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I bought my mint condition Ducati Monster 600 (2002) from ebay for a bargain £1800 (much to the horror of my friends and family having only just passed my test) . From my experience of it so far it's a quirky but solid kind of creature to learn on and for all those who are thinking of buying one I'd like deconstruct any myths that exist and give you the pro's and con's :
ITS LOOKS ARE LITERALLY A SKIN DEEP SENSATION
It's 'naked' look is unparalled by any other bike in my opinion and my girlfriend simply adores seeing me on it and being seen on it herself. But It's not only a chick magnet - it's for girls (even if you're petiteish) and boys! My female friend has just bought one and a looks hotter on it than i do. The reason it's got cross gender apppeal is bith to do with styling, performance and comfort. It's low and It's handlebars are wide and further back - so there's no hunching over a chunky petrol tank to grapple with tiny handle bars as with a sports bike. Which means with that comfy back seat it's a bike for two and you can enjoy the scenery with that special person.
However, my monster is true nakedness (no half arsed bikini fairing) as I believe it's looks thrive on having no fairing but thus it's aerodynamics are non existent. This means that you can't expect it to protect you from the elements which as an introduction to motoring I've found a great sensation - feeling every last bit of the turbulence.
It's undeniably a mutant sport's bike chopper stripped down to a thong. It's got a pretty engine gripping to a slender ribcage and the most beautiful isolated petrol tank and lady-boy curves.
ENGINE NOISY BUT FRUSTRATED
It's NOISE!!! oh it's goosepimple inducing rumble, no whining Japanese nonsense, it's Barry white not the beejees! I'm still in love with it's dulcet tones even after 2 years.
But it's not all noise and no balls it's an aggressive accelerator and demands to be put in 5th ASAP. Which means it chugs annoyingly with low rev's but once you 'feel it out' you know to keep those revs high and it's smiles all round. But once you hit 80mph it's a struggle to keep it going up (to it's top speed 110 ish) and because it has no fairing you're clinging on for dear life with your head flat against the tank saying "please go over 100 I know you've got it in you!" . So it's not for those who want tail end orgasmic speed. It's cornering abilities are thus an eccentric practice, you can't lean over too much because of the big twins - but it's not bad. If you want fighter pilot style riding and cornering - buy a plastic coated lollystick look-a-like Fireblade or Ninja.
It's not literally a MONSTER in terms of strength but it's a well balanced growling machine: a butch-bitch-beauty and a beast that will keep you happy cruising or accelerating.
PLEASE START THIS TIME
Ducati are known for their dodgy electric's. Its components are sound but there is something amiss somewhere with the start-up - the coil and the plugs I'm told. The newer your Monster the better it's made up, I was going to buy one form the nineties but I'm informed that with every new monster is released they improve it - so Stick to the 2000+ models.
PAYING FOR THE NAME
It's a 'Ducati Monster', I don't know why it's so cool maybe because they have better marketing and styling than the other bike companies, I'm a middle class kind a guy so I'm easily brainwashed into buying these things without question. But there is something intangible about having a Monster. This is why it somehow keeps it's value. If you look after it as I do under lock and key in a garage maybe avoiding rainy days when you can you'll find you can sell it on ebay for the ammount you bought it for second hand.
LOVE TO ALL YOU MONSTER LOVERS OUT THERE -LONG LIVE THE MONSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At one time a Ducati was one of the motorbikes to have. I can't tell you for certain what made the Ducati name so prestigious, but it was probably a combination of things. Back in the early '90s when Kawazaki's green team were winning all the races, Ducati were lucky if they could get a bike to finish a race and if they did they were nearly always last. But even then the Ducati still held an attractive quality. I'm not sure whether it was because it was Italian or (which is more likely) because of it's distinctive twin cylinder rumble which meant you felt it coming (clean those dirty minds!!) before you saw it. When all the other bikes were whizzing past with their high pitched revs, you could barely make out the different makes, but the Ducati was always recognisable just from the sound of it. Some years later the 916 started winning races and that is when the desire for them really seemed to take off. Unfortunately the price of the 916 was somewhat prohibitive for most bikers. However, when the Monster came out it was more within the average person's price range. They were even giving them away on game shows! **Looks** You'll probably either love the styling of the Monster or hate it and I love it. I like to be able to see the engine on a bike and the Monster is un-fared which means you get to do just that. The bike is quite short and squat. The rounded tank rises up quite high compared to the seat giving it what I can only describe as an overall hunched, muscled appearance like a British Bulldog. It has a tube frame which I personally find very desirable on a bike. Standard frames aren't as smart or sexy as the tube frame. Even Yamaha's Deltabox frame, which is smart, just doesn't make sexy. The wheels are three spoked and rising up from the front one are upside down forks (USDs). Everything about the styling of the Monster is rounded. Even the headlight and mirrors are rou
