First introduced 30 years ago, the Ducati Monster has forever held a special place in many riders hearts – and for a manufacturer like Ducati, that’s a fairly common theme. Simplicity, a sprinkle of lunacy, but remaining downright thrilling, that’s effectively what makes up a Ducati Monster. But what about the latest Monster SP?
Alex headed out to Silverstone for a taste of the latest incarnation of the devil in red, for a quick spin on what could be one of his favourite motorcycle that he has ever ridden…
You know those times of two wheels were you’re riding along and everything just clicks beautifully, leaving you grinning ear-to-ear and even laughing manically inside your lid? Unsurprisingly, today was filled with those moments.
Also sampled on the day, amongst the entire platoon, was the Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle, and Ducati Multistrada V4 S.
Whilst the Monster from Bologna may no longer hold its place on the current Ducati roster as the ‘temptation into motorcycling’ how the first editions were positioned - the Ducati Scrambler models now take that accolade – but the Monster is still a hugely popular motorcycle continuing on that iconic name. So for a £14k Special Edition, just how good is it?
2023 Ducati Monster SP Price and Availability
You can get your hands on a mint Ducati Monster SP for £13,995 – compared to the base model Monster at £11,295, and the Monster + (with added quickshifter, screen, and seat cowl) priced at £11,495. All models are available as of immediately, with your local Ducati dealer very likely waiting for your call – try and bag yourself a test ride.
So what’s stuck on the SP to produce such a gap in price? Well, quite a bit, and certainly enough to account for the £2,700 in difference. For starters you have top-spec suspension in the form of fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear, then you have the Brembo Stylema brakes, a stunning (both on the eye and to the ear) Termignoni exhaust, Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV hoops, and with unique SP-only Moto GP inspired paintwork to finish it all off.
Model differences aside, if you’re considering a purchase it’s important to factor in the insurance (though that’s incredibly sensible to do for a not-very-sensible machine).
Make sure to get a quote with Lexham Insurance when its time to get insurance on your motorcycle!
If you’re looking at the latest Ducati and wondering why it’s expensive, you’re asking the wrong questions. It may be expensive (compared to some), but, it’s a top-spec Ducati. Prices have increased since the last release, but that’s an unfortunately common trend for many new motorcycles – and you’ll have to consider the upkeep cost, including a 9,000-mile / 24-month service interval, and an 18,000-mile Desmoservice to consider.
Ducati Monster SP Engine
Fitted with the 937cc Testastretta 11 L-twin, the Monster SP simply lives up to its name. With 111 bhp and 69 lb-ft (93 Nm) of torque fed through 6-gears (and the standard fit quickshifter), the riding experience is truly addictive.
If you’ve never experienced a Ducati motor before, it’s one of those weird experiences where it’s basically exactly what you’d expect – particularly when the engine is screaming up to the 10k redline. It’s clear to see the mastery of engineering at work here, with the desmodromic timing system working in conjunction with valve overlaps & narrow cylinder heads (Testastretta translating to ‘narrow head’ in Italian) targeting smooth operation, low emissions, and low fuel consumption – an essential goal with modern regulations in mind.
On the road, torque is delivered direct and lively, yet remains controlled and smooth depending on which mode you’re in (Sport, Road, Wet). In these modes, throttle response will vary between a tad subdued or downright grin-inducing lunacy, with the front wheel getting light as you full-throttle your way through the 6-speed box.
Some may look at 111 bhp and think ‘Oh, is that it’ – but it’s absolutely spot on for the road. Putting down that power and the Monster dances its way out of a corner, scrambling to get the angles and gears right to open the throttle and point towards the next bend whilst met with a metallic symphony from the Termignoni end can – it’s just a pure motorcycling joy, at no point did I think power was lacking.
As far as the engine goes, it’s clearly a versatile unit, also found in the DesertX, Multistrada V2, Hypermotard 950, and Supersport 950, and therefore positioned as a great step up for A2 riders looking for more punch or experienced riders looking for an upright ride with easier to manage dimensions than a sports bike.
Speaking of, though a lesser-powered A2 version of the Monster is available, it’s far more than just a throttle restrictor - out of the crate, it’s too powerful to be restricted down. Personally, I’d get the unfiltered version of this bike on a full licence.
