Oof, what happened?

There’s always the thrill of the forbidden when you’re looking at spy shots, isn’t there? Even though some ‘spy shots’ are opportunities for companies to carefully control how and when their products are revealed to the public, you still can’t escape that delicious feeling of seeing something you’re maybe not supposed to see just yet. It’s like sneaking a cookie before a meal when you were a kid and not getting caught.  

What we’re looking at here is a 2021 Ducati Monster, spied at a German test facility. To say that it’s a departure from what we’ve come to expect of the Monster Family would be a gross understatement. The first thing you’ll notice is that cast aluminum frame. Is a Monster still a Monster without that distinctive trellis frame we’ve all come to know and love? I’m sure Ducatisti and other motorcyclists alike will be debating that question for years to come. 

As with the current 821 and 1200 Testastretta-engined Monsters, this new test mule is clearly water-cooled. Currently, the Desmodue-engined 797 is the only air-cooled modern Monster, so while fans will obviously have opinions about whether the shift to water-cooling was a good thing or not, it’s not groundbreaking within the confines of the Monster family. Moving on, do you think that stacked exhaust will remain on the production version?  

Gallery: 2021 Ducati Monster Spy Photos

Whether you’re a fan of newer Monsters or older Monsters, I’m pretty sure most people seeing these photos can agree that it seems to do away with the visual cues and appeal that have set the Monster family apart all this time. I know that OEMs need to change things up to keep the public interested, but was this really the way to do it? It looks kind of boring, and if you saw this bike out in the wild, you wouldn’t instantly look at it and know you were seeing a Monster. Honestly, these spy shots make me a little sad. What do you think?