i agree with all the previous posts. if you take care of the bike, it should be fairly reliable. i haven't had any major issues and hopefully won't in the future. it's run every time i've wanted and has never left me stranded. knock on wood.
yes, you will save money on gas, but you're going to end up spending that savings + a whole lot more on the bike, and not just for scheduled/unscheduled servicing. there are a lot of aftermarket parts to buy, too many in fact.
i currently own a 2000 748 that i purchased 2 years ago. since then, i've put on about 6000 miles/year, mostly commuting (bike has about 13000 miles on it). last year, at the 6000 mile service, i did the work myself and didn't spend a whole lot of money. the biggest expense was the tires, about $400 for pirelli's.
currently, i have the bike apart for the 12000 mile service (i know i'm late, but i couldn't stop riding). so far, i've spent $300 on new tires (yes, they run out that fast; this year switched to michelins to hopefully get a little extra mileage out of them), about $450 on a new clutch basket and friction plates, and about $350 for new chain and front/rear sprockets. i've also spent about $200 buying new tools to do these things myself. so far, that's $1400 on parts and i haven't even started checking my valves. hopefully, everything is good there, but this can potentially cost a lot. i don't think i'm going to have to replace all these things every 2 years, but eventually, they will need to be replaced again.
in the long run, that ducati will cost you instead of you realizing any savings on gas. that's what a prius is for.
with that said, i'm happy that i bought the bike. i can't imagine owning any other bike (at least until i can rationalize owning more than one bike). and although i was cursing up a storm every time i whipped out my credit card to purchase a part, i can't wait to have it all back together to ride again.
i think it's a good idea that you're looking around this forum before purchasing, but don't let some of the posts scare you (especially mine
). i didn't find this forum until after i purchased my bike, and i started reading all these threads about people needing help cause their bike wouldn't start, or they had flaking rockers, or plenty of other things that can go wrong. i thought i was going to be spending money every month fixing my bike. but as a lot of members have said, you'll see more posts about things going wrong than not. after all, nobody is going to post "rode to work today, no problems on the duc".