Here at Mirror Motorcycling Global HQ we think it is crucial that you keep your wits sharp, especially as we are not, so here is this week’s quiz.
Which of the following decisions was a very good decision?
a) Japanese Prime Minister Tōjō Hideki: Let’s bomb Pearl Harbor. What can go wrong?
b) Abraham Lincoln: Hey Mary, this new play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater looks like heaven.
c) Gerald Ratner: Listen, what do you think would happen if I said our jewelry sucks?
d) Ducati boss Claudio Castiglioni: How about we get this Miguel Galluzzi to design our next bike?
The answer, as you’ve probably guessed, is possibly due to the fact that this is a motorcycle column, i.e.
The Monster was developed in 1993 according to Galluzzi’s principle that all a bicycle needs is a saddle, a tank, an engine, two wheels and a handlebar. It was the bike that saved Ducati, with over 350,000 examples sold since then with engine sizes ranging from 696 to 1200cc, representing more than half of the company’s production.
No pressure then for the latest 937cc incarnation, and the first shock is that Ducati has dropped the iconic red trellis frame that has been a Monster trademark since Galluzzi first picked up his pencil.
Nonetheless, these and various other tweaks have reduced the weight of the previous Monster 821 by a whopping 18kg to 188kg, which promised a sprightly ride with 111 horsepower on tap.
I had just ridden the big Multistrada V4 S and when I got on the Monster afterwards it felt like a toy. I had to check before the start if there was really a wheel underneath because there is nothing worse than starting with a wheel that isn’t there.
The seating position is compact and sporty, but at least the high, wide handlebars don’t make a Quasimodo imitation.
The mirrors are oddly adjustable horizontally but not vertically, so taller riders might find they only get a glimpse of the road next to the rear tire.
The 4.3-inch TFT screen is tiny compared to the Multistrada’s 6.5-inch offering, but as with all Ducati screens, it’s a masterpiece of design, with everything you need to know there at a glance , including Touring, Sport or Urban riding modes. The latter reduces power to 74 hp.
And of course, since it’s from Italy, it looks fantastic.
So it may feel like a toy compared to the Multistrada, but like all toys and indeed monsters, what fun it is.
Even in Touring mode, the engine complains below 3,000 rpm, but after 4,000 rpm it pulls as enthusiastically as a Labrador pup up to peak power at 9,250 rpm and then tapers off slightly to the red line at 10,000 rpm , although there’s no point in beating it up that far, because with peak torque at 6,500 rpm there’s more than enough midrange grunt for seamless overtaking.
The quickshifter shifts up and down gears like a Mississippi map, and on the way down it connects to the autoblipper to create a delicious symphony of pops and barps from the exhaust.
Handling is incredibly instinctive, with the steering angle steepened by seven degrees for more precision, making you feel like you’re just thinking about turns rather than actually steering the bike, and the tiny screen is otherwise hilariously pointless to anyone except for a goblin.
That’s right, time to switch from Touring to Sport mode and although Aaron had shown me how to do it at the dealership, of course I’d forgotten about it immediately and it took me several minutes to start randomly pressing buttons even though I had made it. I’m still not sure how.
Anyway, it was worth it because what had been fun was now just plain exciting.
This is the only version of the Monster available now, and while it may have lost its famous grille, it retained everything that made it such a great little bike.
* Test bike supplied by Millsport Motors www.millsportmotorcycles.com
Ducati Monster 937
Engine: 937cc liquid-cooled V-twin
Power: 111 hp at 9,250 rpm
Torque: 69 ft lb at 6,500 rpm
Colours: Red; Gray; black
Sam’s fabulous friends
What do you do when you have many friends around the world who share your passion?
If you’re Sam Manicom, the answer is obvious – get her to write a book.
The result is The Moment Collectors, a great collection of adventure bikers, including Sam himself, and indeed, yours sincerely, their unforgettable moments.
Sam needs no introduction to readers of bicycle adventure books. Three months after learning to ride a horse, he set out to ride across Africa and eight years later was still touring 55 countries.
The result was four great books and a lifelong relationship with fellow biker Birgit Schünemann.
Like all bikers, those who wrote this book went through the same emotions – at first afraid to walk, unhelped by their friends who said things like, “Africa/Mexico/Colombia/Skegness is incredibly dangerous. You will be murdered on the first day.”
And then they were overwhelmed by the incredible kindness and generosity of everyone they met along the way.
Read it and it will warm your heart and maybe inspire you to walk down the street yourself. Do it and you won’t regret it. Don’t do it and you always will.
It costs £13.99 paperback, £7.34 Kindle from Amazon.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/motoring/dont-throw-toy-out-your-26400111 Don't throw this toy out of your stroller: Ducati Monster 937 review - Geoff Hill