Ducati broke out the first of its 2016 models during the Volkswagen Group Night, ahead of IAA 2015 in Frankfurt. The new Monster 1200 R boasts superbike performance levels to claim the title of the most powerful naked Ducati. Based on the 1200 S sibling, the 1200 R is powered by the R-version of the Testastretta 11 engine, with an output that exceeds that of the venerable Fighter 1098.
Since Ducati decided to discontinue the big Fighter and keep only the 848 in production, the most powerful naked in its line-up was the Monster 1200 S, albeit with a few less ponies (145 hp/108 kW) compared to the 155 hp (116 kW) of the Fighter 1098. That wrong has now been righted with the arrival of the Monster 1200 R. The new model is based extensively on the 1200 S, taking the concept further with a host of updates.
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First of all, we have the L2 Testastretta 11 Dual Spark R motor. Compared to the 1200 S, the twin works at a higher compression ratio (13:1 over 12.5:1), is fed through larger oval 56 mm throttle bodies (round 53 mm for the S) and breathes out via a new exhaust system, with the same routing but larger cross-section headers. As a result, it produces almost 10 percent more power and 5.5 percent more torque, both values achieved 500 rpm higher. The R-version Testastretta puts out 160 hp (119.3 kW) and an impressive 131 Nm (97 lb-ft) of torque – 75 percent of which is available by 3,500 rpm.
The new Monster comes equipped with new fully adjustable Ohlins suspension and steering damping, a black 48 mm fork with titanium nitride coating and a shock absorber with slightly longer stroke (7 mm / 0.3 in). Braking duties are taken care of by Brembo's top-of-the-class Monobloc evo M50 four-piston radial calipers.
In terms of styling, the new Monster honors the family look, differentiating in the tail section which seems to have come straight off a Panigale. The R-carved trim at the sides of the radiator, the black finish of the Ohlins forks and the new Panigale R-inspired alloy wheels also help distinguish the new model.
Electronic gadgetry is on board to help tame the bike's torque. The Ducati Safety Pack includes eight levels of adjustable traction control and three levels of ABS, while a selection of three different mappings (Sport, Touring and Urban) are there to customize the engine performance to the rider's needs. All these functions are monitored through a new color TFT display with the rider able to select between Core, Full and Track display modes. Each one automatically appears with each riding mode, but this pairing is not binding as the screen mode of choice can be then selected independently.
Thanks to savings from the tail section and the new alloy wheel rims, the Monster 1200 R is 2 kg (4.4 lb) lighter than the S, which is not the kind of number to make much difference or even steal the spotlight from the extra muscle, though.
A more important difference we spotted in the new Monster's tech specs is the conformity to the new Euro 4 standards that will start coming into effect by January 2016. The 1200 S was calibrated to the current Euro 3 standards, meaning that the Italians managed to squeeze out a 10 percent power hike from an engine that is forced to produce considerably less emissions over its predecessor. Good job!
The Monster 1200 R will be available in two colors: the Ducati Red with a matching color frame and Dark Chrome wheels, and the Thrilling Black with Dark Chrome frame and wheels. It will be officially presented to the public at the upcoming EICMA in Milan, Italy, where we'll be reporting from the ground.
The promo video that Ducati has just released for the new Monster can be viewed below.