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Monster 1200S, Supersport S, Scrambler 1100 S demo ride notes

Posted on August 25, 2018 by acruhl

Above are pictures of the bikes, in the same order as the title.

I spent part of a day last weekend riding some demo bikes at On Any Moto. They are very generous with their demo bikes, and I really enjoy riding all types of bikes to see what impression they leave.

My intention was to ride the Supersport then head home. I get a lot of questions about this bike, and I was curious about it myself.

But there was a big surprise after riding a few other bikes, read on for my thoughts.

The Supersport is kind of a confusing bike for me. It’s at a pretty high price point for what it is, and it has a small-ish engine compared to some of it’s competition. One of the sales people said it is a bike for someone who wants a Panigale but lives in the real world. I can go with that. Of course, it’s a Ducati so it has the nice single sided swingarm and great looks.

Thankfully, it’s a very well sorted bike. It’s the first one I went out on of the three. The immediate impression is it’s a very friendly, “sit in” riding position. It’s lacking some legroom for a sport touring bike, but it seems made for shorter or smaller riders in general so this is fair enough. It feels light. It goes side to side easily. There is plenty of power, but it’s never intimidating. The suspension is set up for comfort more than footpeg scratching. I was thinking this bike would work equally well for touring up to the mountains or a quick track day with some minor suspension adjustment. That alone makes it worth considering for someone that can only have one bike.

The second bike I went out on was one I really had little interest in, the Scrambler 1100 Sport. One of the mechanics was raving about it and insisted that I took a quick ride on it. Apparently he’s saving his money to buy one of his own. I was really not bothered to ride it but I decided to be polite and go around the block.

After about 100 yards I knew this was something special. Ducati really hit it out of the park with this one.

Strangely, from sitting on the bike it looks and feels a lot like an early 80’s standard bike like a GPz or GS750 or something. It has a wide gas tank and tubular handlebar, and what seems like a very similar riding position. And simple gauges (although LCD). It’s really a cool feeling.

But that’s where the similarity stops because it’s got a twin cylinder engine and way, way better suspension and handling than the dinosaurs the riding position reminds me of.

What an engine. You need this engine in your life. What a sound. I immediately thought of all the bikes that the air cooled 1100 engine came in and decided I needed all of them, including this one. Well, in an ideal world anyway. (Ok, why not: Multistrada 1100, Hypermotard 1100, Monster 1100 or EVO. And this one. What am I missing?)

I decided to ride over Gates Pass to get a few corners in. And it handled very well. It does a reasonable impression of a sport bike if you push, even though it has knobby-ish tires and an 18 inch front wheel.

It’s very comfortable. It makes me feel like I would rather be riding this than an older Multistrada 1100 since it has less “stuff” (bodywork mainly) and might be better on dirt roads. A nice tail bag plus a tank bag would be ideal. You could ride all the way across the country, paved roads or not, and not get bored of it.

I think I’m not doing a very good job of conveying how good it is. It’s just a really well sorted out bike, and you’d never guess from how it looks. It’s way better than it looks.

The third bike I rode is the Monster 1200S. I’ve never been much of a Monster guy. I want either an upright touring type of bike (like my junkyard Multistrada 620 dark), or a sport bike. Monsters have this compact, aggressive head over the handlebar riding position which makes a lot of sense for sort of an “urban attack” style bike, but it’s not really for me. Lots of people love it though. Fair enough.

But what an engine. The 1198 superbike motor should live on forever because it’s one of the all time greats. Torque, power, it’s got it all. When you twist the throttle, there is absolutely no delay in gaining speed. You’re going much faster immediately (given you’re not 2 or 3 gears away from where you should be). It’s almost alarming with the upright and compact riding position. The sensation of speed is pretty intense.

The Ohlins suspension is very well controlled along with well tuned electronics so you know it’s probably not going to do anything silly. But it sure feels like it wants to. And I think this is the essence of it. It’s a bruiser tamed just a bit by modern technology. A Monster. And it is.

What a fun day. And I never thought I would like the Scrambler so much. Sometimes things don’t go how you expect.

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