Nothing says "motorcycle" like a naked air-cooled sporty bike. They are little more than an engine with a couple of wheels tacked on at either end. No unsightly radiators and their attendant plumbing, and no plastic fairings hiding the mechanical bits – they're the epitome of elemental motorcycling.
But in this slice of moto-dom, there are a few different philosophies. Ducati's Monster 1100 represents an Italian school of thought, with eye-catching styling that befits its country of origin. One of the originators of the naked sportbike movement, this new Monster's abbreviated trellis frame pares down the bike's visible components to a level that an untrained eye might wonder how the thing is held together.
The North American viewpoint is provided by Harley-Davidson's new XR1200, an homage to the most American form of two-wheel motorsport, dirt-track racing. Other than its modern aluminum swingarm and triple-disc brakes, the XR appears as if it could’ve rolled off the pages of a Cycle News race report from the 1960s.
What we have here are two machines that are literally half a world apart in origin, and probably a galaxy apart in styling philosophy. Yet the commonality of simplicity – the simplicity of a no-nonsense air-cooled Twin as a power source – make the Harley-Davidson XR1200 and Ducati Monster 1100 brothers in arms
More: Ducati Monster 1100 vs Harley-Davidson XR1200 Review on Motorcycle.com