Twenty years ago, Ducati released what’s become an icon in the world of two-wheeled beauty. Known for its exposed engine and frame, the Monster is regarded as a “naked” bike for its lack of fairings. Having consistently accounted for a large portion of Ducati’s sales, it holds a place in many riders’ hearts and, to us, has always hit the sweet spot.
In celebration of 20 years of Monster mayhem, Ducati released the Monster 1100 Evo 20th Anniversary Edition, along with a 696 and 796 option as well. However, the 1100 Evo is the one, offering the Monster family’s full package of functionality, style and sport.
It packs a 100hp punch at 7500rpm and generates 76 lb-ft at 6000rpm, along with Marzocchi front suspension, a minimalistic tail-end and the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP) that gives you ABS and four levels of traction control. All this in a bike that weighs only 373 lb, making the Monster 1100 Evo the lightest in its class. It’s a bike that could surely kill you but, fortunately, it doesn’t want to!
Once you’re past its stunning Ducati red paint, exposed bronze trellis frame and gold Brembos, you hop on to find the seating position feels homely, at least for my 5' 9" frame. The upright bars are exactly where they should be and, as I inserted the key to awaken the twin-cylinder animal, my ears were met with pure metallic glory; the clutch chattering, and an L-twin rumble only a Ducati emits.
The exhaust on this Monster wouldn’t need changing; it’s quiet enough to stop your neighbors loathing your existence, but loud enough to cause bystanders to salivate. It sings a glorious tune of Italian heritage and brilliance.
Around town, the Monster isn’t particularly comfortable. It wants to be ridden hard, as its name suggests. The L-twin is relatively rough below 3000rpm, causing a bit of hesitation on throttle input. This can sometimes be expected on a Ducati, although it’s something you learn to love. A change of habit, making you hold onto gears to higher revs at low speeds is all it takes to be ridden smoothly.
Riding up Pacific Coast Highway in the early morning fog towards Malibu at speed, with bursts of second to fourth gear rips, the Evo is idyllic. You hit the 10,000rpm limiter because you just don’t want the acceleration to stop, not for a second. This bike is a drug I was addicted to over the 300 miles I rode it, and in its absence I’m still in withdrawal.
I can’t get over its versatility. Often times, a bike is geared toward track or touring, and bikes that claim to do it all fall short. Yet the Monster suffers no weakness. It’s strong across the board. Into the canyons, there’s torque everywhere, spitting you out of turns with the balance of a ballerina. The ABS light shouldn’t be flickering at you, nor should the traction control, but knowing they’re in attendance undoubtedly increases your level of confidence.
Down a long highway, cruising at triple-digit speeds (sorry, LAPD), the 1100 Evo is comfortable, stable and agile. The Monster’s evolution is surely not complete, but with 20 years under its belt, it’s hands-down one of the most impressive, seductive and greatest performing bikes of our time.
2013 Ducati Monster 1100 EVO 20th Anniversary Edition
Engine 1100cc Desmodue Evoluzione L-twin, 4v
Transmission six-speed manual with wet, multi-plate slipper clutch,
Brakes Brembo four-piston calipers f, two-piston r, 320mm rotors f, 245mm r, ABS
Suspension adjustable 43mm Marzocchi forks, rising-rate Sachs rear damper with adjustable spring pre-load and return damping
Wheels & Tires 17x3.5" f, 17x5.5" r, 120/70 ZR17 f, 180/55 ZR17 r Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires
Power 100hp at 7500rpm
Torque 76 lb-ft at 6000rpm
Top Speed N/A
Weight 373 lb