In my recent story about the forthcoming new liquid-cooled Ducati Monster, I confirmed there will be an entry-level model powered by a updated edition of the current Pantah 500-based, air-cooled, sohc two-valve V-Twin. This engine is still holding its own in 696cc and 796cc displacements, officially rated at 80 and 87 horsepower, respectively.
Given those respectable outputs and the enormous experience that engineer Gigi Mengoli has acquired with this specific powerplant during his 40 years at Ducati, I expected the next version of this semi-immortal engine would continue to deliver adequate performance while becoming further civilized in terms of its exhaust note and emissions.
Maybe not. Apparently, Ducati is leaning toward retiring the old workhorse, with the engine remaining in production only during the early stages of new Monster production before giving way to a range of variations of the Desmoquattro 11-degrees unit, including a non-desmo “spring” version to lower maintenance and overall machine costs.
Air-cooled engines might not, however, be completely dead at Ducati. Rumors suggest that the company might unveil a reborn Scrambler powered by a new Single that, like the original, would be air-cooled. If true, that would be the story of the year.