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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any thoughts on whether the 796 would be an appropriate first bike? I am going through the licensing process (including the MSF course) and expected to purchase a new 696 (the ABS option being the reason that I am looking at new v. used) in the next month. I sat on a 696 at the dealership and thought it fit well, but the sales person there suggested that the 796 would be fine for a beginner as well and offered a better long-term value in terms of performance.

From my reading on the subject, I am primarily concerned that I not purchase a bike that I cannot handle safely as a beginner. I understand that the 696 can be considered an "advanced beginner" bike but am wondering whether the 796 would be just that extra bit too much to handle at first. From the specs, it looks like the 796 is offers not very much more horsepower, but does anyone have an opinion as to how this translates in the real world?

If helpful, I live in New York City and would plan to use the bike in the city and also to make weekend excursions outside it (for interstate use, I heard the 796 is more appropriate). Any thoughts for someone with 0 miles on a bike would be appreciated.
 

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Get something cheap and small and really learn to ride, THEN get the nice bike.

I've said it before, they don't let pilots fly jets until they work their way up from the Cessnas.
 

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The 796 is fine for a beginner, but you must realize that there is high likelihood that you will either drop it or crash it. Seriously. Almost 100% chance of either or both of those things happening. If you're okay with that, then by all means.

The ABS could save your life though, and there aren't many bikes currently available in the U.S. with ABS, so I say go for it.

As for the difference between the 696 and 796, it's more about ergonomics and appearance. See which one fits you better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The 796 is fine for a beginner, but you must realize that there is high likelihood that you will either drop it or crash it. Seriously. Almost 100% chance of either or both of those things happening. If you're okay with that, then by all means.

The ABS could save your life though, and there aren't many bikes currently available in the U.S. with ABS, so I say go for it.

As for the difference between the 696 and 796, it's more about ergonomics and appearance. See which one fits you better.
Thanks for the helpful response. I was afraid that the 796 would have characteristics that would make it less beginner friendly relative to the 696, or that the motor in the 796 would be overwhelming. Basically, I understand that I will make mistakes, but wanted to ensure that the bike would offer a healthy margin of error.
 

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Ah hem ( clears his throat ) I disagree with the 796 not being much different to the 696, I do agree that it is fine for a compotent begginer. The 796 has a significant increase in torque making rear wheel slides more likely than on the 696, it has firmer suspension, is higher off the ground and a stiffer gear pedal action. The 696 actually turns quicker due to it's lower more foreward handle bar position. There have been a few tweaks to the new 796 engine with light weight caseings, light fly wheel like on the 848 and the injection has been tweaked, the result is a lot more than it's 100'ish cc extra might suggest and for me, having ridden all three is closer to the 1100 than the 696. I have just had the first service done on my 796 and the bike really flys. Having said all that, don't be put off if it's your first big bike, just handle her with care until your confidence/skill builds and I assure you, you will be grinning.

ps. In my opinion bikes like the Monsters are not really for town, these bikes need to be revved and unleashed on sweeping mountain roads and switchbacks. I take my 796 into town very occasionally and it's fine, but think about buying a ferrari to do the shopping or school run.................naa, don't get me wrong I'm not preaching, I know a lot of people use there Monsters in town no problems, but if that is where you will ride 90% of the time I would think about a different bike, more upright positon, softer suspension etc..
 

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Just thought of somthing else. The Monsters are air cooled, they need to be moving or they get very hot, the underseat exhausts also become red hot, sitting in traffic on a Monster is not a fun/comfortable place to be.
 

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Just thought of somthing else. The Monsters are air cooled, they need to be moving or they get very hot, the underseat exhausts also become red hot, sitting in traffic on a Monster is not a fun/comfortable place to be.
Here in California you don't need to sit in traffic. You're allowed to share lanes with cars, which means you can keep moving when everyone else is stuck.

As for my previous comment about the 796 and 696 being very similar, I didn't say they were identical. Personally, I prefer the 796, but it's not a drastic departure from the 696. Some major improvements in my eyes, but not "night-and-day" difference. You really need to test ride them and see which one you like better.
 

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my $.02...

it all depends on the individual. some can start with a gsx-r1000 and be fine. others might end up dying on a bike like that. if you are generally pretty coordinated, you can probably start with something bigger and more performance oriented. if you lack in quickly picking things up and adapting easily, then a smaller bike is probably the ticket for you. be honest with yourself and choose the right bike for you.

personally, i wouldn't start with the 696 over a 796. the weight and handling differences are pretty minimal.
 

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Basically I think we all agree that you can't go to wrong with a Monster, For me there is no other bike I really want, be it town, twistys or freeways.
 

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I'd strongly recommend you buy a cheap Ninja 250 for $2000 and ride that for 6 months, then sell it (probably for almost exactly what you paid, minus the damage you do dropping it), and THEN buy a Monster.

One low-side on a Monster 796 and you'll spend more in repairs than that ninja cost. And you WILL drop the bike at some point while you're learning. And have you priced the insurance on a Monster with 0 years of riding experience? At least in California, that's like buying a used Ninja 250 every year.

You've got 40+ years to ride, if you do it right. There's no rush. Take your time and you'll enjoy it more.
 

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I'd strongly recommend you buy a cheap Ninja 250 for $2000 and ride that for 6 months, then sell it (probably for almost exactly what you paid, minus the damage you do dropping it), and THEN buy a Monster.

