Ducati Monster SP review: SPecial Enough?


SP. Two perfectly innocuous alphabets – until you slap them at the end of a motorcycle’s name badge. Suddenly you have two alphabets that signify a heap of extra capability and desirability. 

Ducati Monster SP what's new here?

As is usually the case, the SP at the end of the Monster moniker means that we have a bike with significantly higher levels of kit. More precisely, it includes fully adjustable Öhlins suspension at both ends, exceptional Brembo Stylema brakes, a Termignoni slip-on exhaust, a steering damper and a lithium-ion battery. The bike also gets the flyscreen and rear seat cowl from the Monster + and it comes in an exclusive paint scheme.


Ducati Monster SP engine, performance

The rest is the same as you’ll get on the regular Monster, which is a tremendously fun little thing – more on those last two words towards the end of this review. The engine, chassis and electronic assists all continue as is, which means you get a big 937cc L-twin that produces 111hp and 98Nm. The power figure is lower than most rivals, but the 93Nm torque figure is higher than most.

937cc 'L-Twin' makes lesser power but more torque than most key rivals.

This is a properly fast motorcycle and it loves raising its front wheel in the first two gears as it charges past the 200kph mark quicker than you’d expect. More significantly, the hard charging mid-range makes it a more instantly exciting machine than something like the Street Triple RS, which saves its real pull for higher in the rev range. Give it space to roar and this motor will give you plenty to grin about.

Ducati Monster SP city manners

That being said, this engine doesn’t sound or feel special until it crosses 5,000rpm. At city speeds, the sound is rather bland and uninspiring, even with that pretty Termignoni slip-on. That makes sense when you examine the carbon-clad exhaust from the rear and see how narrow the actual outlets are. I’d say this pipe sounds maybe ten percent better than stock, at best. Think of it as a road-legal piece of jewellery. 

Termis look gorgeous but sound close to stock.

A heavy clutch, plenty of heat and juddery low-end performance also tarnish the Monster’s fun factor at slow city speeds. But these are things we have been complaining about for years, which makes sense given that this is now an eight-year-old engine (11 years if you count the 821 motor that this engine is based on). An all-new motor is long overdue, and hopefully we’ll see something that’s nicer to use at lower speeds and comes with the lower running costs that came with the new V4 Granturismo engine.

Ducati Monster SP comfort, ride & handling

At 186kg, the SP weighs two kilos less than the regular Monster thanks to its lightweight battery, and it feels very agile and compact. The Öhlins suspension is supple enough for the road, although I suspect that the base model’s non-adjustable suspension is a little bit softer. Nevertheless, the Öhlins have more travel, which has raised seat height by 20mm, and also liberated more cornering clearance. Still, the seat to foot peg ratio on this bike is on the tight side.

Slightly taller seat on the SP due to longer-travel Ohlins units.

On a curvy road, the SP is a heap of fun and even though it uses Pirelli Rosso IV tyres, which are not about track-level performance, they feel sticky and confidence-inspiring. The standard Monster’s Brembo M4.32 brakes were also very good, but the Stylemas on this bike are the gold standard, and the difference mostly comes down to the beautiful feel and feedback for the rider. The slim little Monster can get quite flighty if you’re liberal with the throttle on a bumpy road, so you’ll be happy to have the new steering damper. However, its placement makes it a pain to turn the ignition key. 

Stylemas and Öhlins up the bling factor.

The Triumph Street Triple RS will probably be faster around a race track with its 19hp advantage and stickier tyres, but the rider on the SP will be having too much fun to care. However, what the SP rider probably won’t be able to shake off is how much more they paid for their bike.

This GP-inspired paint scheme is exclusive to the SP variant.

Ducati Monster SP price, verdict

At an ex-showroom price of Rs 15.95 lakh, the SP works out to over Rs 20 lakh, on road, in Mumbai, which is simply too much to swallow. All Ducatis now charge a painful premium, but most also deliver a highly exotic experience in exchange. Unfortunately, the new-age Monster has become a little too small for its own good and the bike easily gets lost in a parking lot when surrounded by normal machines that cost ten times less. It lacks that wow factor – especially at this price point – and it’s also probably why the regular Monster has been offered with sizable discounts for a while. 

Ultimately, the Monster SP’s high price will relegate it to extreme exclusivity, and funnily enough, it’s probably that very exclusivity that will find it those few takers at this price.

Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)
To Top