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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.


Non-likes:

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!

James
 

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It sounds like you took a good route in starting riding.

regarding #4 under Likes, the 696 is not "carbonated", it's fuel injected, but honestly, that does add to the simplicity. an FI bike requires less maintenance than a carb'd one.

Dislikes
1) One thing I like about Inline Jap bikes is that they don't NEED the warm up period in cold weather to take off. You can just hop on and go. I usually wait a minute either way, and I accelerate softly until the bike is warm enough.

2) they do vibrate more than other bikes, but make sure you're riding within a good rpm range. it vibrates even worse when the RPM are too slow. I'm saying this because it is your first bike and I don't know your experience level.

3) many duc owners recommend a sprocket change, but I just learned to work the stock gearing. again, inline motors are a lot smoother, but I've learned to love my Monster's shortcomings.

4) I've learned to not expect practicality and meticulous perfection out of Italian engineers, especially when it comes to performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Haha I ended up describing a Pepsi. I think someone told me it was carb'd due to the choke and I just went with that notion. Probably should have given the owner's manual a better look. It's been fixed =)

Learning how to throttle the clutch just right on launch has proved challenging, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

One of these days I'll look into a Yamaha R6 or something but for now I too am happy to be a Monster owner and tolerate it's shortcomings.

Thanks for sharing!

JF
 

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Haha I ended up describing a Pepsi. I think someone told me it was carb'd due to the choke and I just went with that notion. Probably should have given the owner's manual a better look. It's been fixed =)

Learning how to throttle the clutch just right on launch has proved challenging, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

One of these days I'll look into a Yamaha R6 or something but for now I too am happy to be a Monster owner and tolerate it's shortcomings.

Thanks for sharing!

JF
James ... consider a G2 throttle tamer ......... much better ride at slow speed. I was a new rider and bought a 696 ...... the throttle scared the hell out of me but the G2 took away the scary and made it more enjoyable
 

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Haha I ended up describing a Pepsi. I think someone told me it was carb'd due to the choke and I just went with that notion. Probably should have given the owner's manual a better look. It's been fixed =)

Learning how to throttle the clutch just right on launch has proved challenging, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

One of these days I'll look into a Yamaha R6 or something but for now I too am happy to be a Monster owner and tolerate it's shortcomings.

Thanks for sharing!

JF
I thought that also when I owned a 696. it's a fast idle (cold start) lever, and it opens the throttle bodies. It's the only FI bike I've seen that has one. I kind of wish my Evo had one so I could use it as cruise control like some other 696 owners do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
G2 on order! The theory of operation looks pretty neat so I'm excited to give it a try!

Also on order are some weighted bar ends from Motovation. I really liked their sliders so I think this'll compliment them well and hopefully reduce some of the vibes.

Hmm I never really gave much thought to using the fast idle as a cruise control... how would that work exactly?
 

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just open it a bit while riding, according to what others have said. experiment, just don't open it all the way at once.
 

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G2 on order! The theory of operation looks pretty neat so I'm excited to give it a try!

Also on order are some weighted bar ends from Motovation. I really liked their sliders so I think this'll compliment them well and hopefully reduce some of the vibes.

Hmm I never really gave much thought to using the fast idle as a cruise control... how would that work exactly?
Let me know how you like the G2 (make sure its the one with the one throttle cable connection, not two )....... does not hurt the bike and a quick easy fix for that snatchy throttle giving better control IMO ....... i am still enjoying mine.
 

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Hi.. new to riding and the 696 is my first bike.

I found changing the front sprocket to a 14t help with the low RPM and solved the no storage by using a givi backpack that also also stores the helmet while you are not in the bike.
 

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When I bought my 796 I thought L-twin = low end torque. Wrong. The Ducati is a revver, and once I figured out to keep it at 3500rpm or more, it (and I) was happy. Really, it just takes some time on the clutch, I've learned to slip it when I need too at low speeds and such. It is what it is. I've also got a 14T front sprocket ready to go on. In stock trim, unless I'm going over the speed limit, I very rarely use 6th gear, and that's kind of dumb. For me, the 14T will be a stop gap, when it comes time to replace the chain, I will revert back to a 15T and go up on the rear sprocket.

