Unveiled: Ducati Monster 1200 R First Look

MotorcycleUSA Staff | September 14, 2015

Ducati, part of the VW Group, unveiled the new Monster 1200 R at the Volkswagen Group Night in Frankfurt. The 1200 R is the most powerful and sophisticated Monster yet, with trickle-down features from the Panigle 1299, from its brakes to suspension to three-spoke forged wheels.

ducati monster 1200 r

The Ducati Monster 1200 R has a race-inspired chassis and the same braking package as the 1299 Panigale meaning it should rip on the track and street. 

As expected, it is outfitted with the 1198cc Testastretta 11° DS L-Twin engine that puts out a claimed 160 hp @ 9250 rpm in a motorcycle that weighs 456 pounds. With that combination, we don’t see the front Marchesini wheel being on the ground very often. The Monster 1200 R has a new compact, lightweight frame with the engine serving as a stressed member, the tubular steel trellis frame attached to the cylinder head. It runs fully adjustable Ohlins suspension front and back. The Monster 1200 R has plenty of Ducati’s high-end electronic rider aids, including Ducati Traction Control, ABS, three riding modes (Urban, Touring, Sport), Ride by Wire system, and TFT dash. While it still sports the signature Monster tank, the tail section dons a fresh design with more aerodynamic sportbike-styling. The super Monster is said to accommodate taller riders better, the single piece seat shorter and slimmer. Small flip-out passenger pegs and a scant pillion pad means you can bring your best riding buddy along for the ride. With the way this thing should pull, passengers probably needed their own personal grab bar, too!

Here’s the lowdown on the new Monster 1200R courtesy of Ducati press:

Ducati Monster 1200 R

Monster 1200R Engine
The Monster 1200 family is powered by the second generation of Testastretta 11° DS engine, smoother and with dual spark plugs and a secondary air system. Dual Spark (DS) ignition uses two plugs per cylinder to ensure complete combustion in a very short time. A secondary air system similar to that of the 1299 Panigale has been introduced to optimize operation and reduce cyclic combustion variability without affecting emissions. A controlled flow of fresh air is supplied to the exhaust duct to enable complete oxidization of hot unburnt gases, to effectively reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide levels. The Testastretta 11° DS engine that equips the Monster 1200 family is unique to those bikes, as its structure is engineered to be a structural element of the frame. The “R” engine version is tuned for power and torque and to be Euro 4 complaint. Engineers increase air-intake, burn and exhaust efficiences. The engine breathes further better thanks to new elliptical throttle bodies and air ducts approximately 56mm equivalent, larger than the 53mm standard circular system. The cylinder heads are new too with increased air inlet ducts to perfectly match the different in shape and dimension air ducts. A lower cylinder-crankcase gasket rises the compression ratio to 13.0:1 in respect the 12.5:1 of the standard 1200cc engine. The exhaust system is completely new with larger 58mm exhaust pipes and a new Euro 4 complaint silencer. The Euro 4 preparation is completed with engine noise reductions as a dedicated clutch cover and new pistons with graphite surfacing.

Power and torque
The “R” engine version delivers a wide spread of power and torque with a peak of 160 hp @ 9250 rpm and 97 lb-ft @ 7750 rpm of torque for great performance and fun. At low, medium engine revs the “R” has a strong responsiveness with the 75% of maximum torque already available at 3500 rpm.

“R” Chassis
The Monster 1200 features a racing-derived frame structure that uses the engine as a stressed element. This structure is composed by a compact Ducati trellis directly fixed to the cylinder heads and by the engine itself; the shock-absorber and the rear subframe are also connected to the engine. The Monster 1200 R features a dedicated rear frame, with a lighter structure design; the upper tube is in continuity with the profile of the tank while the lower escapes and hides as soon as possible under the volume of the seat. The passenger foot pegs support, are no longer integrated in one piece with the rider ones, but separate and directly fixed to the sub-frame. The “R” chassis set-up is raised by 15mm to achieve a lean angle of 50° that make the bike ready for race track.

Monster 1200 R overhead view

The Monster 1200 R is equipped with fully adjustable suspension and shock, both by Öhlins. The braking system, produced by Brembo, sees two radially mounted Monobloc M50 callipers acting on two 330mm discs at the front; the same components as those on the 1299 Panigale sports bike.

Öhlins high-spec suspension
The racing inspired chassis geometry is matched with a 48mm Öhlins usd fork, fully adjustable in spring preload and precisely adjustable in compression and rebound damping. At the rear the “R” uses an Öhlins mono-shock with integrated piggy-back, fully adjustable in spring preload with full adjustment and highly engineered control of compression and rebound damping. The Öhlins mono-shock is fixed on one side to the vertical cylinder head, mounted on the opposite side to a strong Ducati single-sided swingarm. This exemplary suspension maintains tire contact and ensures feeling and finesse even under extreme riding conditions.

Öhlins cross-mounted steering damper
The Monster 1200 R comes standard with a cross-mounted Ohlins steering damper to further enhance the stability of the bike and to reduce the risk of headshake when riding aggressive. Moreover it adds a plus to the sporty look of the cockpit.

Superbike-spec Brembo brake system
The Monster 1200 R is equipped by a Superbike-spec brake system. It is equipped with the same brakes found on the 1299 Panigale, which deliver stunning performance; a racing oriented PR 16 brake pump manages top-level 330mm discs, which are gripped by the state of the art Brembo M50 Monobloc radial callipers that use MotoGP derived technology to be powerful yet compact and lightweight. A single 245mm disc in the rear is gripped by a two piston caliper, also by Brembo.

