Ducati Monster 821
Bike UK|January 2018

Revised middleweight takes style advice from Monster 1200, but is it enough?

Ben Lindley

A FULL-SCALE ITALIAN LAUNCH for a Ducati without a capacity increase? That’s just a little surprising. More than any other manufacturer Ducati are committed to a ritual of volumetric accumulation, a philosophy they pursue rigorously. Take their sportsbikes: from the 916, through such greats as the 996, 1098 and onwards to the 1299. Historically it’s been a similar story with their Monster range, and yet 2018’s 821 shares the same numbers on the tail unit as its four-year-old sibling.

‘We wanted to keep our middle Monster an 821 because we think it’s the perfect balance between the accessible 797 and the powerful 1200,’ explains product manager Stefano Tarabusi. ‘If we twinned the SuperSport’s 937cc with the 821’s efficient intake and exhaust system – it would make six or seven more horsepower. That puts it too close to the output of the 1200.’ The subtext is that there won’t be a capacity increase until the Monster 1200 evolves again, but that doesn’t stop the rest of the bike receiving alterations.

The first 821 wasn’t a bad-looking machine, but aesthetic tweaks drive it closer to the 1200, and so in turn nearer to the original M900. The previous curving rear cowling is replaced with a more muscular and chunky design, while a new LED headlight, TFT colour display and redesigned silencer draw the 821 and 1200 closer still. Top the middleweight off with the 1200’s fuel tank and footpegs and the similarity between the two moves to striking. But sideline the aesthetics and concentrate on the riding, and the 821 remains a very different proposition to its heftier relation.

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