It might be a motorcycle targeted at learner riders, but the new Ducati Monster 659 LAMS is the bike that I feared most to ride this year.
AT A GLANCE
Engine: 659cc air-cooled sohc 4v fuel-injected 90-degree L-twin; 38kW (51bhp) at 8000rpm and 47Nm of torque at 6400rpm.
Frame: Steel-tube trellis frame with alloy swingarm, 43mm unadjustable inverted front forks with 120mm of travel, preload/rebound-adjustable Sachs rear monoshock with 148mm of travel.
Transmission: six-speed sequential gearbox, chain final drive.
Hot: At last, a premium learner-approved motorcycle that new riders will feel a sense of ownership pride in as well as enjoyment while riding.
Not: Soft front brake set-up mocks the addition of ABS; hard-to-read speedo, single indicator warning light, restricted sidestand access when parking. Knowing that the Bologna bike maker had taken the excellent Monster 696 and tweaked it to comply with the outer limits of the new Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme, I was concerned that it might have become so neutered that it wouldn't qualify as a "real Ducati" any more. Well, it appears that such fears were groundless.
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