This is going to be a rather interesting match-up! Italy vs England! Hold on though... we are not talking about a football match here. We've got our hands on two super exciting naked middleweight sportbikes, and it's quite a showdown between the 2018 Ducati Monster 821 and the Triumph Street Triple RS. The Ducati Monster 821 is a thoroughbred streetfighter with 25 years of legacy behind it, while the Street Triple (RS) is a British icon with laser-like precision. This road test is going to go down right to the wire! So let's begin.
Also Read: 2018 Ducati Monster 821 Review
If looks could kill
Keep the two bikes together, and it is the Monster 821 with its sexy yellow colour scheme that draws more eyeballs. A bit of trivia for you, the first ever Ducati Monster, the M900 too was launched in a shade of yellow. Typical of naked sportbikes, the Monster 821 has only the mudguard, the fuel tank and the rear tailpiece as panels. Carrying a minimalist design, the Monster 821 has more attitude and struts its stuff with more swagger than the Street Triple ₹ It is a Monster, after all.
The Street Triple RS, on the other hand is typically British. Understated and classy! I am one of the biggest fans of the twin bug-eyed lamps. Always have been! I just feel that the bug-eyed lamps give the bike a sinister look, something that every naked streetfighter should have. But, even though the grey colour scheme looks good, it isn't loud enough to turn heads or catch your attention at a passing glance. The design on the Street Triple RS sure is sharper with more angular bits, but it's the Ducati Monster 821 which has more pizzazz. This round definitely belongs to the Monster 821.
How about features and tech?
The Ducati Monster 821 gets three riding modes, which are Urban, Touring and Sport. Each mode has a different setting for ABS, traction control and engine power. The Touring and Sport mode offer full power but differ in the way power is generated while choosing the urban mode; the engine power is restricted to 75 bhp. One can choose from 8 levels of traction control and three levels of ABS. The interface though, is not the most user-friendly. One takes time to get used to the way the settings for ABS and traction control are changed. Coming to the cycle parts, the Monster 821 gets Brembo brakes at the front and rear along with 43 mm USD forks up font and a monoshock at the rear. But the front fork is not adjustable, although the rear shock has some adjustability.
The Triumph Street Triple RS though has better equipment in comparison to the Monster 821. The electronics are more exhaustive, with five riding modes (Rider, Road, Rain, Track and Sport) and even the ABS and traction control can be further customised or fully turned off. The interface on the Street Triple is much more intuitive and easier to use. Even in terms of suspension and brakes, the Street Triple RS is better equipped. The bike gets 41 mm Showa big piston forks up front and an Ohlins STX40 monoshock at the rear, both fully adjustable. Also, it gets a higher spec Brembo M50 calipers gripping the twin front discs. So, needless to say, the Street Triple takes this round!
This is where things begin to get interesting! You want the numbers, refer to the table below. A glance at the table reveals that the Street Triple RS makes almost 14 bhp more along with being 14.5 kg lighter. The Ducati Monster 821 makes 9 Nm more torque though, and peak torque is also achieved much lower in the rev range. Ducati Monsters have always been torque-laden machines and this one's no different. As we mentioned earlier, the Street Triple RS is the better equipped of the two and the difference in the power translates to real-world riding as well.
|Specifications||Triumph Street Triple RS||Ducati Monster 821|
|Displacement||765 cc, 3-cylinder||821 cc, L-Twin|
|Max Power||121 bhp @ 11,700 rpm||107.2 bhp @ 9,250 rpm|
|Max Torque||77 Nm @ 10,800 rpm||86 Nm @ 7,750 rpm|
|Dry Weight||166 kg||180.5 kg|
|Riding Modes||5 riding modes||3 riding modes|
|Instrumentation||TFT Digital||TFT Digital|
|Price: (Ex- Delhi)||₹ 11.13 lakh||₹ 9.51 lakh|
From the get go, it's clear that the Street Triple RS has a smoother engine (in-line 3) and it makes light work of going fast. The torque though lesser, has a wider spread and even when right at the top end, the bike does not run out of steam. The 3-pot motor doles out power by the bucketful and if you don't have one eye on the instrument console all the time, you could be going dangerously fast in less time than it takes to talk about it. And when it is time to shed speed, the Brembos work beautifully. Just the right amount of bite offered progressively so that you don't have hairy moments.
The Ducati Monster 821 is no slouch either. It can do illegal speeds in no time too. The torque is more or less concentrated in the mid-range and there is plentiful of it. The way the bike pulls will make you grin like a child under your lid. You whack the throttle open and the bike shows how much of a Monster it really is. It's just that the Street Triple RS does it all so smoothly, with the precision of a scalpel making a millimetre perfect cut and that is what makes us swing its way. The Brembos on the Monster 821 scrub off speed very nicely. The brakes have solid bite but are less progressive than the Street Triple.
The engine (L-Twin) is not as smooth as the Street Triple RS' but the Monster 821 sure sounds sexier. The bass-laden exhaust-note is distinctly different from the sweet-sounding whine of the in-line 3 of the Street Triple and when you open up the throttle on the two, it is the Monster, which is significantly louder and offers you an exemplary aural experience, burbling and crackling as you accelerate through the gears.
How do these bikes ride and handle?
One of the key ingredients of how exciting a sportbike is the way it handles. And the Street Triple RS is perhaps the benchmark when it comes to handling prowess in this segment. If it were not a motorcycle, it could have been a precision tool. The bike moves the exact same way on the tarmac as you had imagined it in your head. It responds to the slightest of inputs in a way that belies belief. Be it slicing through traffic or attacking a corner with gusto, the bike makes light work of it. Tip it into a corner aggressively, get on the gas and as you exit, it gives you goosebumps. A good part of it is because of the taut suspension. Sure, on broken roads, potholes and bumps it is a handful but if we buy one, we are willing to live with that.
The Ducati Monster 821 isn't as sharp as the Monster 821 as the suspension is a little on the softer side.. Sure, it translates into a comfortable ride, but the handling suffers, only when you compare it with the Triumph. On a daily basis, we would rather prefer the Monster 821, which sails through most road undulations and broken tarmac very comfortably.
It is a tough one! The Triumph Street Triple RS offers more power, is better equipped and a precision tool. The 2018 Ducati Monster 821 is a looker! It is loud and aggressive, easily has more presence on the road and is decently equipped too. More importantly, the Monster 821 is priced at ₹ 9.51 lakh while the Street Triple RS is priced at 11.13 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom, Delhi), a difference of ₹ 1.62 lakh. It is a sizeable difference! If you are confident that you will be riding in the city with the occasional highway jaunt, we suggest you look at the Ducati but if you are looking to spend some time on the racetrack too along with city roads and want a bike that is fully kitted out, the Street Triple RS is absolutely worth the extra money. And yes, the Street Triple RS is the better performer too.