While the Ducati monster didn’t invent the naked bike segment, it certainly played a big role in making the theme popular: big doses of sportbike performance without all of the plastic bodywork covering up the goods. Here’s Brian Robinson with a revealing look at the latest Ducati Monster.

BRIAN ROBINSON: I certainly didn’t need another reminder that I’m old, but turns out the Ducati Monster has been around for almost 30-years, and I can remember the first time I saw one like it was yesterday. Well, time marches on, and it looks like it has been much kinder to the Monster.

A lot has changed since that original 1993 Monster M900, but the latest Ducati Monster makes sure that what really matters hasn’t changed at all. 

It still represents motorcycling at its essence; nothing but the necessities, wrapped around a fantastic motor. Here, it’s Ducati’s newest Testastretta 90-degree liquid-cooled V-Twin, with a slight bump in displacement to 937 ccs, and an accompanying increase in power to 111-horsepower and 69 lb-ft. of torque.

One of the biggest changes to happen is that the engine no longer hangs from a trellis frame, rather a lighter cast-aluminum design similar to the Panigale sportbike’s. That certainly gives the Monster a new look, but it’s no less interesting.  Things are more angular; with a minimal chiseled nature to everything from the headlight, to the tank, and even tail section.  A $500 upgrade to the Monster + model, adds a removable cover over the passenger portion of the seat, and a small flyscreen up front.  

Abbreviated exhaust is made possible by a large muffler underneath; and a double–sided aluminum swingarm is used to attach the 17-inch 180 rear tire. It’s all accompanied by a riding position that’s also quite different; pegs are lower, handlebar moved rearward helping you sit more upright. You can decide for yourself if it’s more comfortable.  

The suspension is a fairly basic setup with limited adjustability; but it soaks up bumps quite well, and helps the Monster feel plenty stable through corners. The new Monster is also lighter by about 40-lbs., putting it under 400 total; and with the additional power, it truly feels quicker, though just as nimble as always.  

Ducati’s Quickshift enables smooth and mostly clutch-free shifting of the 6-speed transmission once you’re in motion. The Monster doesn’t necessarily fall into corners like its more high end track-oriented brethren; it takes a little work, but no matter the speed, it feels quite settled and capable.  

Ducati was an early embracer of stability systems; and cornering ABS, Traction Control, Wheelie Control, and even Launch control are all standard here, working through Sport, Urban, and Touring ride modes. You can monitor it all, as well as the usual important riding info, on the standard 4.3-inch TFT gauge panel, which is controlled by a fairly intuitive control toggle for your left hand. These systems expertly help the Monster accomplish the dual roles of both delivering a rewarding experience for seasoned riders, as well as providing a user-friendly platform for entry-level motorcyclists.  

Ironically, considering the amount of performance and Italian pedigree, something that’s never been scary about this Monster is pricing.  The base Monster now starts at just $11,995; this Monster Plus, at $12,495.  

So, the 2022 Monster may still be an entry-level Ducati; but it doesn’t feel entry-level in any way. It remains every bit a Monster, and easy to see why it’s Ducati’s best-selling model ever.