Motorcycle manufacturers occasionally have special test-drive events, but otherwise it’s really hard to try one without actually buying it. So my actual motorcycle riding experience is pretty limited… that said, I can’t help but want to write up notes comparing Megan’s Ducati Monster 750 and my Suzuki SV650. They’re both from the same year (2000), both have similar engine sizes (750 and 650cc, respectively), and are of course made in the same ‘naked’ style. As I’ve said before, the SV is in many ways a tribute (don’t say ‘knockoff’) to the Monster.
At first I made fun of her for getting the Italian bike– it was pretty beat up, it’s more expensive to maintain, it cost more, produces less power, it weighs more. But having ridden both, I have to admit I’m really loving the Monster. The center of gravity is lower, and the handling is just so much more… planted. And do I really need the extra five or ten horsepower? Not as such, no.
Not that I don’t love my bike. The handling is still excellent, and I’ve got a little flyscreen that keeps more of the wind off me. The seat also lets me have more variations on seating positions, and it’s got a little trunk under the passenger seat that will hold a toolkit and my papers. They’re a pretty close comparison, and given the difference in purchase and maintenance costs, I’m still inclined to vote for the SV.
I’m wondering what the head-to-head equivalent will be this year, though. Does the SV still stand close to the Monster in the ’07 model year? They’ve cut back to 695 cc on the Monster (OK, dropped to 620 for a few years, then increased back to 695, but whatever), but increased power and decreased weight. Both manufacturers have switched to fuel injection. To improve handling, the Monster added a slipper clutch (popular with racers) to ease downshifts, and the SV has optional antilock brakes. In all, the SV has probably changed less… which means the Monster has probably pulled away in the rankings. Do you have to look at the Triumph 675cc 3-cylinder machines (Daytona and Street Triple) for Monster competition?
Yes, I’m still lusting after the Triumphs.