2016 Ducati Monster 1200 R – First Look Review

web-9-05-MONSTER-1200-RDucati has taken its Monster naked sportbike line a big step further into the high-performance realm with last night’s introduction of the Monster 1200 R at the VW Group Night in Frankfurt, Germany (Ducati is part of the VW Group, along with Audi, Bentley and Porsche). Compared to the Monster 1200 S engine, Ducati says the new 1,200cc Testastretta 11° DS “R” version produces 10 percent more power and 5.5 percent more torque, or 160 horsepower and 97 lb-ft of torque. The 1200 R also has a new high-rise tailpiece and more cornering clearance for track use and comes with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires for more grip at higher lean angles, with a wide 200/55-ZR17 on the rear. The Monster 1200 R gets new suspension and an Öhlins steering damper, and the new bike is reportedly lighter than the S version due to the new tailpiece, forged wheels and various carbon fiber components that bring the total dry weight down to 397 pounds.

The Ducati Safety Pack, including ABS and Ducati Traction Control, are standard, and the bike has three Riding Modes (Sport, Touring and Urban) to control engine power, ABS and Traction Control systems.

We’ll have pricing and a First Ride report on the new Monster 1200 R very soon—the 1200 R will be available in early 2016. In the meantime here are details on the new Monster from Ducati’s press release:

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To give it lean angles suitable for track use, the 1200 R’s chassis set-up has been raised by 15 mm front and back, and the seat height is higher at 32.7 inches.

Design

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The iconic Monster design of the tank blends with the sport-inspired, elegant lines of the rear, creating a compact, lightweight assembly immediately evocative of high performance and power. The Monster 1200 R has been substantially revised to make it visually compact, lightweight and high-slung. The single-piece rider and passenger seat is shorter and thinner if viewed from the side, with a tapered, sharp-edged look in the passenger section.

This motorcycle’s higher stance features an increased gap between the tire and seat assembly, making the rear look more streamlined, further enhanced by the new design of the high-mounted aluminum plate holder, fully exposing the 200/55 rear tire; both the rear and the front tires are mounted on 3-spoke, Panigale R-inspired forged wheels.

The new, separate rider and passenger footpegs are unmistakably race-derived and create a more streamlined side view – also enhanced by the new, oversized exhaust in line with Euro 4 standards and perfectly integrated with the new rear design.

The finishing touches to the Monster 1200 R design can be seen in the nose fairing and the longitudinal graphic pattern inspired by the iconic Ducati Corse stripe. The exclusive character of this model is reflected in the painstaking care for detail: the radiator metal covers have a graphic “R” design obtained by sand-blasting, while the bi-material seat has contrasting seams and a metal plate bearing the name of the model.

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The single-piece rider and passenger seat is shorter and thinner when viewed from the side, with a tapered, sharp-edged look in the passenger section.

Engine

The new Monster 1200 R is powered by the “R” version of the liquid-cooled 1.198,4 cc Testastretta 11° DS engine with 4 valves per cylinder. The Monster 1200 engine version has been revised to increase its efficiency to a maximum power of 160 hp (117.7 kW) at 9,250 rpm and a maximum torque of 13.4 kgm (97 lb-ft) at 7,750 rpm, while maintaining smooth delivery at low and medium RPM, typical of latest-generation Testastretta 11° DS power units. The Monster 1200 R engine is in line with the Euro 4 pollution control standards.

The Monster 1200 R’s Testastretta 11° Dual Spark engine is equipped with a new 2-1-2 exhaust system with 58mm diameter pipes and redesigned twin silencers. Although their routing has not been changed, the exhaust pipes have a new cross-section with a diameter that’s been increased by 8mm to boost engine efficiency, which now breathes better thanks to a new throttle body. The original round design with 53mm-diameter bodies featured on the Monster 1200 has been replaced in the new version by a larger, oval section design with a 56mm equivalent diameter. A lower-height cylinder seal has made it possible to increase the compression ratio from 12.5:1 to 13:1, improving combustion efficiency.

Compared to the twin-cylinder version powering the Monster 1200 S, the “thrust” of the “R” version remains strong and vigorous beyond 7,000 rpm, adding extra power and torque throughout the rev range. A thrilling experience on track, where all the potential of this engine unravels for maximum excitement as the rider shifts through the gears all the way up to 10,200 rpm. During road use, at lower RPM, delivery is consistently smooth and responsive to throttle opening, with 75% of the torque already available at 3,500 rpm.

