6 Most-Common Problems With The Ducati Monster 696

Whether your destination is ripping up the track or roasting city streets, Ducati Monsters are built with the expertise to cater to your needs.

Although Ducati discontinued the model in 2014, replacing it with two big-brothers,  a used Monster 696 is a gem to find.

No bike runs all the time perfectly, though, and whether you’re in the market for a used Monster or you’re already the proud owner of one, learning the details of the troubleshooting other owners did can save you time and money.

We have researched the Ducati Monster 696 and compiled a list of issues its owners have reported over the year.

Let’s rip right into it!

1) Bike Battery Problems

We’ve encountered a few owner complaints regarding the Monster 696 battery dying after periods of leaving the bike to sit.

Further probing into the battery issue shows that Monster 696 batteries drain when left without use for quite a while.

Unless the battery is hooked up to a trickle charger or a battery tender while it’s inactive, a motorcycle battery can’t charge unless the bike is running.

Most motorcycles require a 12-volt battery. Technically, the exact voltage in a fully charged battery is 12.6. 75% charged battery is around 12.4v while 12.2v is considered half charge.

The minimum voltage required to start your motorcycle is 12.2v, equivalent to a 50% charge on a new battery. As the battery ages, its efficiency reduces.

This brings the need for a higher battery charge percentage to start your bike. It is not a hard and fast rule that a 12.6 volts battery must start your bike. The battery must also have enough current (this is where the key issue lies).

However, checking the voltage is also important.

Possible Causes of Battery Drain:

  1. Parasitic Drain:
    • This terminology is used to describe a situation where motorcycle computers and faulty wiring cause a slight discharge of the battery.
  2. Letting The Bike Sit for Too Long:
    • It is normal for motorcycle batteries to die after sitting idle for 2 – 4 months.
    • Newer batteries can stay up to 5 months before problems arise, while old batteries typically die after 1 to 3 months of neglect.

Why Do Motorcycle Batteries Lose Power When Not Used?

To keep your motorcycle battery in check, you must use your bike periodically.

Allowing the bike to be inactive for too long will make its battery lose the capacity to power the bike.

Also, each time the battery drains completely, it causes some irreversible damage to the battery capacity. In this case, the battery will not be able to charge fully.

The CPU on older Monster 696s put more of a parasitic drain on the battery during inactivity periods.

They’ve since updated their software to prevent this from happening; some users of older models of Monster 696 have resorted to software updates from the dealer to solve this problem.

Another way some users cope with starting issues is always to use the cold start lever. Depending on the weather, giving the bike full or half lever and leaving it to idle for a while before zooming off has proven effective.

For batteries with charging issues, you can also try to use a battery tender. Battery tenders are better than battery trickle chargers when it comes to preventing your battery from overcharging.

A battery tender has a sensor that indicates when the battery charge is too low and needs charging. It also detects when the battery is fully charged and will stop charging automatically.

This means you can keep your bike battery connected to a battery tender for as long as you wish without fear of overcharging.

2) Oil Spillage Problem

Even a world-class corner-ripper comes with common concerns; for the Ducati Monster 969, the left side oil leak is one of the most common.

The symptoms frequently reported by Monster 696 riders were as follows:

A thin coat of oil glosses over the left side of the engine case, footpeg, and all over the lower left side of the motorcycle after riding the bike, even just slightly aggressive.

Due to the numerous diagnostics that have taken place to resolve this problem, owners and mechanics have deduced the culprit to be a faulty seal on the engine’s left side. This causes a small amount of oil to leak out continuously.

This issue was covered by warranty when the bikes were still new; if you’re shopping for a used one, inquire into the bike’s history with the previous owner to figure out if the engine seals have been updated and kept up.

For Monster 696 experiencing this issue, although a used bike more than two years old is most likely past the warranty coverage point, most Ducati mechanics are aware of the problem and should be able to swap your leaking seal ut relatively cheap. It’s an easy fix.

3) Side Stand Problems

Side stands are important components of motorcycles. They are required for propping the bike up when you temporarily park the bike.

The side stand bolts of a motorcycle help to ease the deployment of the stand and keep the stand in place.

If the side stand bolts fall off, it’s a matter of time before the side stand follows.

The side stand bolts can rattle loose and fall out with time. Several Monster 696 users complain about having to replace side stand bolts twice a year.

Motorcycle engines vibrate. It’s just a part of the gig of riding bikes.

Checking the integrity and torque of side stand bolts is a part of routine service maintenance. It takes a while to perform a thorough inspection, and if you don’t have the time to do it, Ducati mechanics are happy to help.

Whichever option you decide, it’s imperative to put a wrench on all your bike’s bolts in adherence with the owner’s manual, every few thousand miles, or at least twice a year.

For issues like this, the best offense is a good defense.

4) Mirror Hanging Position

In some older versions of the Monster 696, the mirrors are notorious for loosening and assuming ridiculous positions.

This is another issue we can chalk up to the Monster’s roar. We recommend checking the tightness of the mirrors on any motorcycle after a good day of hard riding.

The mirrors can be replaced with better ones, either form Ducati or from one of the myriad aftermarket companies that manufacture parts and upgrades for Ducati Monsters.

5) Gear Shifting Issues

Like other bikes in the series, the Ducati Monster 696 has received a fair share of complaints about gear shifts, namely, the dreaded false neutral between 4th and 5th gears.

