Basic Instinct A Ducati Monster 797 From Hong Kong
The Ducati Monster is one of motorcycling’s greatest success stories. Miguel Galluzzi’s brainchild first rolled out of the factory in 1993, and has remained part of the Bologna line-up ever since.
Even 26 years on, the DNA of the original M900 is still very visible in the Monster range—and it’s especially clear in the entry level Monster 797, the most basic yet traditional Monster in the set.
Instead of using the liquid-cooled Testastretta motor employed by its bigger siblings, it has the simpler 803 cc air-cooled mill used in the Ducati Scrambler. And its stripped-back design makes it ripe for customization.
When an almost new Monster 797 rolled through Angry Lane’s Hong Kong workshop, French brothers Ben and Guillaume Barras immediately saw the connection to the Monster’s legacy. They’d worked on a 94-model M900 a few months prior, and fell in love with its simplicity.
“In 2017 Ducati went to basics with the Monster 797,” the guys tell us. “803 cc L-twin motor, 72 hp, 67 Nm, no traction control, no riding modes, air-cooled, just ABS, making it accessible to basically any rider. The spirit of the original Monster was back: easy to ride and not a sports bike.”
Angry Lane’s client wanted a more aggressive vibe, and to retain the Monster’s pillion accommodations … but left the Barras bros. to figure the rest out themselves. So they decided to build a “tribute to the original Ducati Monster, and the millions of smiles it puts on riders’ faces.”
Angry Lane wanted to slim the Monster 797 down even further, so they started by reworking the rear. They called in their friend Tom, a local go-to welder, to fabricate a single aluminum unit to cover the bottom of the subframe and cap off the tail.
It’s a trick design that incorporates the original tail light while simultaneously tightening up the lines.
Tom also made a new battery box, which now houses both the original components and a Lithium-ion battery. The seat was shortened, and reupholstered in two different Pittards leathers by Ben. The top has an especially unique finish—it’s the same anti-slip ‘digital’ leather that’s used on the palm of most MotoGP race gloves.
The 797’s a pretty decent performer out the box, so Angry Lane left the suspension alone. But they swapped the alloy wheels out for for a stunning set of spoked tubeless items from Alpina, to give the modern Monster an extra classic hit. And Brembo Italy sent over some new brakes and master cylinders.
Ben and Guillaume also fitted a slew of upgrades that would make any Ducatista jealous. They started with a transparent oil-in-bath clutch cover from Ducabike—visually similar to an open dry clutch, but without the rattle. That meant upgrading the clutch to a hydraulic system, which they did with a CNC Racing slave cylinder.
CNC Racing also supplied a set of see-through belt covers, adjustable rear sets and new wheel axle nuts. The air filter was upgraded to a high performance one from DNA Filters, and the air box removed.
Angry Lane chromed the original exhaust headers, then capped them off with a titanium muffler from Spark. There’s also a gas cap and swing-arm mounted license plate bracket from Rizoma.
Up in the cockpit, Ben and Guillaume had OTR Performance in Germany machine up a new top triple clamp, so they could fit a set of LSL clip-ons. They specifically picked a set that was raised, for a more aggressive stance without too much discomfort. Other updates include Motogadget bar-end turn signals and mirrors, and a KOSO LED headlight.
There are also a bunch of parts you can’t order from a catalog—namely the carbon fiber fenders, side panels, exhaust shield, and a couple of smaller trim bits. “You can find a lot of aftermarket carbon parts,” Guillaume explains, “but we wanted similar carbon as some supercars: twill full carbon glossy weave, like you can find on some Aston Martins and McLarens.”
They designed the parts in-house, then sent the designs to a firm abroad to produce. Given the complicated request, it took a full three months to get the parts back—but it was certainly worth it.
For the final finishes, Angry Lane’s client originally requested a lot of black. But he also trusted the brothers to throw their own ideas in—which they did, with spectacular results.
The frame was treated to a burnt bronze Cerakote coating, and the swing arm sand blasted, then vapor blasted for a smooth aluminum finish. The tank was done in Porsche colors from 1996—a combo of black and dark grey, with bronze highlights to match the frame.
The Monster looks a whole lot tighter and more aggressive now, and it’s reportedly more precise on the road now too. But Guillaume tells us that the cherry on the cake was the message they received after the client’s first ride:
“Il Monstro just had its first ride to Shek-O and back. Rides like a katana blade and makes a noise like a belly full of lions roars. I was laughing most of the ride.”
“Thank you guys. Love it.”
Angry Lane | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Maxime Champigneulle
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