The Monster has a wet clutch with ‘slipper’ function actuated by a Brembo master cylinder. Thanks to its progressive self-servo mechanism, it can be operated smoothly and progressively.

15,000 km (9,000 miles) or 12-month intervals are recommended between major services, with valve clearance adjustment checks only required every 30,000 km (18,000 miles).

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The 1200 R’s new tailpiece, wheels, carbon fiber parts and new footpegs together make for a 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) weight savings – down to a total dry weight of 180 kg (397 lbs.).

Frame

As with the rest of the Monster family, the signature trellis frame remains a feature of the Monster 1200 R, with attachment points directly on the cylinder heads, a race-derived solution pioneered by the Panigale for the first time in the world of production motorcycles. Thanks to this configuration, the resulting frame is highly compact, lightweight and, with large cross-section pipes,  offers massive torsional strength – a characteristic that enhances the dynamic profile of the Monster 1200 R.

The rear subframe is also attached directly to the engine, creating a compact structure designed to support the new passenger footpeg brackets – now a separate design from the rider’s, to guarantee greater freedom of movement for the best road and track sports riding experience.

The rider and passenger footpeg mountings are made of forged aluminum and support aluminum billet-machined footrests with a surface pattern designed for enhanced boot grip during riding. The rider’s footpegs have aluminum heel guards in line with the sports character of the new Monster.

To ensure lean angles suitable for track use, the chassis set-up has been raised by 15 mm both at the front and at the rear end, and the seating height has been adjusted to 830 mm (32,7 in) accordingly. The ‘ergonomics triangle’ has been preserved to ensure a natural riding position and improved control during both road and track use and help the rider complete more laps with less effort.

Another major focus of attention was weight reduction. The new tailpiece, wheels, carbon fiber parts and the new footpegs together made for a 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) weight saving – down to a total dry weight of 180 kg (397 lbs.). A critical factor in weight saving was the use of forged wheels – making the Monster R even more agile in tackling corners thanks to the reduction in unsprung weight and inertia.

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The Monster 1200 R comes with three Riding Modes (Sport, Touring and Urban) – each programmed to adjust the Ride-by-Wire (RbW) engine control system and the ABS and DTC intervention levels.

Suspension

The high-tech suspension system features new, fully adjustable 48mm titanium nitride-coated Öhlins forks with black-anodized bottoms and bodies and a fully adjustable Öhlins rear shock. Operating through a progressive linkage, the rear suspension attaches directly from the rear vertical cylinder to the die-cast aluminum single-sided swingarm at the opposite end. The Öhlins suspension package is completed by the adjustable steering damper that controls handlebar movement under heavy acceleration and enhances the sports inspiration of the instrument panel view.

Wheels and tires

The Monster 1200 R features 3-spoke light alloy forged wheels inspired by the Panigale R design and is fitted with Pirelli DIABLO Supercorsa SP tires – 120/70 ZR17 at the front and 200/55 x ZR17 at the rear. DIABLO Supercorsa SP is applied technology at its best: embodying all the experience and racing expertise acquired by Pirelli as the sole supplier to the World Superbike Championship since 2004, this tire designed for road use can offer the ultimate racing experience, allowing the user uncompromised enjoyment of a top-performance product both on the road and the racetrack. The structures and compounds of the DIABLO Supercorsa SP, directly derived from WSBK competitions, optimize the performance ensured by the tire profiles. The 200/55 ZR17 rear tire in particular has a carcass made from high-module fiber and a bi-compound tread with polymers ensuring quicker tire warm-up and constant grip in any riding condition. The perfectly paired front and rear profiles ensure greater handling and agility. The bi-compound tread pattern features long longitudinal grooves, expanding from the central profile area to the shoulder, ensuring regular wear even in the harshest riding conditions. The distinctive element of the DIABLO line is a ‘naked’ shoulder area, ideal for sports riding where maximum adhesion and constant grip are a must.

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Front suspension features new, fully adjustable 48mm titanium nitride-coated Öhlins forks with black-anodized bottoms and bodies.

