According to Miguel Galluzzi, the Argentinean designer who dreamed up this whole Monster thing in the first place, "all you need is a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels and handlebars." That's an apt description of any Monster, and doubly so when it comes to the new S2R 1000. OK, so the monstrous S4Rs is more impressive the more you're impressed by raw power and sexy parts. But this new middle-spec Monster is truer to Galluzzi's original stripped-down ideal-and at $9995, being $5000 cheaper hardly hurts. The ergonomic challenges of a wide 'bar and high pegs are just as painful here, and unless you buy shoes in the kid's department, there's not much room for your boots. But otherwise, there's precious little to complain about.
Like Ducati's original '93-spec M900, the S2R 1000 is powered by an air/oil-cooled desmodromic entertainment center, with two valves atop each 94.0mm x 71.5mm cylinder. Essentially pirated from the Supersport 1000, the latest Dual Spark V-twin is a much-evolved and better-behaved version of the old carbureted M900 engine. Blessed with perfect fuel delivery despite electronic fuel injection that meets thorny Euro 3 emissions standards, there's useable grunt all the way down to 2000 rpm. It doesn't rev as quickly, but the humble Desmodue engine is a bit more obliging on the street than the Testastretta S4Rs mill. Even better, the simpler 992cc Pompone twin actually makes more horsepower between 3000 and 6000 rpm, where Monsters spend most of their time. If you're underwhelmed by the 87.3-horsepower peak that arrives at 8750 rpm, it's much more impressive in person. Think quality, not quantity. The 1000 makes 86 of those ponies at 7500 rpm. Torque? There's a steady 60 lb.-ft. stream of the stuff on tap from 4000 to 8000 rpm.
The lack of a radiator and its unsightly plumbing makes the S2R easier to look at as well, especially if you subscribe to the aesthetic that says a Monster is an air-cooled motorcycle. Such simplicity makes the 436-pound S2R 10 pounds lighter than the S4Rs, and less expensive at tune-up time. Still, you can't argue with Testastretta horsepower at the dragstrip. Despite a respectable 11.42-second, 116.17-mph quarter-mile, the S2R 1000 is nearly three-quarters of a second and 10 mph behind the S4Rs. And though the Desmodue twin is edged out in a 0-60 mph sprint as well-3.42 sec. vs. 3.12-less weight and more power in the basement make it easier to ride.
It's the next-best thing to a trials bike around town. Steering is quick through the twisty bits, but never too quick. The softly sprung, less sophisticated Showa fork and Sachs shock are less compliant than top-shelf hlins tack. Down-market Brembo front calipers need a firmer squeeze to slow things down. The net result is a little fidgeting in the fast corners and two fingers on the brake lever instead of one.
But if you can live with those little hardships-along with a pronounced carbon-fiber deficiency-we're pretty sure you can find something else to do with that extra $5000. We certainly could.
Anyone who appreciates the quality of horsepower as much as its brochure-enhancing quantities will welcome the Pompone twin's accommodating manners. Though it makes 20 horses fewer than the quicker-revving S4Rs, the S2R engine's 87.3 ponies arrive at 8750 rpm. That's 1000 rpm earlier than its pricier stablemate. Moreover, the two-valve air-cooled lump is happier and stronger under 6000 rpm. Factor in fuel delivery that's as good as it gets and you're looking at Ducati's best street engine.
2006 Ducati Monster S2R 1000
|MSRP ||$9995 |
|Type ||a/o-c 90-deg. V-twin |
|Valve arrangement ||sohc, 4v |
|Displacement ||992cc |
|Transmission ||6-speed |
|Weight ||436 lb. wet (198kg) |
|Fuel capacity ||3.6 gal. (14L) |
|Wheelbase ||56.7 in. (1440mm) |
|Seat height ||32.0 in. (800mm) |