Sunday, September 2, 2012

Living with a bigger Monster - the 79

What’s short, squat, fat and funky and pulls like a twin that's smattered with authentic Italian Ducati-ness? The Ducati Monster 796, its every bit an authentic twin and there‘s a lot to like.
I’ve had the opportunity to test the Monster LAMs 659 for a while as a commuter, then I was given the 796 to compare the two, by my mates at Ducat City Melbourne – lucky me! First thing I noticed was the throttle restrictor was missing from the LAMs 659 which only pulls a two thirds WOT, making you ride it more smoothly through the gears. It’s fun to ride for a while, but sort of limiting in super grin factor for a big boy like me (sic).The LAMs’ big brother has got more of a torque thump that gives you a shunt back in the seat. Like.


 Next thing is that it’s much higher and a much better fit for me. I also feels heavier, which it is but only slightly 167kg for the 796 vs 161kg for the 659. I think the seating position pushes you down on your wrists that bit harder than the LAMs 659 too, which has a much lower seat height of 770mm vs 800mm on the 796. 30mm doesn’t sound like a lot but it is. This is not a bike I could personally ride for more than a few hours at a time; I don’t think it’s really designed for touring though right? There must be a number of Monster fans that’d disagree with me on that point, but personally I just cant do lean angles anymore, I like my motard bolt upright position.
Praying Mantis riding a Monster


I think I better call the wahmbulance because I am sounding like a big girl right? Yeah a wee bit. It’s a freakin’ Monster, how much cooler could it get? So, onto the good bits. It flies. Let’s get that out there in comparison to the 659 which hums. The 796 has a magic mid-range sweet spot that pulls like a sixteen year old right through the guts (4 – 6rpm up through to 8) that pushed the peak up on my lid. Yeah that’s right, imma bad-ass wearing a Dual Sport lid riding a Monster.


 Once moving along it just glides through traffic, it has been an absolute pearler of a machine for the daily commute. I have only put petrol in it once out of a 15 Litre tank I reckon I’m getting 250+km so it costs next to nothing to run on Premium Unleaded. It’s got a nice wide comfortable seat, but there aren’t too many positions to chose from on a Monster - so there is no shifting up onto the tank like on a Hyper, but you do certainly ball bang the tank a lot regardless. Find a decent untoward pothole and Federer may as well have just aced a tennis ball into your ghoulies. The next thing I discovered is that I know nothing about riding a sports naked. It’s completely different to riding a two-stroke sports bike (like my old RGV250 ahhh), a Motard or a big Jap four pot. There’s something very café racer about it to me. It’s taken me ages to get the hang of it and I still haven't really got it sussed. And that is it, hang. You can hang off this thing like an ape man.

  Yamaha TRX 850 (which I loved dearly but outgrew). I guess because of said riding position for an all rounder, as my one and only bike, it’s no good for me. But for my second bike, one that I commute on daily so I can save letting rip on the Hyper for some real fun in the twisties? Hells yes. I’ll take one. Does it come in black?
 
It loves to lean heaps. Is that what makes this bike so popular? It’s amazing at hoofing into corners and just leaning right over, then rolling out on the gas back upright. It’s extremely good fun. The weight, plus its mid range torque, makes for a great ride. Have I said how much I like twins yet? That’s what it is, I’ve worked it out. This is the bike I dearly wanted when I didn’t have the money and ended up with a

Ducati Monster 796 Tech Spec

Dimensions
  • Seat Height: 800mm (31.5in)
  • Rake Steering: 24°
  • Wheel Base: 1450mm (57.1in)
  • Fuel Capacity: 15L
  • Weight: 167kg (369lb)
  • Engine Type: L-Twin cylinder, 2 valve per cylinder Desmodromic, air cooled
  • Displacement: 803cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 88 x 66mm
  • Power: 64kW - 87hp @ 8250rpm
  • Torque: 8.0kgm - 58lb-ft @ 6250rpm
  • Fuel System Siemens electronic fuel injection, 45mm throttle body
  • Compression Ratio: 11:1
  • Gear Box: 6 speed
  • Primary Drive:  Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.85:1
  • Final Drive: Chain; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket 39
  • Clutch: APTC wet multiplate with hydraulic control
Chassis
  • Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
  • Front Suspension: Marzocchi 43mm upside-down forks
  • Front Wheel Travel: 20mm (4.7in)
  • Rear Suspension: Progressive linkage with preload and rebound Sachs adjustable monoshock
  • Rear Wheel Travel: 148mm (5.8in)
  • Front Brakes: 2 x 320mm discs, 4-piston radial caliper
  • Rear Brakes: 245mm disc, 2-piston caliper
  • Exhaust System: Lightweight 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter with twin lambda probes
Wheels / tires
  • Wheels Front / Rear: Y-shaped, 5-spoke in light alloy 3.50 x17 / Y-shaped, 5-spoke in light alloy 5.50 x 17
  • Tires Front / Rear: 120/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso / 180/55 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso
Electrical Instruments  Digital unit displaying: Speedometer, rev counter, clock, scheduled maintenance warning, oil temperature, trip fuel, lap time, warning light for low oil pressure, fuel level, fuel reserve, neutral, turn signals, overrev, immobilizer. Ready for DDA system. Until next time, ride naked.
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