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Ducati Monster owners?

Discussion in 'Motorcycles & Boats' started by Dave328, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Dave328

    Dave328 Formula 3

    Nov 24, 2002
    2,133
    New Orleans
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    Dave
    Hey all,
    Since my Durango is sucking down $50 of gas every 2-3 days, I've decided to go forward with getting a bike. It'll be my first street bike ever, so I do plan on taking the state safety course. I originally wanted a Monster 800, but my local Ducati dealership closed up. The closest ones are in Pensacola(3 hrs away) and Houston(5 hrs away). BTW, I live in New Orleans. Consequently, I started looking at the Italian made Honda 599. But 2004 was the last year for them and the supply has dried up. This puts me back to Ducati, and the Monster S2R specifically. I'll probably buy from Eximport Cycle in Houston since I know a guy there. The only worry I have is having to ship it back to Houston for any warranty work. Anybody own a Monster and have any real world experience with major problems? I would probably eat the small stuff like light bulbs,etc and ship the bike for the big stuff. Can these bikes realistically be used as semi daily drivers? (3-4 days a week, weather permitting)

    Thanks for any and all input!

    Dave
     
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  3. Lemke

    Lemke F1 Rookie

    Oct 27, 2004
    4,515
    Vancouver, WA
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    Daniel
    Basically the same situation with me. Gas these days cost a small fortune and I am looking at getting a bike (if any of you have been following the 916 v 996 thread you already know this). I love Duc Monsters but dont know much about how good they are in the day to day grind.
    I'm not looking for the fastest or best model I just want one to get around town on.
    Any info would be great!
     
  4. AJS328

    AJS328 F1 Veteran
    Owner

    Apr 23, 2003
    7,520
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    Augustine Staino
    Where's Desmomini? He's got a Monster. I'm sure he could give you guys some helpful info. All I know is that I heard his bike and it sounds amazing! :)
     
  5. desmomini

    desmomini F1 Rookie
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    Nov 18, 2003
    3,369
    Upstate SC
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    Jeff
    Definitely go for the Monster. It's got GOBS of soul that cannot be touched by anything else in the price point (or by many things even more expensive.) It's a purchase you would not regret. As far as reliability is concerned, Ducatis are really not a big deal. Mine is a 2000 750 Dark, and the only warranty issue I had was a rectifier. Had it not been under warranty at the time, it would've only been a $50 part and 5 minutes of work. No biggie. There's a huge cult following for the Monster; check out www.ducatimonster.org. Ducati's bad rep comes from the frequency of valve adjustment services (sort of like Ferrari's dreaded 30K service). Basically, the valves need to be checked evey 6,000 miles. However, if the bike is a second vehicle, that means that maybe once a year, at most, you'd have to check/adjust the valves. Can be done yourself, or outsourced (doesn't have to be a Ducati dealer, just someone with italian bike mojo) for a couple hundred. There is absolutely nothing like the sound of a well-tuned L-twin desmo motor. Ducati is like Ferrari - every objective measure (speed, handling, price) can be beaten by another marque, but the total is WAY more than the sum of the parts.
     
  6. desmomini

    desmomini F1 Rookie
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    Nov 18, 2003
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    Also, remember that the Monster is Ducati's "city" bike. Its semi-upright riding position is actually the most comfortable way to go - no crotch rocket contortions, and no cruiser spine compression. Ducatisti use them as daily riders, but wouldn't think of doing that on a 749/999/etc. The clutch is heavy, but a swapped slave cylinder can cure that, if desired. No real storage space, but that's why they make tankbags, saddlebags, backpacks, whathaveyou.
     
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  8. Dave328

    Dave328 Formula 3

    Nov 24, 2002
    2,133
    New Orleans
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    Dave
    This was another deciding factor. I'm living with a ruptured disk, so the "crotch-rocket crawl" is a no-no. :) Besides, I prefer the more visible sitting position of the Monster too. Safety is a big part of the deal in selling the idea to the wife. I'm looking at the Shoei X-11 for a helmet and a perforated summer leather jacket, and a winter one as well.

    Desmo: what, if any, mods do you have? I'm not going to do anything crazy, just maybe a new exhaust. Everything I've read says the S2R stock cans do way too good a job at quieting down the note. :( Besides, it goes against the very fiber of my being to own anything and keep it totally stock! :D

    Dave
     
  9. desmomini

    desmomini F1 Rookie
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    Nov 18, 2003
    3,369
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    I'm running with Fast by Ferracci (FBF) slip-on exhausts, which deliver an INCREDIBLE low, rumbly bass sound, and set off a few car alarms. My bike has twin carbs, so they've been tweaked with a Stage II jet kit. Also got the FBF open airbox setup, so you can hear the beast gulping in the air. Pure joy. The bikes are setup lean from the factory to comply with CA emission standards. Once you mod 'em, more character and hp come through.
     
