A Monster Impression
The 2006 Ducati Monster S2R 1000 is not—by today’s standards—a modern machine. Its basic design dates to 1993 when Miguel Galuzzi penned the very first version of a bike that has become one of the best-loved motorcycles in the world. Sure the engine is now fuel injected, the brakes and suspension are better and there’s a swanky single-sided aluminum swing arm, but the basics are all still there. You won’t find radial brakes, underseat exhaust, or even a fancy headlight—high-tech bits that are now so common on bikes that they barely elicit a yawn these days. You don’t even get a full 100 horsepower. And yet…the bike manages something that few other motorcycles can—it speaks to my soul.
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This is a first for me. I’ve ridden cruisers, naked bikes, sport bikes, and standards, but this is the first time I’ve been handed the keys to a piece of art. A retro-modern, fully-functional piece to be sure, but this bike is a work of art none-the-less. The bike in front of me is Ducati’s new for 2006 SportClassic Sport 1000.
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Love at first Ride
I was fully prepared to like this bike. After I low-sided my Multistrada 620, I’d been leaning towards the simplicity of naked motorcycles more and more. No plastic to get scraped up (and replace) if you go down. Plus, I’d recently been reading (and rereading) Peter Egan’s Leanings and Leanings 2 books. In the books, Egan recounts many snowy days and late evenings spent looking at one or more of his bikes. I tried this once with my ‘Strada—shortly after getting it back from the shop (when it was nice and clean)—and found myself getting hung up on all the plastic, wishing I could take it all off to see the “real” motorcycle underneath. Alas, I’ve come to realize that, although people have stripped bikes like mine of all their extra bits, the bike really wasn’t meant to be seen naked. So I started thinking thoughts…dangerous thoughts.
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Love at first…no second…ok, love eventually
The first time I had the pleasure of riding the small (and now extinct) version of Ducati’s Multistrada, I have to say that I was underwhelmed. Coming off of a Honda 919, it didn’t have the power I was used to, and with the stock exhaust, it was eerily quiet. I tested it back to back with the 620 version of the Monster and neither one of them spoke to me the same way an 800cc carbon-fiber clad SuperSport had.
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A quick ride on Ducati’s 2009 Monster 696
Having owned a 1997 M900 Monster (that I loved/hated) several years ago, I was intrigued when I heard about the first real redesign of the bike since it was unveiled in the early 90s. The pictures I saw looked good and the specs looked great–totally in step with Ducati’s new design philosophy of building lighter, more powerful motorcycles. There was even the promise of increased comfort due to slightly less…Monstrous ergonomics.
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