Mt. Etna is one of Europe’s largest and most active volcanoes. It towers over the city of Catania, Italy, and since 2001, it has been host to a number of small eruptions that tease the nearby residents. The roar through the small Sicilian city this past week, however, wasn’t from the vivacious volcano, but rather from the twenty plus press-mounted Ducati Monster 1100 EVOs tearing through the streets and up the mountain pass that leads to Etna’s peak.
If you think about it, the 2012 Monster 1100 EVO is much like Mt. Etna in that it continues to develop and evolve into an even greater beast – this year it boasts some five additional horsepower and comes with a number of safety features including traction control and anti-lock brakes. The changes don’t stop there however. This revised Monster also features new suspension, a revised rider triangle (thanks to 20mm taller bar risers) and among other small changes, a new cannon-style exhaust system that mirrors that of the all-new Diavel.
In most cases, five horsepower wouldn’t seem like something to write home about. However, thanks to the increased valve lift, new piston and new cooling system, the air-cooled two-cylinder Ducati Desmodue-equipped Monster 1100 EVO puts out 100 horsepower at 7500 rpm. That makes the 2012 EVO the most powerful Monster to date, and that is something that is worth writing home about. Other internal changes include the new Diavel-inspired wet clutch that permits almost zero chatter from the rear wheel when downshifting.
Also pulled from the Monster’s more sophisticated sibling is the Ducati Safety Pack (ABS and DTC). Unlike the traction control system on the Diavel and Superbike models however, the DTC of the 1100 EVO features just four levels (as opposed to eight). Ducati technicians deem that it would seem rather overkill to offer eight levels of traction control on a bike that only has some 100 horsepower. We agree. And thankfully, the DTC isn’t too intrusive. At lower levels it is goes almost without being noticed and not until level three does it really affect the ride. However, we will say that the DTC will make itself known even when turned to level one if you have a heavy throttle hand. Of course if it's too intrusive for you, turning it off completely is always an option.
Turning off the ABS is also an option, however we don’t recommend it for the majority of riding that you will be doing. That’s because the system provides a great safety net when riding on damp roads or especially on dirty mountain roads like the ones we tested the bike on, which in certain sections was littered with volcanic ash and rock. Especially nice is the front ABS, which almost never adversely affects your ride. The rear on the other hand is somewhat intrusive and at times it almost seems to increase your stopping distance as your rear tire skips across the road. Nevertheless, the Ducati Safety Pack is something many will make benefit from.
Despite coming standard with...
Despite coming standard with DTC and ABS, the 1100 EVO is priced at just $11,995.
Ducati Monsters are a true...
Ducati Monsters are a true naked bike, however the small fly screen up front on the EVO does an admirable job of dispersing wind blasts.
The 1100 EVO is extremely...
The 1100 EVO is extremely easy on the eyes thanks to the redesigned tail and new cannon-style exhaust system.
The 1100 EVO’s Sachs progressive rear shock is the same unit as on previous Monsters, but the previous generation’s Showa front fork has been replaced with a 43mm Marzocchi unit. According to project manager Giuseppe Caprara, this was “more out of convenience,” since the Marzocchi factory in Zola Predosa is just some 11 kilometers away from the Ducati factory in Bologna. When pushed, the fully-adjustable fork works flawlessly and it absorbs the breaks in the rough city roads perfectly. Even on faster sections of road, the feel from the front of the motorcycle is superb.
All said, the Monster is one seriously fun motorcycle. The 1100 EVO, which will be in stores early this summer, is not leaps and bounds from the previous generation Monsters, but the changes that have been incorporated are ones that make this 2012 model more fun and more comfortable than any Monster to date.
And in terms of looks, the Monster 1100 EVO gets two strong thumbs-up. The new Pirelli Diablo Rosso II-mounted ten-spoke wheels that replace the previous five-spoke units stand out and the redesigned tail of the 1100 EVO, which will be available in Ducati red or Diamond Black, is ten times easier on the eyes than that of previous generations.
Be sure to check out the July 2011 issue for a full first ride review of the 2012 Monster 1100 EVO.