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Sunday, October 28, 2007


Ducati Monster S4 and Superlight Mk 1

Well here they both are, my lovely '92 Superlight Mk 1 (#79 of 500) and '02 Monster S4 (# X of 50,000!). So different yet so similar and exactly 10 years apart.

Both are 90 degree V twins with Desmodromic valves and of course Red in color but that's about it that's similar between them. They are as different to each other as a Honda Fireblade is to a Honda ST1100.

The Superlight (900SL) has rare Marvic wheels with Magnesium spokes and spun aluminum rims, they weigh nothing - you have to hole one without a tire on to believe how light they are. The engine is a 900 2 valve per cylinder air cooled with slightly larger Mikuni carburetters than it's sibling the less expensive 900SS. It has a single seat, carbon fiber fenders and cast iron fully floating rotors that rattle when you ride as opposed to the dry multi plate clutch that takes over the rattling when you come to a standstill waiting for that green light!!! ( They also go rusty after a ride in the rain but soon clean up of course when you ride it again!) It handles like nothing else. I rode it around the TT course back in '97 (not in a race I'm afraid) and left a couple of GSXR's and R1's behind going towards and through Glen Helen. (They soon caught up with me though and left me for dust as it became less bendy). This '92 model was only made for one year and was replaced by the Mk2 which lost the Marvics, too expensive and also a number of other subtle things. The Mk 1 is also the only model with the little bubble on the top of the tank for the 'crash spill' line as opposed to the more common oblong section you see on the Mk2 to Mk 5 versions. the cast iron floating rotors were dropped from the Mk3 until I think they put them back on the silver FE version of '98.

Then there's the Monster. A Monster with a 916 motor - wow, had to have one. Liquid cooled 4 valve engine and almost 40 bhp more than the Superlight but no Marvics, no cast iron floating rotors! So what the Monster has in motor the Superlight has elsewhere. This is also a very nice bike that handles well but differently. It is also surprisingly a nice 'one up tourer'. I have ridden it from Charlevoix northern Michigan to Ann Arbor and back on the same day without any pains or groans and could have done another 100 or so miles more.

Both are beautiful bikes for very different reasons.

Both have carbon fiber silencers, the Superlight are Quills and the Monster are Leo Vinci, the sound is just inexplicable and in my mind nothing, absolutely nothing comes close to that Ducati thump - music even to the toneless.

Need to know anymore reasons why everyone should ride a Ducati at least once?

Bellissimo

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