If you're in the market for a Ducati bike, but you're looking for an entry-level bike, the Monster 797 fits the bill. This bike is a sporty and attractive model with unique graphics, a compact size, and a design that instills confidence in new and intermediate riders. While there are pros and cons, most agree that the good outweighs the bad. Before you head to the dealership to buy a new model or start negotiating with a private seller on a used model, it's good to have a solid background on the history and features in advance. You'll get a better deal when you know what to look for and how to assess the condition of the bike. We've prepared a buyer's guide to give you all the information that you need plus a few tips about what to look for in a new or used Ducati Monster 797.
History of the Ducati Monster 797
It's always good to know the backstory behind a new model. The 797 is a recent addition to the Monster line of motorcycles. According to Top Speed, the bike was introduced to the word in 2017 at the Milan show. The first model year came out as a base model for the entry-level market, designed to be rider-friendly in a naked version. The engine that powers the 797 is an 803 cc mill in the larger Scrambler models. The engine has been around a while and it's proven its worth concerning reliability. A few other notable features of the first model year include Dual front brakes with ABS thrown in, fat Kayaba forks, and Pirelli tires.
A few changes in 2018
In 2018, Ducati replaced the base model of the 797 with the Monster 797+. This bike was loaded with extra features that make it even more attractive than the stripped-down naked bike from the previous year. The appearance of the Monster 797 is beefy with a larger fuel tank yet it's a compact-sized bike. The front fender is chopped and it lives up to the name Monster with its strong features. Inspired by the original Monster from the 1992 era, the round headlight, for those of you who remember, brings back familiar feelings. The new headlight fairing that Ducati added is a modern touch that dresses up the 797 plus model that followed the base unit for 2017.
Built for rider comfort
Before you even test drive a Ducati 797 or a Plus edition, you can expect to experience a moderate amount of power that is not likely to be overwhelming. The 803 cc L-twin engine kicks of 73 horsepower. The seat looks as though it's suspended above the skeleton of the frame, but it's made to provide you with decent comfort. The height of the seat is 31.7 inches and it features a low and thin build with nice contouring that gives the bike an extremely sporty personality, but it's also functionally comfortable to go with the good looks. The wide handlebar imparts the sense of control and the layout of the gauges allows you to read the data with relative ease at a glance. The gauge is a large LCD that is designed to be easy to read at a glance.
Cycle World gives the Monster 797 a thumbs up for an entry-level bike that cranks just enough power so it's sporty and responsive, but not intimidating for beginners. When compared with its class competition, Kawasaki's Z900, KTM's 790 Duke, and Yamaha's MT-09, it stacks up nicely in Cycleworld's reviews, but it has more power than KTM's 390 Duke and Kawasaki Z400. The latter two models are also good choices for beginners with less experience if you find that the Monster 797 is still a little too much bike for your confidence level. Still, it's the closest thing to an entry-level bike that Ducati offers.
First, we return to the features that include the trellis frame made of tubular steel with a sculpted tank, and the double-sided swingarm which is a distinctly Ducati feature that makes it recognizable as a member of the brand family. Web Bike further adds to our knowledge of the engine by pointing out that the 49 lb-ft peak torque is delivered in a fluid curve. The boost is there when you need it but it's delivered in a smooth and reliable flow. the 6-speed gearbox features an APTC wet multi-plate clutch. If you're just learning about the details of the powertrain design, this results in light actuation and it will build your confidence when shifting, particularly in some of the more challenging road conditions during urban driving.
A closer look at the specs
Web Bike World jumps on the bandwagon in promoting the Monster 797 for new riders by taking a look at the practicalities of the bike. It's made for new learners who have enough experience to handle commuting daily, but it's also worth noting that this bike performs as well on the track and it does the road.
According to Rockwell Cycles, the suspension of the Monster 797 is comprised of a 43 mm Kayaba fork with front-wheel travel of 125 mm. An adjustable Sachs shock is a notable feature of the rear suspension with a maximum wheel travel of 150 mm with spring preload and connection to the fork and frame on the left side of the bike.
The braking system on the Monster 797 is designed for the best possible braking performance with safety in mind. The motorcycle is equipped with a Brembo braking system as a standard feature with a Bosch 9.1 P ABS with an internal pressure sensor. The rear features a single 245 mm disc with a single Brembo caliper with sintered friction pad components to increase braking efficiency for high performance, a hallmark of the Ducati brand. At the front the Brembo Monobloc M4-32-4 piston calipers work with two 320 mm diameter discs, radially mounted featuring an axial brake pump with an integrated oil tank.
