MILAN, ITALY - The 200 dealers Ducati brought from around the world to take part in EICMA-related festivities had front row seats for the unveiling of the company's new 848, 1098R and Monster 696.
Ducati first introduced the Monster series in 1992. It is a model series many people credit for helping the company return to prominence.
"For 2008 we changed all of the parts and redesigned every detail," says Ducati Product Director Claudio Domenicali. "We think this product is much, much better than the old model, and we think this is the right motorbike to get into the Ducati family. But it's not an entry-level bike — which can be seen by the high-quality components we chose to use in its design."
The 696 weighs 355 lbs. — 11 lbs. less than its predecessor — and produces 80hp and 50.6 lb.-ft. of torque at 7750rpm. It's air-cooled, has a wet clutch, and the ergos have been revised with a shorter reach to the bars and slightly lower, more forward footpeg position.
Look for the new Monster design to be gradually phased in to further Monster models.
Ducati says the 848 was built to fill a niche the company says was missing from its lineup, designed as a lower price option to the 1098 and likely to be valid competitor to Japanese-built 600cc fours.
The assembled Ducati dealers were impressed; particularly by the numbers: The 848's 134 hp Testastretta Evoluzione engine provides a power-to-weight ratio better than the 999. And, at 369 lbs., the bike is an amazing 11 lbs. lighter than the 1098.
"This is a very extreme motorbike for very good riders," Domenicali announced as he pulled the veil off of the 2008 1098R, a bike Ducati released for customers that can't afford a Desmosedici but want something more exotic than the standard 1098 and 1098S.
Powered by a bigger, 1200cc powerplant and featuring a redesigned subframe and transmission, the 1098R produces 180hp and 98.8 lb.-ft. of torque at 7750rpm, and is 5.5 lbs. lighter than the standard 1098. Ducati says an available ?R? kit further boosts output to 186hp. (Continued)