Before the Ducati Monster there was a line dividing sport bikes and the rest of motorcycles. In 1993, the line was drawn in lurid day-glo greens and pinks and purple. The Japanese made brilliant race replicas, gaudy things with sky-high redlines and racing pedigrees. The Italians too, splashing their charisma across the giant fairings of distinctive superbikes and almost unapproachable homologation machines.
So when the Ducati Monster debuted, every inch essential and pared down, shouting athleticism with its architecture while remaining accessible to an average and enthusiastic rider, it shook the industry something fierce.
Brilliant in both design and execution, the Monster was Ducati’s first big success. 23-years later, the 2017 Ducati Monster 1200 S has big shoes to fill.
Monte Carlo is a cougar bar of a town. Always leaving a little unsaid. Always a haughty eyebrow at any kind of unsanctioned good times. Stand in Monaco and point yourself any direction but seaward, though, and you’re going to find a brilliant road. They’re busy, flashy and spectacular along the coast, and they take you carving high into the Maritime Alpines if you head inland. Today, that’s the plan.
The road back into Monaco could be a repeat of the ride out. The throaty grumble of the Ducati’s exhaust reverberates off stone canyons and stone walls and stone villages. Even snuffed behind a Euro 4-approved exhaust, it’s still the main attraction here. Distinctive and charismatic, it’s the sound of Ducati’s rolling through town that shakes young French boys out onto the street like walnuts out of a tree as we descend to the Riviera.
It’d be tough not to see the appeal, and Ducati knows it – they’re asking $17,195 for loaded 1200 S dressed in Liquid Concrete Grey. A traditional red can be had cheaper, and the standard Monster 1200 even cheaper still, at $14,695. With either package the old Monster’s values remain intact, just with more power and technology. True to type, the 2017 Monster 1200 S is elegant excess.