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Discussion Starter #1 reviews the 2009 Ducati Monster 696. Be sure to read the article and watch the video and let us know what you think of this Italian masterpiece.

There I was in the midst of it, decked in my finest T-shirt damp with 16 hours of travel perspiration, cargo shorts, year-old cross-trainers, four bags of gear in tow and late for dinner. Thanks for that, British Airways!

All I kept thinking to myself, as I tried to blend in like a cat at a dog show was, "I guess Italians and Spaniards really are that good looking." That, and how important a humble little air-cooled two-valve roadster must be to Ducati.

For all the glitz, glam and exposure Ducati's renowned 1098 and its variants have received in the past year and a half, you could almost lose sight of the fact that the Bologna, Italy, bike maker has any other products. Accolades from prestigious motopublications to the average Ducatisti heaped upon the brilliant Twin are deserved; it is a machine that has ratcheted Ducati's name up to the stratosphere on the scale of all things desirable. A home in the South of France, private jet, fine wines, beautiful spouse, exotic automobiles, admiration by those we admire, high-performance Ducati sportbike. Yes, a bright red Duc 1098 (or Desmosedici!) is right at home in that imaginary life.

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