I've never really had a motorcycle with storage... so the Duc is no different. I really wish someone made a quick-detach tail bag that attached with the grab rail bolt mount... it would be clean and I could keep the tail fairing on. I have a tank bag, but it's more of a pain in the ass with the way it mounts.

I also agree on the OP's #4... simplicity. It's one of the things that drew me to the Monster in the first place, and I'm kind of sad they have all gone to water cooling and more and more electronics. If I had to pick one thing I would want to change on my 796, it would be the instrument cluster... I really wish it had just a simple analog set, not the foofy LCD display. Oh, well.
 

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Did OP ever get that G2? I'm looking at purchasing an '09 696 (posted about it in Introductions if anyone is willing to give me advice on a bike that has been laid down...) and plan on doing a fair amount of riding at low-speed around town/city. If the clutch is too sporty, I'm going to buy one as the reviews on the website I looked at were glowing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Did OP ever get that G2? I'm looking at purchasing an '09 696 (posted about it in Introductions if anyone is willing to give me advice on a bike that has been laid down...) and plan on doing a fair amount of riding at low-speed around town/city. If the clutch is too sporty, I'm going to buy one as the reviews on the website I looked at were glowing.
The G2 is great! I’d consider it a must! Especially if you end up changing the gearing. It’s easy to install and you should see a difference immediately.

Also take notice in how much slack you have in the throttle cable itself. I adjusted it relatively tight (about 1-2 mm of roll) before it engages.

Regarding your purchase, if the seller is willing, have him meet you or let you take it to a bike shop for a good look over. Shouldn’t be a big deal if there’s nothing to hide.

JF
 

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Thanks for the quick reply! He's totally willing to meet, I'm just not that mechanically-minded if I'm being honest. And I haven't ridden in a year, so I'm rusty. :) I might see if there are any Oregon people around or local shops that would take a quick look if I rode it in.

Thank you for the advice and the insight on the G20!
 

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I'm also new to ownership (bought my 696 in July), and found that adjustable levers were a world of difference when it came to finding the friction zone on the clutch, and overall comfort in general. I got the CRGs which I've noticed are a pretty popular selection by all riders because they aren't a fortune.
 

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I'm new to riding as well. My bike is a '12 and I love it! I am thinking about the throttle tamer as well but for now it's my only vehicle and I don't have time to mess with it. I feel the same way in all regards lol. I receive so many compliments about it though. I'm in PCB so it's mostly cruisers.
 

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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.


Non-likes:

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!

James
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.
 

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Love this thread! One item to note regarding the storage issue—there’s actually a lot of storage space behind where the tools sit, on top of the rear subframe. The seat on the 696 has room for what I assume are the exhaust valve servos for the bigger bikes, that the 696 doesn’t.

I’m currently storing a completely revamped (and, dare I say, more useful) tool bag, a micro air compressor with tire plug kit, and a small first aid kit. All of this fits under the seat without using the small space where the tail tidy/taillight plugs are.

Happy to post the details if anyone’s interested. But don’t want to hijack this thread!
 

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I totally learned something from this thread...I was looking at a 2014 M696, the dealer opened up the fast idle. Since I didn’t know much about Monsters, I asked if they were fuel injected coz the fast idle kinda confused me. Dealer said that they were carbureted and that was the choke that he used. I probably had the dumbest look on my face at that point since i didn’t think any Monsters were carbureted any more. I walked away crossing off the M696 from my list. Read this thread and I’m glad I didn’t buy anything from that dealer. Moto is still available at a decent price, but I’m skipping that whole dealership altogether. Good to know that I can put the M696 back on the list!
 

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What are you talking about no storage on the Monster 696. I have tons of storage! This is my Givi Dolomiti 30L case. I also have a big 46L Trekker case if I need more. I also have the Ducati tail bag that sits on the passenger seat if I need more yet. The Givi case also has strap loops on top for strapping down a small duffle bag.

 

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