Ducati Monster SP Chassis, Suspension, Brakes
Classic Monster fans may look at the lack of iconic trellis frame to mean this generation has turned away from its roots. With those roots stretching back to 1993, it was a bold move to announce the new lightweight aluminium alloy front frame would take its place, with the Testastretta motor held as a stressed member of the chassis.
A primary reason for this was weight savings, and with the wet weight coming in at 186kg – so for power to weight, it’s pretty boisterous. Mid-corner and under braking the bike feels composed (or as composed as you want it). Pushing on, you’ll feel the bike dance underneath you as physical and electronics (notably the traction control & wheelie control) combine, resulting in a composed yet provocative ride.
Moving to the suspension, fully adjustable Ohlins feature on the front & rear, in the form of a USD 43mm front fork and mono shock with a double-sided swingarm. Having only been on the bike for a portion of the morning, there was no time to dial in the suspension, but the feel was superb when scratching the back roads of Northamptonshire – which can get a bit ‘adventurous’ at times.
Mounted to the front and rear 17” hoops (with the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV hoops) are seriously meaty semi-floating 2 x 320mm discs up front with 4-pot Brembo Stylema callipers, and a 245mm disc at the rear with a 2-pot calliper.
Cornering ABS is present, and as a package provides some of the best stopping power available on any bike. Progressive, responsive, and feels like enough to stop a train at full speed.
Ducati Monster SP Ride Notes
Elsewhere - and considering it was a brief stint on the Monster SP - my notes consist of ‘wow this thing is incredible’ and some unmentionables. I wanted less time noting thoughts down, and more time to spin some wheels and enjoy the road.
A few legible notes include the fact that this bike has an 840mm seat which was surprisingly comfortable, with sporty-ish peg placement and a riding position that places a bit of emphasis on a tiny lean forward with some weight on the bars – though remaining upright as a true naked.
The 4.3” TFT colour display is easily navigated with the switchgear, and you can adjust riding modes (amongst other bits) whilst you ride along.
A 14 litre tank is said to return a 5.2 litre per 100 km economy, so about 269 km (170 miles) per tank. We didn’t cover enough miles to return an independent figure, here, but depending on how you ride I’d see that as fairly accurate.
Other features include full LED lighting throughout, with sleekly integrated indicators on the front of the body, auto-cancelling indicators, a USB power socket, steering damper and Ducati Power Launch. No heated grips, mind, and though you can add them on as an additional accessory it could be a nice SP addition.
2023 Ducati Monster SP Verdict
All in, the Monster SP is a phenomenal bit of kit. It’s a naked bike built on 30 years of playful history, tempting riders into motorcycling with an edge of flair – and whilst it may no longer be the ‘entry point’ into the Ducati world (the Scrambler series takes that crown), Il Mostro certainly lives up to the name.
Boisterous would be a word to describe this motorcycle. It has the air of fun about it, though it’s still very much a serious machine that would certainly surprise the uninitiated on a Sunday run to the local café. I can just as easily picture myself commuting to work on this as going on a month-long tour of the Dolomites – it just feels like it would handle it all with aplomb.
Considering this was my first taste of the Ducati Monster SP, it has left me wanting more. Much like when a waiter brings a taster of wine to the table, holding a prized bottle of Italy’s finest aloft next to you. I’ve had my sip, and I’d like the rest please, sir.
Sure, it’s a pricey option, but if you’re after a top-spec motorcycle with outright fun factor, you’re looking in the right place. Now if only I had a spare £14k laying around…
Pros & Cons | 2023 Ducati Monster SP
- Superbly well-specced & well-built motorcycle.
- Rider aids with light weight make it easy to ride.
- Overall, hugely fun to ride thanks to the Testastretta L-Twin.
- Upkeep cost may surprise, plus Desmoservice at 18,000-mile intervals.
- Purchase price is prohibitive (but it's a luxury machine).
- Tempts you to ride a bit 'spirited'!
Cheers to Ducati for having us along to the press day, stay tuned for first-impression ride reviews on the Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle & Ducati Multistrada V4 S. Find more spec and information on their website.
Need an insurance quote for a Ducati Monster SP? Make sure to get a Motorcycle Insurance quote directly online with Lexham Insurance - and let them know you read this review!