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They're solid as a rock anymore. My street riding buddy has an ST4 and the thing is pretty Honda-like. Except for the kickstand it's been reliable as hell. He goes twice the mileage between valve adjustments and so far no clanking noises or extra parts being spit out the exhaust pipe.
 

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The reliability of modern Ducati's should be of little concern. However, the maintenance can be costly depending on which model and how many miles you ride. The valve checks at 6000 miles aren't a huge deal unless you are riding big miles. The 2V (S2R) will be less expensive to maintain than the 4V (S4RS). Parts support has been no problem.

Something that can't be helped is the desire for a ducati. It tends to grab hold.
 

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I've got 24K on a ST4s, no problems so far except for needing a new battery, pretty minor all things considered. Service costs can run high, though it's not a big deal doing the valves yourself, but it is more time consuming than most other motors.

If you like them, go for it, you'll be happy. The character of Ducati motors is different than everything else out there, different in a good way.
 

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Like you I am considering a Ducati, an S2R 1000.



The maintenance cost are a little scary.



Its easy to say do the maintenance yourself, but I bang out 120 miles a day, thats a service every 10 weeks, and I don't see how I would be able to fit the maintenance in with my other 'chores'. Note that it is not the valve clearances that are particular onerous, its stripping the beast down.



That said, if I could find a reputable mechanic that was prepared to give me a decent rate on the maint. I think I would jump.



I can hear the dry clutch rattling and the twin booming as I type.
 

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Ducatis are usually pretty solid, with few problems. Ducati has spent some time updating those "antiquated" processes that were a problem in the past. Do the valve adjustments on schedule and you will be fine. The cost of maintenance is another matter. Find out what it will be up front. I have seen dealers range from $350 to $750 for a two valve adjustment. My advice, if the dealer is high, do your own adjustments once it is out of warranty. Or you can negotiate the first two services into the price of the bike. One Calfornia dealer even offers a video to show you how.



Francis
 

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I have a bunch of friends who ride and club race ducati's. I've gone through a couple myself in years past. Here are some first hand facts. I've seen over 25k miles on a 2 valve monster with only one valve adjustment. The bike is a '97 and still runs perfect. I've seen a 996 with about 12k miles and only one valve adjustment. This bike has seen many hours of track time and still runs great. I bought a used 748 with about 16k miles on it and the motor gets run pretty hard on a regular basis and keeps on kicking without issues. The only bothersome problems i've had with ducatis are the occassional minor electrical problem which has never amounted to anything more than just being a slight nuisance. I'd buy again without any worry of reliability.
 

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Thanks so far! I'm getting a little excited now thinking about buying one. The question now becomes: S-4R(s) or S-2R. Obviously, more power is nice, but if I don't need it on the street AND the S-2R is easier to maintain???
 

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I prefer the torque characteristics of the two valve myself, but that's just me. As for horsepower, I have difficulty needing more than 90+ in a sub 400 lb bike. Personally I am jonesing for a 1000GT.



Francis
 

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Francis is right. Unless you're riding a luxo-barge touring bike, about 100 hp (give or take) is all you'll ever need for the street. My last BMW made only 75-ish hp, and that's enough for two-up touring plus LOADED Jesse bags. It's also enough to run the Dragon in 2nd and 3rd gears. And that's a 615 lb. motorcycle.



The 90+ hp that the 2-valve Duc engine makes is more tahn enough to pull every wheelie you want to, enough to walk away from every car not driven by Michael Schumacher, and certainly enough to commute.



Plus, if what you first liked about the Duc is her looks, then most ducatisti would argue that the bikes look better without all that plumbing and those hoses and that radiator.



Lastly, many think that because the noise of the engine is less isolated from your ears in the air-cooled engine (no water jacket to help muffle the explosions), the two-valve sounds a bit better.



Get the two-valve.
 

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I've had just about every inline 4 sportbike made, including an RC-51 and Buell. I've grown very weary of inline 4s on the street. The XB-12R has great power for the street, but the lack of RPM can sometimes be bothersome. If the Duc has the same characteristics as the Buell but with a 10,000 RPM redline, it sounds like the ticket for me. The Buell only suffers at the track against an inline due to the straightline speed deficit. Not a problem on the street. I'm almost convinced, especially if the Dolce Vida program is still in effect for the S-2R
 

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The air/oil cooled 2 valve motors are the most user friendly. The 4 valve water cooled bikes need to be maintained by a qualified Ducati tech. If I remember right, all new Ducs come with a factory 2 yr unlimited mile warranty.
 

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Over the past three years I`ve owned two Ducks,1000SS and an ST2.I also have had at the same time two Harleys,Dyna Sport and a

Road Glide.

I never had a problem with any of them.

The ST2 is,IMHO,one of the sweetest rides that ever existed.

If you can find a great used one,go for it.

You will only regret getting rid of it later.

 

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Long term ducati owner here. I had a two-valve Monster, a 1997 m900. If you ride 6000 miles a year, then a one-yearly trip to the shop, I found, is a good idea just to have the mechanics go over everything while they are doing the valve service. My shop charged about $350 for the service and in return I had a peak-running bike all year long. Some other shops wanted close to $800 for the service (on a Monster!) and also had long waiting lists, scheduling hassles, etc. If you have a good supportive shop or like to do the maintenance yourself then it makes all the difference.



Ducatis come with a two-year warranty which should protect you against any "lemon" parts and you can extend that to a four-year warranty. I had a turn signal switch go bad on me-- maybe someone sprayed it with something-- and it was replaced, along with with a clutch slave seal. That was it, and both were covered. I rode the bike for 30,000 miles before selling it.



I've also freuqnetly ridden a 916, a friend's bike frequently loaned to me in exchange for my truck. This was a four-valve water cooled motor, of course, and while that bike was very nice it was not appropriate for commuting and city riding.



I've ownede about six Hondas, two Kawasakis, four KTMs, and a Yamaha and a Triumph. No Suzukis yet. I would rate the quality and reliability of the Ducatis and the KTMs highest by a large margin.



I've found that all bikes require maintenance and care. Properly maintained, a Ducati will outlast a Honda, due to the quality of its components, and it will also retain resale value.



Hondas are not bulletproof or better quality bikes. I would say instead that they are more idiot-proof. In other words, while a properly maintained Ducati will last longer and retain its value better than a properly mainained Honda, if you took the same two bikes and did NOTHING to them, the Honda would outlast the Ducati by many miles.



Based on my experience I would definitely buy a Ducati again if a model matched my riding needs and desires. It was an excellent value given the good deal I got on it initially and its high resale value years later. An 800-1000cc S2 engine would be my engine choice.
 

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I've read that for 2007 Ducati is extending the maintence interval to 9,000 miles.



Also, my dealer was saying that what he feels is the most critical aspect of Duc maintence is the belts. He says that they really must be replaced every 2 year. Evidently these belts don't have self-adjusting tensioners unlike most car engines.
 
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