Ducati Monster 821 test: new blood at Ducati !
After the Monster 1200, Ducati continues the redesign of its roadster range with the Monster 821. It is in Bologna, where the Borgo Panigale factory is located, that MNC discovered this new little monster intended to replace the 796 and 696 in air cooling.
Rough but civilized
Discovering the horde of Monster 821 lined up in front of our hotel, we can’t help but feel a little thrill of pleasure! Passers-by are also under the spell of this Italian beauty, compact, stocky, racy and seductive at will in its bright red livery … ready to pounce !
However, this new version lets its sculptural L-twin engine appear even less than its predecessor 796: the engine disappears entirely behind the large water radiator, the exhaust pipes and the cover of the coolant jar housed on the right side..
The whole, however, appears homogeneous and pleasant to look at, although it is certainly possible to optimize this aesthetics weighed down by the adoption of liquid cooling, the abandonment of the single-sided oscillating arm and the lowering of the exhaust silencer to half height..
The grip is done naturally, thanks to a saddle now adjustable in height from 785 to 810 mm. The Monster 821 offers more room for the driver and passenger than a 796, as well as a more comfortable seat. An optional saddle even allows the seat height to be lowered to 745mm, allowing the greatest number of riders – and female riders – to use this motorcycle in the best conditions..
Ergonomics are noticeably improved with a closer (-40 mm) and higher (+40 mm) handlebars. The shape of the large 17.5-liter tank, taken from the Monster 1200, offers a good grip of the machine between the legs, while the controls fall naturally to the hand, with a clutch lever adjustable in gap and an APTC clutch by cable with limited slip (anti-dribbling) and progressive servo-control (reduction in lever effort), relatively soft and progressive in use.
Engine running, the Monster 821 delivers a still harsh and virile sound via its 2-1-2 exhaust silencer with superimposed barrels, catalyzed and conforming to the Euro 3 standard. A medium regulation valve, electronically controlled, optimizes the pressure exhaust according to engine speed. With every throttle the Monster 821 barks sharply, like a bulldog ready to pounce…
Imagine forty Monster 821s crossing Bologna up and down daily during these test days … and you will have an idea of the atmosphere that reigned in the city during our visit !
From the first turns of the wheels, the Monster 821 displays excellent in-line stability, with a well-positioned center of gravity and cycle part geometry allowing registration on the round and progressive angle, as well as relatively easy maneuvers..
Sometimes you have to take it twice to make a U-turn on a narrow road, but overall the new Monster 821 is doing pretty well. Although quite close in definition to the Monster 1200, the 821 seems more intuitive and natural to take. In any case, it is less impressive at first glance. The changes of angles are carried out quickly without having to force the handlebars, the glance sufficient to place the motorcycle where one wishes it..
The gear ratios are stacked one behind the other without a hitch and their staging remains suitable for city use. A little rough under 2500 rpm, the Testastretta 11 ° twin cylinder shows good smoothness past 3000 rpm and offers a good range of use thereafter, 85% of its maximum torque being delivered under 5500 rpm.
In town, we generally move between second and third gear, or even fourth in slight under-revving. The response to acceleration is smooth and progressive in Touring mode and even more so in Urban mode, but it is much more lively in Sport mode. In this mode, the Monster 821 does not take long to point its front wheel towards the sky if you open the throttle frankly, especially in this "full power" version of 112 hp.
In short, everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds … except that this little Monster 821 is not free from faults: the pilot is subjected to the excessive temperature which emerges from the exhaust pipes and the engine crankcase on the right side, especially when the fans of the water radiator kick in and direct the flow of hot air to his legs.
In addition, the passenger footrest plates are a little too close when adopting a "sport" driving position, with the tiptoes on the footrests..
Suddenly, the back of the boot comes into contact with the passenger footrests, which quickly becomes annoying. Finally, the Monster 821 is not free from vibrations, which are manifested in particular at the level of the handles, gradually numbing the driver’s hand with use..
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