Normally, monsters are the kind of thing you don't want to get meaner as time goes on. They're the sort of thing you want to see vanquished, or at the very least, humbled — made weaker, less intimidating, and less worrisome.
Then again, the Ducati Monster has always been a different kind of beast. The newest version is clearly from the same lineage as Monsters past, dating back more than 25 years to the Monster 900 of 1993 – but for 2021, it's lighter and more playful than before, to hear the brand tell the tale.
Drop the 2021 Monster on the scale when it's empty of fluids, and you should see a reading of 366 pounds — about 40 pounds lighter than the previous Monster 821. That's due to an extensive program of reducing weight everywhere, from the rims to the swingarm and the front frame and rear subframe. Power is up, too, with the new 937-cc twin spitting out 111 horsepower at 9,250 rpm and a broad torque curve that provides a bit more grunt when the engine is turning more slowly.
Yet in spite of the intimidating name, this Monster should be a sweetheart to ride. The steering angle has been increased 7º to 36º for better low-speed maneuvering, while the handlebar has been relocated to a more comfortable position almost three inches closer to the rider. A suite of electronic reins — traction control, ABS cornering and "wheelie control" among them — help keep a handle on this lightweight ball of sport naked fury. And if you really need to make a departure like a bat out of hell, well, there's even launch control.
The new Monster hits North American showrooms in April 2021, with a starting price of $11,895 for the regular version and $12,195 for the Monster Plus, which adds a bit of visual pizzazz. (Those prices are just for the Ducati Red versions; you'll pay $200 more if you want it in Dark Stealth or Aviator Grey.) And of course, if you want to spend more than that, Ducati will offer a host of aftermarket accessories, ranging from exhausts to styling kits to sticker packages.