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Are there any "bad" bikes out there anymore? Modern bikes all seem to be good or brilliant at what they are designed for (even if some people judge them according to what they are not designed for). If I could afford a ply bike the Duke would be high on the list...until then my old GS1000 will just have to do everything!
 

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As a recent Duc convert, I was impressed all along with the looks of the 748/9** series. I bought a 748 and was truly impressed after a short time. Now I have a 998S Bayliss on order - and can't wait. Besides being functionally excellent, they are truly engineered art, at least in the eyes of this beholder.
 

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I agree. The overall quality of modern bikes must make it tough to be a motojournalist these days. I guess you gotta have serious skills (or personal biases, like being really tall or having a unique riding style) to differentiate between these bikes. I rode a Y2K Kawi ZX-6R at Keith Code's school. This bike finished last in many 600 shootouts, but it had a good suspension, turned well and after I adjusted to its inline-four powerband (I ride a tame V-twin 650 Hawk GT), found it to be a truly addictive ride!



What really seems surprising to me are the reports that the new Ducatis are very "refined." This seems to imply that they might be more reliable than older Ducs.



Cost is always a major issue with Ducatis, of course, but if I hear that they've been trouble-free for a few years, maybe a used 2002 998 will find its way to my garage.



Warren
 

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I am truly amazed at what Ducati has done in the last six or seven years and they just

keep doing it year after year. I have a fast bike, not a Ducati, but certainly faster than the average street machine. Now I have some speeding tickets and I almost have to ride

a fast bike slowly or not ride at all. I'm actually thinking of buying a mellow cruiser as a

second bike to wait out the tickets coming off the license. My point is here, that with bikes

like the 998 which are state of the art fast I can't imagine how riders are going to avoid

tickets. Maybe we need an article on radar detectors in between these articles on state of

the art fast bikes.
 

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You'll recall the ZX-6R has won our recent 600 shootouts here. And the bike also won the 600 Supersport title (Eric Bostrom).



It may not be the raciest bike out of the crate, but it's the best bike for the most people most of the time. Obviously, there is a lot of potential "under the hood" as well.
 

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Radar detectors are fine an dandy, though they're not fool-proof. And have you heard of "instant-on" radar? No radar detector will help you there.



The best thing to avoid tickets? Pick your spots! Ride at a safe and sane pace on the street, and find yourself a track to go peg-scraping at.
 

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I'm looking to find a miniaturized police radio transponder detector for use in concert with a Valentine One (THE ultimate radar detector) for total protection.



Anyone know where I can get one?



--Foxy
 

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You need a GSXR1000

and pretend the rev limiter is at 7000 rpm. Or get a Buell. Think about how fast you have to be going just to get near the powerband in first gear on most bikes. Bikes that do 80+mph at redline in first are a blast anytime I don't get caught, but big torque hooking up right away that can give you a thrill up any on ramp might make you a little more likely to satisfied with chopping it at the speed limit. The Ducati would probably be less of a license loser for me than a 600. In fact, so would the GSXR1000, most of the time. Unless they turn up on one of my secret roads, then I'd just be screwed.
 

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The biggest negative you hear from Ducati detractors is that even routine maintenance is horrifically expensive if you take it to the shop and horrifically difficult for the average layman to do himself. Also that reliability is so-so. I'd like to hear from somebody who has some major miles on one and isn't rich and doesn't have an engineering degree or 8 years as a pit mechanic. IOW somebody who likes to ride 'em more than work on 'em, like me.
 

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I'd like to hear a reliability update from some riders also.



I used to own a '71 Ducati 250 dirt bike and, even though it was no great MX type bike it was a great bike for fire roads and was virtually indestructible and always ran and ran and ran. Their entire line of 250, 350 and 450 singles were considered very reliable bikes. It saddened me to see their bikes be nicknamed "time bombs" starting with the 750s.
 

