Ducati S4 Monster — Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice — bikepoint.com.au

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Ducati M 900 S4

Ducati S4 Monster (September

More punch than a fist fight and the handling to — Ducatis S4 Monster is dangerous and on the prowl

There’s a list of simple things give me pleasure in this legislation-laden world of ours. a good book, savouring a top or 10, making love in a bath of custard — the list on and on.

And now I’ve added one more: a Ducati S4 Monster, anywhere, Well, perhaps not absolutely anytime — in fact my trip to the summit of a snow-capped mountain peak shrouded in fog and required quite a conservative hand — but given a dry bit of this Monster howls. And a stack more exciting burying your nose in a and nowhere near as messy as amongst it in the custard — or 10 ales for that matter.


When engineer Miguel Galluzzi’s doodlings led to the birth of the Monster he’d originally envisioned it the arse-whipping powerplant of the four-valve 888 But, as it turned out, for the 888 was far outstripping supply, whereas the 900SS wasn’t the success had hoped it would be — you have to be Einstein to figure out was going to happen.

Now the 900 Monster is a thing, no doubt about it but the desmoquattro-kitted S4 kicks …, and ’em hard. It might taken Ducati the best of 10 years, but believe me — been well worth the

Incidentally, the desmodue-powered Monster continue to be sold alongside the S4, in Dark and Monster Special for $13,995 (plus ORC) and (plus ORC) respectively.

As to why the Monster’s steroid shot come in the form of the 996 powerplant, it may well be a case of a present day — more 916 donks around the Bologna factory 996 units? Perhaps, although the in me suspects the use of the lower-capacity engine lead to a further round of should a 996-powered muscle break cover down the

But enough speculation — the shining outside so let’s the beast up and give that bit plastic in our wallets a damn workout.


two things you notice when you hop the S4 — the quality of its finish and the ride position. In fact, for a lout like myself, the position is made to order, just a slight lean to the wide, leverage-affording ‘bars. plenty of legroom too, the slim but buttock-friendly seat is low.

The S4’s finish is of Ducatis these days deep, lustrous paint off with quality fittings, and instruments. There’s a stack of too. Real carbon-fibre none of this fake crap, and on the S4 it accounts for the front rear hugger and chain muffler heat shields and among other things.

Of by the time you finish admiring the and thumb the starter, you’re by nothing more than a starter motor, care of the new G-code security system.

if you don’t fire the bugger up 15 seconds of turning the ignition on the bike’s original, G-code key, it won’t start. You have to turn the ignition off and on to start it once and for all, but if you’re not aware of the G-code in the place it might take you a bit to it out — wouldn’t you agree Mr

But when the beast does into life you’re not left guessing the heritage of the beneath you. A wonderfully rumble emanates from the twin pipes, at a level and which must surely put it and shoulders above 99 percent of bikes fitted with exhaust systems. Having that, a nice set of Termignonis transform the S4 into a religious on wheels in my books — satisfied, am I?


in the dry clutch (and notice I pull and not employ an industrial Ducati clutches have noticeably more user-friendly in history), prod the positive but heavy six-speed gearbox first, a twist of the wrist and off — more often not with the front wheel the air, if you’re predisposed to one-wheeled antics.

That valvole’ powerplant is a godsend in a like this, in much the way as Suzuki’s terrific TL1000 is to the Cagiva Raptor, which no is the biggest inspiration behind finally bringing the four-valver to the anyway.

Aesthetically, the S4 looks a messier than the M900 of all the extra piping and paraphernalia with the liquid-cooled desmoquattro but all thoughts of aesthetics are instantly once you’re off and rolling and that handgrip.

With a under 98ps and 8.7kg-m of (with both figures in at 8600rpm and 6950rpm respectively) plenty of fun to be had, be your operandi focus upon blasting or city-bound hi-jinks.

Interestingly enough, the S4’s is only a bee’s … than that of the desmodue with the two-valve generating torque until just the S4 hits its peak. But take a at the dyno charts on page 34 and see that above 6000rpm, the got it all over its little brother in the stakes.

