The Monster 696: the beginning of a new era
Apr 07, 2008
Enhancing the 'less-is-more' philosophy that has made the Monster a global legend, the Monster 696 continues to redefine expectations.
Every finely engineered element of the chassis and engine is on display allowing the true beauty of the 696 to be showcased for all to see. Naked ambition has never been so graphically described.
With its thinner waistline and wide handlebars, the Monster 696 provides unrivalled ergonomics for all riders whether cruising the concrete jungle or carving through canyon asphalt.
The Monster 696 strikes a carefully designed balance between performance and every-day usability, appealing to a wide range of riders as a result.
With identical chassis technology to DucatiÃs World Championship MotoGP bike and the proven power and flexibility of the legendary Ducati L-Twin engine, the Monster 696 is as comfortable in city traffic as it is on the open road.
And that's the 696's strength; it can go where your mood takes you. Saint or sinner? You decide. The 696 delivers both.
The Birth of a Legend
In 1992 Ducati unveiled a new prototype that was to become an icon.
Ducati' s creation awed the crowds and the World's media of that year's Cologne International Motorcycle show. The 900 Monster was a motorcycle that created a truly new niche - dramatically styled, minimalist in stature yet bristling with innovative engineering solutions.
At the time Ducati's less-is-more design philosophy was at odds with the rest of the motorcycle market. Just as things were becoming more streamlined, more technical and more race-track orientated, the Monster screwed up the rule book and threw it away. This truly multi-faceted machine was clearly as much a statement of personal identity and individuality, as it was a performance machine.
The Monster's radical styling has also provided the inspiration for an entire after-market sector specialising in hot-rod parts for this legendary machine. For this reason, rarely do you see two Monsters the same. This radical and refreshing design departure also influenced other manufacturers but, as the old adage states: imitation is the highest form of flattery.
But perhaps the Monster's most ingenious ingredient is it's wide-spread appeal. Suddenly here was a motorcycle that held as much practical appeal for the experienced enthusiast as it did for the absolute newcomer.
1992: the 900 cc Monster is presented for the first time at the Cologne Motorshow.
1993: the 900 cc Monster with Desmodue engine (2 valve, air-cooled) is put into production.
1995: the Monster family expands with the introduction of the smaller 600 cc model.
1996: the family is further expanded with the arrival of the 750 cc model.
1998: the Monster achieves sensational success with the introduction of the Monster 600 dark, Monster 900 Cromo and Monster 900 S.
2000: the technology and styling continue to develop. The latest arrival is the Monster 900 with electronic injection, and the styling of the entire range is updated.
2001: the evolution of sports models continues with the introduction of the Monster S4 with 916 cc Desmoquattro engine and completely new running gear.
2002: electronic injection is introduced on the smaller models; the entry level model now has a larger 620 cc engine; all models benefit from the new running gear used on the S4.
2003: the Monster 800 and Monster 1000 are introduced, the latter equipped with the new Dual Spark engine.
2004: the flagship of the Monster range is introduced: the S4R with 996 cc engine, single-side swing arm and totally revised styling and technology.
2005: the family grows with the arrival of the S2R powered by the 800 cc Desmodue engine.
2006: the Monster S2R with 1000 cc engine is born; in addition an authentic, no-compromise bike is introduced, the Monster S4R S Testastretta, a true naked Superbike with all the power and grunt of the Desmodromic "Testastretta" engine.
2007: the Monster family adds the new S4R Testastretta to its already impressive line-up. This new model is powered by the famous 130hp Testastretta, deep-sump, L-Twin engine, previously powering only the top of the range S4R S; another newcomer is the Monster 695 which replaces the entry-level 620, taking a quantum leap forward in terms of handling, riding pleasure and performance.
2008: the Monster 696 is born: a new era begins!
In the seat of the 696
The riding position of the Monster 696 has been specifically designed to put the rider firmly in control. From the low 770mm (30.3in) seat height, the easy-to-reach handlebar position to the feather-light controls, every rider finds it easy to master.
