The Bike That Saved Ducati

And It Wasn’t Always Called The Monster

By Marc Cook, Photography by Ducati, Kevin Wing, Motorcyclist Archives

For Ducati, the success of the Monster has been its lifeblood, making possible such machines as the Desmosedici and the Panigale, but also keeping its dealers afloat with relatively affordable, broad-reach motorcycles that welcome beginners and excite experienced riders. In the years since Galluzzi sketched over an 851 photo, the world has changed dramatically—fresh competition from European manufacturers, a few shots over the bow from Japanese brands—but the Monster prevails. When you consider that the basic concept of the Monster has not changed drastically in the last 20 years, and that the bike is still as relevant as ever, it’s all just a bit amazing. But logical, when you stop to think about it: This was too good an idea, too wisely executed, to drift quietly into history. Here’s to another 20 years of the Monster.

By the Numbers

4400 Number of Monsters built in the first year of production, 1993.

12,000 Number of 696 Monsters sold in 2009, the first Ducati model to sell more than 10,000 bikes in one year. 

35 Dry weight difference, in pounds, between the 1993 M900 (408 lbs.) and the 2013 Monster 1100 Evo (373 lbs.).

27 Claimed horsepower difference between the same bikes (M900: 73 bhp; Monster 1100 Evo: 100 bhp).

300 Number of “Foggy Edition” Monster S4s made in 2002, to honor British Superbike racer Carl Fogarty.

405 Number of Monsters gathered on Sept. 21, 2008, in Hamme-Moerzeke, Belgium, breaking the Guinness Record for the “largest parade of motorcycles of the same brand and type.”

The Forever Brute
Today’s Monster isn’t all that different from the original, even as it shares almost no parts, has been visually refreshed a couple of times, and sells into a motorcycling culture two decades removed from those heady days of 1993. It remains potent—especially in 1100 Evo form—and charismatic, with a prominent intake honk and just enough mechanical presence so you’d never mistake it for a Honda. Firm riding and agile, the ’13 Monster is, as was the original, a true sportbike that just happens to be naked. It’s this combination that made it a legend.

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