Ducati Monster 797 Review (for Newbies)
Let’s get this straight from the outset. I am a novice rider. I have only been riding for 2 years (at time of writing) so I am in no way preaching or attempting to sound like a seasoned pro. This review is purely coming from my point of view and is aimed at similar riders who are new to riding, looking to do as I did. ie: get straight on a bigger bike when getting a full licence. The purpose of this review is to give an idea of what to expect for new riders with limited riding experience or have recently gained a full licence allowing them to ride any size bike.
Passed my bike test in 2017. Until then the only time I have ridden a bike was in the late nineties on a moped in Corfu for a couple of hours! So in the past 2 years, my bike history is actually quite impressive if I say so myself. My first bike was a 1987 BMW K100. A cafe Racer that I built primarily as a marketing tool for my then business. I was told by virtually everyone that going straight onto a 1000cc bike was a recipe for.. well certain death, especially as it was on an older bike with no ABS, plus I had put nobbly tyres on it, plus I had made a few ‘changes’ to it! Well, here I am 2 + years later unscathed and have always kept the bike upright. I sold the bike a year or so later and then got a Triumph Speed Triple 1050. A real upgrade in terms of power and performance, Then I bought a Triumph Street Triple 675R, then a Triumph Explorer 1200 and finally a Triumph Thunderbird 900. (Triumph Fan boy?)
Why the Review?
I am sure I am not the only one out there who wants to jump straight onto a big powered bike shortly after getting a full bike licence, so I thought these reviews might help other people in my situation. Modern bikes are more powerful, and in some cases have become a little taller, both factors which can hinder inexperienced riders. So I thought that reviewing some of the more popular bikes coming from the perspective of an amateur inexperienced rider could prove helpful to fellow riders in the same position.
The Ducati Monster is said to be the bike that saved Ducati. With approximately 300,000 worldwide sales, its naked simplicity accounts for part of its huge success.
Currently available in 3 engine sizes the 797, 821 and 1200, for this review I have chosen the ‘entry-level’ 797, considered the entry bike into Ducati ownership, and also a perfect bike for the new rider.
The bright Red Ducati paintwork makes the bike unmistakably Ducati as I approach it in the dealership car park, and straight away I know I’m going to be riding something special. Some bikes can be quite intimidating purely on size, not so with the 797. Due to the naked design and engine size, it has no need to be bulky, tall or long, and it doesn’t intimidate me in the slightest.
The SINGLE Biggest thing that affects my confidence as a new rider
One of the key factors in chosing this bike as my first review bike was seat height. As an owner of a BIG Triumph Explorer I can confirm that seat height will play a huge role in when, not if you drop your bike. The 797 seat height is 805mm. I’m 5ft 9 ‘ish’ pretty much UK average, and i can firmly place my feet firmly on the ground, no tip toes required. Added to the bikes wet weight of 193kg if you are of average height or shorter you should not have any trouble keeping the bike upright when coming to a stop, at junctions or slow manoeuvring. The relatively light weight of the bike also means if you should become unfooted or place your foot on a big camber in the road, you should still be able to hold the bike back if it starts to lean over.
My pennies worth: make sure you can plant your feet firmly on the ground when choosing a bike.
The seat is comfortable although it did become slightly firm and uncomfortable after 40 minutes or so, but the position is comfortable in a prodominently upright posture meaning there is no preasure on your arm or wrists, making it a relaxing ride.
A tall bike and a heavy bike equal a recipe for frequent dropping if you a inexperienced rider. Fortunatly the Monster is neither. With a wet weight of 193KG the bike does not feel heavy when at junctions or at slow speeds.
The L Twin engine is actually very smooth and throttle response is by no means agressive or twitchy, which gives you great confidence knowing that when the urge is there to pull back the throttle you are not going to be ripped from the seat. Accelaration is smooth and fairly rapid if you need it to be. Once you get confident with the bike I am sure you would have lots of fun with it, and it wouldnt be a bike that you would get bored of in a hurry.
Up front there are twin Brembo calipers that are more than capable for this bike. Coupled with Bosch ABS the bike controls heavy braking very well. I did’t get to test the ABS (lack of nerves) but applying the brakes at around 40mph+, I felt very confident in their ability to stop very quickly.
A stylish yet no frills TFT display providing everything except gear position and a fuel gauge! I don’t understand why there isn’t a fuel gauge, especially on this type of bike. To me its an essential requirement if used as a daily commuter.
Naked bikes are one of the trend styles and a personal favourite of mine. Winter roads can make them a bit more tricky to maintain in terms of cleaning, as the lack of fairing means all the dirt and salt get in every nook and cranny, so keep on top of your cleaning to keep the bike in good condition. The lack of fairings also means your legs are exposed to the wind, so in colder conditions make sure you have the correct layers to keep warm. In my opinion these are tiny niggles you accept to be riding a ‘cool’ bike.
- Great stability with superb brakes and ride height for good footing 9/10
- Powerful that you won’t get bored of quickly, yet smooth accleration for confident everyday riding. 8/10
- Minimalistic design with plenty of Italian style 6/10
- Lack of fuel gauge could lead to running out of fuel if you dont check the tank regulary 1/10
- Price From £7995. A lot of bike for your money 7/10
- Suitability for a new/inexperienced rider 7/10
BIG thanks to Laguna Performance for loaning me the bike
Take a look at the video review