A naked Panigale? Not quite, but these all-new monsters do adapt its "frameless" chassis concept, transforming the archetypal steel trellis into a front subframe, only using it to attach the forks to the cylinder heads. A new, liquid-cooled, 1198 cc V-twin produces 135 bhp in the 2014 Ducati Monster 1200 and 145 bhp in the 2014 Ducati Monster 1200 S.
These all-new models are much more than just a big engine in a naked bike that defined previous high performance Monsters like the S4R. There's the new chassis arrangement, which shifts the trellis into a front subframe, bolting the rear subframe to the rear cylinder only and attaching the swingarm directly to the engine. A new version of the "Testastretta 11" motor which increases service intervals to 18,000 miles and even new styling, featuring a larger, more muscular fuel tank and smaller headlamp.
Ducati has targeted comfort and ride-ability over meaningless peak power figures, an approach which is reflected throughout the bike. The seat adjusts from 31.8 inches all the way down to 29.3 using a simple "block and pin" adjuster.
Ducati says, despite its new attachment method, that the steel trellis frame "has effectively doubled its torsional stiffness," thanks to wider-section tubes and a more optimized design. Compared to previous models, the wheelbase also grows by 2.3 inches in order to improve stability and make the bikes more suitable for carrying a passenger. In pursuit of that passenger carrying ability, standard grab rails are neatly integrated into the tail. Improving rider comfort and control, the handlebars are also 1.5 inches taller and 1.5 inches closer to the rider.
The standard Monster 1200 and S differ in both engine and suspension. Where the standard model develops 135 bhp at 8,750 rpm and 87 lb.-ft. at 7,250 rpm, the S makes 145 bhp at 8,750 rpm and 92 lb.-ft. of torque at 7,250 rpm. The S also replaces the standard Monster's Kayaba forks / Sachs shock with fully-adjustable Ohlins units.
Further heightening the Panigale resemblance, the standard Monster rolls on identical-look wheels, while the S gains a new "Y-spoke" design.
The standard bike is available in red, with a red frame and black wheels. The S comes in either red with a red frame and black wheels, or in white with a bronze frame and black wheels.
Both models are equipped with comprehensive rider-aid electronics, including traction control, ABS and switchable power delivery modes. All that is controlled through a Panigale-like, full-color Thin Film Transistor screen.
Pricing is extremely competitive, the standard Ducati Monster 1200 is $13,495, while the Ducati Monster 1200 S comes in at $15,995.