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Thoughts on the Monster 696, after test ride

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by kittiminx, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Red/Red - goes faster...

  2. Matte Black/Black - stealth bike

    0 vote(s)
  3. Matte Black/Red - crazy waste of money or pure genius?

    0 vote(s)
  1. So excited!!

    Just organised to ride the new Monster at Metro Honda on Thursday afternoon, we're going to take out the 1098 as well. I spoke to Johnny on the phone and he was really helpful. If i enjoy the ride I should be able to get either a red or black one in November. I'll post my thoughts after the ride.

    Has anyone on here bought a 696?

    Also, have been thinking about the colour, I really like both the black and the red, but I think the black one would look so much hotter with a red frame, so have been thinking of getting the red, and later on replacing the fairings with the matte black. Can't find a price, but the Ducati website has the fairing kit as an option with price tbc, so can be done.

    So, did the test ride today, up towards Warrandyte from Metro Honda in Ringwood. First impressions - this bike is so light!!! It almost felt flimsy, but i think that might have been because of my expectations of riding a bigger bike for the first time. :? (I thought it would feel much heavier for some reason)
    Super easy to steer, just seemed to go where i looked. Really forgiving to ride, i over revved it a bit the first time off the line as the clutch engages very late compared to what I'm used to, nearly at the end of the lever's travel, but no dramas, and i got it together pretty quickly. I did find the tank a bit wide, not sure if that's something i would get used to quickly, or if it would be uncomfortable on longer trips. And the mirrors vibrated a lot around 4000-5000 revs, so much that you couldn't see out of them, but i didn't really find it noticeably vibey otherwise. (wrist was ok, as was the remaining metal and screws)

    The other funny thing was I couldn't see any part of the bike while i was riding, unless i looked directly down at the mirrors or speedo. (it was all completely out of my peripheral view, compared with the CBR which i could just see the mirrors and the control panel on the edge of vision so it felt like i was sitting in the bike more) I attribute that to the more upright riding position, i've never been on a naked before so i don't know if that's normal. And the 696 is a very short bike! Basically i felt like i had to move my head more to see the speedo and mirrors than i'm used to.

    Overall, i wasn't blown away by the experience (due to expectations being really, really high!) It was easy to ride and was plenty quick enough and all that, but i didn't feel the need to put down my deposit then and there. I guess i thought it would be more, monster'ey or something. So now i'm going to ride a couple of others as well, and maybe with some more experience i'll realise how good the monster really is.

    So, will organize to ride the street triple, and a honda hornet if i can find one.

    (also, have decided on red if i do get one, or maybe the black one, arrrg) :p
  2. Not a real fan of the matte black, but if you like it, that's all that matters.

    Or why not the white, now that looks hawt :cool:

    But hard to go past the red frame and body :grin:
  3. I was over at Metro on Froday helping a mate pick up his new 1098. What a bike!

    Red is the classic colour and you can't go wrong. I do like the black though.

    Lucky biatch, have fun!

    You have to get termis. :twisted:
  4. White is the best colour me thinks.
  5. Yes, I like the white too, but they have sold out at the mo, not sure how long the wait is, but I think it would be 2009 at this stage. I was actually going to get a white one, but not sure if i can wait that long!
  6. And I work with the bloke who bought it. :)
  7. I didn't buy an M696, but I do have one in the garage. My S2R1k is in for its 20,000 km service and wasn't finished in time, so I took the loan bike I had all day yesterday home last night. I should have it for a bit longer today, too.

    First impressions? The looks are subjective. Some parts are awesome, others are not. I'd be going for one in white, I think. They look diminutive and white makes them look the best. Not that difficult to change the colours though! The removable tank panels take about 10 minutes with an allen key to remove, you're looking at five minutes to do the little fairing thing over the instruments, and the rear cowl is a thirty second jobbie.

    Not sure what replacement panels cost, though!

    I was reserving my judgement till I rode it, although I think I'd want to mod the snot out of it enough to get rid of the things I don't like about it (mainly the monobrow and the trellis is a bit chunkified. Not sold on the cast subframe, either).

    I think it handles quite nicely. The suspension is set up better than the previous lowspec Monsters. Damping was good. I had to do a bit of fiddling to get the S2R1k how I wanted it, an option not available on lower spec ones. Sure, the M696 is still non-adjustable, but it is set up better.

    The engine is good. It is not as torquey as some of the previous littler Monsters, that's all in the quest of extra power. The power is there. Quite happily loft the front in first, and a quick breeze of the clutch had it up in second without trying too hard. The fuelling is good, although still very lean stock. The dual O2 sensors have removed some of the nastiness that applied to the previous closed-loop Monsters (where they'd surge). There's still some popping and farting on overrun, and I bet it is still lean, but that's the price that is paid by all manufacturers for the latest emissions standards. Alternative is to pay the cost for the Termi kit, which comes with an ECU and significantly richens the whole thing up (and adds a bit of extra power). Probably not cheap, I know the RRP was about $3k on that when I got my bike.

