Ducati Monster Max

Can Italy's superbike maestros crack the cruiser market?
By Ben Purvis
ILLO: Jean-Marc Guerin

Ducati is working on a power cruiser to rival the Yamaha/Star V-Max, settling years of speculation that the company intends to enter the cruiser market. The long-rumored machine's existence was finally confirmed when pictures of a clay styling model were leaked, showing that development is well-advanced and adding weight to information from Ducati insiders suggesting that running prototypes are already undergoing testing in Bologna.

Although not a traditional cruiser in the Harley mold, the bike-unofficially referred to as the "Vyper"-has all the traits of a V-Max-style power cruiser, including a long wheelbase, upright riding position and, of course, a massively powerful V-twin engine. Sources suggest the engine-based on the water-cooled, four-valve 1198-will be as large as 1400cc and close in terms of both power and torque to the V-Max's 200-bhp V4. The chassis will be a steel/alloy hybrid as on the latest Monster and the styling (undoubtedly by Monster designer Bart Janssen-Groesbeek) will recall that model too, with a similar hunchbacked fuel tank and a horizontally split headlight in a compact nose fairing.

Ducati refuses to confirm the existence of the bike, but doesn't deny it, either. The firm's international press officer, Massimo Davoli, said,"I can't say anything about it at the moment, but in the next few weeks and months you will find out, as usual, about Ducati's range for next year." More telling is Davoli's reaction to the publication of the clay model photograph, which reportedly caused an outcry in the Bologna factory. About that, Davoli said, "Fortunately the story might not hurt us too much, as the bike is in a new market for Ducati and shouldn't affect sales of our current range." Look forward to learning more after this November's Milan Motorcycle Expo.