nd and the front end is kept unclut tered. It omits unnecessary items such as a rev counter and sticks to having just a speedometer and a small bank of warning lights. The rider's seat is quite low and from there the bike swoops gently up finishing in a short rounded tail piece. On most Monsters you can't carry a passenger, but on some of them (like ours) the tail piece is a pillion seat; which to be honest gives a rather precarious seating position for any passenger. It's not something I'd fancy trying out; I'd rather stick to the riding seat! There are lots of nice finishing touches like the way the twin exhausts sweep upwards either side of the bike and the golden finish on the forks. The brake callipers and the centre of the front brake disc also have the golden finish and the bike is equipped with Brembo brakes. I truly believe that Ducati make beautiful bikes. From the moment we first bought the Monster and I got on it to ride it home, I noticed the attention it got. I was waiting for Shaun before I rode it home for the first time and was surrounded by an admiring group of children. When my Yamaha broke down and I had to take the Ducati to work, I would nervously keep checking it because people would keep coming up to have a look. Then when they found out that I was the one riding it, they seemed to get even more interested. I did rather enjoy the attention! **Vital statistics** There are three engine sizes available in the Monster. We have a 600cc, but you can also get 750cc and 900cc. Probably the most popular ones are the 900cc because it?s the biggest and the 600cc because the all round running costs are the cheapest. To tell you the truth though our choice of the 600cc had nothing to do with engine size. We bought it second hand as a stolen and recovered vehicle which meant it had been sitting in an impound for some time. The mileage was low, the bike was in excellent condition and best of all th
e price was good. Back to the point though. I don't have exact details on each bike so I'll give you what I do know: The Monster has a six speed gear box and the speedometer on the 600cc goes up to 140mph. No I really don't think you will get 140mph out of it (at least not without modifications). I'd estimate that the top speed on the 600cc to be about 110-112, but you'd probably need to be lying flat on the tank using the white lines as a guide to do that! I would also not recommend looking up at that speed as the wind would probably take your helmet off, if not your whole self! Oddly enough the 900cc has an estimated top speed of 120mph which really doesn't make it much faster than the 600cc. According to my source (in the guise of Mr. Steve Berry) the estimated peak power of the 900cc is 70bhp at 7,000rpm. I'm not certain, but I think the 600cc chucks out about 60bhp. **Riding & handling** I'm going to concentrate on the 600cc in this section as it's the only one I've ridden. As you have probably already guessed, this is no sports bike. You are pretty much sitting in an upright position for riding, unlike with sports bikes where you are hunched over the tank. I find that this seating position is pretty comfortable at lower speeds, but when I get up to 60-70mph I end up clinging for dear life to the handle bars in order to stay on the bike! This may have something to do with my light frame though, because Shaun doesn't seem to have this problem. Quite unusually, the seat is set low enough for me, at 5' 6'', to straddle it (no rude comments please) and keep my feet flat on the ground. The steering is very precise, but it is not a bike to be thrown into corners. Not that it doesn't handle well, because it does. The problem comes when you lean it too far into a bend and the exhaust scrapes the road. The engine doesn't like low revs either so manoeuvring
at l ow speeds can be tricky. With it being a twin you can literally feel the bike chugging at low revs; so you need to have some good clutch control and get those revs up a bit. Not being good at low revs makes it a bit of an uncomfortable to ride a low speeds (it's that chugging feeling again). So when you do give it some gas the revs and acceleration pick up rapidly and effortlessly. My Yamaha TZR wasn't bad on the uptake, but you could practically feel the effort the engine was making when accelerating. The Monster doesn't seem to bat an eyelid at this sort of acceleration and more. **Reliability** This is one area which tends to let this bike down. We have had our Monster for about three and a half years now and it was registered 1996. We have had a few little problems with it and we don't exactly do high mileage on it. We have had to change the spark plugs pretty regularly (approximately every month if ridden daily), otherwise the engine can be hard to start, will miss when running and the has a tendency to stall easily. The vibrations from the twin cylinder engine also mean that the tail light bulbs blow easily and need replacing regularly. Apart from general wear and tear, the only other problem we have had was with a chain adjuster on the swing arm. It shattered when Shaun was pulling off from some traffic lights and the torque from the rear sprocket twisted the wheel causing it to lock up in the swing arm. After lying the bike down on a nearby grass verge and jumping up and down on the rear wheel for 5 minutes, which got some amusing looks from passing drivers, he was able to ride it home and then on to the garage. Currently the spark plugs need changing again and the engine is tapping a bit. **Insurance and depreciation** I'm not certain what insurance group the Monster is in, but I'll try to give you a rough idea of insurance cost. Shaun has third Party Fire and
Theft cove r and four years no claims bonus. He is 30 years old and his premium is £163 pounds. On the whole, bikes tend to hold their price very well as compared to the average car. You will always have that initial drop in value when you buy new. However, if you buy second hand and look after the bike, you can quite often sell a couple of years down the line for near enough the price you paid for it. So my advice would be to buy second hand. That way you don't loose a big chunk of your hard earned cash on tax and any problems from manufacture will more likely have been ironed out. **Bottom line** This is a great looking bike which turns heads (or is it just that people are still surprised to see female riders?). When it comes to style, Ducati doesn't skimp. Unfortunately the niggling running problems let it down. Ultimately you really have to love Ducati to own one. ~#~ Caradawn ~#~