Ten Fast Facts: 2014 Ducati Monster 1200 S

Our Road Test Editor’s quick take on the big new water-cooled Monster.

2014 Ducati Monster 1200S studio rear 3/4 view

I just returned from the international press introduction of the 2014 Ducati Monster 1200S, which was held on the twisty roads of the Canary Islands. Cutting to the chase, I’d like to share 10 observations and impressions of this big new third-generation Monster, which is a liquid-cooled bike priced at $15,995. Look for a more detailed riding impression soon.

1) Ducati’s new Monster has a very comfortable riding position, with a taper-type aluminum handlebar that’s 40mm higher and 40mm closer to the rider. Also, the angle of the bar bend is more natural than on Monsters past, and the deeply padded seat is nicely contoured. Two seat-height positions are available: 30.9 and 31.8 inches. The latter is well-suited to to my 32-inch inseam.

2) The rear view mirrors of the 1200S provide very good coverage and remain free of excessive vibration throughout much of the rev range. You do need to tuck an elbow for a full unobstructed view.

3) The compact dash is attractive, and its Thin Film Transfer (TFT) display (first used on the 1199 Panigale) offers three layout designs displaying information tailored for each of the three riding modes: Sport, Touring and Urban. Sport, for example, features a Panigale-inspired tachometer display while Urban forgoes the tach altogether and emphasizes a larger, more prominent digital speedometer readout. There’s a setup menu option that allows the designation of your preferred layout to be used globally in each riding mode.

4) Ducati Safety Pack (DSP) may sound like a name coined by marketing folks, but it’s applied to the Monster’s excellent combination of Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Bosch ABS 9MP-controlled Brembo brakes. DSP is standard on all Monster 1200 and Monster 1200S models coming to the US.

5) The twist-grip spring tension of Ducati’s “e-Grip” throttle control is spot-on, neither too light nor heavy.

6) The Multistrada-based 1198cc Testastretta V-twin engine is a refined performer, with very linear power delivery and low vibration levels. It’s so much more tolerant of low-rpm cruising than Monster mills of yore. Engine surge and excessive drive train lash are evident only if you hunt for it—say, by keeping the engine below 2,500 rpm in top gear. But that’s not really a concern because 3,500 rpm nets an indicated 60 mph in sixth gear.

7) While the softer ride-by-wire throttle response and restricted 100 hp peak power of the Urban ride mode is a good way to begin your ride, toggling into Touring or Sport modes is possible on the fly. Touring offers medium throttle response and a full 145 hp, while Sport quickens response. Each mode also has default settings for the DTC and ABS, with reduced intervention as you step up through the modes.

Instrument panel.

8) Each ride mode’s factory programmed default levels for DTC, ABS, throttle response, and peak power output can be altered in the ride mode setup menu. It’s even possible to make all three modes identical in every parameter. Switching ride modes would then alter only the mode, not the other parameters.

9) With a top-grade 48mm Öhlins fork and shock, the new 1200S is on the firm side of comfortable, but the suspension did give the bike excellent control over the rough pavement that crossed Tenerife’s lava fields.

10) Snatched straight from the Panigale parts bin, the 1200S’s brakes have no lack of stopping power. In fact, Ducati says the new Monster 1200S, with its 59.5-inch wheelbase and Brembo Monobloc M50 4-piston calipers pinching a pair of 330mm semi-floating front discs, stops in less distance than any other bike in its entire model line. Impressive.

Studio rear 3/4 right-side view.

Studio left-side view.

Studio group shot.

Front wheel / Brembo brakes.

Headlight.

Left grip / rear view mirror.

Instrument panel.

Seat.

Engine close-up.

Rear wheel / exhaust pipes.

Static view.

On-road action shot #3

On-road action shot #4