  10. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
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    Herr Prof.
    My 2001 750 sie was very reliable. I deplasticized it, put on stickier tires (the factory supplied tires actually detract in a significant way from the handling and bite of the bike, as well as your confidence in riding it); added an aftermarket exhaust, changed the rear sprocket, installed bar end mirrors, etc.
    I would be most focused on the suspension parts- does the S2R have a better suspension than the other big Monsters? That would be the part that would be most expensive to fiddle with; otherwise, yes, they are great, reliable, fun to ride, cool bikes, that are reasonably priced, given what you get (brembos, etc.).
     
  11. Juice It

    Juice It F1 Rookie

    Sep 22, 2002
    3,233
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
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    Jeff
    I am looking at the same bike. I think I am going for the s2r dark. It is a cool bike for sure. The multistrada 1000s is pretty nice as well if you like the look. I have heard good things about the Monster but I don't know anyone who has owned the Multistrada.
     
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  13. Dave328

    Dave328 Formula 3

    Nov 24, 2002
    2,133
    New Orleans
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    Dave
    I thought about the dark too. But the red/white stripe with white wheels is just too much for me to resist! ;)

    Thanks Desmomini and Whart for the feedback. I'm feeling much better with the long distance buy.

    Dave
     
  14. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 6, 2003
    22,542
    Las Vegas, NV
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    Ryan Alexander
    Why don't you wait until the FFQC and try and wrangle a sponsor discount on a new Vespa? Then, if anyone heckles you, you could sue them for gender-identity hate crimes.
     
  15. desmomini

    desmomini F1 Rookie
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    Nov 18, 2003
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    White wheels...you must love detailing...
    They do look great, though. The Dark is not as difficult to keep looking clean as most black vehicles, as it is a matte black, not clearcoat.

    I like my rides to look clean, but I can't stand cleaning 'em multiple times a week. That's why my daily driver is yellow with anthracite wheels - a pollen-colored car with brake dust colored wheels!
     
  16. Node

    Node Karting

    Aug 22, 2005
    83
    Stinson Beach, Ca
    Full Name:
    Benjamin J Martin
    I love monsters, think they look great if you remove the license plate holder/rear turn signals and chop the frame that sticks out to hold that junk

    I've ran past a site or two online that even tell/show you how to adjust the desmo valves and they say its not too difficult.
     
  17. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Sep 1, 2003
    10,436
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    King Koopa
    Yeah, I am going Monster (dark) in a few months as a part time daily beater, after I come back from the EU. The valve services on my 888, 916 and 999 were a b!tch, but hell, comes with the territory. Fortunately, my daily commute is under 10 miles round trip, and Crystal Cove is 15 miles round trip on Saturdays.

    The riding position is very nice, it is smooth and it is responsive even in the small cc bikes. My only complaint is if you live in a high humidity climate, it can get funky under leathers or even jeans. Sweaty jeans suck.
     
  18. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    All these thoughts are related to being a current 996 owner and a previous Terblanche SS owner.

    The overall fit and finish is very good; the OEM bar ends are a nice touch, the paint's good, the swingarm and wheels look great and overall, it doesn't immediately look like Ducati cheesed anywhere - great value for the money, IMO.

    Ergonomically, the handlebars and seat position is good; for my height (6'2") I found the pegs to be a little awkward (maybe too low?) v. the SBK but not outright uncomfortable (although I did scrape the toe of my boot a couple times).

    The seat padding is excellent; comfortable, compliant and pliable; it's also fairly grippy so you're not sliding around all over the place.

    All the controls feel very direct and confident, the shifter is fair and the rear brake, lo and behold, actually works.

    As to riding impressions and the engine/drivetrain as a whole?

    The engine is very punchy, from 2500 to 5500 it's an immediate tug of torque that feels like it comes on all at once; which is good for around town, darty movements. Above 6000 rpm the engine is getting asthmatic but,with the Arrow system, the bike sound ABSOLOUTLY INCREDIBLE - which has you twisting the throttle, often.

    The S2R's slipper-type clutch system does work but it's not an outright slipper; if you get ham-fisted with downshifts it'll smooth them out and if you have any inclination for blipping the throttle, downshifts are 100% butter.

    Dynamically, the bike feels like it could use some work on the front forks (they feel a little soft and are non-adjustable; the 1000cc S2R is said to come w/ adjustable front forks) and this particular bike hadn't had the rear sag/preload/ride height set so the suspension felt a bit lumpy.

    Nonetheless, it felt lithe, nimble and its point and shoot ability is awesome; the extra leverage afforded by the longer handlebars really make it easy to maneuver around random objects on the road, cars, pedestrians, police etc.

    On the freeway, wind buffeting isn't as great of an issue as I thought it may be, and overall it seems that the OEM windscreen/front fairing does a fairly good job at insulating the rider's upper body.

    The front brake setup feels well proportioned and has a decent degree of power; it doesn't haul you down like a set of goldlines, iron rotors and a 19x20 radial but they're not incompetent by any stretch of the imagination - of course more brake is never a problem but for a bike that's mainly a street going romper stomper, the OEM brakes are OK.