    The air vents in the tank are functional, and they serve two purposes. Firstly, they are connected to the airbox (I confirmed this last night, when I pulled off the tank panels, just to see how hard they are to get off). Secondly, the switchgear would hit them rather than the tank in an off strong enough to bend the handlebars. Previous Monsters had what was called the Monster dents in the tank, easiest way to see if something had been dropped. That kinda went the way of the dodo when they swapped to plastic fuel tanks in 2005ish, but, I'm not sure what the switchgear would do to a plastic tank. It is clearly a deliberate part on Ducati to put the vents where they have, so they coincide with the switchgear.

    Overall, the air vents and the standard cans actually make an okay note, even if it isn't excessively loud. Certainly better than some of the other stock Monsters.

    The brakes are superb. They're on par, or possibly even better, than my S2R1k, and far better than the brakes from the low-spec Monsters. Stoppies no worries at all, and they held up very nicely to some reasonably hard riding. Rear brake, never a Ducati strong point, is a bit better, as in I don't have to stamp on it to get it to work. Locked it up last night in the wet coming into a roundabout though.

    The looks are, as I said, the most polarising point. I don't like the monobrow on the headlight, I hate the mirrors, the LCD tacho, although spiffy and small and techno-goodness, isn't something I like looking at. Display overall is better: you've got a lap timer, ambient air temp, battery levels etc, all stuff that wasn't on the older ones. It is a more compact display unit, too.

    So, would I buy one, or an 1100 version whenever that may come out, and upgrade from the S2R1k? No.

    Why? The ergonomics just don't fit me! They've made the bike smaller. It looks bloody diminutive, and it is is. Previous Monsters had a bit of a reach to the bars, apparently. Well, I have short arms (I'm 6' tall, but my arms are a bit short for a 6 footer) and I reach them just fine in a proper position. Leaning over a bit, forearms parallel to the road, all that. Fits me beautifully. The bars on the M696 are closer to the rider, partly cause they've tried to move them back, and partly cause they've compressed the tank up so it is a bit shorter.

    That brings me to the next thing, in shortening the tank they've had to make it wider to fit the same fuel capacity. So, the knee cutouts into the tank aren't long enough, and they push my knees out to the side. Not comfortable, even on the 35 minute ride home last night. Not sure I'd do a full day of touring on the 696, that's for sure.

    The other part about shortening the bike is they've shortened the seat, which all serves to push me a bit close to the bars. I just can't get my arse far enough back to be comfortable. It feels like I'm sitting too far forwards, with my back almost upright, my chin almost over the instruments.

    Riding position, though, I bet is perfectly comfortable for people who sit bolt upright with their arms 45 degrees pointing down at the bars, which is of course some people who do want naked bikes. That's just not how I ride (and, I believe, it isn't how you should ride, but that's a digression a long way from this thread).

    In short: if you're after an entry-level Monster, can live with the looks, and you fit it fine, get it. It'd be a great bike.

    Other moral of the story: at least do what the OP is doing and test ride the bloody bikes before you buy them.
  8. What a great response supamodel!!!

    Just the kind of stuff i was looking for - it will help immensely as i will have some things in mind when going for the ride, otherwise i was fairly sure i'd be just enjoying myself too much to be critical!
    The looks i'm already happy with, but i'll see how i go with the fit and the tank cutouts.
    The more people who talk about the white makes me think i'll ask about the delivery time for the white, but to be honest, i like all the colours pretty much equally, (except maybe the red a little less than the others) so will just have to go with what i like on the day i suppose!

    To clarify the poll a bit, as i don't like the look of the red/red bike, but think it would look fantastic as the matte black with a red frame, should i get the red in order to be able to create the look i want later on, even tho it will probably cost a bomb for new fairings? Or do i just decide between the white and black and keep it stock?
  9. I have been keen on this one since its launch too. Have to say +1 to the white, it would be worth the wait IMO

    Having said that... waiting is very hard... :twisted:
  10. Sophie don't dismiss your thinking regarding colour! It is a very important part of any bike. If the fairings etc arent too much then getting the red with a spare set of black fairing would be cool! When it comes time to sell I reckon red would be easier to sell.

    Cool bike whatever colour you get!!
  11. If you want to customise the fairings to your taste, fine, but normally wont be worth much to anyone else. Would keep the original plastics though, IMHO, trying to sell a non-standard colour would raise a few eyebrows in regards to history of the bike.

    Have you called a few dealers (even interstate) to see how long the wait is for a white one :cool:
  12. I doubt I'll ever want to sell it! but if i did want to, and i got a red one + black fairings, I could store the red fairings and replace them on the bike when i went to sell, hence solving the non standard issue.

    Or I can hang out for a white one :cool: - I haven't called anyone else to compare delivery times yet, but will do so on friday morning before putting any money down. I'm getting very excited, can't sleep at night! :grin: