2004 Ducati Monster S4R Motorcycle – First Ride & Review – Motorcyclist Online

26 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2004 Ducati Monster S4R Motorcycle – First Ride & Review – Motorcyclist Online
Ducati Monster S4

2004 Ducati Monster S4R Motorcycle: The Meanest Monster Ever

At the limits of the Italian coastal town of Cattolica, the road opened and stretched into the distance–and suddenly Ducati’s latest motorcycle, the Monster S4R made sense.

I cranked the throttle for the first time, and the most powerful production Monster lunged forward almost hard enough to bend its fancy new one-piece aluminum handlebar. This thing’s fast! Seconds later the S4R is still accelerating hard past 120 mph, not surprising considering its grunt comes from the 996cc desmo that recently powered Ducati’s 996 super-sport.

But you only need to glance at the single-sided swingarm and stacked mufflers to realize there’s more to this Monster than a bigger motor. The Monster concept has evolved gloriously in 10 years (with 130,000 units sold since the original M900), and the new S4R is a far more aggressive machine than all its predecessors.

Motor-related mods are limited to the intake and exhaust. A larger airbox from the Monster S4 teams with shorter intake trumpets for added punch. It exhales through a right-side exhaust with stylishly stacked twin silencers.

Peak output is a claimed 113 hp at 8750 rpm–12 hp up on the S4 and a world away from the original M900’s claimed 73-hp rear-wheel output.

Like the S4 and every other Ducati, the frame is a tubular-steel trellis, but many of the bits bolted to it are new. This includes the 43mm inverted Showa fork with titanium-nitride coating and revised internals as well as the fully adjustable Showa rear shock. Footrests are 70mm closer together for increased cornering clearance, and the passenger pegs now mount on separate hangers, allowing easy removal for track days.

The S4R wears a tubular aluminum single-sided swingarm similar to that of the MH900e Hailwood replica. It’s the same weight and stiffness as the old twin-sider, and even Ducati admits this one’s more for style than performance. All other changes are also cosmetic. The gauges sport fresh faces and adjustable illumination, while the exterior benefits from new mirrors and color options.

As on the Monster S4, trim pieces are carbon fiber.

One thing the fuel-injected S4R doesn’t have is an automatic choke (there’s a lever on the bar), which is my excuse for stalling it exiting the trendy Cattolica launch hotel. In town, the bike felt a tad hungover. The heavy, dry clutch was a pain in traffic, and the injection’s low-rev snatchiness was typical Ducati.

Monsters are traditionally bought for around-town use as much as anything else, and here the S4R is more demanding than its forebearers. At 31.6 inches, the seat is fairly tall and the pegs are plenty high. However, the handlebar position provides a lot of steering lock and a near-upright riding position that’s quite comfortable.

Urban frustrations instantly disappear when you let the S4R rip. Whereas the S4 was a significant improvement on the old two-valve Monster, the S4R is a giant step: Its extra horsepower and increased torque make the bike charge smoothly through the midrange and on to its 10,500-rpm limiter.

The S4R felt equally rev-hungry on the autostrada, hitting an indicated 160 mph on a short uphill straight, suggesting that its true top speed on flat land will be a similar figure. Not that you’d want to spend a lot of time up there given the moderate protection from the small flyscreen. Still, this Monster’s boogie is worth a bit of neckache.

Ducati Monster S4

The S4R’s strong in the corners, too, thanks to the typically rigid trellis frame, racy steering geometry and firm suspension that copes well with everything. Weighing just 425 pounds (claimed, dry), the Monster’s reasonably light, and its wide bar gives plenty of leverage for flicking through turns.

Every time I had the opportunity to give it some stick, the S4R was brilliant fun. Those seeking a naked bike for commuter duty should consider its marginal low-speed manners and $13,495 buy-in (bikes should be available June 2003). But on the open road the S4R is far and away the best Monster yet, providing all the style, speed and Hooligan appeal required of a big, bad, naked V-twin.

Ducati Monster S4R


MSRP: $13,495


Type: l-c V-twin

Valve arrangement: dohc, 8v

Ducati Monster S4
Ducati Monster S4
Ducati Monster S4
Ducati Monster S4
Ducati Monster S4

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