I've never been a big fan of the Monster line. Don't get me wrong--I've always been impressed by the looks (the air-cooled versions, anyway), but the seating position wasn't comfortable, the chassis never seemed in step with me and they've always been a pain to start in the morning.
So I was pleasantly surprised with the Monster 1100. I'm not splayed across the tank reaching for the bars, and I can actually flog it at a pretty good clip in the twisty bits without waiting for the chassis to catch up. It's still a pain to start in the morning--hey, two outta three ain't bad. That aside, the 1078cc Desmodue engine is a gem, especially when it's spinning past 4500 revs. I'd like a little more braking power, but a simple pad replacement could cure that. All in all, the Monster 1100 has done a good job swaying the mind of a long time critic.
As the smaller-displacement Monsters rapidly gained in popularity and sales back in the late '90s, there was a lot more attention spent on expanding that money-making portion of the lineup, and the original big-displacement Monster's development languished. Then there were continuing increases in power via engine upgrades, but it just seemed that the balance between chassis and power was lost in the transition. The Monster 1100 changes that progression. The 1078cc engine is the powerplant that the bike has been needing all these years, and the new generation chassis is the perfect compliment to that update. The bike not only performs better, it just seems more refined in function without losing that visceral desmo experience that made the original Monster such a hit. And that's a good thing.