The Yamaha XSR900 and Ducati Monster 821 Dark are two different answers to the same question. Both offer essentially the same thing—stripped back, cruisy motorcycling with a hint of sporting prowess in equally stylish and unique packages.
Yamaha has the Japanese answer. The Tuning Fork house has been doing a great job over the last few years tapping into its heritage and delivering motorcycles that are as good to look at as they are to ride. The Sport Heritage line-up has been nothing but a roaring success across the globe, thanks in no small part to various bike-building competitions and an ultra-clever marketing and social media strategy that’s forced this $9,490 XSR900 into the minds of riders across the globe.
Ducati, on the other hand, has its own take on the conundrum. While Yamaha is taping heritage to bring you a new bike, the $10,995 821 Ducati Monster is rolling heritage. Twenty-four-years of uninterrupted Monster manufacturing and millions of happy riders across the globe means the model is nothing but a genuine icon in world motorcycling. The Monster has and always will—in my opinion—define easy street riding.