The Ducati Monster is one heck of a bike. It's a great bike to ride, is a Ducati - with the legendary stable handling and vee twin power combined with a unique style that others will copy but never truly replicate. Monsters are kind of a Ducati parts "grap bag" catch-all. Some have good forks, others don't. Recall that whenever possible, adjustable forks are desired. =)
The Monster came to the US in 1994 and were an immediate hit. The M750 came here in 1998.
Overall, the Monster has an 851/888 frame and rear suspension with a Supersport front end and the air cooled 2V motor.
Over the time that Ducati has made the Monster, a lot of wierd stuff has happened as far as changing the level of specifications with suspension componentry and engines.
So if you desire an adjustable suspension or will not tolerate the Marzocchi non-rebuildable forks, there is no rule or chart to consult.
You'll have to actually look at the bike.
Some years had the base models with aluminum swingarms, others didn't.
Some years, the S model had an Ohlins shock, other don't.
Same deal with the full floating Brembo cast iron rotors on the front wheel.
Always remember: the Monster is a parts bin special, there is no matrix as to which models or years get what level of componentry.
- On all models (well, at least all pre 1000DS and M800 models), the forks are "interchangeable" with the Supersport family.
I put interchangeable in quotes, as there is the issue with the front axle size.
This is different between the fuel injected and carbureted bikes.
- 1994 M900s were subject to the occasional cylinder stud breaking problem that also affected early 900SSs.
If you're looking at buying one, inquire if the studs have been replaced.
The air cooled 900 engines actually displace 904cc.
- The carbureted Monsters (pre `00 M900 and pre `02 for others) came without a tach.
Don't worry, though, as the engine's power tapers off well before the indicated redline on SSs (9000 rpm).
- A few model years also have an "S" model... M900S.
This is supposed to be a Special model with higher spec suspension bits or brakes.
Look for cast iron floating brake rotors and fully adjustable suspension.
Some were supposed to ship with Ohlins rear shock but came with the Showa instead.
- While shopping, try to learn what a Marzocchi fork looks like.
They're on all `96 through `98 900 SS/CR models and occasionally show up on Monsters with no rhyme or reason.
If you find these are on your Monster, don't buy the bike unless you're willing to make some accomodations.
Marzocchi forks really suck.
Not rebuildable and not revalveable.
All you can do to them is change the spring or the fork oil weight and level.
No Race Tech goodies for you!
Marzocchi fork caps have a very large hex on them, probably 27 or 30mm, while the fork caps on Showa non-adjustable forks is a 14mm hex.
According to the Haynes manual, M750s and M900s after VIN009915 have Marzocchi forks, but I think this isn't 100% correct.
Note that many of this site's readers have written in with response saying they've got aluminum swingarms.
Kinda like my "Pongo!", a 1997 non-S M900 with an aluminum swinger and Showa forks.
- Certain year Monsters didn't exactly get the same motor as the 900SS... 1997 and early 1998 models got smaller valves for increased midrange torque.
Supposedly in 1998, the M900 got the bigger valves from the SS engine.
- I'm not sure if it happened when the M750 came about, but some years definitely share the dry clutch of it's 904cc big brother.
Also, all the dry clutches of 1990s showroom Ducatis are interchangeable.
The "750" Ducatis actually displace 748cc.
Check out my bore and stroke calculator for more info.
- The Monster Dark is a model released without the final coat of paint applied.
This is intended to be the most economical version and also ready for modification and customization by the owner.
Many left it be due to the cool look. =)
Note that "Dark" models may also have a single front brake rotor and "coffin" style brake and clutch master cylinders.
Non-"Dark" brakes may feature remote reservoir master cylinders, similar to the 916, etc.
- The Monster 600 (583cc) came to the US around 2000, but wasn't welcomed in the state of California.
I believe this is about the only time that a Ducati model wasn't CA spec.
Note that all Ducatis imported to North America are California models.
- Ducati ships most 600s and 750s with 4.5" rear wheels.
The inner part, the hub, of all rear wheels are the same... so if you can get a 5.5" rear wheel from an 851, 888, 900SS, or M900, it'll fit right on.
