I have never ridden Ducati’s Monster 795 and 796. Neither did I ever ride any edition of the Monster 821 previously. In fact, the only Monster model I have reviewed previously for another publication was the 2015 Monster 1200 S.
For the Monster 797 and 821 reviewed here, I had them on consecutive weekends, took the former for a 4-day ride and the latter for a 6-day ride. Both machines have their advantages and limitations, with some being similar to one another. What are they?
First, let’s focus on the limitations, which are not many. It is not so much a limitation per se, but having reviewed a lot of motorcycles, I am surprised to see some of these still exist. The quality of both bikes’ horn. The sound DB level of both horns are hardly audible to me, and I am not sure whether the motorists I was alerting could hear the warning too. For some reasons I don’t understand, other than “the battery is weak” response I got from Ducati Malaysia’s sales personnel upon enquiry. I first came upon this issue while reviewing the 2015 Monster 1200 S, so it must be unique to the Monster line-up perhaps?
The other gripe is the both models’ inability to shift to Neutral upon coming to a halt. To get into Neutral easily, I had to downshift to it while the Monster (either one) slowly cruises to a stop approaching a traffic interjunction or rush hour congestion. Should I momentarily forgotten to this, it would be a case of trying my best to hit Neutral while the bike is idle with the clutch lever fully engaged. This issue has nothing to do with the clutch cable adjustment bolt being tight or loose, but the viscosity of the lubricant used, which is not of the brand recommended by Ducati Bologna in Italy.
Still, this limitation only applies to the Monster line-up as I have never encountered it with the Panigale 899, 959, 1299 and Multistrada 1200 S, as well as the Hypermotard 939. Nevertheless, these are the only issues I have with both Monster models. The rest of their performances are well definitely splendid!
First, the ABS system from the Monster 797 and 821 are excellent for slowing the bikes in dry and wet conditions, without the machines going sideways or feeling the rear washing out during hard, emergency braking procedure. Still, for the most parts, I rarely engaged emergency braking, with only the front dual disc brakes doing all that required stopping/slowing for me.
I had a near-collision experience in the city road with a 4×4 while riding the Monster 797 but the brakes worked well enough to prevent it. That 4×4 went from the 2nd lane to the 4th, which was the path I was riding, and couldn’t see me approaching as the driver’s view was blocked by a car on the 3rd lane that had stopped and allowed the 4×4 vehicle to drive past it into the 4th and directly blocking my path! With emergency braking applied, the 797 stopped just in time without colliding with the 4×4! That proves the ABS works splendidly.
In terms of power, the Monster 797 comes with 73hp while the Monster 821 has 109hp although I could hardly feel the difference between them after riding one after the other back-to-back other than the way they sound. The Monster 797 has a smoother engine grunt, akin to a Japanese naked sport while the Monster 821 has the familiar, coarser Ducati grunt.
In fact, upon stopping for a coffee break from my first ride with the 797, some bikers asked me which Japanese bike is it before they realised it’s a Ducati and not a Japanese make at all. The 821 needs no question be asked as the familiar grunt of a Ducati is all loud and crystal clear to many big bikers’ ears. When it comes to cruising in the city roads, both the 797 and 821 are flawless, having the acceleration to move out of congested segments with ease. And both bikes are slim to navigate thru all the traffic congestion without fear of their handlebars scrapping any vehicle.
Unlike their cousin, the Hypermotard 939, which is very agile on twisty roads and city riding but lacking the leverage to go fast on 3-lane highways, both the 797 and 821 are capable of riding fast outright the moment I left the city road limits and older twisties into out-of-town tolled highways.
The design of the Monster 797 perfectly integrates the wide handlebar, tank, steel trellis frame, engine and the double-sided swingarm to create a compact yet agile naked sport motorcycle. The same goes for the Monster 821, which is designed a sportiness angle that instils confidence in the rider right away from the moment seated and the engine started. That’s the charm of riding any Ducati Monster model.
The Desmodue twin engine of the 797 comes with 73hp to ensure a riding enjoyment with maximum safety in mind. Despite its rather intimidating appearance, it was a surprise to find the 797 to be quite docile in handling, thus giving me the extra confidence to ride it faster without any qualm. The Monster 797 chassis is also designed to ensure maximum ease of riding, which helped in providing that assurance.
The Monster 797 boasts a modern and complete range of equipment. The large LCD hi-vis screen of the dashboard provides all the information needed for riding, while LED technology enhances the positioning light of the front headlight, rear light and licence plate light.
The Monster 821 comes with a maximum horsepower of 109hp, enough power to go faster when encountering vehicles that are way too stubborn to give way for you to overtake them on tighter routes. While the Monster 797 is nice to ride with confidence, the extra power the 821 packs allowed the rider to accelerate bigger and slower vehicles in front of you with ease, which the 797 might struggle in some cases.
Both the Monster 797 and Monster 821 are reasonable in fuel consumption during cruising mode – they are capable of up to 236km of mileage within their 13-litre main fuel capacity before the reserved segment of 3.5-litre takes over the running. Ducati has listed an average consumption of 5.4-litre per 100km distance, which is approximately 11-litre for 200km mileage. Their reserves should be adequate for the rider to find a fuel station within the next 60km distance provided that full throttle operation is not utilised.