One low-side on a Monster 796 and you'll spend more in repairs than that ninja cost. And you WILL drop the bike at some point while you're learning. And have you priced the insurance on a Monster with 0 years of riding experience? At least in California, that's like buying a used Ninja 250 every year.

You've got 40+ years to ride, if you do it right. There's no rush. Take your time and you'll enjoy it more.
I actually did this about 5 years ago. First bike decided to buy a used Ninja 250 and literally rode it daily for about 7-8 months. By that point I felt pretty comfortable on a bike and had ridden in all situations (hot, cold, rain, freeway, gravel, etc.) and then turned around and sold the bike for exactly what I paid for it and then got something bigger. Ninja 250's sell pretty easily to teenagers and those looking to just learn how to ride so they hold their value pretty easily and I think it made me a better rider for it.

Honestly, lets not kid ourselves. The main reason anyone wants a big, powerful bike is to show it off a bit, but as a new rider I think valuing your safety over being cool to your friends is a bit more important.

To each his own though
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You've got 40+ years to ride, if you do it right. There's no rush. Take your time and you'll enjoy it more.
You're assuming (and wouldn't be wrong) that I'm relatively young (though not that young).

Thanks to everyone for the input. Good points all, but I live in NYC and so riding (and learning) in the city is unavoidable. I've gone back and forth, but I think based on the feedback here and additional reviews of the 696 and 796, the 696 seems to be the better choice for me, both as a beginner and for riding in the city.

Basically, while the 696 might be considered an "advanced beginner" bike, it seems the 796, as someone mentioned earlier, is a bit more powerful than the simple displacement/horsepower/torque numbers would indicate. One review described it as an "advanced intermediate" bike and not at all appropriate for beginners (though tempting by the numbers and at the price--I should know).

Here are some links to the above review and another article implying that the 796 is not ideally suited to town. Also, a glowing review of the 696. Does anyone know when the 2011 696 is expected to arrive?

http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/motorcycle-reviews/2011-ducati-monster-796-review/

http://www.ashonbikes.com/content/ducati-monster-796-review

http://www.onewheeldrive.net/2008/05/05/2009-monster-696-monsters-inc-reborn/
 

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Living in NYC myself I think I can offer you a solution. You should purchase the 796 and promptly deliver it to me, in exchange I will lend you my 620. As you hone your skills on a more manageable bike, I will thoroughly break-in your 796. To be fair, you should probably buy me a beer or three when the process is finished for my generosity in the matter.
 

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To the OP...

GoGoGo actually gives the best advice here IMO. You are the only one who knows how well you can control yourself. You can kill yourself on any bike. Monsters especially are extremely torquey. Too much power on a damp road and your done.

Have you ever ridden anything? Dirt-bikes? 4-wheeler? Jet-ski? Snowmobile? You gotta try something or decide how much discipline you have after the MSF. Everybody gets horny on their bike... (for lack of a better term) It's truly about discipline.

That being said, if you already have it narrowed down to those two bikes. Do the 796. The looks set it apart alone and you'll regret it once you are comfortable riding.

+1 on the air cooled bikes being hot in traffic... although I do it all the time. Then again traffic sux period.
 

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One more important piece of advice.

Second season in the most dangerous. You start to get cocky. So remember that.

[/twocents]
 

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If this is your first bike, do as TonyDiv says, get something small and cheaper, learn to ride, to crash to work on it yourself and then go for the Ducati,either 696 or 796... Yes they tend to run hot in traffic, yes, they like to be unwinded and riden in the open; try a Hyosung GT250, naked, V2 engine, almost same size as a Monster[168kg] or a Kawasaki Ninja 250 or a Suzuki TU250... can't go wrong with any of these, and maybe, you buy the Ducati and keep the smaller one...
 

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Living in NYC myself I think I can offer you a solution. You should purchase the 796 and promptly deliver it to me, in exchange I will lend you my 620. As you hone your skills on a more manageable bike, I will thoroughly break-in your 796. To be fair, you should probably buy me a beer or three when the process is finished for my generosity in the matter.
if someone takes you up on that offer, refer them to me!
 

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Some good advice on this thread. I wouldn't start off with a new bike of any size or shape.

Either get a used M620, or a used Japanese bike that's got good manners - like the Yamaha FZ6R.

The Ninja is a good suggestion, but I suspect you'd get bored with that.

As others have said - you will either drop it (100%), or be so cautious you'll drop it you'll end up never leaning it into a corner. I dropped my first two bikes (both used Hondas) - both in stupid/parking type situations (one at a gas station, and the other doing a slow-speed U-turn)

Wait a year, then get the 2010/11 796 ABS which will then be in the clearance section next spring/summer to make room for the new models.
 

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I started with a suzuki gs500f - very comfortable first bike. Nice upright sitting position.. nice mileage.. cheap for a new bike..insurance and service is cheap..bike is very light weight. Had a bike for almost 2 yrs and not one accident or drop. My buddys have bmw and s4rs, 1098.. and i would race with them on a gs500f. On a curvy road.. gs is very good.. u can almost sleep on the road with the bike...but on straight road those bikes would beat me.

Now that i am more comfortable with bikes...last month picked up a s4r...which is very sweet and gets all kinda compliments. Stepping up from a 500c to 998cc ducati is very nice experience and i enjoy my ducati everyday!
 
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