Prolific Ducati writer Ian Falloon has penned another title, this time focussing on the incredible story of the Ducati Monster. ‘The Ducati Monster Bible’ highlights every single model from the very beginning in 1993 through to the latest current model, the new generation 1100EVO. Our review is after the jump.
When you think of Ducati, what comes to mind? A MotoGP Desmosedici howling around a race track (unfortunately lately somewhere towards the rear of the field)? Perhaps Carlos Checa thundering to another victory on his 1198R Superbike? It is almost always one of the racing or sporting machines that are so tightly woven throughout the company’s history. What if we were to ask what was the most important Ducati model? Well then you’d have to agree it was and probably still is the Monster.
The Ducati Monster was arguably the first Streetfighter you could buy from a manufacturer and it came at a critical time for the Italian manufacturer. The 916 was still in a design studio, the 888 was winning races but sold in only comparatively low numbers to well healed enthusiasts while the Paso was failing. Cagiva under Claudio Castiglioni’s leadership needed a volume model that could sustain the company.
In 1991, designer Miguel Galluzzi (who would go on the pen the Aprilia RSV4) built a stripped down naked version of an 888 Superbike ostensively for his own personal use. When Claudio saw it being ridden to the office, he immediately saw the potential and had Galluzzi get on with the task of preparing something that could go into production.
At the Cologne show, almost 20 years ago now in 1992, the Ducati M900 was shown for the first time. Nicknamed ‘Il Mostro’ or ‘Monster’ this was the beginning of a run that would end up seeing over 250,000 bikes made in a dazzling array of variants around a fairly non changing core concept of a light, fun and versatile sports motorcycle without a full fairing. Pretty much a parts bin special (frame similar to the 851, engine from the 900 Supersport) it certainly turned out to be so much more than the sum of its parts. At crucial times for the company, the Monster would make up over half of the company’s sales.
In ‘The Ducati Monster Bible’, Ian Falloon details the entire story from the very beginning bringing us through every model, no matter how minor its differentiation from its siblings, to the current day and the new generation Monster 1100EVO which features the first 2-valve Ducati to deliver 100bhp straight from the factory gates.
Falloon organizes the story logically and chronologically detailing the first model range from 1993-1999 in 600, 750 and 900cc variants, through the first styling update of 2000, the single sided swingarm Monsters including the 4-valve, liquid cooled flavors through to the new generation 696, 796 and 1100.
The author covers the story in a fairly utilitarian style leaving out not even minor details (for example did you know that the 1994 Monster had FREN-DO 222 brake pads!!) but inexplicably not providing production numbers which seems a strange choice given that his ‘Standard Catalogue of Ducati Motorcycles‘ includes just such information.
The incredible plethora of models in the early years (900, 900S, 900 Chromo, City, Dark, City/Dark, California anyone?) which seemingly were in many ways almost identical makes for heavy going partway through the story and it is here that it is unfortunate that Falloon doesn’t provide more of the story telling which features in some of his other books, most notably ‘The Ducati Story‘. There are also minor errors in places, such as repeatedly referring to the 695 as the 696. Still, if you want to know about what distinguishes one model from another, Falloon has you covered and there are a number of high quality photographs to showcase the various models over the years.
The Monster might never have been a Ducati at all. Only pressure from Massimo Bordi (designer of the Desmoquattro powerplant) stopped the Monster from being named a Cagiva alongside the Elefant road/trail machine. Since the original concept was based on an 888, Galluzzi wanted the 4-valve engine to go into production but the poor selling 900 Supersport meant that the surfeit of 2-valve engines were soaked up instead.
It wouldn’t be until 2001 and the debut of the S4 that a Desmoquattro powerplant (from the 916) would finally grace the range. More lately that plethora of models has been trimmed to just 3 (696, 796, 1100EVO) in part due to the fact that easily changed plastic panels could result in a style change for the owner in just minutes with the Monster Art and Logomania options.
If you have a Ducati Monster, want one or simply want to increase your knowledge of one of the most important Ducati models then ‘The Ducati Monster Bible’ is well worth a read but note that it is primarily a reference text to dip into time and time again rather than a page turner.
‘The Ducati Bible’ by Ian Falloon is published by Veloce Publishing Ltd and is available from the publisher and from Amazon. The recommended retail price is £30.00 / $59.95 but at the time this was published is currently discounted on Amazon to $37.77.
Read the ‘Ducati a Photographic Tribute‘ Review
Listen the Interview with Phil Aynsley author of Ducati – A Photographic Tribute
Read the ‘The Ducati Story by Ian Falloon’ Review
Veloce Publishing Ltd provided a copy of ‘The Ducati Monster Bible’ for this review.