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New Black on Black Monster 1200 S Reminds Us Just How Beautiful Ducati’s Icon Is

Ducati’s Monster is the naked bike icon, and for 2020 Ducati offers the Monster 1200 S in a “Black on Black” version that reminds us just how well Ducati has executed the naked aesthetic.

Ducati introduced its first Monster 26 years ago, and competition for performance supremacy among naked bikes is now intense. Unlike some Monsters in the past, this black version is not a stripped-down model, with Öhlins suspension, Brembo M50 monoblock front brake calipers, forged aluminum wheels and 147 horsepower v-twin. Also included are a quickshifter and all the (now standard) electronic rider aids.

I took a brief spin on the 1200 S last year and I was very impressed by the engine, suspension, handling and brakes (the brakes, in particular). Enjoy the pictures and take a look at Ducati’s website for additional details. The Black on Black is priced at $17,795.


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42 Comments

  1. Randybobandy says:

    Looks like a v-max has a young mentally challenged Italian cousin. At least a v-max has the correct number of cylinders. So many better bikes for a lot less money.

  2. Ralph W. says:

    I prefer the Speed Triple (one of my favorite bikes). It looks better and three cylinders is better than two.

  3. DR007 says:

    Black bikes have to end. I like the style, but in a day of raging cagers who can’t see a thing but a cell phone while driving. Retina searing colors would be a welcome change.

  4. Daytona James says:

    I fully agree with your article headline Dirck. Not understanding what all the haters are on about. The Monster IS an iconic motorcycle and it continues to sell on showroom floors… and YES – black sells well. Having owned the 08′ S4RS Tri-Colore, it isn’t difficult to appreciate the DNA in the new 1200S. To those who dislike the mechanicals draped around the cylinders, I encourage you to think F1 car… more plumbing and wiring than Carters got pills. One thing I hope they’ve resolved though – I have size 12 feet. Even with going to adjustable Rizoma rearsets, I couldn’t avoid contact with the stock exhaust. A full ZARD setup was what it took to get the room I needed. One last thing… can we dispense with the ‘BEAK’ talk already? This has become ‘Beak-Speak Daily’. I get it… lots of you don’t like beaks. Moving on.

  5. BoxerFanatic says:

    I used to really like Monsters, but I have to say that I think I like Diavel 1260 S more than this.

    The Monster may be a bit lighter, and more nimble, but if you really wanted that, there are sportbikes that are even moreso.

    For style on a bike with humane ergos, I don’t see how this Monster is better than the Diavel, and the Diavel is cooler, and better looking, more dramatic… but more expensive yet, though.

    Frankly, I kind of wish there were a more affordable, approachable ~900cc version of the new Diavel, that dispels some of the bragging-rights overkill, that could end up being a bit more sublime in the process, but that’s just my opinion.

  6. bad Chad says:

    Where is the motor? All I see is a bunch of black twisted plastic.

  7. MacSpoone says:

    Sorry.
    My Z800 looks better.

  8. Dman says:

    As the original owner of a first-gen (air cooled, carbs, “beer tray” rear fender”) black (not Dark) Monster 900, I like this one just fine. Sure, the hoses aren’t great, and headlights should be round, but I still think this is a good effort by Ducati.

    • todd says:

      I had a ‘93 900 Monster and, despite how beautiful it was, I hated it.

      • John Bowman says:

        I love my carby monster. My wife has ridden it over 2K miles on a 6 day trip. Carbys have an 888 based frame, so they are really fun in turns. later versions moved to ST frame. Please return the air-cooled engine!!!

  9. Pete says:

    I’m waiting for the “Toucan” edition, same bike with a big friggin’ beak.
    Beeeeeeeaaaaaakk!!!!!

  10. mechanicus says:

    It’s “close” to perfect for (what the factories think is) the new demographic: 1. Ugly flat black all over which looks positively horrid with road grime 2. Jacked-up seat to put pressure on your tailbone and prostate and give your neck a crick 3. Long ridiculous license plate stalk 4. Hunchback riding position with knees folded like a lunch napkin and your nose smearing on the instrument cluster.

    I say “close”, because it lacks the one key item: it has no beak.

  11. viktor92 says:

    The left side looks really bad. Water cooled engines on naked bikes will never look good.

  12. Sivan says:

    It’s come a long way since the original liquid cooled S4Rs, but it’s still messy compare to the old air cooled models.

  13. azicat says:

    I think the original 1993 M900 Monster is the most beautiful. Gold frame, black fuel tank.

  14. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    All black motorcycles suck.
    Compacted oil refinery machinery with no view through, does not a ricky racer make.
    Dark only intimidates silly peeps.
    Remember the T-120 to feel good again.
    IMO

  15. Bubba Blue says:

    It might be fun for one ride. After that, I would lose interest. Stylistically, not my vape.

  16. Pete says:

    Will this “blacked out” nonsense ever end? !!! 😝

  17. Provologna says:

    Since its release, the 800+cc liquid cooled Hypermotard is my all time favorite Ducati, and my all time favorite pavement-only bike (though I suppose, being a ‘motard, it is fire-trail suitable). Compared to this featured Monster, I’m sure I’d prefer the Hyper’s lighter weight, lighter reciprocating mass, better handling, smoother motor, and of course, Hypers are generally to die for looks-wise, even the liquid cooled varieties. Nothing quite screams “Don’t F with me, I’m a hoodlum,” like a Hyper (even the ergos scream this theme), and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered.

