The Ducati Monster 1200 S has the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse and the contact patch of a playing card. I’m elbows deep into leaning this pulsing, growling, screaming red animal across a one-lane hairpin on the edge of a volcanic island, when a sequence of questions flit through my mind: What if I hit a patch of gravel? What if a car rounds the corner and barrels toward me? What if I overcook the bend and somersault down the mountain, followed by a tumbling 461-pound bike?
Though these thoughts occur to every motorcyclist, they’re less toxic than one might think aboard the latest naked bike from Ducati.
The Monster barks in anger when its massive, 145-horsepower L-twin fires up, and its distinct lack of bodywork lends its mechanical entrails a fascinating – if somewhat grizzly – presence. There’s the pretty (Brembo monoblocs, TiN-coated Öhlins shocks, an aluminum single-sided swing arm), the ugly (cooling hoses, sloppy wiring, and an ill-fitting radiator shroud), and the optically clever (twin exhaust silencers of subtly staggered proportions, an LED-illuminated license plate mounted on a rear hugger). But despite all this visual and visceral data, the bike’s electronics systems have a sneaky way of taming this two-wheeled read more »