First, Ducati disappointed us by dropping the 916-powered Monster S4 from its 2003 lineup. Then it won back our hearts and minds with the unveiling of a much-improved and upgraded piece called the S4R. This, the mother-of-all Monsters, will soon rear its beautiful head (in the form of big, crossed-up wheelies) as an early release '04 model. Can we get an "Amen?"
Straight out of the 996 (read: more than enough). The Monster S4R should lay down something in the neighborhood of 110 rear-wheel horsepower, approximately a dozen more than the standard S4, a bike that always felt a touch slow to us (read: lots of weight).
Come on people, it's a Ducati (read: tubular-steel trellis). And in keeping with this whole "it's a Ducati" theme, the new top-shelf Monster has been blessed with fully adjustable Showa bits front and rear. They're not full-spec Ohlins pieces, but they're plenty good.
The most obvious change is the new and way-cool single-sided aluminum swingarm inspired by the limited-production MH900e Hailwood replica. Said arm allows a pair of mufflers to be stacked atop one another on the starboard side of the bike without obstructing vistas of the lovely Marchesini aluminum wheels. The top-of-the-line Monster naturally receives tasty carbon-fiber trimmings, as well as new illumination-adjustable instrumentation.
"A motorcycle for riders with extensive motorcycling experience."
Consider yourselves warned.