Ducati Safety Pack (DSP)
In developing the new Monster, attention has been paid not only to achieve top level performance but also to ensure both rider and passengers a high level of safety in all driving conditions. This second goal has been achieved by equipping all the Monster 1200 versions with the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP), which comes standard along with the 9MP ABS system and the 8-level Ducati Traction Control (DTC).

Monster 1200 R new frame

ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) 9MP
The ABS system is the 9MP multi-calibration ABS, meaning the rider has the possibility to switch from one configuration to another by selecting the appropriate Riding Mode. 9MP ABS prevents front and rear wheels from locking, and has refined rear wheel lift-up prevention to offer the shortest stopping distance and high stability by using the information of a sensor measuring pressure at the front wheel caliper. ABS can be deactivated if the rider wishes. ABS-Off can be loaded as a configuration of a riding mode and is maintained after switching the key off.

Ducati Traction Control (DTC)
Ducati branded DTC offers a choice of eight profiles, or ‘sensitivity levels’, each one programmed with a wheel-spin tolerance matched to progressive levels of riding skill, graded from one to eight. Pre-selected levels of intervention are related to appropriate Riding Modes. When DTC is activated, its ECU analyses data sent from front and rear wheel speed sensors to detect the amount of wheel-spin and to evaluate the type of intervention necessary. This intervention is executed in a very smooth way through electronic retardation of the ignition to reduce the engine’s torque, until the full grip of the rear wheel has been re-established. DTC can also be deactivated if the rider wishes.

DTC levels are factory pre-set in each of the three Riding Modes, but can be individually customised and saved to suit the rider. A “default”option is available to easily return all settings to factory pre-sets.

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Riding Mode

The new Monster incorporates the very latest innovative Ducati technologies, including the famous Ducati branded Riding Modes. The three Riding Modes (URBAN, TOURING, SPORT) are enabled by combining class-leading technologies such as: Ride-by-Wire (RbW), Ducati Traction Control (DTC), multi-calibration 9MP ABS and the graphics on the instrument panel. The rider can change the character of the bike by selecting from the left-hand switchgear – even while riding – among three different pre-set configurations (Riding Modes) that best adapt to the riding style or riding conditions. The Riding Modes make it possible to instantly modify the power delivered by the engine (RbW), the activation levels of DTC and ABS, and the graphics on the instrument panel. The Riding Modes are factory pre-set in each of the three parameters, but can be individually customised and saved to suit the rider. A “default”option is available to easily return all settings to factory pre-sets.

Lighting system
The front view of Monster 1200 R is dominated by a round headlight flanked by the forks, underlining the authentic and powerful Monster-line The headlight itself is a modern unit with support in magnesium that uses a bulb light for high-low beam functions, and LED technology for the two position lights placed at the sides The fully integrated tail light is fully LED. The front and rear side indicators are with bulbs. In EU markets, the Monster 1200 R also features LED turn lights. Both versions are equipped with a license plate LED light.

Full-TFT instrument panel
The new Monster 1200 R is equipped with a state of the art full-TFT instrument panel. The display’s configuration is variable and automatically adapts to variations in environmental light, also changing according to the selected Riding Mode or fully selectable by the rider. There are three configurations, different in background style, information displayed, and display layout: CORE view is preset for the URBAN riding mode: only the most essential riding information is displayed; FULL view, preset for the TOURING riding mode, provides the same layout as CORE with more information displayed; and finally TRACK view is preset for the SPORT riding mode, having crucial information more immediately visible such as an rpm bar graph with a the same sporty layout as that of the 1299 Panigale. Monster 1200 R features a gear indicator in dash.

Ducati already has a host of aftermarket goodies for the Monster 1200 R including carbon fiber components and Termignoni pipes.

Ducati Monster R Specs
Engine: Testastretta 11° DS, L-Twin cylinders, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled
Displacement: 1198.4cc
Bore x Stroke: 106 x 67.9mm
Compression ratio: 13.0:1
Power (claimed): 160 hp @ 9250 rpm
Torque: 97 lb-ft @ 7750 rpm
Fuel injection: Synerject-Continental electronic fuel injection system, elliptical throttle body 56 mm equivalent with full Ride-by-Wire
Exhaust: Lightweight 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter and two lambda probes. Twin aluminum mufflers

Gearbox: 6 speed
Primary drive: Straight cut gears, ratio 1.84:1
Ratio: 1=37/15 2=30/17 3=27/20 4=24/22 5=23/24 6=22/25
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket 41
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate clutch with hydraulic control. Self-servo action on drive, slipper action on over-run

Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame attached to the cylinder head
Front suspension: Ohlins fully adjustable 48mm usd forks
Front wheel: Tri-W spoke forged alloy 3.50″ x 17″
Front Tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17
Rear suspension: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Öhlins monoshock. Aluminium single-sided swingarm
Rear wheel: Tri-W spoke forged alloy 6.00″ x 17″
Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/55 ZR17
Front wheel travel: 130mm (5.1in)
Rear wheel travel: 159mm (6.2in)
Front brake: 2 x 330mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc evo M50 4-piston callipers, radial pump with ABS as standard
Rear brake: 245mm disc, 2-piston caliper, with ABS as standard

Wet Weight: (claimed): 456.3 lbs.
Seat Height: 830mm (32.7 in.)
Wheelbase: 1509mm (59.4 in.)
Rake: 24.3-degrees
Trail: 89mm (3.5 in.)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.5 liter (4.6 gal.)
Length: 2121mm (83.5 in.)
Width: 845mm (33.3 in.)
Height: 1150mm (45.3 in.)