For people considering the 696:
The difference between the 1100 and the 696 is the 1100 has a fully adjustable suspension, higher off the ground to start, single sided swing arm, heavier, and a lot faster! Everything else is the pretty much the same.
Who does what the best:
[B]Throttle (Shiver 750):[/B] This has to be the thing I miss the most. I love the way touring mode just lets me cruise around town without worrying about what gear I am in incase I hit bumps or something. For me a lot of my roads are bumpy with the Monster you have to pay attention to what gear you are in when you want to cruise and shift down when you want power. With the Shiver I just glided over everything :)
[B]Comfort (Shiver 750):[/B] The Shiver out of the box is 100% more comfortable than the monster for someone of my height. The Monster has a slightly more aggressive riding position requires at minimum in my opinion the Comfort/Touring seat because your balls are constantly crushed up against the tank maybe some risers. I have managed to offset this by using my midsection to hold myself up more.
[B]Reliability (Monster 1100):[/B] The only problem I have with my Monster 1100 is sometimes it takes a few tries to start. Someone explained to me that they left out the High Idle switch and that is causing the problem. The bike has been out since December and you can read the forums for the Monster 1100 and this is the only problem I have seen. Compared to the Shiver which had and still does have a litany of problems since it's release even though not everyone gets the all of them.
[B]Handling (Monster 1100):[/B] Even though I love my women Top Heavy this is where the Shiver loses out. The Shiver is much heavier and when I got on the Monster that was the first thing I noticed. It's like you have your own railway system that bends to your will. This is really noticeable especially when mid-turn, I find it's a lot easier to change my line on the 1100.
[B]Equipment (Shiver 750):[/B] This is where the monster is like the opposite of the Shiver. The mirrors, pegs, seat, bars, are all shite on the Monster. It's like Ducati expects you to go aftermarket anyway so they give you crap. The mirrors Buzz at speed, the bars (or grips) are uncomfortable, the seat sucks, and the pegs are like tiny Metal Dowels.
[B]Looks (Shiver 750):[/B] This bike turns more heads and even gets more chatter from bikers! If you want to be Mr. Cool then this is the bike for you. The Monster 1100 will just as good after some aftermarket parts but with Aprilia you get the most eye candy for your buck. Note: I had the gold trellis frame so I can't speak for those with all silver, personally I think that is ugly.
[B]Aftermarket Parts (Monster 1100):[/B] You want it? Someone makes it!
There is a problem with Power Commanders and the Monster! Supposedly the ECU uses some sort of "Closed-Loop" something or other so the Power Commander either isn't being developed or won't be released for a while.
[B]---Final Thoughts---[/B] (Stop here if you don't give a damn what I say)
Obviously the 1100 is faster than the 750 so I won't even call that a category. What we have in my opinion is two really different machines with their own personalities.
I had my first [B]"Bad service"[/B] experience when I went to pick up the bike and they prepped the wrong one! Now I was pissed because I had to wait 1/2 hour and I was really really hungry. However the dealership rectified this! I was approached, apologized to by everyone from the finance guy, sales guy, service guy, and the owner who wanted to send me off. Not only did I get apologies but I got 2 dealership T-Shirts and a huge deal on the touring seat and a good deal on the seat cowl bag. All in All I probably saved like $75+ on the merchandise I knew I wanted to get.
Not only that but when I went to pick up my stuff the owner came up to me and said "I got a phonecall yesterday from the President of Ducati North America, he read your post complimenting our service and called me to thank me for keeping the brand strong" how about that! Now the dealership _loves_ me they even washed my bike for me! :) A big change from Aprilia where I always felt like the red-headed stepchild and I'm sure that sentiment is shared with others as well.
After all of my experience I would give the Monster 1100 the checkered flag. I'd rather have my money go towards the engine and other vital components than with the Shiver how the money seemed to go towards everything but the vital components.
I'm glad I picked Ducati, Aprilia lost a customer and a referral from me as I can never feel comfortable recommending their brand and that is sad because I really loved my Shiver. Even the dealership I bought my ducati from use to sell Aprilia but won't anymore because of the bad relationship, all of the employees say the same thing "Love Aprilia bikes, but can't depend on them or the company and they make us look bad to our customers."
The final decision is up to you! If anyone has any specific questions post em here please don't PM me so I don't have to repeat myself.