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As a 900SS rider since '93 with ~40,000 miles on the bike, I find:



Number of times bike has left me stranded == 0

Number of times the bike has pissed me off == 2



Routine maintanance is required approximately as often as new sticky tires, and cost just about the same as the new tires. I don't find this excessive as a cost structure, and given my general preference for NASCAR-like sound over F1-like sounds, the cost is easily born. In reality, the only indication the bike needs another trip to the shop is the rattling of the valves adjustments gets a little louder (performance doesn't seam to change).



I often ride in groups with lots of inline 4s with lots greater power, but I can routinely take them off corners due to the wide Torque band, and the forgiving power band tollerates all sorts of han fisted inputs to the bike without generating "spitting you off" situations. For the same reasons many sports car drivers prefer the power band of Vetts and Vipers, many riders will be eminently happy with the power and power bands of Ducatis over equivalent inline 4s. All in all, a worthy ride.
 

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A GSXR1000- Last thing I need!

Aside from cornering clearance, I cannot use the capability of any Gixxer, let alone a thou, on the street. I probably couldn't on a track, but that is another story. I usually stay well out of the power band, for license protection and general sanity purposes. All the torque that a thou makes would get me into more trouble than a gutless down low 600. The gutlessness of a 600 keeps me out of trouble until I get to those secret roads.

Incidentally, some guy put little piles of gravel in the apexes of one of the most entertaining roads out here. #@%&*#!!! Stay alert!
 

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No offence my friend but you need to ride smart and pick your spots to wail.

I've never had a ticket on my GSXR1100 and I often (couple times a month in the summer) spend extended periods over 240KMH... but thats only on roads way out in the country where there are neither cops nor blind areas that could hide old pickups or farm equp (or heaven forbid, kids!!!) heading out onto my chosen line.



I've also found that cops are cherry pickers. I've never seen them in the twisties (unless it's a very popular sport bike spot) but rather on long straights or near townships. When I'm wailin through the twisties, I ease off on the straight bits then use the 1100's accelleration to achieve a good speed for braking into the next corner... I don't carry the speed all the way down the straights. Yeah, not much like the track but, then again, I'm not on the track ;-)



Just some tips... hope they help you ride hard and smart on the street.
 

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I have a friend with a 748. His wife has an ST2. She has begun to complain about the cost of maintenance.




I ride a BMW R1100, as well as a Kawasaki Concours (old tech Ninja motor). I spend about 60% of the maintenance on the BM as my friend does on his Duc. However, my Concours with it's low tech maintenance requirements is _much_ cheaper, as I can do it all myself. Even with the dealer doing the maintenance, the Concours costs me 50% of what the BMW requires to keep it sweet.




I don't want to think what the Duc would cost me to do my usual 15k miles per annum, what with tires and maintenance.




The main reason I won't even go for a test ride on a Ducati is the potential danger that I might really like it. My friends use to both be BMW addicts, and are now Ducati converts...
 

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A lot of buck for the bang

Excellent article about a beautiful, capable bike that's way, way too expensive. At the end of the article, I saw the price showing as 10K and change, and was just about to dial the dealer to make a downpayment when I saw it was 10K "pounds". Those Brits are making my life miserable. That means about $18KUSD for you and me. Guess I'll keep smokin by those Ducs on my comfy/fast ZX-11 ($5K). But if I had the dough-re-me, I'd be tempted to buy one. Great pix!

Bill R

www.greatoldbikes.com
 

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I just bought a 2000 900SS in May, put it away about a month ago, and managed to log a little over 12,000 miles in the interim (about half of it over 12 days). I had 2 flat tires, one from bad luck, and one from stupidity and replaced the front, all told I'm into tires for about $450 or so.



I've hit two service intervals, the first at 600 miles, the second at 6,000. I'd say for the two of them my total was about $650 or so for the usual tensionings, tightenings, throttle balancing, and Ducati's ever perilous valve adjustments.



Since this is my first modern bike I have no idea what others are paying for service so perhaps my ignorance is my bliss.



For the record I am an engineer but I haven't taken it upon myself to learn the Ducati valve adjustment deal, maybe before spring.



As for reliability, I've never been let down, even on repeated days of 600 miles or more. I honestly can't imaging having a better bike for the way I like to ride.
 
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