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Ducati Monster 821 Road Test Review: Nightmare for Rivals?

An Italian thoroughbred streetfighter put to test in peak traffic, rains, twisties, open expressways and scenarios that only we and the Monster know. While we are happy that the 821 has made a comeback, is this bad news for the competition? We found out some time back.

By: | Published: January 25, 2019 1:39 PM
Ducati Monster 821 has a muscular appearance Ducati Monster 821 has a muscular appearance

The Monster has been a best seller and a trend-setter for Ducati for decades now and the bike has a strong legacy that other streetfighters can only dream of. In 2018, Ducati Monster celebrated its 25th anniversary, marking the comeback of the Monster 821 after it was retired from the Indian market in the year 2017 with the onset of stricter BS-IV emission norms. Maintaining the typical Monster character, the new model is here with macho looks and a handful of new features up its sleeve.

While the segment has seen many players in the passing years, the Monster didn’t let its rivals overshadow it as it has always maintained its aura of a butch and unforgiving motorcycle that looks fantastic too. So, what all new does the 2018 Ducati Monster 821 holds within and if its return will bother the competition or not. Let’s find out!

Ducati Monster 821 with LED DRLsDucati Monster 821 gets LED DRLs

2018 Ducati Monster 821 - Design & Appearance

If you are someone who loves the naked streetfighter breed of the motorcycles, healthy chances are that you would not deny having a crush on the Ducati Monster. The Monster has been the poster boy for naked streetfighters for years and the company has managed to retain its timeless charm with each passing year. For the year 2018, the Ducati Monster 821 was updated with some styling tweaks along with a handful of new features that sure make it a better package than before. For instance, the new model gets a new LED headlamp along with LED DRLs that illuminate the roads better than before.

Ducati Monster 821 looks stunning from almost every angle Ducati Monster 821 looks stunning from almost every angle

The design of the Ducati Monster 821 has taken inspiration from the first ever Monster to roll out, the M900 and the bike has the same aluminium clip on the fuel tank that used to come on the M900. The exposed steel trellis frame continues to be an important part of the Ducati Monster 821 that plays a vital role not just in aesthetic appeal but in structural efficiency as well. The twin-pod exhaust set up on the new 821 has been redesigned and looks bolder than the previous model.

Ducati Monster 821 offers a fully coloured instrument clusterDucati Monster 821 offers a fully coloured instrument cluster

One significant update on the 2018 Ducati Monster 821 is the inclusion of a fully coloured TFT instrument cluster that has an easy to read layout. The unit is easy to operate and even first-time users won’t find any difficulty while operating it. The overall silhouette of the Ducati Monster 821 looks like an evolution over the previous Monsters and the new model has gained a premiumness in design that makes the bike looks more upmarket now.

Overall, the Ducati Monster 821 has a dynamic appearance and is easily one of the best looking naked streetfighters out there.

Powering this beast is an 821cc, Testastretta, L-twin enginePowering this beast is an 821cc, Testastretta, L-twin engine

2018 Ducati Monster 821 - Engine & Performance

The heart of the new 2018 Ducati Monster 821 is the same 821cc, Testastretta, liquid-cooled L-twin engine from the previous model but the motor now meets Euro-IV emission norms that automatically makes it BS-IV compliant. This has resulted in a slight decrease in power and torque figures. The engine now makes 109 hp of power and 86 Nm of torque as opposed to 110 hp and 89 Nm respectively from the outgoing model. The marginal drop in power and torque is not perceivable on the go. The engine is paired with a six-speed transmission and the gearshifts are smooth and precise. The slipper clutch on offer ensures smoother operation under aggressive downshifts.

The twin port exhaust produces an amazing soundtrack The twin port exhaust produces an amazing soundtrack

A bi-directional quickshifter comes as optional with the 821 and you can opt for it if you want clutchless gearshifts. The motor offers big fat torque low down in the rev range resulting in strong acceleration. The mid-range is equally strong due to which the bike pulls ahead with a lot of enthusiasm and the soundtrack from the twin port exhaust makes you mark your presence wherever you go while keeping you entertained.

