Ducati’s first water-cooled Monster 1200 was a peculiar model, especially in the aesthetics department. Looking to improve appearance and return things to the heyday of all-conquering Italian naked bike style, Ducati gives its flagship Monster subtle styling enhancements for 2017, along with a few hotrod tricks borrowed from its R-spec sibling.
From the moment Miguel Galluzzi penned the shape of the original Monster’s gas tank, it became an iconic styling element. The latest iteration continues to be stamped from steel but gets a “tauter and more modern” contour according to Ducati. Photos show triangular cuts on the exterior giving it a slimmer appearance. Capacity has been reduced by nearly a quart and is now listed at 4.36-gallon.
Although it’s hard to tell from the Ducati supplied photos, it insists that the tail section was tweaked, as was the headlight incorporating an LED array at the center of the headlamp. The footpegs were redesigned borrowing the independent rider/passenger setups as used on the 1200R.
Criticized for its abundant use of plastic, the cheap plastic/rubber shroud around the ignition lock has been replaced with an anodized metal piece, similar to original ’93 Monster. Furthermore the exhaust header covers are more “technical” looking says Ducati. The radiator overflow cover is different too, however there’s still far too much use of plastic hiding the true Monster: the 1.2-liter (1198cc) Testastretta L-Twin engine.
This Twin employs Ducati’s 11-degree valve overlap which aids running efficiency and facilitating a flatter spread of torque. Speaking of power, compression ratio is up 0.5 point and the engine breathes though 3mm larger 56mm throttle bodies. This nets a five horsepower increase with 150 peak ponies available at 9250 rpm (from the crank). Still the engine is capable of going 18,000 miles before valves need to be peeked at. Like before, three different engine power modes are available allowing the rider to tailor the engine’s powerband, based on road conditions or preference.
Some of the key electronics introduced on the 1299 Panigale in 2015 trickle down with the 2017 1200 adding cornering ABS functionality to its electronic arsenal. Wheelie control is now standard too and eight-level traction control carries over. A new color display was also fitted and benefits from new programming allowing the rider to customize the readout. As before the Monster rolls on a set of Y-spoke cast aluminum shod in Pirelli’s recently updated Diablo Rosso III do-it-all sport rubber.