The Next-Gen Ducati Monster May Be Ditching Something Iconic

The Ducati lineup includes many exciting and desirable motorcycles. The Panigale, whether in V4 or V2 form, has plenty of performance and electronic aids. And the Ducati Scrambler is a genuine off-roader and a Mint 400 winner. Then there are the brand’s past models, like the still-stylish 916. However, a significant portion of the company’s current success is due to the Ducati Monster naked bike. And some recent spy shots and sketches seem to suggest the upcoming model may be leaving something behind.

The evolution of the Ducati Monster naked bike

A red 1993 Ducati Monster M900 on a rear-wheel stand in the Ducati museum
1993 Ducati Monster M900 | Cycle World via Instagram

Like Triumph’s Street Triple and Speed Triple, the Ducati Monster is a naked bike, sometimes called a ‘streetfighter.’ Technically, though, the Monster predates the Triumph; the latter debuted in 1994, and the former in 1993, RideApart reports.

At the time of the Monster’s release, Ducati wasn’t in quite the same position it’s in today, Cycle World explains. The Italian company had some well-regarded race bikes under its belt, but overall, it was something of a niche brand. Remember, this is before the 916, and about a decade before the Desmosedici MotoGP bike. As a result, although Ducati needed to make a motorcycle that would appeal to a broader audience, it didn’t have the luxury—or the budget—to start from scratch.

The first Ducati Monster, the M900, was something of a parts-bin special, Cycle World reports. It had the 900SS’ air-cooled L-twin engine, the 750 Supersport’s inverted fork, and the 888 superbike’s trellis frame. And because the Ducati Monster lacked a fairing, its engine and frame were on full display.

It was a new direction for Ducati—and the response was extremely positive. It’s one of Ducati’s best-sellers, if not the #1 best-seller. It’s not hyperbole to suggest that without it, the Italian company might not be around today, RideApart muses.

A red 2020 Ducati Monster 797
2020 Ducati Monster 797 | Ducati

Ever since 1993, the Ducati Monster has grown in capacity, technology, and sophistication. Today, the lineup includes 803cc, 821cc, and 1198cc models, with the latter 2 being liquid-cooled rather than air-cooled. But even the base Ducati Monster 797 features an LCD dash, a USB port, Brembo brakes, ABS, and a slipper clutch, Cycle World reports. And of course, it still has the now-iconic trellis frame.

But it might not have it for much longer.

The next-gen Ducati Monster might give up the trellis frame

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Although using a trellis frame for the original Ducati Monster was partially due to funds, it does have several benefits, Cycle World reports. It’s stiff enough for sporty handling, but flexible enough to communicate to the rider when the front grip’s running out. Plus, there’s the styling aspect.

However, Roadshow reports the next-gen Ducati Monster may be giving it up. The claim comes courtesy of 2 sketches leaked to Roadshow by “an unnamed source close to Ducati.” One of the sketches is shown in the embedded tweet above.

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And it’s possible that the upcoming Monster has moved past the sketch point. In July of this year, RideApart obtained spy shots of what appears to be a new Monster. And while the photos don’t show every detail, the bike shares several design features with the current Monster lineup. One thing it’s missing, though, is a trellis frame. Instead, like the Panigale V4 and Streetfighter V4, it has a cast-aluminum spar frame.

What we still don’t know

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Based on the sketches and spy shots, it seems some traditional Ducati Monster design elements will remain. For example, the single round headlight, the upright/standard riding position, and the L-twin engine.

The left (rider's view) side, rear view, of a red 2020 Ducati Panigale V2, showing the single-sided swingarm and under-seat exhaust
2020 Ducati Panigale V2 left side rear | Ducati via Instagram

However, as of this writing, it’s unclear what kind of L-twin the next-gen Monster will receive. The new European emissions standards may mean the end of the air-cooled engine. However, Roadshow points out the Monster could get a detuned version of the Panigale V2’s engine.

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We also don’t know when this new model could be released. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many automotive delays, so it’s possible the new Ducati Monster could be pushed back. And because this is still likely a prototype, we don’t know how much the new Monster will cost. For comparison, the current cheapest model, the Monster 797, starts at $9295. The 1200 S, though, starts at $17,595.

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