The Monster 797 wheels are made of a light alloy that is both durable and lightweight with a 10-spoke design. The Pirelli tires feature enhanced patch technology that drives home the maximum amount of tire contact with the road in all lean angles. The front tire is a 120/70 ZR17 with a 180/55 ZR17 tire on the rear. These are high-quality tires made through a unique double-compound process that provides outstanding grip when leaning. The tread pattern is the result of a functional groove design that optimizes performance when the road conditions are wet.
The power train
The Desmodue twin engine is a modern iteration of the homologated Euro 4 engine delivering 73 horsepower at 8,250 rpm with an 88 mm bore, a 66 mm stroke, and 67 NM of torque maximum at 5,750 rpm. The clutch is specially designed with a system that limits the power torque to the rear wheel to prevent the rear wheel of the bike from hopping when the rider downshifts. The cable control of the APTC wet multiplate clutch provides lighter lever actuation. The result for the beginning rider is excellence in module ability when driving in the constant stop and go traffic of the city.
The exhaust system features a 50 mm throttle body with the dual injectors located downstream of the throttle to provide distribution of the fluid and precision control to the cylinders. It's a 2 in 1 exhaust that offers an exceptional safety feature of thermal protection for the rider as well as for the passenger. The 797 is equipped with a dashboard that features a large LCD screen providing the main and secondary indications on the high-visibility screen. They display the speed, average trip time, rpm, engine oil temperature, and more. The headlight is LED with integrated position lights with LED light in the rear with hazard warning lights that activate with the simple push of a button. Other features include a Ducati multimedia system and a USB port under the seat. This allows you to stay connected as you ride.
According to MCS, is available in a choice of two color schemes. These are Ducati Red and Star White Silk. The red starts for $9,295 with the white at $9,395. These color schemes are combined with the blacked-out aesthetic that gives the bike its aggressive appeal.
Buying a new or used Ducati Monster 797
Now that you have a solid base of knowledge for the specs of the Monster 797, along with the recommended pricing for a new model, we have a few more tips to help you make the best possible deal. This is a budget-friendly bike. If you choose to purchase a pre-owned Monster 797, the 2017 model came out as a more naked bike with the 2018 model offering more accessories in the 797 plus.
The new models are sold with a 24-month warranty. If the bike you're considering is pre-owned, there are a few things that you need to investigate. One of the first questions to ask is about any remaining warranty. The question to ask next is whether the bike has been in an accident or if it has needed any major repairs. If the motorcycle has been repaired, it's wise to find out what kind of work was completed and by whom to ensure that the bike is in excellent operational condition. Perform a visual inspection and look for signs of scrapes, dents, or any other evidence that the bike has taken a spill. Also, check all of the hoses and connections for signs of wear. Inspect the metal components to make sure that there is no rust or corrosion. Also, ask the seller how the bike has been stored. Inquire about the maintenance schedule as well.
The test drive
Before you agree to purchase this motorcycle, take the bike out for a test drive. You should insist on a cold bike when you start it so you can tell if there are any issues with the ignition system. Look for signs of blue or black smoke when you first start the bike and give it a few light revs. Check the handling to ensure that the motorcycle is responsive and handles well. The transmission should make smooth transitions when shifting from one gear to another.
Considerations for beginning riders
ESR offers a few points of consideration for new riders. Every motorcycle has its pros and cons. The review they offer points out that there is little steering lock, along with a bit of difficulty in finding neutral with the shifter. It doesn't do as well with tough road conditions as some other bikes, so newbies will need to be mindful of the potential for jarring. It's a motorcycle that is best ridden by riders who already have a measure of confidence. It's a fun bike to ride, however, it does have ample power that needs to be fully respected, and it's not everyone's opinion that this is a good bike for a novice to ride.
The Ducati Monster 797 is three years into its production run. This motorcycle is one of the most highly recommended in the Ducati lineup for beginning riders. While some believe that it is a bit too much bike for new riders, others heartily disagree. When it comes to the Ducati brand, this is the closest to an entry-level model that you're going to find. It's up to you to decide if you're prepared for the new adventure of riding a Ducati.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith