Remember the old Lite beer tagline, “Tastes great, less filling”? Same thing here. The Monster 1200 R represents the best form of the Monster family with a power bump to its 1,198cc Testastretta 11º engine (152 hp versus 147 hp for the Monster 1200 and 1200 S), less weight (397 pounds dry versus 412 pounds for the Monster 1200 and 408 for the 1200 S), and an assortment of race-bred features that will surely draw you to a trackday soon enough. In reality, it takes a keen eye to differentiate the tuned 1200 R from the standard 1200 and upscale 1200 S. Quick giveaways are the 1200 R’s black tri-spoke wheels and Öhlins fork, minimalist fly screen, flatter seat, streamlined tailsection, and some paint deviations.
Noteworthy performance-bred components include hugely oversquare engine dimensions (106mm bore x 67.9mm stroke), an aggressive 13:1 compression ratio, Ducati’s famous desmodromic valve train, straight-cut primary gears, a slipper clutch, racetrack-ready Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber, radially mounted Brembo Monoblock front brake calipers, and a sharp full-TFT display.
Likes: All-out performance with Sport, Touring, and Urban ride modes
Dislikes: Looks much like a standard Monster 1200
Verdict: The overdog of Ducati's naked bikes