Visually simple digital instrumentation provides an array of data on command or, at a glance, just speed and revs. Information available at the riderÃs fingertip control include: scheduled maintenance warning, oil temperature, air temperature, trip odometer, lap time, fuel reserve, warning light for low oil pressure, turn signals, over-rev warning, immobilizer and neutral warning light. The system is also ready for DDA (Ducati Data Analyser which is the official Ducati Data Acquisition System). All this information can be accessed without the rider having to remove a hand from the handlebar as the scroll function is ingeniously mounted on the left-hand handlebar switchgear.
The heavily tapered and deeply sculpted fuel tank cover allows maximum comfort and control. The narrowing of the Ã«waistÃ area of 696 has the same effect as lowering the seat height, making it easier for more riders to get both feet flat on the floor. Compared to previous models, the 696 has a completely new ride position allowing superior control and offering increased levels of comfort.
Careful attention to every detail has led to a substantial weight saving making the Monster 696 the lightest bike in its class at an impressive 161kg (355lb) dry.
Passenger comfort and safety are also carefully considered, with neat, under-seat grab handles moulded into the seat unit itself. This solution maximises pillion security whilst not detracting from the legendary Monster 696 styling.
An immensely strong but light tubular steel Trellis frame with aluminium rear sub-frame is the visual and structural backbone of the Monster 696. Delivering unparalleled rigidity yet with minimal mass, the chassis design is pure Ducati in its ingenuity and simplicity. A separate, all aluminium sub-frame saves weight and adds a pleasing continuity with the aluminium footrest hangers and matte finished swingarm
Dynamics and aesthetics aside, the revolutionary chassis design also permits a narrow waist area and a low seat position. The steering-lock is vastly improved with a useful 64 degrees of lock-to-lock steering travel. Incredible attention to detail has gone into maximising the effective steering-lock.
The deeply contoured air intakes on the plastic tank 'skin' not only provide cool fresh air for the integral 10 litre airbox but also provide an indented area of clearance for the handlebarÃs switchgear on full lock.
Like the rest of the Ducati range, the Monster 696 is equipped with only the finest cycle parts.
Outstanding control and road-holding is provided by some of the best suspension components in the business. 43mm Showa inverted forks offer a pliant 120mm (4.7in) of finely controlled travel. At the rear, a Sachs mono-shock unit with progressive linkage provide a wide spectrum of both spring and damping permutations.
Lightweight three-spoke aluminium alloy wheels increase agility and decrease rider effort. The 3.50x17 front wheel wears a 120/60ZR tyre while the 4.50x17 rear wheel runs 160/60ZR rubber. By resisting the temptation to over-tyre the 696 for stylingÃs sake, the end result is light, predictable and confidence inspiring steering qualities at a wide range of speeds with truly outstanding stability.
The latest in Brembo braking hardware delivers exceptional braking power front and rear, improving rider safety. At the front, 320mm floating discs are gripped by four-piston, radially mounted calipers - a 245mm floating rear disc is retarded by a twin-piston caliper. This powerful braking set-up offers unrivalled feel and feedback making the 696 safer across a broader spectrum of riding abilities.
Every carefully selected component of the Monster 696 has a net benefit to the overall light weight of the machine. The dry weight of 161kgs (355lb) has dramatic effects on not just manoeuvrability and ease of use, but also by contributing directly to increased performance, braking and acceleration.
The compact triple-parabola headlight on the Monster 696 utilises the latest optical technology and advanced construction techniques to provide one of the most diminutive lighting packages in the market place today. Viewed from the side its discrete silhouette mimics the radical shape of the fuel tank
This attention to the abbreviated has not diminished the lighting performance, however. A broad and deep spread of light makes night-time riding far easier than youÃd ever imagine.
