To understand the Monster 797, you want to understand the tactical significance of an entry-level bike for a motorbike brand. These bikes make brands more reachable to amateur riders. And if a rider hooks on to a brand early on in his riding career, he is likely to stick with it for a long time, if not all his life. This is where the Monster 797 comes in. After the 795 and the 796 were discontinued, the onus of being the entry-level Ducati fell on the Scrambler. While the Scrambler is cool in its own right, its fashioning is not for everyone. The Monster 797, at Rs.7.77 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), is positioned a smidge above the Scrambler in terms of price, but will effectively serve as the entry-level bike in Ducati’s sports bike range.
‘Entry-level’ implies more than just a relatively affordable price tag; it also implies that the bike is easy to ride. To that end, Ducati’s engineers have done their best to make the 797 as rider-friendly as possible. First up, let’s talk dimensions. The Monster 797 is quite compact for an 800-cc bike, with a low seat height of 805-mm and short wheelbase of 1,435mm, and not to mention light, with a dry weight of 175kg. Then comes the ergonomics. The foot pegs are placed lower down compared to the 821 and the handlebar is made wider to provide a more comfortable riding position. At the heart of this Monster is an 803-cc, L-twin Desmo2 engine, with maximum power and torque output of 75bhp at 8,250rpm and 68.9Nm at 5,750rpm, correspondingly. Ducati engineers restricted the horsepower to 75hp and flattened the torque curve to evenly distribute the torque throughout the rev range. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox, which drives the back wheel via chain drive. The gearbox is fitted with an APTC clutch that serves slip and assist functions. The suspension setup consists of inverted 43mm Kayaba forks up front and a pre-load and rebound-adjustable Sachs monoshock at the rear. Braking duties are carried out by 320-mm semi-floating discs with four-piston monobloc Brembo calipers up front and a single 245mm disc with a single-piston caliper round the back.
The electronics package on the 797 is skimpy at best. Apart from the Bosch ABS, this bike is devoid of any other form of electronic interference. Even the 797 acquires no extra electronic wizardry; it does get a tiny windscreen and rear seat cover though. While this ‘entry-level’ move has forced compromises in the performance section, there has been absolutely no compromise in the looks department. The 797 does have all the makings of a legitimate entry-level Ducati – it’s stunning, well-engineered and accessible. What’s most endearing about it, though, is its simplicity, and in that sense, it really does hark back to the 1993 Monster; it is, in fact, a testimony to Miguel Galuzzi, the man who created the first Monster. When asked about his then-considered-odd creation, he said, “All you need is a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels, and handlebars.”