Ducati Monster 795: First Ride
There is a genial monster coming to Indian roads - red, hot, cheerful, easily controllable and a hoot to ride all around. Adil Jal Darukhanawala gets in the saddle of the made-for-Asia-to-a-price Ducati 795 monster and says that it is irresistible!
At the heart of the 795 is the trellis chassis from the 696 and that is more than adequate for the suspension at both ends and the performance from the air-cooled fuel injected 803cc vee-twin from the 796. In fact, the nature of this bike with its slightly upright riding position and good controllability means the 88 horses are a delight to get galloping than having to fight them! In tight traffic conditions with slow moving city traffic this is a pretty significant character trait but one which is added to explosive mid-range grunt and a very strong top end thrust. Overall the small and low set 696 chassis is a good fit for what Ducati has in mind for small built Asians and the low seat height plus the wide handlebars and the epitomised ergonomic layout replete with finely positioned footpegs make for a bike that is all ease to ride. If anything the bike I got to ride in Thailand during its Asian launch impressed all along but like a few others I wished that the handlebars were pulled in slightly towards the rider rather than being so wide. Even though the bars are now positioned slightly higher than on the 796 and the seat height has been dropped, it makes for a very comfortable stance and this coupled with the compact proportions makes the Monster something just right for the region.
Thailand’s Hua Hin city, some three hours away by road from Bangkok was the venue where the 795 Monster launch session as held. It entailed a 180km stretch of road via fast highways, slightly hilly tracts and city roads of course. That we had super service on offer from start to service was the revelation – none other than the best police outriders who do service as fast escorts for the King of Thailand were there to clear the roads ahead of us and also to make sure that none of the oncoming traffic misbehaved. It was too good to be true but in the midst of the pleasure the 795 Monster was dishing out, one didn’t quite appreciate what the other was delivering! The onus of the trellis frame and its 1450mm wheelbase was to make for a stiff yet planted stance made even more effective given the 43mm dia Marzocchi upside-down front forks coupled to the single Sachs unit adjustable for both preload and rebound.
The 24-degree steering rake and that 87mm rake contribute to a bike with nimble and agile manners. While the 796 comes equipped with Kayaba shocks up front, another value engineering aspect came with the Marzocchis but having ridden the bike quite aggressively I can confirm that the Marzocchis are capable enough to hold their own in our conditions. Along with the red-painted steel trellis there is also a cast aluminium sub-frame (finished in black) at the rear that helps to provide the seat support and the hangars for the tail light and the number plate. The double-sided swingarm is a large section rectangular item with ample bracing to give it strength and also to make for good neutral handling characteristics.
The 795 Monster comes with lightweight three-spoke cast aluminium-alloy wheels wearing Pirelli Angel ST rubber front (12/60-R17) and rear (160/60-R17). These tyres are again well matched to the overall suspension geometry plus the character of the machine, which is to induce a feelgood yet practical appeal for a bike that will define the brand in the region. Brakes are another strong point on the machine; twin 320mm dia semi-floating rotors gripped by 4-piston Brembo calipers do duty up front while a single 245mm dia disc with twin piston Brembo calipers is the retardation unit at the rear. While the 796 has the option of ABS, this feature hasn’t made the specifications list for the 795.
Overall the looks of the Monster carry that Galluzzi feel right through and the design hasn’t aged at all – makes one wonder why not many praise Galluzzi in the same way they do Massimo Tamburini because the Monster has been an evergreen design and it just gets better and better for more and more new riders and converts to Ducati’s cause. Of course there have been tweaks and much of this is subtle in a scallop here and a slight angle there but overall the same taut feel to the whole has been carried through and it is only in the areas of the head light treatment and that smallish instrument console that one finds a slight difference. The overall whelming front end thrust is yet there but with the revised ergonomics this is not a daunting aspect at all. Maybe the one thing that I think could have done differently on the bike was to get better control levers but then this is something which I have had to say about the 1199 Panigale as well!
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