The throttle response in the lower revs feels inconsistent and the bike feels a bit jittery below the 2,000 rpm mark. But once you wring open the throttle and the revs pass the 3,000 rpm mark, the engine starts to show its true character, which is in line with the name of this motorcycle.

Give it open roads and the 'Monster' unleashes in true senseGive it open roads and the 'Monster' unleashes in true sense

During our test runs, we managed to achieve a sprint from 0 to 100 kmph in close to 4 seconds with a top whack of close to 190 kmph. When it comes to the fuel efficiency, the Monster 821 surprisingly is not that much of a binge drinker that we expected it to be. The combined fuel efficiency of 19 kmpl that included 50 percent city and 50 percent highway riding means that you can go up to about 330 km on a full tank.

Ducati Monster 821 gets three riding modesDucati Monster 821 gets three riding modes

The Monster 821 gets three riding modes namely Urban, Touring and Sport along with eight levels of traction control and three levels of ABS. The Urban mode offers the highest level of safety as it sets the ABS to level 3 and traction control to 6 offering the maximum electronics intervention, for maximum safety. If you have been riding sportsbikes for quite a long time, you will surely find it boring and unexciting. Next up is the Touring mode that improves throttle response a bit and in this mode, ABS is set to level 2 while traction control is at level 4. If you want a decent surge of power especially for longer rides then the touring mode is apt for you. Switch to the Sport mode and the Monster within unleashes in the real sense. The electronic intervention is minimum as ABS and traction control, both are on level 1 which means that you can have maximum fun.

The Ducati Traction control works seamlessly and we didn’t experience any loss of grip even while riding in rains for a significant amount of time. The system can be relied upon completely and the system takes care of everything when the enthusiast in you is a bit impatient sometimes with the throttle.

The 821 gets a Ducati Traction control as wellThe 821 gets a Ducati Traction control as well

2018 Ducati Monster 821 - Ride and Handling

The Ducati Monster 821 gets 43mm upside down forks up front along with a monoshock at the rear. The suspension setting is on a slightly softer side that we found apt for the Indian road conditions. The set up absorbed the undulations and the uneasiness of the road rather easily. Now, one area that has been a big plus point for the Ducati Monster is the handling and the 821 is no different. The suspension complements the sharp handling of the motorcycle and it feels nimble and easy to maneuver even in the city traffic, despite being a 206 kg heavy machine.

Ducati Monster 821 weighs 206 kgDucati Monster 821 weighs 206 kg

The Ducati Monster 821 sheds speed in haste as it comes equipped with twin 320mm disc brakes up front along with a single 245mm disc unit at the rear. The brakes offer a fantastic feedback and bite, just what you would expect a motorcycle of this category. All thanks to the three ABS settings, you can choose how much intervention you need.

What further favours the brilliant handling of the Ducati Monster 821 is the excellent grip from the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres. The 120/70-ZR17 front and 180/60-ZR17 rear units instill confidence while going hard into a corner and we didn’t feel any fishtailing even under hard braking at high speeds.

The excellent grip comes from Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyresThe excellent grip comes from Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres

2018 Ducati Monster 821 - Price in India & Verdict

The Ducati Monster 821 can be yours in India for a price of Rs 9.51 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and the bike rubs shoulders against the likes of Triumph Street Triple S, Kawasaki Z900 and the Suzuki GSX-S750. If you want a motorcycle with the most number of features and the highest value for money from this segment, well then the 821 might not be the pick for you. What actually the Ducati Monster 821 offers is a piece of an iconic legacy that is still going strong due to which even today, it is one of the most respected names in the naked streetfighter territory.

The 2018 model gets more desirable with a fresher design and a handful of new features and hence, it can be a good pick for you, especially if you are a true blue Ducati fan. The Monster 821 is a bike that shouts out a solid road presence and helps you make an arrival that simply can't go unnoticed. The reason being, well, it’s a Ducati after all!

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