In the world of thrilling machines, Ducati registers somewhere between Ferrari and Alfa Romeo — this on two wheels, of course. Offering bikes ranging in price from $10,000-$30,000 and covering a range of “yeah, that makes sense” to “humans aren’t supposed to travel that fast”, the brand has a legacy and heritage dating back to 1926 that it maintains with pride today. This is especially obvious in the 2013 Ducati Monster 796 ($10,495), a bike that offers the perfect balance of looks, performance and price.
The Airframe Rubatone ($270) is wind-tunnel tested and comes standard with a fog-free shield, removable/washable HydraDry interior, oversized intake and exhaust ports for airflow, a chin curtain and layers of fiberglass and carbon fiber, all covered in matte black — making for a stylish way to keep your head on your shoulders… because it’s not if you wreck, it’s when.
Riding this bike is a grand experience thanks to the high-revving nature of the engine — but make sure not to short shift, or you’ll be honored with nut-crushing engine braking. The red tubular steel Trellis frame with aluminum sub frame, a single-side swingarm and 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels keep the bike light for optimum performance; all of these things also enhance its badass-ness. The classic Ducati L-Twin motor with two cylinders set at 90 degrees lets out a gloriously unique growl and shifts quickly and smoothly thanks to the APTC wet clutch, making climbing through gears seamless (I stalled twice… so not completely seamless, but you can imagine).
It’s worth noting the 796 is considerably more expensive than other bikes with similar specs. That said, you could give an early ’90s Mustang enough horsepower to hang with a Ferrari… but it sure wouldn’t look like one.