Atop a monster bike

To understand the Monster 797, you need to understand how crucial an entry-level bike is for a premium motorcycle brand. These bikes make exotic brands more accessible to amateur riders. And if a rider hooks on to a brand early on, he is likely to stick with it for a long time, if not all his life.

This is where the Monster 797 comes in. After the 795 and the 796 were discontinued, the onus of being the entry-level Ducati fell on the Scrambler. While the Scrambler is cool in its own right, its appeal isn’t universal, and it certainly doesn’t shout ‘Ducati’ now, does it? The Monster 797, at Rs. 7.77 lakh, will be positioned a smidge above the Scrambler in terms of price, and will effectively serve as the entry-level bike in Ducati’s naked sports bike range.

‘Entry-level’ implies more than just a relatively affordable price tag; it also implies that the bike is easy to ride. To that end, Ducati’s engineers have done their best to make the 797 as rider-friendly as possible. To start with, the Monster 797 is quite compact for an 800cc bike, with a low seat height of 805mm, and not to mention light, with a dry weight of 175kg. Then comes the ergonomics. The foot pegs are placed lower down compared to the 821, and the handlebar is made wider to provide a more comfortable riding position.

At the heart of this Monster is an 803cc, L-Twin engine, with a maximum power and torque output of 75hp at 8,250rpm and 68.9Nm at 5,750rpm, respectively. Ducati engineers have restricted the horsepower to 75hp and have tuned the motor to dish out steady amounts of pulling power throughout the rev range. The engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox, which drives the rear wheel via chain drive. The gearbox is fitted with an APTC clutch that serves slip and assist functions. The suspension set-up consists of inverted 43mm Kayaba forks up front and a pre-load and rebound-adjustable Sachs monoshock at the rear. Braking duties are carried out by 320mm semi-floating discs with 4-piston monobloc Brembo calipers up front and a single 245mm disc with a single-piston caliper at the back.

The electronics package on the 797 is quite skimpy though. There isn’t much apart from the Bosch ABS here. While this ‘entry-level’ move has forced compromises in the performance and equipment section, there has been absolutely no compromise in the looks department.

The 797 has all the makings of a legitimate entry-level Ducati—it’s gorgeous, well-engineered and accessible. What’s most endearing about it, though, is its simplicity, and in that sense, it really does hark back to the 1993 Monster. It is, in fact, a tribute to Miguel Galluzzi, the man who created the first Monster. When asked about his then-considered-odd creation, he said, “All you need is a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels, and handlebars.”