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A Buyer's Guide to Getting a Ducati Monster 821

Ducati Monster 821 5

The Ducati Monster is one of the best selling motorcycles in the brand. It's a leader in the naked bike classification. Also, the Monster has achieved the status of icon in the motorcycle world. According to Hooshmand, the Monster is the instigator that brought back a revival of interest in Ducati bikes. This event took place during the 1990s with that passion growing among riders. The Monster 821 is a mid-range bike, not the largest nor the smallest in the family. Our buyer's guide will give you some tips and pointers so you will know what to pay for an 821. You'll also find advice that lets you know what to look for when you're browsing and common issues of which to be mindful.

History of the Ducati Monster 821

Before you talk to a private seller or a dealer, beef up your knowledge of the Monster 821. Read up on relevant information about the bike to help avoid being taken in a deal. Thorough working knowledge of its history gives you an advantage in negotiations. Monsters were designed for minimalism and simplicity in a range from a calm 620 through the more aggressive 1200R. The Monster 900 launched in 1993 with tons of variants that followed. Quite a few engine types and rider aids came stock or through a dealer order on the bikes. Designer Miguel Galluzzi drafted the first sketches using a Ducati 851 as inspiration, stripped it down to the necessities, and started construction with a Ducati 888 frame, adding a Ducati 900SS L-twin engine with the front suspension of a 750SS model to create the prototypes.

Notable features of the first Monster

According to Hooshmand, Galluzi's Monster was as bare as a maple tree in the middle of winter. It featured a trellis frame from the 900 SuperSport engine for an aesthetic that met in the middle between a classic upright standard motorcycle and a sports bike, with a unique handlebar position a bit on the crouched overside. The L twin-engine gives the bike a unique personality. The V-Twin engine offered the ideal rumble. The dry clutch added the rattle and clattering audio that gives it bravado, adding more of a presence when the bike is running. It stood apart from the herd. It drew the attention of riders who were looking for a new experience. Keep in mind that the Monster earned its status by becoming a game-changer for Ducati.

The Monster 821's place in the lineup

Ducati Monster 821 1

Gear Patrol places the Monster 821 in the middle between the entry-level 797 and the daddy of the family, the 1200. It's a step up from entry-level with more power and a few more accessories. It's not so far away that you couldn't call it an entry-level bike, plus. Ideal for riders with a moderate skill level, the 821 is loaded with ergonomics for the sake of comfort. The engine is an 821 cc 90 degree V-twin, liquid-cooled that cranks 109 horsepower with 63 lb-ft of torque. Also, Ducati's Safety pack is a standard feature that includes three riding modes, eight-level traction control, and Bosch ABS. Ducati labels the Monster family in the Sport Naked category. There are two models of the Monster 821 that include the Monster 821 and the Monster 821 Stealth.

Understand the terms

Buying a new or used Ducati Monster 821 or the Stealth variant can put you in the proximity of someone who throws around relevant terms regarding the specs of the bike so, you need to know them. Cycle World offers a decent breakdown. The Trellis frame connects the swingarm pivot to the steering head with the engine as a member that becomes part of the structure. The purpose of this design is to make the bike more rigid while reducing the weight and giving you better access to the engine.

The Ducati Desmodromic Valve system means the valves open and closes via the camshaft. It works through a spring movement that builds pressure to open the valves when the camshaft pushes against the pressure to open the valves. It works great in a lower rev range, but it can cause issues in the higher rev range. The fuel tank takes inspiration from Galuzzi's original design in the later models taking on a few sharper creases but the same basic features.

The swingarm in early Monsters was double-sided with newer models generally have a single sidearm. Next, we come to the engine. All of these engines are 90-degree offsets. They use an L indicator. Some are air-cooled, some are water-cooled. Which is best? The answer is neither. It's a simple matter of preference.

The clutch provides a unique sound for Monsters. If you prefer the louder rumble, the dry clutch will not disappoint. If you're looking for a quiet, easy-pull mechanism, the wet-clutch will fit the bill, plus it's the more modern version.

The Ducati Monter 821 and 821 Stealth

The first Monster 821 first appeared in the middle part of 2014 ( It was the replacement of the 796 models. The electronics system was the same as the Monster 1200. In 2015, Ducati introduced the Monster as Ducati's solution in a unisex bike that is ideal for lady riders as well as a beginner through intermediate riders of box sexes who aren't quite prepared for the larger 1200. It's a bike that's easy to manage in both variations. The main difference between the 821 and the Stealth edition is that the Stealth is a blacked-out version for those who prefer a highly sporty and sophisticated aesthetic. The specs are the same.

