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Ducati Monster M900


Year of specifications 1993 - 2002
Engine 904 cc, v-twin
Transmission 6-speed, chain
Top speed 131 mph
0-60 MPH -
Horsepower 78 hp @ 7000 rpm
Weight 184 kg (405 lb)
Seat height 770 mm (30.3 in.)

The Ducati Monster M900 was the larger, beefier version of the M600. It's dated by today's standards. But the retro design of the bike has aged really well. It arguably looks cooler now than it did when new.

The lack of a fairing reduces its touring abilities, although there are plenty of aftermarket units out there that will take care of that.


Review by: DB Diablo944
I originally bought a 600 monster in 1994 due to the higher cost of a 900 being out of my price range. Excluding the engines obvious size difference,. The 600 monster was fitted with a wet clutch and a 5 speed gearbox, whilst the 900 had the infamous dry clutch with it's associated noises, loved by many, detested by few, but the 900 also sported a 6 speed gearbox. After an accident in 1995 I rebuilt my 600 to 900 specification. The wheels of the 900 are slightly wider than the 600 (and 750) model. The 900 swingarm is aluminium, whilst its smaller derivatives were steel, painted in aluminium colour to deceive the eye. 600 and 900 carbs were identical mikuni bodies with different jetting. Another cost to factor in was the lack of a second front disc on the 600, adding a set of 900 calipers also required a 900 master cylinder, the 600 master cylinder being incapable of giving any real feedback once confronted with 2 calipers.

The monster was basically a parts bin special, sharing many components from other bikes of the Ducati range. My monster differed from many in that I used a 900 SS engine as the replacement power plant. But the engine fitted in the 600 frame perfectly (although the bolts used for a 900 are 2 long items going through the frame, the engine and into the other side of the frame, while the 600 used only one long bolt, the front having 2 smaller bolts along with spacers to fit the 600 motor in, proving that the frame was actually designed for the 900 block and the 600 was teased into the frame to allow a cheaper alternative).

An 888 swingarm was fitted to the bike, and this was the same component as the 900 standard item.

The side stand of these early monsters was an automatic flip up design. That is to say that, when the bike was stood up from a stand, the sidestand was spring loaded and flipped up to the frame with no input from the rider. I, like many others, hated this. The usual routine to cure the automatic retraction was the removal of the lug that the spring pressed against when down. Making the stand act the same as any other manual model.

Early models were prone to regulator rectifier failure. The older regrec being replaced for a more reliable model around 1996/7. Unfortunately, this new rectifier also required different wiring, a fact that Ducati cashed in on quickly. The patch wiring was around the 75 pounds sterling mark to make the new item fit an older loom. When the cost of the new rectifier was around 150 pounds, many chose to replace failed items with the same component design rather than outlay the additional wiring cost.

Ducati issued a recall/repair directive across the range a couple of years after the monster was released (this recall affected every model in the 900/748/916 range. The problem was related to the clutch slave cylinder. Most, if not all, were repaired under warranty. The biggest issue related to the clutch slave cylinder was caused by riders using open covers on the clutch. This allows for better cooling, but also allows water, salt and everything else from the road to gain access to the clutch. If the bearing in the clutch pressure plate dried up or failed, it would grab the actuating rod and spin it in the engine, effectively turning the steel rod into a drill bit, which in turn would bore it's way through the clutch slave cylinder piston.

Common issues with all the 900 range were a difficulty in selecting neutral whilst stationary (most riders select neutral on the move to avoid the quirk), and also a neutral light that blatantly lied. Often saying the bike was in neutral when it wasn't and vice versa.

The finish of the frame and engine on early monsters was not too good at surviving the elements. The early silver anodized frames were so thinly done, that wear became very obvious very quickly, the same could be said of the engine finish, given one winters ride, the paint began to bubble and flake on the engine with alarming speed. Add to this mix the dubious bolts holding everything together which turned furry at the first sign of adverse weather and either seized in place, or worse still, failed to come out as the hex in the bolt failed at even the slightest mistake. This spawned a great business for the stainless steel bolt manufacturers, and was at the time one of the most important things to do with any Ducati of the 94/96 era that was actually used all year round.

The wiring looms of the monster range varied through time, even on the carburetor models, early models having replicating plugs for all the ancillary components (fuel sender, neutral switch, sidestand switch etc), whilst later revisions fitted different plug sizes to remove any confusion. Despite many components of the SS,Monster,888 being interchangeable, the wiring loom was not one of them, the faired bikes having the fuse box mounted up front rather than under the seat like the monster.

The monster had no reserve fuel tap. A fuel light would illuminate on the clocks to tell you fuel was running low, the fuel tap itself being an on/off item.

I rode the monster every year for 6 years at the isle of man TT. It was ridden hard throughout the holiday and never gave any running problems (except for the day mine drilled a hole through the clutch slave cylinder, after which I found out about the recall). Riding position is quite good, though the standard footpegs ground out far too early for my liking, and after fitting a set of superlight pegs to my monster, the lean angles attained were considerably more than the bike in standard trim, so the pegs must be mounted for comfort rather than for any worries about handling. Top end was around 120 for mine in the gearing chosen. Though this was never a problem for me, the grunt and push out of corners more than made up for a lack of top speed. Peak power was around 7 and a half thousand revs, though the bike would rev to 8 and beyond (not advisable). Standard road legal cans stifle things in the rev range enough to stop most people ever trying to rev to around the 8 thousand figure, but open cans and appropriate jetting allowed full power to be unleashed, and the careless rider could easily run up to the redline, and potential destruction of the motor, there was no rev limiter.

It has to be remembered that the 900 monster was quite radical in it's day. It was the largest 'sporting' V-twin at the time. The VTRs, TL1000's, Aprilia Tuono and even the 916 were still either a twinkle in the designers eyes, or were just on the cusp of unveiling. It is good to see that the monster range has stood the test of time and is still in production today, albeit with various improvements to both power and form.

That said, I am a bit of a luddite personally, in as much as I do not like the 916/4 valve head derivatives. Personally I feel that the addition of the water cooling radiators, pumps and associated pipework, actually detracts from the aesthetics of the monster form. Admittedly the power gains are phenomenal, but on looks alone, the old SS motor in a monster always wins for me.

DB Diablo944

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Review by: ATO Memphis
My Monster - a 1999 M900 has been fantastic. The *only* issue I have ever had involved the stock CV mikuni carbs getting a bit dirty, as all carbs will.

I've ridden this thing damn near across country. Through the twisties, knee on the ground, and down long stretches of free way. The bike is fantastic.

Over the years, I have heavily modified various things, many cosmetic, some to give it a little more oomph as my riding skills have progressed. I'd buy this bike again in a heart beat.




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