2011 Ducati Monster 796 Review
Go to the “2011 Ducati Monster 796″ Overview Page
Ducati’s venerable Monster has always been more than just another naked bike. Nearly a quarter million of the brutishly named two-wheelers have been sold, and the 696 was the first Monster to attain 5-figure sales in one year.
But with only two engine sizes available—696 and 1100—it was high time for Ducati to expand the lineup: enter the mid-sized Monster 796. Powered by the same air-cooled, Desmodromically valved 803cc L-twin first seen in the Hypermotard 796, the newest Monster incorporates numerous changes that will bleed into the rest of Ducati’s naked bike lineup.
For starters, the ergonomic triangle has been altered with tapered aluminum handlebars that are 20mm higher, foot levers that are 10mm lower, and a more accommodating, re-contoured saddle. The fuel-injected powerplant produces 87 horsepower at 8,250 rpm, and 58 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm; that’s a 7 hp and 7.4 lb-ft gain over the 696 engine. The 796 also gets an APTC slipper clutch, and the mill is mated to a six-speed transmission with straight cut gears.
In addition to the larger powerplant, the Monster 796 is better suited to more advanced riders thanks to its additional 30mm of ground clearance. The bike is capable of 46 degree lean angles, and seat height increases to 31.5 inches. Stopping power is provided by radially mounted 4-piston 320mm front discs, and a 2-piston 245mm disc at the rear. Non-adjustable inverted 43mm Showa forks are found up front, while a preload and rebound adjustable Sachs monoshock enables 5.8 inches of rear suspension travel.
Subtle aesthetic tweaks separate the Monster 796 from its stablemates. The new grab handle-ready rear subframe has a dark finish, wheels are only partially pinstriped, and the seat’s red stitching matches the trellis frame. The 1100 model’s digital MotoGP-style instrument panel has been transplanted to the 796, as have the Pirelli Diablo Rosso tires. Altogether, the Monster 796 weighs in at 369 pounds dry.
The first thing you’ll notice aboard the Monster 796—especially if you’re familiar with previous iterations of the bike—is that comfort has been enhanced. It may be nowhere near Honda Gold Wing levels of cushiness, but the Monster 796 receives enough minor ergonomic tweaks to make it feel notably more agreeable. Though the grips still require a bit of reach, the rider sits more uprightly. Notably, the re-sculpted saddle doesn’t push the nether regions quite so firmly against the 3.8 gallon fuel tank, a common gripe associated with earlier Monsters.
The 796 powerplant roars to life with a great sounding growl, and the clutch releases lightly, transferring power to the rear wheels progressively. There’s a bit of low-end driveline chatter, as there tends to be with Ducatis, and judicious clutch slippage helps smooth off-the-line acceleration. Though the 796′s engine enhancements appear nominal on paper, they translate to gains that are perceptible at the seat of the pants. Particularly in the area of mid-range torque, the 796 pulls strongly enough to keep sportbike loving riders entertained.
The radially-mounted front brakes offer excellent feel and strong stops, and our test unit was equipped with an optional ABS system that only revealed itself with subtle pulsing under hard braking or when surface conditions became loose. This middleweight also flicked through corners with ease; the hills surrounding Bologna, Italy are sprinkled with tight, technical turns that would challenge most larger bikes, but it was easy to throw the Monster 796 into decreasing radius and off camber switchbacks, as its low weight and responsive suspension made it a willing dance partner. Though it lacks the suspension compliance of the upmarket ‘S’ models equipped with Öhlins shocks, the 796′s setup feels appropriate to the bike’s intended role of urban runabout.
In keeping with our proven format – we present the review from three separate perspectives: 1) a Beginning Riders , 2) an Intermediate Rider , 3) and an Expert Rider . We hope you find this format helpful…. The Ducati Monster 796 Review for Beginning Riders - Click Here . Ducati Monster 796 review for Intermediate Riders- Click Here . Ducati Monster 796 review for Expert Riders- Click Here.
Though its seemingly approachable engine and sub-$10,000 price tag might be tempting to newbies, the Ducati Monster 796 is a bit too potent for beginners. The taller seat height puts it at a disadvantage when compared to the Monster 696—which can also be a bit too much bike for inexperienced riders—and the 796′s urgent acceleration and sharp handling can become a liability to motorcyclists lacking the restraint required to handle such a bike.
The Monster 796 becomes comprehensible for intermediate riders, though buyers should be warned that this particular Ducati is more of an advanced intermediate machine. If you have some experience with sportbikes and want a motorcycle to grow into, the Monster 796 offers more than enough performance for the long haul; and even better for Ducati enthusiasts, it’s priced a mere $1,000 more than the entry level 696.
Some experienced riders find mid-displacement motorcycles dull, but the Monster 796′s grunty power and relatively light weight endows it with a dynamic personality that should satisfy all but the most jaded riders. The bike shines on tight turns, where its maneuverability and quick direction changes make it capable of achieving high corner speeds. Purists may scoff at the bike’s non-adjustable front suspension, and if that level of control is a must, they will be better served by other offerings… though we’d be hard pressed to find a comparable alternative under the $10,000 mark.
The Ducati Monster 796 Review Summary
If the 2011 Ducati Monster 796 has any shortcomings, it might be in the area of versatility; though it’s more comfortable than earlier iterations, the lack of wind protection and sporty posture makes it a less than ideal partner for long stretches of interstate. But if you’re looking for a nimble city bike with more oomph than the entry level 696 model, the Monster 796 hits a sweet spot that’s likely to keep you smiling for many miles.
The Ducati Monster 796 OVERVIEW
The 2011 Ducati Monster 796 is a naked style motorcycle priced at $9,995, with anti-lock brakes available for an additional $1,000. Powered by an air-cooled, 803cc L-twin engine that produces 80 horsepower and 58 lb-ft of torque, the Monster 796 is equipped with a six-speed transmission and a slipper clutch. A 43mm inverted Showa fork is found at the front wheel, while the rear is mounted to a single-sided swingarm suspended by a preload and rebound adjustable Sachs monoshock. Front brakes are dual-disc 320mm units with 4-pistons, with a single-disc, 2-piston 245mm setup at the rear. Seat height is 31.5 inches, and fuel capacity measures 3.8 gallons, which drops to 3.6 gallons when equipped with optional ABS.
Go to the “2011 Ducati Monster 796″ Overview Page