Monster 797

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Review: Ducati Monster 797

Driven August 2017

Review: Ducati Monster 797

What is a Monster? It was a big leap of faith. When it came out in 1993, Ducati had not done anything like it. Fully faired motorcycles faithful to their racing pedigree was what they did best and what they stuck to. But along came the Monster and all that turned around. From an anomaly, the Monster turned into one of the most popular Ducatis around. And over the years it also turned from a parts-bin hack job into the thoroughly R&D-ed streetbike it is today.

Since its inception, the Monster has always been available in three engine sizes. Of late, the entry level engine capacity has been missing. But not any more, because that’s what the Monster 797 is here to fix.

The 797 uses the same design formula as all other Monsters – a massive tank with an oval headlamp and nothing much else. The difference between its bigger siblings is that the tank is a steel unit and there is no single-sided swingarm. The seating is also more relaxed with the footpegs placed lower and the handlebar a little closer to the rider.

But as much as the looks are similar, underneath it’s very different. The chassis is a new tubular steel trellis that doesn’t use a separate rear sub-frame. The swingarm is similar, but the suspension is all new - 43mm Kayaba fork and a semi-adjustable Sachs shock. The engine is the same 803cc unit in the same state of tune.

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Unlike the Scrambler, though, the 797 is a lot friendlier to ride. One of my biggest complaints from the 803cc, L-Twin has always been its snatchy throttle and how unsettled it felt at low revs – something this family of engines has always struggled with. I’m happy to report that the new 797 has sorted the throttle and low speed issues quite well. The power comes on linearly and progressively without knocking you out of your seat. There are no spike anywhere in the rev-band and the 797 won’t have you panicking in any situation. That’s not to say that it isn’t a fast motorcycle. While the beginners will find it friendly, in the hands of more experienced motorcyclists, the Monster won’t struggle. There is enough power and velocity in that engine to be up to all kinds of mischief. The 9000rpm redline does take some getting used to, but once you know where it will come in at, you can extract every one of that 74bhp without a problem. We saw 190kph on the clocks with room for more, but we ran out of courage before the Monster ran out of steam.

In hindsight, there was no need to be afraid. The Ducati’s braking is nothing short of incredible. In fact, there is co much bite from them that you actually need to take some time to really get to used to them before you go around experimenting. The Brembos and 320mm dual discs shed speed with alarming ferocity. And when you throw the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIs into the mix, you have complete faith in this motorcycle.



Of course, the fact that the 797 handles so well only adds to the confidence. From what I remember of the Scrambler, this Monster seems to be sprung a bit softer. This makes the motorcycle quite comfortable in our conditions. And despite only using mid-spec Kayaba USD forks and a semi-adjustable Sachs shock, the Monster handles quite well. It does take a bit of effort to get it turned in, but once it is, the bike holds its line very well. Mid-corner bumps do make the unsophisticated nature of its suspension evident, but it isn’t any cause for concern. The motorcycle remains stable and well-behaved no matter what you throw at it.

Overall, the Monster 797 is nice little motorcycle. It is learner friendly, yet exciting. The only problem is that after taxes and GST, the bike will cost you well over Rs 10 lakh. That isn’t a learner friendly price tag. That too, for no fault of Ducati’s (the ex-shwroom price is Rs 8.3 lakh). However, if you can afford it and don’t mind shelling out the dough, this will make a great bike to start your big-bike journey with. And unlike a lot of other beginner bikes, this one just might keep you engaged long enough to justify that hefty pricetag.

Verdict: A learner friendly Ducati that can also keep the seasoned hands happy

Spec:
803cc, L-twin, 74bhp, 69Nm, 193kg

Photography: Kunal Khadse

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Ashok George

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