What’s that coming over the hill?
Yes, it’s Ducati’s Monster – which is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, and has a special party frock on to celebrate. Of course, if you’re as old as us, 1993 still feels like about 15 years ago. Reality however insists that it is in fact double that – which is why Ducati has dropped this, the 30th anniversary edition of the Ducati Monster!
Back in 1993 Ducati was a niche sportsbike maker and financial basket case, rather than the saucy bike behemoth it is now – but it was about to release a crucial part of its journey out of the abyss. Argentinian design guru Miguel Angel Galluzzi penned a slick, capable naked roadster, the Monster 900, which would sell by the truckload and spawn a whole series of machines, from novice 600 twins to fire-breathing superbike-engined 1200s.
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The original Monster 900 was something of a ‘bitsa’ production: it had a two-valve desmo V-twin air-cooled engine out of a 900 Supersport and the frame was off an 851 Superbike. Despite its slightly illegitimate conception, it was a belter of a bike: cheap enough for mass sales, yet with an exotic edge and sweet handling that made it far more desirable than most contemporary naked roadsters. The conventional view is that Monster 900 sales made the bread-and-butter cash for Ducati – not in the best financial health back then – to make a success out of its 916 in WSBK racing, putting in the foundations for the VAG-owned behemoth we have today.
In recent years, the Monster has been usurped at the entry level by the Scrambler 800 models, and at the top end by the Streetfighter V2 and V4 models. But Ducati still owes it a massive debt, and has kept it on as a classy upper-middleweight naked roadster for the cognoscenti. Now powered by the 110bhp Testastretta 11° 937cc motor also seen on the DesertX, Hypermotard, Supersport 950 and Multistrada V2, there’s a base model and an SP with Öhlins shock. And now we have a limited-edition 30th anniversary special, which is a revamp of the Monster SP launched this year, and adds both a set of Öhlins NIX30 USD front forks and an Öhlins steering damper to the Öhlins rear shock seen on the SP. You also get some sweet forged aluminium rims rather than the stock cast parts, saving 2kg in rotating unsprung mass. Brakes have Brembo Stylema calipers up front, with lightweight alloy disc carriers, and a lithium battery adds to the, er, weight loss. There’s a total of 4kg shaved off the total mass compared with a stock bike, and claimed kerb weight is now 184kg, or 164kg dry.
The engine is unchanged: it’s the same 937cc Testastretta 11° V-twin motor as seen on the Hypermotard, Multistrada V2, Supersport and DesertX models. It’s a great little unit, putting out a grunty 111bhp, and just the job for the Monster install. A slip-on Termignoni dual can silencer adds style but no extra sound or power sadly – it’s a road-legal part of course.
The pipe isn’t the only style upgrade for the 30th anniversary bike though: there’s a sweet red white and green Tricolore paint scheme, plus embroidered seat and pillion seat cover, headlight surround and special graphics. There’s a numbered plaque on the yoke to show which of the 500 special edition Monsters you have, and a special indoor bike cover and certificate of authenticity rounds off the special edition nicely. Priced at £16,095, the 30th anniversary Monster is available now.