Lessons from a modest Monster

Impress Yourself

On this, the final day of the oughts, I'll be seeing off a decade I won't rewind with any particular fondness. Looking back too long is dangerous anyway. You might hit something. Besides, the only moment I can do anything about is this one. Here's hoping the decade we're uncorking at midnight is better than the one we'll toss in the recycling bin. But, for better or worse, I've learned a few lessons over the past 3,649 days, including a few from Ducati's Monster 1100 over the past 30.
Before that, I would've walked right past the simple beast in any Ducati showroom on my to ogle the new Streetfighter. Or better yet: a Streetfighter S. Who wouldn't? I mean, just look at the thing. The Testastretta 1099 is right out there in the open. The eight valves inside caress their respective camshafts faithfully via the miracle of Desmodromics. Magnesium covers. Elliptical Marelli throttle bodies. Exhaust plumbing as big around as an adolescent boa constrictor winding its way back from both cylinders, and styling somewhere between a 9mm Beretta 90two pistol and Eva Riccobono. It cuts a serious swath out there on the street, leaving any other naked twin for dead trailing a soundtrack that's easier to identify than the Italian national anthem. Stunning Brembo Monobloc calipers and 330mm rotors up front. What's not to like?

Let’s just say the Fighter’s general temperament is a little too close to the average Italian supermodel’s for my taste. Play by its rules or don’t play at all. And you can expect to pay for the privilege: up front and at tune-up time. Once upon a time I might have rationalized all that stuff away and gone with the more powerful naked fashion statement, but not now. Not when simple Monster and its seemingly ageless Desmodue twin do just about everything could ask of a modern motorcycle for $3000 less. I’ve probably been building up to this for years and probably known it all along. A month on the Monster just brought it to the surface. These days I can’t afford to impress anyone but myself, whether we’re talking about Ducatis or anything else.