A few riders have complained that quick shifting into 5th gear from 4th creates a false neutral and redlines the engine for a second before shifting.

Redlining the motor on a bike as fast and powerful as the Ducati Monster 696 can be startling.

Based on statements we’ve dug up, the false neutral between 4th and 5th happens when the engine isn’t ready to shift:

  1. If there’s more power available in 4th gear, it’s not prepared to shift in 5th yet.
  2. If your RPMs aren’t high enough, your gears are too chunky to shift at the current RPMs.
  3. If the RPMs are too low for a full-throttle upshift, the bike will reject it.

A Ducati is a racing bike; its high gears are built for high-speeds. Wait until you have the RPMs where they need to be in 4th gear before attempting to quick-shift into 5th gear.

Something else to keep in mind is that, like on any bike, sometimes the gearbox force causes a missed-shift. Try releasing and re-engaging the clutch followed by hard steps on the pedal may upward gear shift.

In other cases, the bike does shift, but there is no “feedback click” feel when changing gears. Feel the bike out—inspect your RPMs and how hard the motor is pushing to deduce whether you’ve shifted correctly.

6) High Cost of Maintenance

As with many Ducati bikes, the cost of maintenance can get quite high. The Cost of maintenance largely depends on how often you ride your Monster 696.

Also, annual servicing charges can range from $900 – $1200. For occasional bike users, it may take two years before servicing their bikes.

Additionally, full servicing is required every 2 years or at 7000 miles.

This may seem high, but the cost of updating a poorly maintained bike is exponentially higher than keeping up with the bike in adherence to the suggested maintenance schedule.

Also, Ducati uses world-class engineering; maintaining their technology requires specially trained mechanics.

Some Other Minor Issues Associated With Monster 696:

Seat Height:

Some users, especially the tall riders, complain about how low the seats of Monster 696 can be.

Replacing the seat with a more comfortable one has been of help to these riders.

You should also be reading our article which talks about 6 Most-Common Problems With the Ducati Monster 1200

Wide Handle Bars:

The width of the handlebars partly determines the ease of navigation on bikes.

There are also complaints that the bars on Monster 696 are relatively wider when compared with other bike models.

This makes backing out of a parking spot quite a task. Also, finding your way between stationary traffic can get more complicated.

General Pros and Con for the Ducati Monster 696:

As with all models of motorcycles, The Ducati Monster 696 motorcycles have their positive sides and negatives:

Pros:

One good side to the Monster 696 is its relatively low price compared with many other Monster types from Ducati. With $5,000 to $6,000, you can get a nice M696.

It’s very reliable and uniquely designed with enough power to care for the average commuter’s need. Despite its low price, many users tout its quality performance in getting users out of traffic in time.

As M696 comes with modern LED headlights, it automatically reduces the battery drain tendency and improves the Monster’s look.

Monster 696 engines come with two valves and are air-cooled. They do not overheat, unlike many other Ducati models.

The engines last so long that some M 696 2008 version users still cruise around in them without issues.

Cons:

  • The engine is susceptible to oil leakage.
  • Battery drain may occur sooner than expected.
  • Side stand bolts may require frequent replacements.
  • The Monster model is a bit too old for new generation riders.
  • Riders may experience gear shifting issues occasionally.

What Do The Reviews Say?

“Monster 696 is relatively easy to maintain. The engine comes with 2 valves, air-cooled. Its price is quite reasonable ($5,000 – 6,000 for a 2009 – 2011 model). Plus, it has got the Ducati name.”

[Source: cycleworld.com]

“The Ducati Monster 696 was the Italian firm’s most important bike for years. The Monster is the bike that brings in the money for Ducati and thankfully it seems they’ve got it spot on.”

[Source: Motorcyclenews.com]

You may also like to explore our article about 8 Most-Common Problems With Ducati Monster 796

What is the Resale Value on The Ducati Monster 696?

The Ducati Monster 696 may not offer the highest power in the Ducati Monster series; however, its performance is impressive and worth acquiring.

A point to note is that the resale value of most Ducatis drops by about half after two years of purchase.

Because Monster 696 is still generally accepted as reliable, reselling it would not pose much of an issue.

So we have lined up an estimated resale value list for the Monster 696:

Bike model Year Mileage mph (km/h) Price ($)
Ducati Monster 696 2011 125 (201) 6,200
Ducati Monster 696 2010 125 (201) 5,950
Ducati Monster 696 2009 125 (201) 5,200

Final Thoughts

The Monster 696 is one of the earliest Monster series. It has a touch of both the old and the new. Younger riders may not fancy some of its old features.

Despite not being as powerful as the more recent Monsters, it is good enough for commuters who need to beat the traffic to get to work.

Its relatively low price and the cost of maintenance compare favorably with the more recent Ducati Monsters. It is important to note that users report very different experiences with this bike.

Some users complain about one or two faults with the M696. Others tout its 99% reliability. What likely caused this disparity is the age of the bike.

The 2011 versions of the Monster 696 seem to have generally fewer issues when compared with earlier versions (2010 and 2009). If you insist on buying an M696, make sure you get the more recent version.

The M696 2011 should be ideal. Before zooming off with your bike, be sure to watch for oil leaks around the engine.

One way to get the most out of your bike is by taking your bike to a trusted, Ducati-literate mechanic to check the engine. Also,  try to keep a monthly maintenance routine.

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