engine. What a monster engine! The Testastretta with 1198 cm³ volume was raised to an extremely worthy level by means of increased compression (13: 1), larger manifold diameter and elliptical 56 mm throttle valves: 160 hp at 9250 / min and 131 Nm at 7750 / min. Divine!

Of course you have a lot of fun there and can boast murderous at the regulars’ table. The direct opponents KTM 1290 Super Duke R, BMW S 1000 R and Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR have a little more power, but everyone who learns about motorcycling not only through data sheets knows that with 160 hp and 131 Nm you can get in a fully fueled 207 kilo naked woman is always and everywhere absolutely sufficient motorized. The pressure that the Testastretta generates when you gently turn the throttle grip is simply overwhelming and extremely engaging. The throttle response is brilliant, so smoothly and smoothly at the same time, the power delivery is almost linear. From 4000 to almost 10,000 rpm, the twin of the Ducati Monster 1200 R generates such a huge hurricane that I shouted with joy into my cold helmet: "Forza Ducati!"

Go monster go!

Then I saw how the sun was very soft behind the only light curtain of fog, and I knew exactly what would happen: Another five curves up the mountain, and we are full in the sun! Go monster go! The flowing moment in which the world changes from cloudy gray to radiantly colorful cannot be experienced as wonderfully as on a motorcycle that you love.

One could assume that a 131 Nm strong engine allows the machine to cruise comfortably in the five at 2000 rpm and then simply go through to 200 km / h, but the Testastretta of the Ducati Monster 1200 R doesn’t deliver that. Anyone who demands this elasticity from the engine is best off using a large-volume four-cylinder, such as the Yamaha XJR.


In terms of design, the rear of the R is much more pleasing than the standard 1200 Monster.

The engine of the Ducati Monster 1200 R can work smoothly below 3000 rpm, but it only gets down to business properly from 4000 rpm. Fine movements in the wrist then bring a hell of a lot of pressure on the 200 mm roller. That’s just great! Probably also because you have the feeling that there is a direct connection between the throttle grip and the rear tire. There is a lot of electronics in between: ride-by-wire, eight-traineeship traction control, three riding modes, three-stage ABS.

For my attack on the Passo I chose the “touring” mode with traction control at level four and ABS at level two. The term "touring" does not pull me forward per se, but rather makes me melancholy like a carnivore looking at a cucumber, but on the Ducati Monster 1200 R in the open country this programming was perfect. "Touring" means "raging with a convincing sense of control".

The miracle of electronics

Initially, the trust in the harmony between new tires and unknown asphalt was not really established, but the knowledge of high-tech traction control made me feel relatively relaxed and brave at the exit of the curve. Level four worked perfectly! The motor control took just enough power back that the roller did not slip
and smearing came and the Ducati Monster 1200 R confidently fired out of the radii onto the intermediate straights. Impressive, very impressive.

So not only the lard of the Testastretta, but also the miracle of electronics. It will always be a miracle for me. How it is possible that in the interplay of sensors, chips and cables 200 pulse information per second is processed in such a way that the machine in a seriously inclined position stays on course, although it would have long since started to highsider without electronics, I will never understand. I just lack the imagination or the sober logic.


As long as the sun does not shine directly on the display, it provides all the necessary information in a clearly legible manner.

But it’s not tragic. If I were to only use things in my life that I understand, I would have to do without “Vicky and the strong men” because the technology of the television is not accessible to me. Actually, I shouldn’t even turn on the light then.

Yes, I would even have to stop the trivial activity of walking. What has to happen so that you can put one foot in front of the other without losing your balance? Thinking too much is not good anyway. It’ll take you the same time.

Braking power and controllability are among the best

The anchor that was taken over from the Panigale goes straight to the point. The two 330 mm discs with the Brembo monoblocks decelerate the super monster very effectively. Braking power and controllability are among the best there is in series production. Hammer! Only the first bite was a shade too harsh for me personally, although it was much milder than the one on the BMW S 1000 R..

I did not penetrate the control range of ABS (level two). Graf Seitzmo had had problems with using the anti-lock braking system a little too early on the race, but that wasn’t an issue here at the Passo. Once you got used to the somewhat brisk first bite, the anchor was a dream! It is definitely not possible that someone will slow down the Ducati Monster 1200 R in the open country, unless a real egg-bear has got lost in the saddle.

Radiance of the naked goddess hits everyone

Can always happen, of course. Because the charisma of the naked goddess hits fast and slow, smart and ugly, smart and dumb, flat-chested and busty, fat and thin, blonde and brunette, bearded and beardless, just almost everyone. The Ducati Monster 1200 R is a powerful machine, but one thing above all: a beautiful Ducati! 

Well, the not limitless lean angle that allowed the Seitzmo counts to grind the thick manifold pipe and the gear lever on the racetrack is absolutely sufficient in the open country. You will not touch it. In my opinion, the brisk first bite is not a weakness, but just a peculiarity that you can easily get used to and then even look forward to.

Odysseus’ odyssey

The gearbox wasn’t 100% good for me. Aside from the fact that I missed a circuit breaker, it felt a bit gnarled and sometimes I struggled to find the neutral. But that doesn’t mean anything. Because the test machine was from the pre-series. This is why there is still no test bench and scale data and no acceleration values. We have to wait a little longer until the first Ducati Monster 1200 R are delivered.

When I parked the impressive machine in the parking lot of the Ducati factory after dark, I heard the melodious voice again: “Sssonko, I was already worrying.” Hmm. Me too. The way back through foggy Bologna was like Odysseus’ odyssey. But I could easily withstand the sirens of the Ambulanza.

Technical data Ducati Monster 1200 R


Ducati Monster 1200 R.



The 160 hp and 131 Newton meter strong Testastretta is an incredibly impressive engine.

When I think about the Ducati Monster 1200 R, I think of Miguel Galluzzi, who created the original monster in 1992. The formal language of the time was like a pioneering outcry. In the meantime the monster has gotten a little "thicker". It’s okay, because the output has almost doubled since then. The 160 hp and 131 Newton meter strong Testastretta is an incredibly impressive engine for the bare iron.

The set-up is so successful that you could fire the Ducati Monster 1200 R harshly even without traction control. In the open country the super monster does not have to fear any opponents, but if you understand the “R” as “racing” and want to use it uncompromisingly as a racetrack device, you will have to find a slightly modified manifold solution. As an upright pirate on public roads you should just be incredibly happy and proud.

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