I don't know if it's the case with the newer Monsters, but on the older ones, you could easily put the bulb in backwards so that the bright one was on all the time and the dim one came on when you hit the brakes. I always had to check when inserting a new bulb. Oh, and the HD versions of the 1157 definitely lasted more than twice as long as the regular versions. I probably averaged about one bulb per year over six years with about 3000 miles of riding per year on the M0--.
By the way I currently have the same problem of the brake light not coming on with my ST2. It's a wiring problem and I haven't gotten it worked out yet. All I can guarantee is that the two brake switches now work correctly. Unlike the Monster, where you can uncover everything in about 30 seconds, the ST2 takes some tools to get to just about anything. One more session with a wiring diagram and I'll finally have it fixed (I hope).
I have the same problem right now, I wacked off the old plate frame and added a smaller bracket (not a tail chop). When I installed the tail light the runnign lights wern't working so I changed the bulb and we're back up and running. BUT I have no brake light when using the front brake, ??? the rear brake lights up and the running light works. The front micro switch still clicks... I need to get a multi-meter and test the power at the tail light and at the bullet connector of the front switch.
If anyone has blown out a brake switch check out http://www.tawvehicle.com/fit2.htm this places offers the brembo switches at half the cost of your duck dealer. I found out about this place from a Guzzi rider.
I've repeatedly had a problem with my front brake lever not activating the brake light. Last time it turned out to be a fuse, I'm going to check that first thing this weekend. Also, I switched the 48-LED cluster bulb, no more vibration problems.