Motorcycles

Nothing but the essentials: New Ducati Monster sports naked designed to be easy to drive

The Ducati Monster has been reborn lighter and more agile for the new model year.

Photo courtesy of Ducati
The new Ducati Monster has debuted as a stripped back sports bike designed to be high-tech yet easy to ride. The Monster is the best-selling Duacti ever - more than 350,000 have been produced.

When creating the bike, Ducati aimed to make the model the most compact and stripped back bike possible. It's designed to be sporty, good on the road, and equipped with a Superbike-derived frame. That means Ducati engineers needed to shift the riding position to deliver less load to the wrists, offer good a good power to torque ratio, ad make the bike easy to maneuver.

2021 Ducati Monster The bike takes engineering nods from the Ducati Panigale V4.Photo courtesy of Ducati

The process started from scratch as a blank sheet design. Designers had a clear idea of what they wanted - lines and equipment that would make the bike immediately recognizable, DNA and all. The fuel tank was shaped like a bison back, it gained a shoulder-embedded round headlight, and a clean tail and engine formed the thorax.

It was kept light and lean with an aluminum front frame that is similar to what is on the Panigale V4. The bike is 39 pounds lighter than the previous version of the Monster.

The height from the ground to the seat of the motorcycle is 32 inches, which allows riders to easily put their foot down. The sides of the bike are narrow compared to most other models, which also helps. Those who want a lower seat can get one from the Ducati accessories catalogue that moves the height to 31 inches while maintaining proper padding. Additionally, a springs kit ca Abe purchased to lower the bike another inch.

Each Monster is powered by a Testatretta 11-degree 937 cc twin cylinder L-shaped engine. This engine builds on the successes of the 821 in the bike's predecessor and increases displacement, power, and torque while decreeing weight. It delivers 11 horsepower and has a maximum torque of 7 pound-feet. Ducati's engineers have made the torque band better at medium-low range where it's most commonly needed through corners and between curves. A new Ducati Quick Shift Up/Down gearbox completes the powertrain.

2021 Ducati Monster The Monster has additional cornering ability in the new generation.Photo courtesy of Ducati

Ducati has improved the steering angle of the bike to 36 degrees, a seven degree improvement over the last-generation model. The handlebar is also now closer to the driver's body by about 2.7 inches, which allows for more control and a more comfortable ride position. ABS Cornering, Traction Control, and Wheelie Control are all standard on the Monster and are able to be calibrated to a user's preference. It also comes with Launch Control.

Riders get three riding modes to choose from: Sport, Urban, and Touring. The modes are managed by handlebar controls while a 4.3-inch dashboard featuring racing graphics pulls duty as a home of the rev counter and gear indicator.

Ducati has created sticker kits for Monsteristas looking to add more custom options to their bike without hitting the local shop up for aftermarket work. Ducati Performance accessories are also available to take customization further.

2021 Ducati Monster

Photo courtesy of Ducati

The new Monster is available in Ducati Red and Dark Stealth with black wheels, Aviator Grey with GP Red wheels. For those who want the bike with an even sportier image, there is the Plus version in the same colours with an aerodynamic windshield and the cover for the passenger seat as standard.

The Monster will be available in Ducati dealerships starting in April 2021.

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A new Texas-themed version of the Jeep Gladiator is on the way.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep has brought the Gladiator's off-road chops to the trails of the Lone Star State. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail is another of the the traditional of special edition vehicles for Texans who occupy the nation's largest truck market. It's the first time Jeep has offered a unique-to-Texas truck.

The new model builds on the Gladiator Sport S trim adding 17-inch Mid-Gloss Back Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch mud-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, standard side steps, and the Trailer Tow Group. The Gladiator Texas Trail has a unique hood and decals that feature the year 1836 in the graphic as a nod to the year of the Texas Declaration of Independence. It also wears a black hardtop, black leather seats embossed with the Texas Trail graphic and comes equipped with the Technology Group and Convenience Group packages.

2021 Jeep Gl The vehicle is ready to be fully accessorized to the buyer's wishes.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021 Jeep Gl

The Texas-themed model features the buyer's choice of Jeep's new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that's rated at 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 power plant, which achieves 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep has badged each of the models with Trail Rated status. To achieve this status, Jeep vehicles must pass extreme off-road capability challenges.

The Gladiator Texas Trail is available in 10 colors: black, white, Snazzberry, Granite Crystal, Sarge, Nacho, Hydro Blue, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, and Sting-Gray. Jeep recently introduced a Snazzberry-colored Wrangler.

Each Gladiator comes with the Jeep Wave customer service program, which includes three years of maintenance, 24/7 phone/online support, trip interruption/first-day loaner coverage, and VIP access to Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail has a starting MSRP of $40,435 (plus $1,495 destination) and is currently available at Texas dealers.

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The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST gives buyers more performance at a lower price.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Explorer lineup is getting a three-model enhancement for the 2021 model year. The Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid will be making their way to dealership lots later this year in a targeted attempt to identify customer desires.

The new models join the just-announced 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch, also a new addition.

2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST

The Enthusiast ST grade takes a lot of what customers like about the existing Explorer ST and delivers it at a far cheaper price. The Enthusiast ST has a starting MSRP of $48,750 as opposed to the ST, which starts at $52,830.

Setting it apart from there Explorers is the Enthusiast ST's quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and sideview mirrors with ST projection lamps.

The new model comes equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's in the Explorer ST that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission completes the powertrain.

Ford has given the model a sport-tuned suspension and a top track speed of 143 mph. A standard Class III Trailer Tow Package provides towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

The cabin of the Enthusiast ST is complete with leather seating surfaces, unique Miko micro-perforated inserts, and City Silver accent stitching with the ST logo. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and paddle shifters.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST also features standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum

2021 Ford Explorer Plat Ford has two new Platinum models coming to a dealership near you.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Explorer Plat

The new Explorer Platinum is powered by a 3.0-liter engine and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-when drive is available.

To make the Platinum version worthy of its upscale price tag, its packaging includes door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails, a twin-panel moonroof, and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish. Its cabin is fitted with leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum has a starting MSRP of $52,480. The hybrid version of that model starts at $53,085.

All the models are currently available for order via Ford dealerships. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.

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