I've a ST3, and I've a few friends running ST4s'. We find that maintenance usually isn't as bad as a lot of people say. Join the yahoo DucatiST (st2_owners) list, you'll get more info about the ST bikes than you'll ever want to know.
7500 valve service plus all the other stuff that goes with it usually will cost $600-700 depending on your dealers service rate. Atlanta Triumph Ducati is $90 hr. I know some Duc shops that are as high as $125 hr.
Regular oil changes- do them yourself- it's not hard.
sfriderjpo.. In general terms, anything you can learn to do yourself will save you money, whether it be oil changes, plugs, checking fluid levels, cables, etc. It brings you closer to "knowing" what be be wrong with your bike at any given time. I suggest a maint manual and a friend to give you a hand learning more about the inner workings of your bike. As you learn more you'll get more comfortable doing more complicated tasks etc. I live in a condo and keep my bike in a storage unit where I do as much of the maintenance that I can.
Again in general terms, anything with a fairing will require more dissasembly prior to getting to the inner workings of your bike but becomes second nature once you've removed the fairings a few times. I own a 2001 Roadstar 1600, 2003 FJR 1300, and a 2005 Gold Wing and have gradually done more and more on each of them. It's usually the valve check that's gonna cost the most on most bikes but they usually are adding in alot of other routine checks that you can do easily, so just pay for the actual valve check if you want and do the rest yourself.
Previous question about a new bike. Get an FJR. Comes with easily detachable hard bags, add a Givi top box and you have plenty of packing room. It handles twisties great, top speed 152, plenty of horses..good luck!
One of the main reasons for recommending a Buell Ulysses is the maintenance routine. First, parts are fairly cheap and second, the regular maintenance issues of valves and chain are nearly moot points. Those valves adjust themselves and the chain is a belt. The bike is a stone axe. It's proving to be pretty trouble free with a few minor issues relating to the kickstand and rear fender, both of which are taken care of by the dealer. There are Harley dealers everywhere, as opposed to Duc dealers. But, the purchase is a passion thing. Go with your heart. If it's broken, 'tis better to have loved and lost...My nearest dealer pissed me off to no end, so I passed on a Uly. I really regret not getting it though. Maybe next year and at a dealer a wee bit farther away.
Thanks for the suggestion on the Buell Ulysses. You were the only one, i think, that recommended the Buell. I've been looking at the website and find the bike interesting (albiet different). There's a Harley dealer not too far away, so i think i'll check out the Buells this weekend.
Removing the plastic is a good idea. I started to do that recently....
The reason i posed the question is because I've been told repeatedly that I'm getting "hosed" on the maintenance. Yet, i'm don't know what the costs are for comparable bikes. That is - asuming i take a VFR into the shop (or whatever bike) what are the costs to do so?
If you end up with an 07 Duc, I believe they have upped the service intervals to 7500 and 15,000.
Your dealer sounds high on their shop prices. There can be big differences between dealers, so call around. I have an older 2-valve Ducati, so that should make it some what cheaper, but my 6K services have been under $400 and the 12K services have been under around $500.
The two valve bikes are cheaper to maintain, so that is one more reason to look at the Multistrada 1100. The new 1100 engine should have very similar power to the ST3, but be a bit "torquier"
I don't really worry about the service cost too much for a couple of reasons; 1) I ride a couple of different bikes and split up the miles. 2) I can't keep a bike long enough to reach most "major" service miles.
As stated above the buell has some service advantages due to the valves and belt being little to no service.
I haven't owned a v-tech VFR, but understand the service can be a bit of sticker shock.