Monster Motorcycle Project BikeWhat do you enjoy most about motorcycles? We asked our Ultimate Motorcycling readers this question and found a few common themes. First, you love your motorcycle for individual reasons–freedom, exhilaration and self-expression. Second, it’s the social aspect–meeting for a morning ride, a stop at a favorite café, story swapping or a simple wave from a passing stranger.
Last but not least is the gratification of working on your motorcycle, which spans detailing, maintaining and upgrading–which drives us to our Monster project bike. Since we are not alchemist, artisans, craftsman or even master mechanics, we wanted a motorcycle project bike with lots of readily available bolt-on parts. Something that we could evaluate, plan and develop over time; something readers could easily replicate. The arrival of the new 2009 Ducati Monster family presented us an interesting opportunity for a new project bike due to its new platform, passionate Ducatisti following and long legacy of monster projects to emulate.As head of the family, the 1100 S got our nod as it already carries many upgrades we would have wanted either way. Most notable is the fully adjustable 43mm titanium nitride coated Öhlins fork and Öhlins rear shock with adjustable pre-load and damping. Others include the aluminum front brake disc carriers, carbon fiber cam belt covers, carbon silencer guards and carbon front fender. Last but certainly not least we liked the gold Marchessini 5-spoke wheels.Overall, the fit and finish of the new Monster makes the previous generation look a generation old. The new single-sided aluminum swing-arm, trellis frame with cast aluminum subframe (derived from the Desmosedici RR), gull-wing fork clamp and instrumentation add to the quality styling. Claiming to have shed nearly 20 pounds, the look is sleek and well put together.Our first test ride of the stock bike highlighted many things. With a slight lean forward, the upright bars and seat have you positioned somewhere between a super-sport and sport touring bike. The Monster is very light and ultra-responsive. It possesses an uncanny ability to transition from side-to-side and corner with precision and easy. Powered by the two-valve 1100cc Desmodromic L-twin engine, the powerplant is a small step-up from the 1000, and upgrades away from the original 750 and 900.The new Monster is the air-cooled naked platform for Ducati going forward, while the new Streetfighter takes the water-cooled platform as it sole possession. Although there is more torque and less weight and we happen to enjoy the character of the low-end oriented air-cooled motor, power and sound are our first order for this project. We want to make sure we can squeeze out all she is worth without digging into the guts or compromising reliability. As a true Ducatisti can appreciate, we want to hear the intake, the exhaust and clutch and all the wonderfully mechanical sounds we can bring out of this machine.Stay tuned here on our website as we begin to upgrade our Monster Project.More: Ducati Monster Upgrades Read: Our Monster 1100 TestListen: Our Monster On-Bike Broadcast