790 vs. 1200S
I am the owner of a week old Duke 790, and have had a Monster 1200S for about 2000 miles. Here are my observations about how they compare.
-The Monster costs almost twice as much as the Duke and it shows. The paint, the finishes, and the moto jewelry on the Monster make it really pop. It is a beautiful bike. I like the Duke, it is bold, funky, and fun, but I would never call it beautiful.
-The suspension on the Duke handles very well and I have no complaints, but the Ohlins on the Monster are in another league. Once I adjusted the forks for correct preload they are so supple that they seem to float over road imperfections. I have ridden over washboard sections of gravel roads and barely felt them.
-The M50 Brembos with the Brembo master cylinder are superb. The feel and the modulation on them are beyond what I feel on the Duke. However on the street the brakes on the Duke have been just fine, on the track it would be another matter.
-Both bikes have great electronics, but the Monster gives you more options. I think there are 5 levels of ABS, six levels of wheelie control, and at least the many levels of traction control. For each of the ride modes you can custom set each of these parameters. If you want to wheelie in rain mode or have a gentle throttle in sport mode, no problem.
-Power wise the Monster is a beast. Fueling is very good, so the bike feels almost docile below 6,000rpm (unless you give it full beans), but after 6,000 it just goes nuts. It has very tall gearing and does not enjoy slow riding.
-the engine character! The Duke feels like a twin, the Monster is a twin. It has a rumbly, grumbly character that I never tire of hearing.
-The Monster has become a very reliable bike. Since Audi took them over reliability and cost of service have really improved. This is still my biggest worry about the Duke.
Now the negatives;
- the monster is 70 pounds heavier than the Duke, and you really feel it. I have not had the Monster in the mountains, but I think the Duke would just leave it behind.
-The Monster is a really hot bike. In traffic it feels like you are straddling a furnace. Not great in the Texas summer.
Despite any shortcomings the Duke is an amazing package: a 400lb. bike with over 100hp., a hugely sophisticated electronics package, and a quick shifter. In Texas, where even two lane country roads have a 75mph speed limit the big Monster is a gas. In the mountains around Asheville, the Duke is fantastic. I love both bikes
Last edited by Rick del Monte; 10-09-2019 at 10:28 PM.