Hey all. Decided to check in and share some likes/dislikes about my 2012 Monster 696.
First off, this is strictly all point of view. I'm a new rider so I'm certain my views on things may change over time, with more experience respectfully. I bought this bike as my very first after practically no riding experience whatsoever. I made certain that whatever I bought, it would be AFTER completing a motorcycle safety course. After talking to MANY riders and rummaging through the forums, I decided hey why not? A 250 is a good starter, but people seem to trade up almost immediately. Long story short, I'm happy I picked the 696 and here's why:
What I like:
1. The aesthetics. GREAT looking bike. IMO, the 696 looks sharper than it's larger brothers and sisters and the matte black is just plain devilish. It's paired up with a matte black helmet and black leather jacket, which definitely completes the look. It SOUNDS great too. At idle, when downshifting, and at the top of the RPM band. Despite all the different aftermarket kits out there, stock sounds fine to me.
2. It's comfy. I'm 5'8, 170lbs. The seat height, riding position, and ability to shift forward or back comfortably depending on the riding style makes for a less fatigued ride. My longest ride so far has fallen just short of 5 hours. Not far by any means, but it's a commuter, and it's a comfortable one at that.
3. Great gas mileage. My Jeep gets 15. The duc gets 45-55. No need to elaborate.
3. Aside from being "just another form of transportation", my Monster is a great way to unwind. Riding to/from work, or just out on the weekends - it's definitely a better way to take in the surroundings while thinking about life (while trying not to get killed by the many road hazards).
4. The 696 is a damn simple bike. Fuel injected, air-cooled. Just check the fluids, air, pressure, all the movey-twisty parts and you're golden. Three months into use and I haven't had a single moment of un-dependability. The less components/features installed, the less stuff to break.
1. Warm up periods. Yes, good things come to those who wait. A couple minutes. Plus throwing on all the safety gear takes some extra time. I suppose this really isn't a worthwhile complaint, but you gotta admit its nice just to hop into a car and go.
2. I believe it's just the way Ducatis are, but these bikes VIIIIIIBRRRRRAAAAATTTTEEEEE. I'll often pull in the clutch just to use my mirrors. Otherwise it appears as if I'm being chased by multi-color blobs. I've got some weighted bar ends on order. We shall see if this fixes (or even reduces) the vibes.
3. Constant clutch feathering a low speeds. Ok, I'm new here, but I did get to try out a couple other bikes which had no issue putzing around at slower speeds. The Monster wants to go fast. All the time. And will chug you along unless your active on that clutch. I've looked into changing some of the sprockets out but haven't reached a decision yet.
4. Storage. Or lack-thereof I should say. Yes, it's not a minivan. But good god. Not many places to put a pack of gum. And even worse (which is more my fault really), the tail tidy kit which I installed (and which I really do love) comes with an even SMALLER storage bin. I'm pretty sure it's just to hold the wiring. There's a good bit of room between the bottom of the seat tray and the top of my rear tire and I'm certain the rear tire doesn't need 10" of articulation. C'mon engineers! Use that space more wisely next time!
All in all, love my Monster. Got a great deal on it. It's in great shape. The little mods along the way (tail chop/tail tidy, sliders, etc.) have all been fun to do and I'm looking forward to more. And should last a long time.
Feel free to share your thoughts as well!
A little over 2 months of ownership on my end. Just wanted to follow up on some of your items listed. 1-4 for pros I agree with completely. It's an extremely comfortable light weight bike. It's also my first bike and I feel super confident on it because of it's seat height I'm 5'10" 210lbs. So I'm at it's limits but still love the ride.
Also, love the look, for me this year/model is halfway between a naked bike and halfway between a cafe racer and because I love cafe racer it checks the marks for me and the sound is tremendous. It really is a monster! Plus it's a freaking Ducati!
One more pro I'd also add which you kind of touched on in 4. is that it's super easy to wrench on, I've already installed LED's, a usb port, and oil change + brake pads and I have limited mechanical experience on a scale of 1-5 I'm maybe a 2. I love this about the bike.
Now to your listed non-likes, I only agree with 1 and 3. Specific the warm up period gets to me at times, I originally thought there was an issue with mine because I'd enable the fast idle for 30 seconds at start off then easy it off and the engine would cut off on me. I brought it to a ducati dealer and the owner told me that the 696 was a year where ducati was using a hybrid fuel injection system in these for the first time (reason for the fast idle) and that they still hadn't fully figured it out, so expected 2-5 minute warm ups before disabling the fast idle is totally normal for this bike. He also told me with the newer monster after 2015, they fully figured out the fuel injection and warm up is a thing of the past. So yeah this is a big annoyance for me still but so be it lol, this is the bike and model I could/can afford at the time.
As for non-like #3, I agree it really doesn't like slow speeds in first gear, it just wants to jump! But I feel with time I'll learn this better even without a throttle tamer, it adds to the whole monster appeal.
As for your other listed non-likes, storage and vibration, I honestly don't mine no storage, I just pop on a bike pack for my luck and such when riding. Vibration wise I don't get that much, maybe once thus far the bike was vibrating so much that I couldn't see out of the left side mirror, however as you listed I'm going to see if bar end weights/mirrors help at all.
All of that said, I love this bike, it's everything I wanted in a first bike. I'm 30 yrs old and save a while for this (got my m1 license at 19) and kept hearing from people get a 250-600 as anything else will kill you, well I just want to say if you're responsible and start off at your own speed without show boating I think anything under 1000cc is safe for a first bike.