@ 7000 rpm
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
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
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.