2023 Ducati Monster SP Review: A Thrilling First Ride Experience
Ducati’s Monster series has undergone a significant evolution over the years. The latest iteration, the 2023 Monster SP, retains the essence of the iconic Monster while embracing modern enhancements. Let’s delve into the details of this refined naked bike.
A Legendary Lineage
The Ducati Monster made a memorable debut on the motorcycle scene 17 years ago with models like the S4Rs, known for their raw power and exhilarating performance. Since then, over 350,000 Monsters have been sold, solidifying its legendary status.
Evolution Under Audi’s Wing
Ducati found stability under Audi AG’s ownership, transitioning from a tumultuous history of changing ownerships. Audi’s influence brought legitimacy to the brand, resulting in a more refined product lineup.
The 2023 Ducati Monster SP: What’s New?
The latest Monster SP represents a leap forward from its predecessor, the Monster 821. It sheds a substantial 40 pounds of weight while delivering a modest increase in power. The 937cc L-twin engine now boasts 111 horsepower and 69 pound-feet of torque.
Performance vs. Nostalgia
Compared to the 2006 Monster S4RS, which packed 148 horsepower but was 24 pounds heavier, the new Monster SP offers a different blend of performance. It’s important to note that the price has also become more accessible, with inflation-adjusted figures translating to a hefty $22,000 in 2006 dollars.
Modernization and Streamlining
Several key changes have modernized the Monster series. The trellis frame, long associated with Monsters, was replaced with a lightweight aluminum frame in 2020, resulting in a weight reduction of six pounds. The iconic dry clutch has given way to a wet clutch.
The 2023 Monster SP offers improved ergonomics, including a narrow seat positioned at 33.1 inches above the ground. The SP variant, while slightly taller than the standard Monster, offers different seat heights to accommodate various riders.
The Monster SP comes equipped with a comprehensive electronics suite, featuring three riding modes, traction control, wheelie control, launch control, cornering ABS, and quick-shift capabilities. The SP variant enhances the package with Öhlins suspension, Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tires, Termignoni exhaust, a steering damper, Brembo Stylema front calipers, and a lithium-ion battery.
Audi-Inspired TFT Display
The influence of Audi is evident in the Monster SP’s TFT display, boasting slick graphics, a prominent tachometer, and a gear indicator.
While the new Monster SP has shed some of the visual drama of its predecessors, it offers a refined and enjoyable riding experience. The 937cc engine produces power evenly across its midrange powerband, making gear shifts smoother with the help of the standard Ducati Quick Shifter.
A Tamed Beast
Unlike earlier Monster models with their raucous exhaust notes, the Monster SP emits a more subdued sound, complying with stricter Euro 5 and U.S. regulations.
The Monster SP impresses with its nimble handling and smooth ride, thanks to reduced unsprung mass, Öhlins NIX30 fork, and Brembo calipers.
While the Ducati Monster SP offers premium features, it faces tough competition in the market. Prospective buyers must weigh the Ducati premium against rivals like the BMW F900R, Triumph Street Triple RS, and Yamaha MT-09 SP. While the latest Monster is undoubtedly well-executed, its departure from some iconic features may make it appear less distinctive
Ultimately, choosing the Monster SP comes down to personal preferences. Some riders value vintage character, while others prioritize modern refinement. Ducati enthusiasts and newcomers alike should carefully consider their preferences before making a decision. Your two-wheeled joy depends on finding the perfect match.