Have fun with a naked Monster 797, Ducati’s new entry-level sport bike

If you want to know what a baby monster will look like when fully grown, take a peek at the biggest one in the family. With Ducati’s Monster performance bikes, to understand the new “entry level” 2017 Ducati Monster 797, take a cautious look at the flagship Monster 12oo R.

Ducati says, “The new Monster 1200 R takes the naked concept to the extreme.” The 1200 R’s engine puts out 160 horsepower and 97 pound-feet of torque, with a 13:1 compression ratio. Wet weight (the weight of the bike, battery, fuel, and any other fluids) is just 456.3 lbs. On the Ducati Monster user forums, contributors discussed hitting 155 to 160 mph top speed with mention of a governor-limited 186 mph.

2017 ducati monster 797 2016 1200rNot wanting to belabor the point further, you don’t have to drive 150 mph with a naked Monster, and you needn’t scrape your knees on turns, but that’s the design ethos of the motorcycle line, of which the Monster 797 is the entry level.

If it were a Harley-Davidson or a Triumph, they’d call it a “bobber,” but sportbike brands call this style “naked.” You, on the other hand, should be dressed in full protective leathers when you ride one of these high-performance beasts.

Ducati’s theme for the Monster 797 is “turn up the fun.” The company’s intention is to give more riders a chance to enjoy the sophisticated design on this “youthful, playful, and light” Monster. The juxtaposition is intentional.

The Monster 797’s 75 horsepower 803cc engine is air-cooled (the 1200R keeps its cool with liquid). When you look at the 797’s photos, you’ll notice the compact, trellis frame, painted red like the wheels on the Star White and Ducati Red models. The Dark Stealth paint option comes with black wheels and frame.

Ducati’s reasoning in offering a much tamer version of the scarier Monsters is for the 797 to serve as an entry to the brand, not just the Monster line. More so than with automobiles, motorcycle riders tend to stick with the brand they’re used to. If you catch them while they’re just starting with motorcycles, the odds are in the company’s favor the entry level buyer will buy up in the same brand. There used to be a 796, but it was dropped in 2015. The 797 is back as Ducati’s entry to the sporting side of the lineup.

The 797’s twin cylinder engine has an 11:1 compression ratio, so you’ll want to use premium gasoline in the 4.36-gallon tank. The 797 weighs 425 pounds fueled and ready to ride. The bike has a six-speed transmission, ABS, LED parking and brake lights, and a USB power socket.

The 2017 Ducati Monster 797 lists for $9,295 in Ducati Red or $9,395 in Star White and Dark Stealth. The 797 Plus version adds a small cowl fair for a little break from the wind at speed and a removable seat cover that matches body paint and covers the passenger side when you’re right solo. The Monster 797 Plus retails for $9,795 and $9,895, based on color.