Riding the 2020 Ducati Monster 821 Is ‘Borderline Magical’

Motorcycle aficionados will tell you that when it comes to bikes you daydream about, the Ducati Monster is either at or near the top of their list. If it’s not, it should be. The 2020 Ducati Monster 821 continues the proud tradition of exceptional bikes that the line has maintained since its debut in 1993. Its style is iconic, setting a high standard by which all naked bikes that came after it would be measured.

The Monster 821 offers a sublime ride experience. CNET recently reviewed the 2020 model, and monstrous was not a word the website cri would use to describe this dynamic bike from a world-renowned manufacturer.

The 2020 Ducati Monster 821

The 2020 Ducati Monster 821 has the aggressive looks to match its power. Boasting a water-cooled 821-cc L-twin engine, it gets a hearty 109 hp and 63 lb-ft of torque. Its growly sound and time between services (9,000 miles, according to CNET) are appealing. The way it delivers power is on par with all the recent Ducatis.

The 821 offers the Safety Pack, which gives the rider modes, lean-sensitive antilock brakes, and traction control. If you’re new to motorcycles, you’ll find the features immensely helpful. If you’ve been riding for years, you can change to minimal settings or turn the systems off. The full-color TFT display gives you an easy way to navigate the system and use the right settings for your taste.

The chassis isn’t too different from the original Monster bike, even with almost three decades between them. The 821 has a steel trellis frame and uses Brembo dual front brake calipers to clutch 320-millimeter rotors. The overall setup offers great stopping power, according to CNET, and allows the rider easy control of the bike.

What they liked

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The CNET team liked the level of control and easy modulation the 821 gives the rider. They pointed out that early Monster bikes required expensive service on a fairly regular basis. The throttles of those earlier bikes were better for experienced riders because they were equipped with big carbureted engines that were all too willing to overpower traction on the ride. An inexperienced rider might not be able to navigate such situations.

CNET’s test bike was the Stealth model with optional carbon fiber Termignoni racing pipes, which they explain might not be completely legal but sound incredible. They loved the sound of the bike, and the pipes take that sound to the next level. The exhaust system costs $1,650. They believe many enthusiasts will go for it.

The ride experience

As for the ride experience on the 2020 Ducati Monster 821, the folks at CNET consider it “borderline magical.” They found that the bike presents several contradictions, but they believe that’s what makes it special.

The 821 is easy to launch and quick off the line, they explain. You’ll feel confident in the stable ride this bike offer on the freeway. Even so, it’s flexible, and you can lean it without much effort. 

With its aggressive styling, the Monster 821 looks like a beast on the road. But it offers a surprisingly comfortable ride, even for long road trips. It’s a loud and growly Italian, sure, but it shows a softer side that can provide an easy, unassuming cruise when you’re in the mood.

In short, the 2020 Ducati Monster 821 can be a lot of things to a lot of bike enthusiasts of all skill levels. 

That being said, you’ll pay a pretty price for it. The 821 Stealth model the CNET team sampled isn’t priced as high as the 1200, but it’ll still cost you $12,895 before any additions or accessories. Their test bike came in just under $17,000, which is where the Monster 1200S starts. They got the carbon fiber trim, the awesome exhaust, and Rizoma milled aluminum goodie for that price. 

The team explains that while Ducati’s flagship line is the Panigale, the Monster is the heart of the popular Italian brand. The bike has evolved since its debut into what CNET calls a “love letter to street bikes from the engineers who built it.” They add that if the Monster 821 were their only bike, they wouldn’t need or want anything else.