Nothing ever seems to go as planned, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, things can actually go better than you could have ever planned for. That is surely the case for Ducati and the barely legal Monster, which celebrates 18 years of existence this year.
Back in the early ‘90s, Ducati was struggling, and quite frankly, things weren’t looking too good for the Italian manufacturer. Then came the Monster in 1993, a bike that was minimalistic in design, yet sporty and functional. It’s unlikely that Ducati planned on the Monster being its savior, yet looking back some 18 years later, it seems as though that is exactly what it was. Since 1993, Ducati has sold more than 240,000 Monsters. And for many years, the naked bike has accounted for more than 50 percent of the manufacturer’s overall sales, making it the one bike that has almost literally kept the company afloat at times.
The 2012 Monster 1100 EVO...
The 2012 Monster 1100 EVO is available in Ducati Red with white stripe or Diamond Black with grey stripe. The redesigned tail of this revamped model receives two thumbs up.
Taking into consideration the bike’s success, it’s clear why the design of today’s Monster is not far from the design of yesteryear’s. After all, why would you redesign something that has been so successful? So rather than going back to the drawing board each year, Ducati engineers have found it more advantageous to simply revamp the Monster every so often. For 2011, that revamp came in the way of added power, electronic rider aids, new ergonomics and among other small tweaks, new suspension.
Most popular of the changes are those that have been made to the Monster’s 1078cc air-cooled two-cylinder Desmodromic engine, which is some five-horsepower stronger than the previous iteration. More headline-worthy than the additional five horsepower is that peak power has finally surpassed the — up until now — elusive 100 mark.
According to project manager Giuseppe Caprara, “The additional power comes from the revised cylinder head,” which features revised inlet ports and an altered combustion chamber shape. Additional alterations include a five-percent increase in intake valve lift and four-percent increase in exhaust valve lift. The engine also runs reshaped pistons that bump compression from 10.7:1 to 11.3:1 and are spun by a crankshaft featuring a lighter, Ducati 848 EVO-inspired flywheel. And while the previous generation’s Vacural crankcases, which significantly reduce overall weight, went untouched, changes were made to the cylinder heads’ cooling system to provide better cooling performance.
The 2012 Monster 1100 EVO...
The 2012 Monster 1100 EVO is one of the most comfortable bikes to ride for any duration of time thanks to the revised seat and 20mm-taller bar risers that promote a sporty, yet slightly aggressive riding position.
The instrument display is...
The instrument display is easy to read, provides all the pertinent information and indicates ABS and DTC settings. It also doubles as a control panel for the Ducati Data Analyser (DDA) system, which is available as an accessory from Ducati Performance.
The new ten-spoke wheels reduce...
The new ten-spoke wheels reduce unsprung weight and are fitted with new Pirelli Diablo Rosso II rubber, which features a different tread pattern and high-silica content in the middle for improved mileage and braking potential.
Further revamped is the Monster’s clutch, which is similar to that of the Ducati Diavel. Alongside the additional cush-drive damper mechanism, the new race-like, slipper-style wet clutch features a progressive self-servo mechanism, which is said to reduce the lever effort at the handlebar.
Matched to the only slightly revised engine is a lighter, completely revised 2-into-1-into-2 side-exit cannon-style exhaust that is drastically different than the undertail unit of the previous 1100. Look familiar? That’s because the system is almost a mirror image of the exhaust seen on the all-new Diavel — although pipe length and diameter vary.
The 1100 EVO’s whopping five additional horsepower wasn’t the primary reason behind adding electronic rider aids such as ABS and traction control though. That was more for safety concerns from a manufacturer who feels that the rider aids are beneficial. Thankfully however, Ducati didn’t employ the same eight-level DTC system featured on the more brawny Superbikes. Instead, just four levels of intrusion are offered on the 1100 EVO, which is also the first Monster to receive traction control. And while the EVO is the first Monster to come standard with ABS, it is not the first Monster to feature anti-lock brakes; that has been an option for the past two years now.
Similar to last year’s 1100, the EVO features a Sachs progressive rear shock. In contrast however, the 2012 Monster features a 43mm fully adjustable Marzocchi front fork instead of a Showa unit. Braking duties are still left to the same Brembo units of years past. And despite coming standard with these various aids, the 2012 Monster 1100 EVO is priced identically to its less-equipped predecessor.