Spec shootout: 2021 Ducati Monster vs rivals
The 2021 Ducati Monster is the latest middleweight naked offering from the Bologna based firm. The middle-weight segment is one that is filled with extremely capable and potent examples and the 2021 Ducati Monster will have to be exceptionally good to be able to disrupt the market and declare itself king. This spec shootout will pit the Monster against its nearest rivals i.e. the Triumph Street Triple R, the Kawasaki Z900, the BMW F 900 R, the KTM 790 Duke and the Yamaha MT-09.
The Ducati Monster is powered by the Euro5 compliant iteration of the 937cc Desmodromic Testastretta 11° L-twin engine that is used in the Hypermotard 950 and Supersport 950. The mill is good for 110bhp at 9250rpm and 93Nm at 6500rpm. The 765cc inline three found on the Triumph Street Triple R churns out 116bhp at 12,000rpm and 79Nm at 9350rpm. The Kawasaki Z900 has the most powerful bike in this shootout with it’s 948cc in-line four putting out 123bhp and 98.6Nm. The BMW F 900 R with its 895cc parallel-twin is good for 103bhp at 8500rpm and 92Nm at 6500rpm. The other parallel-twin in the shootout comes courtesy of KTM with its 790 Duke and the 799cc twin produces 103bhp at 9500rpm and 87Nm at 8000rpm. The 790 Duke is the only bike in the shootout that is not Euro5 compliant as of yet. The Yamaha MT-09 is the second most powerful bike in the shootout with its revised 890cc triple that gives it an output of 117bhp and 93Nm.
The new engine on the Ducati Monster is a full 2.4kg lighter than earlier despite the bump in displacement which means the power and torque are up by 1.9bhp and 6.9Nm. Ducati claims a flatter power and torque curve over that of the Monster 821. Peak torque is achieved 1250rpm earlier so as to make the bike more usable in the mid-range.
The Triumph Street Triple R with its higher compression ratio at 12:5:1, despite having the least cubic capacity in this shootout makes just one bhp less than the Yamaha MT-09. But, the MT-09; courtesy the extra displacement has more torque and the power delivery is such that the peak torque is available a full 2350rpm earlier allowing for a better mid-range. The two parallel-twins (KTM 790 Duke and BMW F 900 R) in the test make identical power figures but like the MT-09 the BMW F 900 R also uses the extra cee-cees to put out five more torques and the power delivery on the whole is more mid-range oriented as compared to the 790 Duke.
Chassis, suspension and brakes
Ducati has done away with the trellis frame for 2021, a key element to the Monster formula that was set back in 1993. Ducati has instead decided to go with the front frame monocoque derived from the Panigale superbikes. Braking duties are carried out by Brembo M4.32 radial calipers grabbing twin 320mm discs upfront and a two piston Brembo caliper mounted on a 245mm disc at the rear. The Monster gets non-adjustable 43mm USDs at the front and preload adjustable monoshock at the back. The Triumph Street Triple R uses a twin spar frame and gets the same Brembo M4.32 monobloc calipers as found on the Monster except, on the Street Triple R , the calipers are mounted on 310mm discs. At the back, it gets a Brembo single piston caliper mounted on a 220mm disc at the rear. In terms of suspension, the Street Triple R is better equipped courtesy the 41mm Showa SF-BPF (separate function big piston forks) that are preload, compression and rebound adjustable, upfront and a Showa compression, rebound and preload adjustable rear monoshock. The Kawasaki Z900 features a trellis frame and uses 41mm USDs with rebound and spring preload adjustability. Braking duties are handled by axially mounted four-piston calipers biting on 300mm discs at the front and a two-piston caliper on a 250mm disc at the rear. The BMW F 900 R is built around a bridge type frame and gets 43mm USDs upfront and a preload and rebound adjustable monoshock at the rear. Braking on the F 900 R is taken care of by Brembo four-piston calipers radially mounted over 320mm discs and a single piston caliper on a 265mm disc at the back. The KTM 790 Duke uses a front tubular frame design with the engine playing a load bearing role in the assembly. The suspension duties are taken care of by WP Apex 43 open cartridge USD forks upfront and a gas assisted WP Apex monoshock at the rear which is preload adjustable. Stopping power is provided by J Juan radially mounted calipers on 300mm discs upfront and a two-piston caliper mounted on a 240mm disc at the rear. Lastly, the Yamaha MT-09 uses a diamond frame with fully adjustable 41mm USDs at the front and an adjustable rear monoshock. Braking is handled by 298mm discs with radially mounted calipers at the front and a 245mm disc at the rear.
All The bikes in this shootout have the standard - riding modes, traction control and ABS. All bikes get TFT instrument consoles, barring the Street Triple R which retains the digital speedo with an analogue tachometer. That being said, the Ducati Monster, the KTM 790 Duke and the Yamaha MT-09 come with IMU-controlled electronics suite with lean sensitivity (Cornering ABS, slide control, wheelie control, etc.). The Ducati Monster, MT-09, Street Triple R and the KTM 790 Duke get bi-directional quickshifter as standard while the BMW F 900 R gets it as an optional extra. Launch control is available as standard on the Monster as well. To sum up all the bikes in this shootout have got modern electronic riding aids but the Ducati Monster is the best equipped and the 790 Duke comes a close second.
Pricing and availability
The Ducati Monster isn’t available in the country yet, but we expect it to be priced around Rs 11.5 lakh ex-showroom when it launches next year, which could very well make it the most expensive bike in this shootout. The updated MT-09 is another bike that is yet to be launched in Indian the market and we can expect it to launch at around Rs 11.05 lakh ex-showroom. Triumph have managed to price the Street Triple R at an aggressive ex-showroom price of Rs 8.84 lakh. The 2021 Kawasaki Z900 despite being the biggest in terms of displacement, cylinders and power, is the most affordable bike in this line-up with an ex-showroom price of Rs 7.99 lakh, courtesy Kawasaki’s localization efforts. The BMW F 900 R which comes to India via the CBU route, will set you back with an ex-showroom price of Rs 9.9 lakh which is a whopping Rs 2 lakh more than the Kawasaki Z900. The KTM 790 Duke, though discontinued now due to its lack of BS6/Euro5 compliance, was launched at an ex-showroom price of Rs 8.6 lakh and we expect it to launch soon alongside the 890 Duke R which is expected to be priced at around Rs 10 lakh.
This was all about the specs of the above-mentioned middleweights. But, like all other comparisons/tests the specs paint only half the picture. A proper verdict of which can be classified the middleweight naked champion can be given only once we get our hands on all the bikes and test them back to back. It should make for an extremely interesting test, won’t it?