Benefits of the Monster 821

Ducati Monster 821 2

Scrambler Ducati points out that the Monster 821 is known for its agility and sporty performance. It's an enjoyable bike to ride along with suitability for all riding conditions. The newer editions feature a color choice of Ducati Red, with the matte black Stealth version with updated graphics and a front fairing, adjustable fork, Ducati's quick shift up and down for riding efficiency when on the road. Notably, the Monster 821 is available in a version that is compliant for A2 license riders in a restricted power of 35 kW.

Issues with the Monster 821

Hooshmand  points out the common issues associated with the Monster 821. Like any motorcycle, the older bikes are subject to the effects of wear and tear, but certain design features tend to exacerbate problems with reliability. If you're looking at some of the older or pre-owned models from 2014 forward, here are a few things that you'll want to double-check before you make your purchase.

Is the Monster 821 reliable?

Some would say that this is an unreliable bike, and although there are some known issues, none of them are real show stoppers. Yes, there have been some problems with the older Monsters. The biggest ones have been in the electrical components. The connectors in the wiring loom tend to fail due to corrosion. Electrical problems are an issue that isn't easy to diagnose, but it's one that you need to investigate before buying a used bike. The regulators and coil are parts that can need replacement frequently in some motorcycles. You should inspect the situation to assess the condition. Make sure to ask the seller if he or she knows of any issues in these components. Also, inquire about any repairs performed. The solution to the overheating problem that causes electrical failures is easy to remedy if you install a higher performance regulator. It's worth the effort versus replacing the entire wiring loom.

Other issues with the Ducati Monster 821

Ducati Monster 821 3

Hooshmand continues the list of common problems with the Monster 821. Most of these bikes will experience a leaking clutch slave cylinder. There is also a tendency for oil pressure sensors to leak. These are not hard to replace when it does happen. Another component to double-check, then keep your eye on is the head stud system. These tend to leak and break. It's wise to replace them before they snap. Every bike has its issues, and none of the Ducati problems are deal-breakers, but they are items of which you need to be aware.

Where to find a Ducati Monster 821

The Monster 821 and the Stealth edition are currently in production. You can find them as used bikes dating back to 2015, or you can go to a dealership and purchase one brand spanking new. There are also some great used models available through private sellers. You can find them advertised online in your local area because this bike isn't a limited or rare edition. There are plenty of them around.

Buying a used Monster 821

It's wise to find a few advertisements to make a comparison of the model years, condition, and the prices asked. When you make the initial contact with a private seller, inquire about the overall condition of the motorcycle. Try to identify a few that sound like they're worth checking out, set up a time with the seller to see the bike. Keep in mind the common issues for the 821. Check out the bike for any dents or abrasions that show evidence of a dump or other kind of accident. Make sure that all the gauges are in working order. It's best to start the bike up when it is cold, as it can signal any issues with the ignition. If it's warmed prior, problems might not show up. Look for signs of excessive blue or black smoke. Check the lights, the brakes, and listen to the engine run. If you get to the point of a test drive, the clutch should shift smoothly. The oil pressure gauge should show an increase at the start with a light rev. When you're on the road, the bike should provide you with plenty of power. If there are signs of sluggishness, there could be problems that will cost to repair. Ask the seller if the bike has been in an accident. Also, ask if there have been any repairs made or if there are any known problems. Don't forget to ask about the maintenance of the bike.

Assessing the value of the motorcycle

Ducati Monster 821 4

Preferably the bike will be in excellent condition with a good paint job, no dents or dings, and no wear and tear on the seat. According to Top Speed, the selling price of a Monster 821 in 2018 through 2020 has been consistent at $11,995. You can figure in a depreciation rate for any noticeable wear on the bike, and also make deductions for the mileage. The Monster 821 received some revisions in 2018, which set it apart from the older models. When comparing, you will notice that there are a few new features that include the muffler, headlight, the tail section, and the tank. The changes made update the look of the Monster 821 models. They were mostly for aesthetics. There were no other updates made since that time.

Buying a new Ducati Monster 821

Negotiating at a dealership should be easy because of your knowledge base of the Monster 821. You are prepared to discuss the technical aspects like a pro. You might be able to get a good deal on a reconditioned bike that is a year or two of age, but we recommended that you check the mileage and compare the overall condition. Sometimes used bikes are almost as high as the new ones. They might not be that great of a deal when you consider depreciation. Check the reputation of the seller for used bikes and follow the same protocol you would when dealing with a private seller. Also, check on any warranty that might be leftover and get it in writing if you do decide to buy it.


Buying a Ducati Monster 821 isn't difficult when you know what you're looking to find. An honest seller will point out any known issues while a sketchy character will try to conceal them. Do a thorough inspection and test drive before you make up your mind. Don't pay more than the bike is worth, even if it is a honey of a motorcycle. There are plenty of them around so, get the best deal that you can.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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