While it may be hard for some to imagine, not every motorcyclists needs a Superbike capable of accelerating to 100 mph in first gear. Some riders actually value affordability, comfort and ease-of-use over borderline insane levels of outright speed and performance. Those looking for this sort of practicality but fancy more personality than what Japan has to offer, upscale Italian motorcycle brands Aprilia and Ducati both offer street bikes that fit the bill with the Shiver 750 and Monster 796.
Even though these motorcycles are deemed “entry-level” in their respective model line-ups, both machines make use of quality componentry that can be appreciated by beginners and experienced riders alike. They employ torque-rich V-Twin engines paired to six-speed transmissions and modern-sized brakes, wheels and tires. Both bikes feature original styling that is sharp yet tasteful and plenty capable of turning heads on the road.
First up is the 2011 Aprilia Shiver 750. For the new model year, the Shiver received an update in the form of re-styled bodywork, revised ergonomics and minor chassis changes including the uses of wave-style brake rotors and a slightly more narrow rear wheel. It’s still powered by the same high-tech 750cc V-Twin engine with liquid-cooling, four valve cylinder heads spun by mixed chain/gear drives. It also features ride-by-wire electronics with rider-selectable engine power modes. The engine is held in a hybrid steel/aluminum chassis and partially covered in sharp Transformer-like body panels.
Facing up against the Shiver is the 2011 Ducati Monster 796. The 796 is Ducati’s most recent solution for motorcyclists that wish to experience the brand. Find out more about it in the 2011 Ducati Monster 796 First Ride. Compared to the Aprilia, the Monster makes use of a more rudimentary 803cc air-cooled V-Twin engine hung inside a steel-trellis frame and wrapped in rugged, criminal-looking body panels.
To find out which is the better machine we rallied around the vast pavement network of Southern California. We mobbed up and down our favorite San Diego county back roads commuted back and forth from our office and conducted data-based performance testing all to better discover which street bike is superior.