We all have our own inner monsters. However, it is the socially-acceptable part of our psyche that we often show to the world. Would it hurt if we let Mr. Hyde come out and play once in a while? It might even be cathartic so long as we still keep the beast on a leash, albeit a flexible one.
Such is the case of Ducati’s Monster 1200 and Monster 1200 S. Both variants come equipped with a Testastretta 11° DS engine, though they differ in terms of output; the Monster 1200 delivers 99.3 kW (135 CV) of power @ 8.750 rpm and 118 Nm (12.0 kgm) of torque @ 7.250 rpm, while the Monster 1200 S features a dedicated RbW (ride-by-wire) mapping which offers 106.6 kW (145 hp) of power @ 8,750 rpm and 124.5 Nm (91.8 lb-ft) of torque @ 7,250 rpm. To the delight of my inner Mr. Hyde, Ducati offered this writer some saddle time on the top spec “S” variant.
The Monster 1200 S incorporates the latest Ducati technologies, including the Ducati branded Riding Modes. The three Riding Modes (URBAN, TOURING, SPORT) are enabled by combining Ride-by-Wire (RbW), Ducati Traction Control (DTC), multi-calibration 9MP ABS and the graphics on the instrument panel.
The rider can change the character of the bike by selecting from the left-hand switchgear – even while riding – among three different pre-set configurations (Riding Modes) that best adapt to the riding style or riding conditions. The Riding Modes make it possible to instantly modify the power delivered by the engine (RbW), the activation levels of DTC and ABS, and the graphics on the instrument panel. The Riding Modes are factory pre-set in each of the three parameters, but can be individually customised and saved to suit the rider. A “default”option is available to easily return all settings to factory pre-sets.
On Touring mode, the bike gave smooth, progressive power delivery when I rode it to Lipa, Batangas and back. The appetite of this monster is not as voracious as one would expect as the trip computer indicated an average fuel consumption of 3.5L/100kms. Setting it on the more docile Urban mode lowers the output to 100 hp and I found it suitable when navigating through the congested streets of Cainta and Pasig. The Ride-by-Wire system also adjusts ABS function and traction control according to your riding mode. To manage all those Italian horses are racing-derived Brembo brakes and Öhlins suspension.
The Monster 1200 S’ transmission also features an oil bath clutch with “slipper” function and super-light feel at the lever. Its design uses a progressive self-servo mechanism that presses the plates together when under drive from the engine, enabling the reduction of the clutch spring rates. This results in a much lighter clutch effort at the handlebar, ideal in stop-start traffic. When the drive force is reversed (over-run), the same mechanism reduces the pressure on the clutch plates, enabling them to provide a race-like “slipper” action, which reduces the destabilizing effect of the rear-end under aggressive down-shifting and provides a much smoother feeling when closing the throttle or down-shifting under normal riding conditions. Tamed as it may seem, the Monster’s Testastretta 11° DS engine is coupled with a side-mounted 2-1-2 staggered shotgun exhaust that bellows a roar worthy of the name.