Airbox and Fuell Cell
Using the latest moulding techniques to their full has allowed not only more fuel to be carried than previous models but for the all-important airbox to hold a larger volume of cool, power-rich fresh air.
Hidden beneath a quickly detachable plastic tank Ã«skinÃ lives the fuel cell and integrated airbox. Fuel capacity is an improved 15 litres (3.8 US gal) while the airbox holds 10 litres (2.6 US gal) of filtered air.
With fuel carried between the frame rails in an innovative fuel cell, what you see as the traditional Ã«fuel tankÃ are, in fact, covers. This clever solution allows easy replacement in the event of damage and makes changing the colour and style of your Monster 696 quicker and easier than ever before.
The low, sleek and aerodynamic rear-view mirrors accentuate the curves and lines of the handlebars and fuel tank outline. The mirrors give a clear view behind without interfering with the Monster 696Ãs good looks.
LED rear light
An LED rear light unit satisfies the minimalist, weight saving design ethos found throughout the Monster 696. The specially designed strip of LEDs are enhanced by a special diffuser lens to deliver outstanding light clarity and incredible longevity.
Providing a deep and rich exhaust tone within current noise and emissions regulations is no mean feat, but the Monster 696 definitely provides the L-Twin sound famous of Ducati. Its bold, high-level twin mufflers also make a striking style statement.
Two pleasing advantages of the intricate high-level exhaust routing has been a healthy increase in both power and torque and a discrete positioning for the two exhaust-mounted Lambda exhaust gas sensors Ã± so crucial for the optimisation of the fuelling and emission regulations.
The new exhaust pipe positioning also removes the effects of unwanted heat from the rider's lower body and makes the machine slimmer for optimised footrest positioning thus improving comfort.
Gullwing Fork Clamps
Just like Ducati's all conquering race bikes, the Monster 696 features incredibly strong gull-wing shaped fork clamps. Designed to provide immense torsional strength these engineering masterpieces dominate the front of the bike, further adding to the squat and purposeful styling.
Not only does the 696 come with its own bespoke Monster key taking the form of the tank shape, there's also a bold new 'Monster' graphic on the tank to leave bystanders in no doubt as to this beautiful machine's identity
The engine of the new 696 is an evolution of the previous 695 version. Measuring 696cc it boasts a series of updates and refinements. Power output gets a 9% boost to 80hp (59kW) and an 11% increase in torque to 50.6 lb-ft.This new engine continues to have the best horsepower per litre ratio of all Ducati's air-cooled units, and it ensures a smooth and powerful delivery for a relaxed but thrilling ride in all conditions. This increase in power has been achieved by the introduction of new cylinder heads, which are now similar to the ones on the 1100 2V engine fitted to the Multistrada and Hypermotard. Bore and stroke remain identical to the previous 695 model at 88 x 57.2 mm, but the pistons and combustion chamber have been revised to optimize the fluid dynamics of the new ports.
The camshafts now rotate on bearing surfaces directly in the cylinder head and are supported by means of oil pressure. The elimination of the bearings has enabled the weight of this unit to be reduced considerably and the layout simplified. Furthermore the cooling fins of the cylinders and the cylinder heads have a new shape, and an improved casting process allows them to be produced closer to one another so as to increase their number and improve thermal exchange. Like its predecessor, the new Monster 696 has an advanced APTC clutch, which makes down-shifting safe and helps keep the clutch lever action light and easy, especially in urban riding where frequent stops require high use.
Like every bike in the new range, the Monster 696 also has a new scheduled maintenance programme that reduces costs for the customer.
Throughout its long and established history, the Monster's cult following has always attracted personalisation. With DucatiÃs tempting in-house accessory range offering so many custom-fit parts, nearly every Monster is different.
The 696+ is a factory-personalised model featuring some neat designer touches to help you stand out from the crowd.
A beautiful single seat cover creates the clean look of a racing seat. The cover easily unclips to allow room for your favourite passenger while the neat micro-bikini fairing adds a bespoke finishing touch to the front end.