God seemed to have had pushed the fast forward button on the theatre of life as I wrung the accelerator, splitting the 53mm throttle body wide open. As I saw the world pass from the corner of my eye, the long, straight stretch of tarmac came to an end in no time. I hit the brakes, shifted down a cog, leaned into the right hander ahead, to see another delightful straight revealing itself. The 112 horses chained within the Testastretta 11° motor reared up in unison, instigating me to release them all at once, again! I let them loose, just the way I had been letting them loose all through this delightful day. Oh what a beautiful day it was!
The thunderous sound from the L-twin motor filled the environment. And if the sound from the 2-1-2 exhaust during acceleration is melodious, the popping and crackling during deceleration is transcendental rock, taking you to a different world made of rainbows and butterflies. Ladies and gentlemen, this aural and visual artistry, painted in red is the all new Ducati Monster 821. I rode the motorcycle through some of the most scenic stretches of the mountainous region in Thailand during the motorcycle’s Asia ride event — a pre-decided route which went through a variety of tarmac surfaces to help us understand the character of the new Monster 821 on diverse riding conditions.
Ducati has pulled the plug from the Monster 796 and the motorcycle would only be available till the stock lasts. So the Monster 821 is essentially a successor of the Monster 796 for developing markets such as ours, and comes equipped with some serious fire power along with a slew of advance technologies. The Monster, essentially is an enabler for the prospective buyers to enter the world of true-blue Ducatis without having to rob a bank.
Design – Dressed for admiration
Red colour is largely associated with seduction, sexuality, eroticism and immorality. And that’s one of the only reasons why David James, the Marketing Director of Ducati Asia, at the presentation said that the Monster 821 will seduce the riders. His words echo in my ears every time I look at the photographs of the Monster 821 from the Asia Premiere. Draped in a luscious 473.101 red paint, the Ducati Monster 821 made me forget the near 3,000 kilometer journey which involved a flight from Mumbai to Bangkok and a near five hour halt before boarding a connecting flight to reach Chiang Mai. I could have hopped on the motorcycle and taken it out for a spin the very moment I saw it at the Anantara Resort where we were going to spend the next two days.
The Ducati Monster 821 is the third generation motorcycle in Ducati’s lineup of naked roadster products. The Monster 821 may have received cosmetic upgrades in the form of a new chassis and even more muscular styling but this middleweight still clearly echoes the Monster family’s design philosophy from over last two decades. The overall design, in characteristic Monster fashion, remains minimalistic. The headlight now receives an all-time running LED pilot lamp along with a conventional halogen main light which has been placed between the beefy 43mm, Kayaba non-adjustable upside down front suspension. A compact front fender covers the 10-spoke, Panigale and Multistrada style alloy wheels that come wrapped in Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres.
The Monster 821’s shiny armour surrounds its 821cc Testastretta 11° heart, which has been borrowed from Ducati’s 2014 Hypermotard. A huge, muscular 17.5 litre steel fuel tank has been designed to lock in the legs to allow for optimal aerodynamics in a straight line. The ventral, curvaceous part of the muscular tank culminates into the rider seat. The pillion seat rises up again, and is covered with a cowl. The rider seat has been designed extremely well, with great padding and support preventing riders from sliding while exploring the impressive power from that Testastretta 11° engine.
Now although Ducati calls the Monster 821 a “premium entry” Monster, the motorcycle does miss out on features such as single-sided swingarm that was seen even on the model that it replaces, the Monster 796. It can, of course, be seen on the bigger Monster 1200 as well. Holding the rear components in place is a cast aluminium double-sided swingarm which, unlike the single sides unit, keeps the cost in check. Another attention grabbing and surprising feature on the new Monster 821 is the 2-1-2 exhaust system. Ducati has eliminated the dual under-seat style exhaust to make way for Monster 1200 style unit on the Monster 821. The exhaust header for the upper unit receives a black, braided (visually), thick heat shield that protects the rider from direct contact with the red-hot exhaust pipes.
The overall design looks great, though the rubber pipes that lead to the radiator from the left side of engine make the beautifully crafted sides of the motorcycle look a bit disturbed. I wish the designers at Ducati could have managed the fluid in a more beautiful fashion. But except for that and the pale coloured engine kill switch, there is hardly anything to not like about the 821. The new Monster 821 is a definite leap over the Monster 796. The lavishly equipped and enchantingly designed Monster 821, like any other Ducati motorcycle, stands out from the crowd and attracts attention in an instance. But it’s not just a pretty looking thing, it’s loaded with some really impressive features and tech. Flip over to read about the riding modes, instrumentation and other nifty features on the motorcycle