you are weaving in and out of traffic on your way to work or out
on a weekend ride, the new 'baby' Monster will put a smile on your
face every time. This is Ducati performance in a tight, manageable
package at a great price and with added Italian designer styling.
In short the Monster 620ie is an absolute 'must have' if you are
in the market for a mid range v-twin. Up to now there has been only
one bike that stands out as a perfect v-twin in this category, that
is the SV650 from Suzuki. Now you have a choice of two Ducatis with
the new Monster 620ie and the new 620ie Sport (read review).
This year sees significant changes
to the Baby Monster, including a new Marelli fuel injection system,
all directed toward making the roadster a tractable, torquey cafe-hopper
with the sex appeal of its more exotic stablemates. This third generation
Monster has been built around the frame of the 916cc-powered Monster
S4 and given a suspension upgrade including a new upside down 43mm
front fork, and rear suspension linkage from Ducati's Superbike.
The Sachs' rear shock is adjustable for rebound and spring pre-load.
Power delivery has been upgraded as well, with the 620 version now
putting out 60bhp, and slightly more torque - 40 ft/lbs at 6,750
rpm. It also now revs to 9,500, some 1,500 rpm more than the old
600. This increased performance has been wrung out of the Monster
through a combination of valve work, airbox expansion, exhaust retuning
and lengthening of the stroke.
the Monster 620i.e. has been attended to as well, with new handlebars
and switchgear, new footpeg positioning, and a choice of two seat
heights. Available in two versions, the standard 620i.e. version
and the Dark version, the Monster takes to the road with beautiful
Italian styling elements - among which you must include that trellis
frame. The sculpted tank and sporty back-end are pure Ducati, while
the posh new electronic cockpit and a double-disc gold Brembo brake
package promote the Monster's "custom sport look."
The instruments have been completely
changed with the speedo and rev counter now being analogue readouts.
Both have inset liquid crystal digital displays with the ability
to switch readouts for clock, temp and odometer, and the brightness
of the instrument background lighting can be adjusted to suit your
taste. The instruments also display the status of the anti-theft
immobiliser - a key code system that allows you 15 seconds to start
the bike before it shuts you down, once you've twisted the key.
The quick-turning, smooth-motored
Monster offers lots of legroom for both tall and short riders, it
has a comfortable seating position and is very predictable on the
road. With a 24-degree rake, some might find it a little too quick
turning compared with its Japanese rivals - but the wheelie kings
will love it! Riders who favour feather-light, one-fingered braking
may not get the stopping power they want here, but in praise of
Ducati and Brembo the new set up of twin 320mm discs has obviously
been calibrated with novice riders in mind - "stable and progressive
in all conditions," says Ducati and that is very much how the
Monster's brakes work, an easy system with a lot of feel.
is amazing to me is the diversity of the Monster. I have seen some
highly modified, customised and personalised Ducati's from the all
chrome to the billet aluminium and carbon fibre. Do you like a bike
that is clean yet pleasing to the eye or are you the type of biker
that after you remove the "SOLD" tag from your bike you
start adding, subtracting, repainting and customising your bike.
The Monster gives you flexibility to play not only while riding,
but while staring at it during those long winter days when all you
can see is the salt truck through the grey winter skys. Ducati has
a large selection of off-the-shelf customisation and modification
parts for the Monster range if want to buy the cool bits for your
bike directly from the manufacturer, otherwise there are a whole
host of companies out there that make parts to make your bike look
different from the crowd.
A quote appears on Ducati literature
from the designer of the Monster, Miguel Galluzzi: "What
does a motorcyclist need to have fun? Handlebars, an engine, two
wheels, and a tank to fill with petrol. The road does the rest..."
Those words go a long way to
put the Monster into perspective. This is not a motorcycle that
demands a lot from the rider, nor can the rider demand a lot from
it. This is bike that can and will perform to very respectable levels
and look good doing it. It's a fun bike that many riders will undoubtedly
find their limits on, both in terms of handling and engine performance.
In short, this is an excellent choice for the early motorcyclist
or for the urban prowlers among us!