I just test rode a pearl white one today. It had the DP ECU and carbon termi pipes (but unfortunately the decibel killers were still installed).
First off, I think it looks fantastic. The older Monsters next to it still look great, but now like the previous generation. The bike is very small, the details are great. Bike starts readily, responds quite crisply to the throttle. Clutch engages right at the end of the travel which is a bit of a bummer if you're 2-up and/or on a steep hill, but is ok in most conditions. Engine revs quickly and the bike has a lot of scoot. The stock gearing is a little high (typical Ducati for noise regs) but a 14th instead of a 15th front sprocket would clearly help it feel gutsier. Right now the bike feels really nice but I was expecting a little more oomph but I think that it is down to gearing. This new motor is meant to be significantly more powerful than the 695 that it replaces. The closest comparison that I have is my 800ss (when the fuel filter is not getting plugged!) and the 800 feels noticeably more powerful, but that may be because I have it geared correctly.
I was a bit disappointed in the brakes, the front is the latest really cool radial design, much more modern than the pedestrian offerings on my 800ss or my St4s, but it was only par with the 800ss, and not as strong as the brakes on the St4s. BUT, the bike only had 42 miles on it so it really should get better. Hopefully.
In motion the seat makes you slide forward into the tank a bit, so the nards get a bit of contact if you're not careful. A real hooligan position though, I began blasting through traffic with it and the suspension at up to 60mph city speeds absorbed all the busted asphalt that LA threw up for it no problem. A great city bike. I'm not sure how it will feel at higher speeds or canyon straffing because the front end felt a bit flighty to what I'm used to, but until it is ridden in those conditions I wouldn't know.
The instruments are hard to read in daylight, not because you can't make them out but you have to look down and focus on all the stuff. I think that this is because I'm not used to digital read outs. At night I think it would be easier because everything glows orangey red and stands out.
I have to say that I feel that Ducati has a winner with this one. Coming back and parking it next to the previous generation bikes I really had the feeling that the baton has been passed on. Just wait until the bigger motor versions come out.
The dealer received 10 bikes last week. 8 have already been sold...
p.s. forgot to mention I am 5'10" and 150. If you're a big boy you'll likely dwarf this bike.
Must've been pearl white 696 Termi upgrade demo ride day today.
I had the pleasure of demoing one as well today and I loved it!
I just fell right in place on the littlest Monster.I'm 5'7" 150lbs and it felt like it was built for me.The riding position was close to perfect.It had the stock seat and the ergos were great.
I didn't notice anything about the levers having a long reach like I read in some early reveiws and the clutch was fine by me.The long throw was no big deal and the pull is buttery smooth.
The engine was nice and willing and this bike is so light and nimble feeling that it just inspires confidence.I thought it had a nice smooth ride suspension wise for choppy urban streets.
I totally agree that Ducati has a winner on it's hands with this newest Monster offering!
If the numbers had worked I'd have signed on the dotted line today.
Nice review. I got mine Saturday and put about 250 miles on it. I didn't manage to install adjustable brake and clutch levers which made it much nicer in braking and shifting. I managed to get mine into the hill country on Park Road 4 leading to inks Lake It was great in the tight stuff, but a squirrel managed to cause a slight high speed wobble. Damn rodent. Steering damper will be the only mod after I get my Termis and rear fender eliminator installed.
Yup the steering damper does that by damping oscillations around the head stock.
I would not get the damper until you ride it for a while. It may not need it. If you ride it and do not feel you need it, then there you go.
IMO the combination of fairly steep steering geometry and a very face-forward riding position where you feel like you're right over the front tire contribute to making the 696 very quick steering. If you're used to putting more pressure into your steering inputs, the lightness of the 696 may seem twitchy to you. The real need for a steering damper crops up when a bike exhibits headshake when entering turns at high speeds. When you drop anchor from high speeds entering a turn and load the front end, the weight transfer and compression of the forks will steepen the effective rake and cause some bikes to headshake, or wobble the bars from side to side until the bike slows down and everything smoothes out - hopefully. In my ride on the 696 I was able to really hammer into some turns from decent speed and never found a hint of headshake. Personally, I'd hate to run a damper on such a fine (light) steering bike and diminish its quickness in any way, especially as a great around-town traffic zapping tool. Again, this will be a very subjective mod on most bikes. If any of you 696 owners are having constant problems with headshake then a damper will surely be your best friend, but don't be alarmed by someone's report of twitchiness and let it scare you away from a great bike. Ride it in all sorts of conditions and decide for yourself if you need such a thing. My bet is that you won't.