    Apology for completely off topic: Just watched Oblivion on my lovely 92″ perforated retractable screen/front projector, state of the art audio system, professionally designed room w/total light control. Protagonist character (played by Tom Cruise) Jack Harper’s collapsible e-bike seems very nice. Harper’s e-bike has no rear fender, and he rides fast of course, including a sweet jump, in the dystopian dirt-filled post-apocalyptic interplanetary-war earth of 2077 AD. Unfortunately they forgot to splash dirt on the back of Harper’s futuristic space-ride-adventure suit!

    Oh, and I’m sure everyone who has repelled noticed Harper’s glaring, grotesque, potentially fatal error of omitting a protective surface between the rock and his rope, to prevent burn, which of course later snaps the rope.

    • Nick says:

      The 821 motor in the older Hypers (-Motard and -Strada) certainly is a gem. It’s hard to believe such performance comes from a motor so modest in cc. I love the styling of my ‘Strada too: it’s a shark compared with the deformed whale of the Multistrada and IMO the beak complements the look, rather than just being a me-too feature.

      Provolonga; you have good taste!

      Nick, UK

  18. allworld says:

    I like this bike, I was thinking that Ducati would have stuff it’s V4 into the next model year Monster.
    Personally I prefer the midsize nakeds, their 821 would be my first choice for a Ducati.

  19. allworld says:

    I like this bike, I was thinking that Ducati would have stuff it’s V4 into the next model year Monster.
    Personally I prefer the midsize nakeds, their 821 would be my first choice for a Ducati.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Not attractive~and, continued use of “desmo” valve train is STUPID!!

  21. falcodoug says:

    I like it. But still saving for the Tuono Factory.

  22. Anonymous says:

    It’s OK. The older Monsters were far better looking.

  23. Patrick Doyle says:

    I agree with the comments that it’s far from attractive.

    The Monster range has puzzled me since the shift from air-cooled motors.

    Given the lack of protection from wind blast, there’s really no need for a 100+bhp engine.

    If you reduce the engine output, then that engine can be air cooled; simple and beautiful.

    • Motoman says:

      Personally, I’ll take the extra horsepower/longevity of a water cooled motor thanks. Also, I think you may be forgetting another reason they went to water cooling is to meet ever stricter emissions standards.

      • Mick says:

        Do you have any data to support your assertion that water cooled Ducatis have greater longevity?

        Having owned both air and water cooled Ducatis, I prefer the air cooled ones. But I’m just one guy.

        I find it amazing that my ancient 2004 Multistrada, though it is a bike chock full of ridiculously heavy parts, is still among the lightest bike in it’s class. It’s about 100 pounds lighter than most of those porky ADV bikes now days. What an embarrassment.

        • Motoman says:

          I guess I meant to make a general point that, all else being equal and at the same specific output, a water cooled motor will generally last longer than an air-cooled motor. Also, it was in response to the “lower the horsepower” comment above. I have one buddy that gets mega-miles out of his air cooled Ducs. Stays on top of maintenance and just rides.

  24. Artem says:

    young garbage man made it.
    afaik.

  25. Bob S. says:

    They had the good sense to put most of the ugly parts on the same side. That’s clever design. I’d expect no less from Ducati.

  26. Dave says:

    Funny reactions to this. Ohlins suspension, brembo brakes, 150hp, full suite of electronics. $18k is what this collection of goodies costs from a European made sportbike. People who choose these like the “ugly”. I’m sure they’ll sell every one they make (probably not very many).

  27. gpokluda says:

    I like the shape of the tank and that is about it. The rest of the bike looks like a train wreck. Ducati is dreaming if they think that bike will fetch $18K.

  28. Mick says:

    Meh. Short guy bike. Too busy.

  29. Mgood says:

    My thoughts exactly.

    I guess it’ll end when the last fool empties his/her checking account. Jokes on them, ha ha.

  30. Neal says:

    Here comes my Chinese rug!

  31. Shoeman says:

    The red highlights are meant to distract the eyes from the hideous plastic engine covers on the right side. The left side is simply hopeless…it looks like the back of a refrigerator. KTM does great V-twin engine styling (engine, not entire bike). Compare the KTM Superduke GT engine to this, point made.

    • Superlight says:

      When you design a water-cooled naked bike it’s a challenge to make all the individual engine components look good. This Monster is par for the course – some are better, some are worse in this regard. I do wish Ducati would invest in hidden hoses in the LH side engine cases like on the XDiavel. I find it amusing you make any styling comparison of this attractive Monster model to the competent-but-ugly KTM Superduke GT.

      • shoeman says:

        Competent? Please read Dirck’s review of the 2019 KTM Superduke GT. Dirck couldn’t be more effusive in his praise. Also, KTM knows how to hide hoses. The rest of the styling..typical KTM weirdness.

  32. Mark says:

    $18 grand. Seriously? When is this madness going to end?

  33. Max says:

    So beautiful I can’t make it out from the black background. Nothing like a stealth motorcycle!