You can really get a handle on the refinement of the engine in the ‘Urban’ mode, which I put the bike into as we left the hotel and plunged into the heart of the city. The reigning in of the power to 75 PS and the measured throttle output mean the Monster can be ridden easily in city traffic, and even allows rookie riders to get accustomed to their first big bike. For the more seasoned riders, though, there’s nothing like the ‘Sport’ mode, where you see the Monster’s bark and bite come together in a blur-inducing fusion of hair-raising acceleration and that sweet, sweet L-twin symphony. In between the two is the ‘Touring’ mode which brings the full power complement of the engine, but has a medium ride-by-wire setting. The difference between this and the ‘Sport’ mode is much nuanced, and a fair-weather rider might not even pick up on it. However, the good news is I could instantly switch modes on the fly, so I wasn’t stuck in ‘Touring’ for too long. The servo and slipper clutch functionalities were also quite evident while shuffling through the six-speed gearbox, as was the fact that the punch from the engine is quite generously distributed across the rev range.
The Monster is equipped with Sachs upside-down non-adjustable shocks up front and diagonally mounted Sachs suspension in the rear which is directly mounted to the double-sided swing-arm and comes equipped with preload adjustment abilities and rebound damping. The ride on the 821 is on the firmer side, but isn’t so stiff that the undulations on the road are a bother. Tackle a few curves, though, and you can really see how the suspension set-up is a boon. The Monster just sits in the pocket every time you dart into a corner, allowing you to push yourself. The 120/70 front and 180/60 rear Pirelli Diablo Rosso II kicks on the 821 do nothing but inspire confidence as well. Both these aspects and the fact that the bike weighs 205.5 kg ‘wet’ means cornering is an absolute breeze.