2009 Ducati Monster 696 Review –

6 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Ducati Monster 696 Review –

Monster Espresso

Photos by Pete Brissette, Team Milagro Video by P.Brissette, A.Palaima

There I was in the midst of it, decked in my finest T-shirt damp with 16 hours of travel perspiration, cargo shorts, year-old cross-trainers, four bags of gear in tow and late for dinner. Thanks for that, British Airways!

All I kept thinking to myself, as I tried to blend in like a cat at a dog show was, I guess Italians and Spaniards really are that good looking. That, and how important a humble little air-cooled two-valve roadster must be to Ducati.

For all the glitz, glam and exposure Ducati’s renowned 1098 and its variants have received in the past year and a half, you could almost lose sight of the fact that the Bologna, Italy, bike maker has any other products. Accolades from prestigious motopublications to the average Ducatisti heaped upon the brilliant Twin are deserved; it is a machine that has ratcheted Ducati’s name up to the stratosphere on the scale of all things desirable.

A home in the South of France, private jet, fine wines, beautiful spouse, exotic automobiles, admiration by those we admire, high-performance Ducati sportbike. Yes, a bright red Duc 1098 (or Desmosedici!) is right at home in that imaginary life.

Alas, we’re quick to forget the little guy. The glory-grabbing superbikes from Ducati owe much to the sustainability of the Monster line, now 17 years after it was first seen. Ducati knows this.

Ducati 900 Monster

They know it to the point that opening night of the world press introduction for the 2009 Monster 696 in Barcelona was a gala dinner at the Museu D’Art Contemporani De Barcelona, replete with local dignitaries including Italy’s ambassador to Spain and all the Ducati chieftains.

Before I sheepishly sneaked away from the dinner table, averting my gaze when any impeccably groomed, tan-skinned persons passed by for fear of them recognizing me the following day by my pauper’s toggery, I noted various trademark components of the new bike, large and small, were displayed like the art that many consider them to be. The Monster, it was everywhere.

Though the most recent iteration of the tiniest Monster, the 695, is only two years old, comparing the 695 visually to the 696 makes the former look years older than it is. The round headlamp, uninspired mirrors, trellis subframe hidden mostly from view, traditional and traditionally placed exhaust cans, simple instrument cluster, vanilla indicators and taillight and box-section swingarm, to name a few pieces, simply make the 695, however functional it may be, look unattractive when pitted next to its replacement. The new little Monster is as much an exercise in styling as it is a general improvement.

Il nuovo Monster 696: l’inizio di una nuova era!

The 696’s simplified trellis main section is meatier (same stock as the 1098R) and now joins with a cast-aluminum subframe that blends so well that the eye can be fooled into thinking no subframe exists. A new hefty swingarm and unique footpeg hanger complete the package.

Ducati 900 Monster
Ducati 900 Monster
Ducati 900 Monster
Ducati 900 Monster

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