As the longest-living member of Ducati's model lineup, the Monster series underpins the entire profitability of the company. With the new 696 becoming the fastest-selling Monster ever, there was even more reason for Ducati's R&D team headed by Giulio Malagoli to upgrade the original big-bore version of its iconic streetfighter. By slipping basically the same air-cooled 1078cc Desmodue powerplant from the Hypermotard 1100 into the 696's all-new spaceframe chassis, Maligoli and his team created the largest-displacement Monster to ever hit the streets.
Sachs rear shock is adjustable...
Sachs rear shock is adjustable for rebound damping and spring preload, mounted in a cantilever arrangement in the same chassis as the 696. Longer shock boosts ground clearance and seat height by 40mm over the 696.
The new Monster 1100 builds on the basis of the 696, sharing the same chassis sporting beefy 34mm tubing, same as on the 1098. A fully adjustable 43mm Showa inverted fork is set at the same 24-degree rake as the now-defunct S2R with 87 mm of trail, but the wheelbase has been extended slightly to 57 inches via an all-new single-sided die-cast aluminum swingarm weighing just 11 pounds. As on the 696, the cantilever Sachs rear shock-adjustable for rebound damping and spring preload-is offset to the left to make room for the two-into-one-into-two stainless steel exhaust with a catalyzer in each silencer. Although there is no linkage with the cantilever setup, the shock's steep mounting angle provides a degree of variable-rate action.
Radial-mount four-piston Brembo...
Radial-mount four-piston Brembo calipers biting on 320mm discs help slow the Monster 1100 easily and controllably, aided by the radial-pump master cylinder. Showa 43mm inverted fork is fully adjustable.
Brakes and wheels are a definite step up from its S2R predecessor, with lightweight cast aluminum Marchesini wheels fitted as standard equipment. The four-piston Brembo calipers are radially mounted, with a radial-pump master cylinder combining to give a claimed 17 percent increase in braking compared to the 696 using the same size discs and equivalent lever pressure, according to Maligoli.
Those upgraded brakes have less mass to stop, with the Monster 1100 weighing in at a claimed 372.5 pounds dry, more than 17 pounds lighter than the S2R. A good portion of that weight loss is due to the 1078cc engine that-while basically identical in the majority of aspects to the Multistrada/Hypermotard powerplant-is almost seven pounds lighter, thanks to the same Vacural vacuum die-casting technique used on the 848 engine cases that allow greater dimensional accuracy (and thus less material).
As on the 696, climbing aboard the new 1100 reveals a relaxed riding position that has you sitting further forward without the S2R's long reach to the ultra-flat handlebar (the 1100 has a tapered aluminum unit versus the cheaper steel handlebar of the 696), and the fuel tank is likewise well-shaped so it's easy to tuck in your knees. The 1100's 40mm-taller seat over the 696 is also raised a further 10mm at the front to accommodate the longer shock's upper mount. This has the effect of preventing you sliding forward all the time as on the 696, which for male riders makes the bike quite a bit more comfy. The Digitek dash is basically the same as the 696; it displays a horde of functions, yet no fuel gauge.
The suspension proved extremely compliant, with the fork eating up bumps on gnarly mountain roads, once the Bridgestone BT-016 tires had warmed up properly-they seem to take longer than the Pirelli Diablos also available as OE fitment, but grip just as well once up to temperature. The Bridgestones also have a sharper profile than the Italian tires, which helps flicking the Monster 1100 from side to side more easily through a testing series of tight turns, aided by the 180-size rear tire that delivers good grip without being wide enough to affect handling. The 1100's 40mm-higher ride height over the 696 results in improved ground clearance for greater lean angles and increased turn speed; you really have to push hard to touch down the footrests.
The Monster 1100's handling is a real step up from the S2R, surely aided not only by the modern rubber but also by positioning the rider's weight further forward to load up the front better. There's less of the flighty front-end feel that afflicted older Monsters when accelerating over bumpy pavement. Like the 696, the Monster 1100's handling is completely intuitive; it's forgiving in the way it lets you make corrections mid-turn, and you can feel the reduced mass when flicking the bike into turns or getting hard on the brakes, made much easier by the new radial setup.