    For the most part, Ducati hit the nail squarly on the head with the S2R and I'd love on to tour on and for around town duty - with an Arrow system, it rivals my 996's aural tenacity.

    This is the first Monster I've ever ridden for any period of time and had the S2R come out sooner, I'm unsure if I would have evern been an SS owner - the only critiques I have are the above suspension niggles that most of which, would be taken care of once the rear sus is setup; the powerband as mentioned is quite narrow and punchy, which isn't bad, but if there was a way to broaden the powerband and give it a little more linearity, it would be perfect ( I think with the 1000DS motor, it'll be where I'd like).

    The ground clearance and footpegs is a point of debate; I'm inclined to think that you may scrape the lower parts of the pipes and that a rider with more sporting inclination might want higher up footpegs, but again, if you're going to use it for a street bomber, it's perfect.
     
  19. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Hubert, great post!
     
  20. Lemke

    Lemke F1 Rookie

    Oct 27, 2004
    4,515
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    Daniel
    Great review Hubert. Thanks!
     
  21. Juice It

    Juice It F1 Rookie

    Sep 22, 2002
    3,233
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    Jeff
    Nice post. I was told the S2R1000 will be hitting the showrooms in early Dec. with a price of 10k. For the 1500.00 extra over the 800 you get adjustable front forks and the S4 brakes. All else I think is pretty much the same. Would you think that is worth the wait and the cash or would you stick with an 800?


    Jeff
     
  22. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    Thanks for the compliments guys, glad you found my review informative.

    It depends on what you want, the release of the 1000DS will depress 2nd hand 800cc S2R prices so you could pick up a used S2R (with pipes, which are 1100 new for an Arrow system) and upgrade to goldline calipers, SBK forks (or SS forks which are 50mm fork tubes, so you won't need an aftermarket top triple) and probably be ahead a thousand bucks or so; it really depends on how particular you are and if you have any desire to track the S2R.
    Overall, the 800cc varient feels a little anemic (coming off a 996) and the 1000cc bike will go far in bridging that gap. If you add the suspension and brakes to the larger motor, you've got a nearly unbeatable combination; as good as the 800cc varient is, the 1000cc can only be better- I'd buy the 1000.
     
  23. Juice It

    Juice It F1 Rookie

    Sep 22, 2002
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    Jeff

    Thats what I was thinking. Now lets hope they offer some cool colors or the "Dark" it is!

    Jeff
     
  24. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
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    Herr Prof.
    FWIW (and I agree, Hubert's review was great- Hey Hugh!)- the suspension differences would be more important to me than just a difference in power (although the power thing is addictive- i've been thinking MV Agusta lately, love the sheer insanity of the thing). My Monster was able to hump me pretty good over bumps and crevasses in the tarmac with whatever standard suspension came with a 750 Sie at the time. But, on my Guzzi, with an uprated Ohlins suspension (that comes with the Nero Corsa), the difference in the ride is many levels better. It's not just a comfort thing- the way the bike handles the road tumult without upset yet tracks tightly makes a huge difference in how well i ride- i can be far more aggressive without worrying about getting bounced or jounced- and in the process, the bike feels far more planted, giving me more room to lean, accelerate and maneuver with confidence. My point here is not that the Guzzi is better- it's just that serious suspension parts make a big difference in how well you will ride. So, it's another factor to consider when looking at these bikes. I don't know how much you'd have to spend to change the forks and the suspension parts front and rear to upgrade them with aftermarket parts, but it cannot be cheap and it's probably not the kind of thing many riders would do after forking out (sorry) some serious change on a new bike to begin with.
     
  25. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    Hey Bill, how are you? You're right, a good suspension offers a trememdous degree of control and compliance; which is what you need to feel confident. As to how much a retrofit would cost to install 998 forks on the 800 cc S2R, it should be in the ballpark of how much the same upgrade cost me on my 900sport.
    The 998 forks and 53mm clipons are about $500 used and an aftermarket top triple (from cyclecat) cost me $300 which included the a shim kit for the lower triple; all in all, I'd figure $1000.
    So, you're right, unless you get the bike for a song, getting the variant with upgraded suspension, brakes and motor for just a tad more is a no - brainer.
    Hope you're well.
    Regards,
    Hubert
     
  26. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Sep 1, 2003
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    Dave328 I hate you, the rest of you guys really chapped my hide, I just went out and got the ok's on the loan! (but I will wait til december ;) ) I was not even thinking of it 48 hours ago, and Fchat strikes again!

    I never liked the thought of a stock Ducati myself, the arrows, ohlins, slipper, rubbers, a few other things come to mind before she comes home, and a demanding mistress she is. The real choice for me is which of the sizes to get, simple 620 has many pleasures as well for around town work. I think we all agree that the dark is the way to go. The Guzzi's really tempt me too. Maybe I have the room for both. Goose now, duck later...
     

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