Bologna, Italy - This is the first of what Ducati has promised will be five new models for 2018, and it makes sense to start with the 821 Monster, since it is in fact a 25th anniversary retro model, inspired by the original 900 Monster, launched at the Cologne Motor Show in October 1992.
Miguel Angel Galluzzi’s radical streetfighter cioncept - a superbike engine in an exposed trellis frame with the absolute minimum of bodywork - predated the bobber movement by two decades and its enormous success took everybody (including, we suspect, Ducati) by surprise.
Now Bologna is paying tribute to Galluzzi’s vision with a freshly pared-down tank and tailpiece - inspired by the 1992 Cologne showbike - brought up to date with a new race-style exhaust system and an all-LED headlight in a retro-style round nacelle.
In addition to the signature red and matte black finishes of the Monster family the 821 (and only the 821) is also available in the bright yellow that was very popular in the 1990s on both the SS sports-bikes and the original Monsters.
The go to match the show is provided by a way-oversquare 88 x 67.5mm Testastretta L-twin, fed by two 53mm ride-by-wire throttle bodies. It’s rated for 79kW at 9250 revs and 86Nm at 7750rpm (85 percent of which is on tap at 5000rpm) with short final gearing for punchy mid-range acceleration.
The rest of it is true state-of-the-art, with 43mm upside-downies and Brembo M4-32 monobloc radial-mount callipers on 320mm discs in front and an adjustable rising-rate shock absorber at the rear.
An all-new TFT colour instrument panel includes displays for gear position and fuel level, and standard kit includes adjustable Bosch ABS and traction control, together with three drive modes. Options include a factory-fitted quick-shifter and a multimedia system.
The Ducati World Premiere of the new 2018 range, to be streamed live on Sunday 5 November, will begin with the 821 Monster and go on to reveal four more new models; the five new Ducatis will then be shown in public for the first time at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan from 9-12 November.
The new Monster 821 is tentatively scheduled for South African release in the second half of February 2018; pricing will be announced closer to the time.