The color may be different, though, as Ducati changed that more than anything!
- Two other special Monster models are the City and Chromo.
The City was a `99 model and came blue with saddlebags, a windshield, and adjustable suspension.
The Chromo came with a trippy chromed tank.
As an aside, the Chromo tank is specially constructed, as the normal tank allegedly has a seam in the middle.
- Many feel that the carbureted bikes are delivered with terrible jetting.
- The 2000 M900ie is a radical departure from previous models.
They have fuel injection, a tach, and the forks' lowers styled as on the 916 (yet the uppers are dimensionally similar to all M/SS forks).
Well, the forks are similar to the 916 in style, but above the axle is essentially the same as the old Monster/SS forks.
The injected Monsters' front axle and wheel are similar to the 916.
The slider is 43mm in diameter and uses the same seals as 916s and modern GSXR750s.
Even though non-adjustable, the Showa forks are very well damped.
Further, the Boge rear shock is as well!
The injection makes for a very smooth and powerful motorcycle.
Oh, and the 2000~2002 M900ie gets its own special front sprocket.
This is compatible with no other Ducati.
In a pinch, you can clamp the old style sprocket to a mill and grind the shoulder down to create the proper offset.
- All fuel injected Monsters get restyled wheel hoops to match the 94 and up Superbikes.
Though still physically compatible with the 851/888/900SS/M of previous years, the rear wheel's outer hoop is reshaped to be rounded like the 916 wheel now gracing the front.
- The 2000 model M900S gets a newly designed aluminum rear swingarm, adjustable forks, Ohlins shock, and full floating cast iron brake rotors.
The new aluminum swingarm is without some of the bracing as previous model aluminum swingarms.
I suspect that the supply of 851/888 "proper" aluminum swingarms has finally dried up.
- Sometime around 2000, the 750 got the wet clutch back.
Only it's different from the wet clutch in older 750SSs, so if you try to buy the Barnett aftermarket model, some changes are required.
- I don't know if it's 2000 or 2001, but Ducati finally put a Superbike engine in a Monster.
That's the Monster S4.
But there are a few "buts" in this entry.
It's actually a ST4 engine.
The one with the exhaust cam that's been lowered 1/2" for no reason.
And you get the more stable ST4 chassis.
I'm not certain, but there are probably many subtle nuances where there are small similarities and differences between the ST4 and the S4.
- Starting in 2002, all the monsters are fuel injected!
Also, they are all supposed to get the ST4 devired Monster S4 frame.
Again, there have to be differences and inconsistencies...
- Some Monsters use the rear brake rotors mounting screws and a speed sensor for the speedometer, others use the counter shaft sprocket screws.
- All the fuelie Monsters get tachometers, but the instrument packages vary.
The 620ie (618cc) gets like 45 idiot lights and little LCD screens embedded in the faces of the gauges.
- At the US M620ie press launch, there were 3 or 4 different models and configurations present, but the US market isn't to get all of them.
Some had dual front rotors, some were S models.
There were normal ones, but no "darks" though the Dark is already in showrooms.
- The 620ie is an all new model and has about the same power as the carbureted M750!
It has a 5 speed gearbox and wet clutch.
- Speaking of tachs, there are some reports of early injected Monsters with flakey tachs.
They'll jump around and allegedly stick at 4000.
The tach on Zina's M900ie sometimes will jump around, but I consider it reasonably well behaved.
- 2003 sees a complete change in the line up! Well, nearly complete.
Ducati has done away with the 750 and 900 air cooled engines and now has the 800 and 1000DS.
The "DS" moniker means dual spark.
2003 sees all Monsters with the aforementioned "45 idiot light" gauge cluster.
- The 1000DS engine (992cc) is quite a bit different from the venerable 904 it replaces.
The valves are a smaller diameter, so new shims are required.
The stroke is a goodly bit longer, so the redline is lower.
The valve covers are a different shape, too.
The second spark plug goes in through the belt covers.
- The 800 engine (803cc) features a wet clutch and 6 speed transmission.