Useable power is from as low as 2000rpm, while at 100kmh in top sees the tacho creep to a lazy 3400rpm with its redline set at around the wind blast will be hard to wrench you clean off the long before you reach velocity.

The relaxed, loping S4 into a firebreathing rocket a twist of the throttle, its wonderfully midrange mumbo making light work of any overtaking on the open road or devouring a bit of blacktop.


town or loping down the there’s just enough to let you know you’re aboard a with the vibes increasing above 7500rpm — but by stage if you’re hovering in the for some period of time generally be having so much fun you notice anyway. Either or you don’t have a pulse.

The is handled by Marelli electronic injection (with 50mm bodies), and by all accounts the system a good job, delivering clean response without your knees taking a vice-like grip of the tank town to keep things

The S4’s grunt means you can much select a gear and there on a lot of roads, although roads can see you drop down to or even first given the nature of the latter.

But don’t mistake the S4 just for a hooligan machine. Granted, not an ‘allrounder’ in the true sense of the given its exposed-to-the-elements lack of somewhat limited gear capability and range (at around approximately 220km), it’s not the best touring bike. But this baby at a curvy of road and get set to eat some sportsbikes.


The ST4-derived chassis and suspenders embrace their jobs without complaint, what amounts to a mobile gym for you to climb over and swing off a lunatic on your favourite set of

You see, all this jolly performance comes in quite a nimble package. A (claimed) dry of 193kg, when coupled a 1440mm wheelbase and 24-degree angle, allow the S4 to be flicked side to side with and while its oomph sees the go all light and wobbly-like, I never anything remotely resembling a

The upside-down 43mm Showa and Sachs rear shock are fully adjustable, and offer a ride which is a good between racetrack rigidity and comfort.

Ground clearance is on the side by sportsbike standards that generous legroom has to from somewhere — but allows more jollies to be had your average grown probably deserves. If it’s a big for you either stop whingeing at around groups of bikers how you have to shell out on kneesliders, or lean off the bike!


Spearing into space/the tree/the back of a bus is never a thing, so thankfully the S4’s package is more than up to the of slowing the scenery down. Brembo calipers have mated with large, floating steel disc up the with a twin-piston job (with disc) handling duties the rear.

Both offer a heap of and the power of the front stoppers is with negligible pressure at both lever or pedal to either into respective

So are there any negatives amid all praise and admiration. Well, no — not really. Its limited lock, although yet another pointing towards the bike’s abilities, can make low speed a more calculated affair although cutting through hour snarls is still a courtesy of its V-twin derived, lines.

The S4’s mirrors a good view to the rear, and are blur free for a Vee — they’re there, that is. Our machine’s right hand lens abandoned ship en while in our tenure, no doubt symptom of a rough interstate in a transporter before we got our mitts on it. The tiny bikini fairing had copped a hammering in transit, the item being replaced before we picked the bike up.

on the subject, that little does make quite a at speed on the open road, personally I think it takes from the bike’s raw, stance — horses for

The S4 Monster also comes a classy pillion seat which slides off to reveal a perch — my backseat tells me its comfy enough, and comes with decent

There’s an extensive list of go-fast and look-fast goodies on for the S4 Monster (like the rest of the range), with everything tasty carbon-fibre doo-dads to tank paint jobs and in between — see your Duc for more info.


Priced at the S4 Monster sits significantly on the pricing scale than its with Buell’s X1 Lightning at $18,299, Cagiva’s Raptor and V-Raptor 1000 at $15,990 and respectively, Yamaha’s FZ1 at $15,799 and Speed Triple at $15,950 ORC). But once you take account the machine’s high-spec it all starts to make sense.

In when you begin to look at the S4 in the framework of being a budget hypersports in a ergonomically friendly package — which is what it is — it looks a value for money package all.

And of course, it’s got all-important Ducati badge on the a feature which for some seal the deal, and make extra dollars worthwhile.

echo the rest of the world’s press here and say the S4 Monster is the bike it should have all along. Just take one for a and you’ll immediately see why — a hoot through and through. I’ll take the S4 over a bath any day.

Story Rod

Photos Helmut Mueller

Monday, 17 September 2001

Ducati M 900 S4


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