Braking system

The Monster 1200 R braking system is the very best of the Brembo production range and includes twin radially-mounted M50 Monobloc calipers gripping 330 mm discs at the front – the same components that are part of the equipment of the 1299 Panigale supersport model, actuated by a master cylinder with remote reservoir. At the rear, the Monster 1200 R features one 245mm disc gripped by a single Brembo caliper with sintered friction material pads to improve efficiency. The braking system is controlled by the triple stage ABS Bosch 9MP system – which can be disabled by the user.

Ducati Safety Pack (DSP)

The Monster 1200 R is equipped with the DSP (Ducati Safety Pack) system including the ABS and Ducati Traction Control systems to enhance vehicle performance, optimize control and improve overall riding safety. This package is managed by three different Riding Modes (Sport, Touring and Urban): three different Monster R ‘souls’ given by different settings of the ABS and DTC (Ducati Traction Control) systems.

ABS

The Monster 1200 R standard equipment includes a Bosch ABS 9MP controlled Brembo braking system with an integrated pressure sensor as part of the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP). The 3-level system provides shorter stopping distances with enhanced stability in any riding condition by being fully integrated with the Riding Modes. While level-1 of the system enables a sport-oriented ABS intervention with no rear lift prevention, level-2 delivers the same intervention with rear lift prevention activated. Level-3 provides outstanding braking stability and rear lift prevention. The ABS action can be disabled in any Riding Mode and will not be reactivated upon the next Key-On.

Ducati Traction Control (DTC)

The DTC (Ducati Traction Control) is able to detect and control rear wheel-spin, considerably increasing the bike’s active safety and performance. The Monster 1200 R uses the very latest DTC software, optimized to guarantee seamless response to ignition advance only. The system offers eight ‘sensitivity profiles’, each set to offer a level of rear wheel-spin tolerance in line with progressive levels of riding skills, classified from one to eight. Level one is programmed to offer the least amount of interaction while level eight uses the highest degree of interaction. DTC levels are factory pre-set in each of the three Riding Modes, but can be individually customized and saved to suit the rider’s characteristics by accessing the set-up menu within each mode. The DTC action can be disabled in any Riding Mode and will not be reactivated upon the next Key-On.

Ducati Riding Modes

The Ducati Riding Modes offer different factory settings designed to optimize vehicle behavior according to riding styles and environmental conditions. The Monster 1200 R comes equipped with three Riding Modes (Sport, Touring and Urban) – each programmed to adjust the Ride-by-Wire (RbW) engine control system and the ABS and DTC intervention levels. The modes are made possible by combining a number of class-leading technologies. If the Riding Modes can be changed while riding, the customized setting of ABS and DTC can only be changed when the bike is stationary with the throttle closed.

Sport

The Sport Riding Mode provides 160 hp (117,7 kW), delivered with direct Ride-by-Wire throttle response, reduced DTC system intervention (level 3) and ABS high braking performance (level 1) with no lift prevention.

Touring

The Touring Riding Mode provides 160 hp (117,7 kW), delivered with a more progressive Ride-by-Wire throttle response, increased DTC system intervention (level 4) and ABS-controlled lift prevention (level 2).

Urban

The Urban Riding Mode provides 100 hp (73,5 kW), delivered with a progressive Ride-by-Wire throttle response, further increased DTC system intervention (level 6) and ABS ensuring maximum braking stability and lift prevention (level 3).

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The Monster’s TFT display has three different layouts, each designed to display information suitable for different uses.

Thin Film Transistor (TFT) color instrumentation

The Monster 1200 R dashboard has a latest-generation TFT color display. The display has three different layouts, named Core, Full and Track, each designed to display information suitable for different uses, now with a selected gear indication in each display screen.

In the Urban Riding Mode the display adopts the Core layout, offering the bare minimum of information in line with urban use. The vehicle speed becomes the most obviously visible piece of information at the center of the screen, with indication of the gear selected on the right.

In the Touring Riding Mode the display changes completely to the Full layout, delivering the maximum amount of information required during a longer trip.

In the Sport Riding Mode the display switches to the Track layout, offering only the information required when sports riding. The graphic rev-counter recalibrates itself according to a Superbike-derived layout.

The Monster 1200 R TFT screen is customizable and the user can choose a preferred display, regardless of the selected Riding Mode.

Lighting

The Monster 1200 R’s headlamp unit uses halogen main light illumination with LED position lights on either side and full LED lighting for the beautifully shaped rear and brake light illumination. LED technology is also used for the directional indicators that also sport a hazard light function, activated by holding the left-turn signal button for four seconds.

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