The Ducati Monster is one of the most iconic motorcycles of all time. Since it went on sale in 1993, over 275,000 have rolled out of the Bologna factory—and they’ve kept Ducati financially stable over the past two decades.
The first Monster, the M900, used a version of the air-cooled 900SS engine and pumped out 73 hp. The latest 1200S is water-cooled and has almost double the power, at 145 hp. But the biggest seller has historically been the entry-level 696, which shipped 12,000 units in 2009. There have been numerous limited editions, celebrating everything from the Matrix movie to racer Carl Fogerty.
Surprisingly, though, there haven’t been that many high-profile custom Ducati Monsters. There’s no shortage of hop-up parts available, from solid engine upgrades to tacky bling, but relatively few big-name builders have given the Monster a complete overhaul.
It’s probably a sign that designer Miguel Galluzzi got it right when he raided the Ducati parts bin in the early 90s. We’ve now decided to do our own raiding, this time through the Archives. Here’s our pick of the best Monster customs from the past decade.
JvB Moto Ducati Scrambler Cologne-based designer Jens vom Brauck is widely recognized as one of the top custom builders in central Europe. Six years ago he broke the mold with his Monster 1000ie-based Scrambler, a minimalistic all-rounder packing around 95 hp and weighing only 170 kg when fully fuelled. The weight loss comes from a smattering of carbon fiber parts, including the stunning squared-off tank. Brauck regularly gets requests to build replicas, but the order book is now closed. [JvB Moto]
Arrick Maurice’s Ducati Monster 1100S Designer Arrick Maurice was invited to become Ducati North America’s brand manager in 2010. This is his personal ride, heavily modified with a slew of Ducati Performance parts in magnesium, carbon fiber and aluminum. He’s also fitted Marchesini forged magnesium wheels, and a new swingarm and subframe from Ram Italia. The slightly ‘busy’ nature of the 1100S has been toned down with black-coated parts, including a ceramic-coated Termignoni exhaust system and anodized Öhlins suspension front and rear. [More about this bike | Ducati]
Paolo Tesio’s Monster S4R Automotive designer Paolo Tesio knows how to make an impact, and his Monster S4R stopped the internet in its tracks a year ago. Tesio used CAD modeling to create a new rear subframe and seat unit, and designed girder-style fork guards to slip over the Showa front suspension. The visual flow of the bike is factory-perfect, from the retrograde MH900 headlight up front to the truncated tail unit. A body kit to replicate the look of this bike is now in the works, we’re told. [More about this bike | Paolo ‘Tex’ Tesio on Facebook]
Hazan Motorworks Ducati Monster Max Hazan is soon going to be a superstar in the custom world. He’s an old-school craftsman with an eye for a good line—and reminiscent in many ways of Falcon Motorcycles’ Ian Barry, who has moved on to the art world. Hazan was looking for a cheap city commuter bike and found this Monster 900 on eBay. But shortly afterwards, his Ducati got knocked over in the street. He decided that a full rebuild was in order, and this is the result. The tank, much of the frame and the exhaust system are hand-fabricated, with immaculately clean welding. It might be one of Hazan’s lesser-known builds, but it’s still absolutely amazing. [More about this bike | Hazan Motorworks]
Radical Ducati Monster ‘9½’ The Spanish shop Radical Ducati no longer exists, but its legacy will live on for many years. This Monster custom from two years ago is one of Pepo Rosell’s most stylish builds, and inspired by the 1970 Desmo 450 Corsa bike raced by Nencioni. The chopped frame is from a 1997 M900, fitted with a race-style tail unit. Although the looks are distinctly retro, it’s a raid on the Ducati parts bin worthy of Miguel Galluzzi himself: the rear wheel is from a Ducati 916, while the tank is from a 999. Further proof that the closure of Radical Ducati is a huge loss to the custom world. [More about this bike | Radical Ducati]
Last week’s Top 5 focused on the world’s best Triton motorcycles.