Ducati Monster 821
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The Ducati Monster (called Il Mostro in Italian) is a muscle bike designed by Miguel Angel Galluzzi and produced by Ducati in Bologna, Italy since 1993. It is a naked bike, characterized by an exposed engine and frame. The purposeful and considered use of the trellis frame in the Ducati Monster is an integral part of the motorcycle’s design allowing for both aesthetic appeal and for structural efficiency. In 2005, Monster sales accounted for over half of Ducati’s worldwide sales. Ducati motorcycles use almost exclusively 90° V-twin engines, which they call L-twins, with desmodromic valves, and tubular steel trellis frame, designed by Fabio Taglioni (1920–2001).
The Monster line has had numerous variations over the years, from entry level 400 cc (24 cu in) bikes up to top of the line 160 hp (120 kW) multivalve, water-cooled superbike-engined versions, with as many as nine different Monster versions in a single model year. The Monster’s elemental simplicity has also made it a favorite platform for custom motorcycle builders, showcased at competitions like the Monster Challenge. Monsters eventually accounted for two-thirds or more of Ducati’s output.
The Monster began as a styling exercise in 1992. The concept for the Monster was one Galluzzi had been thinking about for some time, and it took time to convince the management at Cagiva and Ducati to build it. Ducati technical director Massimo Bordi originated the idea for what they wanted the new bike to accomplish, and assigned the design to Galluzzi. Bordi said he asked Galluzzi “for something which displayed a strong Ducati heritage but which was easy to ride and not a sports bike. He came up with a proposal and I thought, this was the bike Marlon Brando would be riding today in the film The Wild One!” Bordi’s intent was to enter the cruiser market, with a bike that was made to be modified and would eventually have a wealth of bolt-on aftermarket accessories rivaling the range of custom and hot-rod parts available for Harley-Davidsons. Previously Cagiva had attempted to move into this market with a cruiser, the Ducati Indiana of 1986–1990. Some sources stated that it made poor use of Ducati’s desmodromic valve V-twin engines; and a full-cradle frame, not Ducati’s signature trellis, playing against Ducati’s stylistic strengths. Only 2,138 were made over four years. The Monster appealed to the same urban, style-conscious buyers who wanted a bike that could make an individualistic statement, but it did so with a motorcycle that they had not quite seen before, and was still unmistakably Italian and a Ducati.
Because Bordi wanted Galluzzi to keep costs low, the Monster was a humble “parts bin special,” built not with newly designed components carefully engineered to work in unison, but by mixing and matching parts from existing Ducati models, beginning with the engine and forward half of the frame of a 900 Supersport, a frame descended from the 851 superbike, and the fork of a 750 Supersport. Galluzzi penned a “muscular” fuel tank and minimalist bodywork that produced a visual impression of mass and strength, on a motorcycle that turned out to be surprisingly tiny and agile to the first time rider. Motorcycle Consumer News design columnist Glynn Kerr described the Monster’s statement as aggressive, “attributable to the head-down, charging bull stance.”