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Hello everyone.

I was hoping to get some advice on purchasing a new (used) Ducati. My budget can afford me somewhere in the range (if i can find a deal) of a 99-01 748 or 996. (6,0000-7,000). I was hoping to get some information on what maintenance issues I may expect with these bikes and what known problems they may have, or what to look out for when purchasing a motorcycle.

I've owned (in order) a cbr600F3 - 2001 R6 - and a 2001 R1. All japanese bikes that i never realy had to do anything to besides change brake pads and oil changes (never tracked, just fun riding)

I plan on tracking whatever bike i purchase a couple times this season (Washington, DC) and was hoping to get direction from you guys if buying a Ducati would be a reasonable purchase or if i should just save my $$ and get another newer r6 or r1. I simply am uneducated about ducatis and have never ridden one.

thanks for your help on a potential ducati owner.
 

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Ken, it's been my experience that a Ducati -- especially one with a 4V motor -- is more expensive to maintain than many other brands of bike. Even my air-cooled 2V SS cost more to maintain than my BMW, simply for the fact that it needed its valves adjusted about every 12,000 miles instead of the 36,000 miles on the Beemer. I haven't done a valve adjustment on my 748 yet, though I'm due, but I expect it to be a bit more expensive than the Supersport (twice as many valves).

I generally expect, between oil and tires and valves and such, to spend between $1000 and $1200 a year on maintenance. Of course, that's going to depend on how much and how hard you ride. I tend to put around 6000-8000 miles on mine each year, with anywhere from 200-1000 of those miles riding reasonably hard at the track (depending on the year and how much I have available to spend on track days).

You can also find,, by searching this site, that there are other maintenance issues related to the ownership of a 748 or 996/8. The biggest of these is the tendency of OEM valve rockers to flake their chrome, which can (if let go long enough) cause valve and cam problems. It's been my personal experience that (particularly with older -- say, 98 and earlier bikes) Ducs can have pretty significant electrical gremlins.

All the inherent problems are fixable. I took care of the rocker issue when buying my superbike by finding one where the prior owner had recoated all the rockers. The valve adjustment interval can be lengthened a bit by installing MBP half-rings (http://www.mbpducati.ca/). Electrical gremlins can be exorcised by doing various wiring-type things -- all of which can be found here on the forum. Some good stuff has been posted in the Hall of Wisdom forum, for starters. You can also search the "old" Ducati.ms archive here: http://www.ducati.ms/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?Cat

I passionately love my 748 -- so much so that I sold the supersport because it just wasn't as much fun on the street or on the track. Like any relationship based on passion, though, she and I have had both the pinnacle of good times and abysmally bad times. I've occasionally wondered if an R6 or a CBR600RR might not be just as much fun without all the headaches...and then I find myself in the garage just looking at her and all the bad days seem to fade a bit. :) She may frustrate me from time to time, she's temperamental and expensive...but I love her just the same.

One day I may have an R1 sitting beside her in the garage, but I don't think I'll ever be without at least one Ducati.

Good luck to you!
 

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Nice write up Rob, could not have said it better myself!

Someone once told me you simply choose and buy a bike that stirs your senses, something like when you find the right girl. She may not be the prettiest but your eyes and heart tell you to go and get it.

That's pretty much it and coming off a Honda 600rr, a real nice machine, it somehow never really did it for me, I always felt I was in transition or something.

Forget the money for now, when you have to pay for service you'll find it.
 

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What kind of rider are you?

I only ask this because it's next to impossible to tell what kind of rider you are just by a few posts.

If you the kind of rider looking for an image, looking for a bike to stunt on, etc. A Duc simply is not for you. While some people will disagree with me about the image thing, I'll stand behind it.

HOWEVER, if you're the kind of person who loves things unique. Who loves things that are slightly quarky. Who loves things for the strangest of reasons and you simply can't explain it, you just know it.

A Duc might be for you.

There are plenty of bikes out there that do all things better. I've ridden an R1. It did absolutely NOTHING for me. About as emotionless as I thought a bike could get. I got off, walked away, and never turned around (which many people will say is the real test).

I'd suggest riding one, if you can, before buying. If you get off of it and simply can't see what all the fuss is about, I'd recomend against buying one.

Enjoy your search!
 

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JDuc said:
HOWEVER, if you're the kind of person who loves things unique. Who loves things that are slightly quarky. Who loves things for the strangest of reasons and you simply can't explain it, you just know it.
You know what, Jan? You just described me. The wife can't understand, for example, why I don't want a minivan, why a Toyota Camry turns me off, why I don't just sell my danged Ducati and get a Honda.

Why, for example, would I be obsessing about spending $60K for a new Lotus Elise when I could spend $13K for a used Mustang -- and get a back seat with it?

I give her my reason, but to her it's a "stupid" reason. You can drive down the road on any given day and pass 41 Mustangs, but you can drive a whole year without seeing a single Lotus.

That's how I feel about my Duc. The fact that you can see a Duc superbike once every week or two in my area is why I dropped the money I did on carbon fiber bits and a set of Bostrom-blue rims. :)
 
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Rob, thanks for the great write up and information and thank you everyone else so far too. That was EXACTLY what I was looking for. I had a pretty good idea that Ducatis required this type of attention.

To help better explain the type of person I may be by explaining my cars: I just sold my Sti and bought an R32. The Sti is a lot faster and all around higher performance than the VW, but i enjoy different riding and driving experiences. Also between german and japanese cars theres always the reliability issue. I don't mind tinkering with getting little problems fixed here and there. I can put up with that sort of thing if I feel connected to my vehicle. With the r32 I feel very in tune with the car and love the feel of the gear box. with the subbie, which i realy do love i just felt more disconnected and decided to sacrifice the power for the connection. I aslo own an e30 M3 that is my love. although it usualy isn't running.

With that said and with what Ive read from this site and your guys recent write ups, I feel more comfortable to go ahead and further my search for possibly a 748 now. I plan on using the bike for commuting to work on nice days but mostly so I can begin to get track time and experience. I have already signed up for a track class at summit point in june. now all i need is a bike ;)
 

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kenshin223 said:
I have already signed up for a track class at summit point in june. now all i need is a bike ;)
Since you clearly have some sport riding experience, I think that's exactly the right step. I'd be really interested in hearing your comparison between the R6 and the 748 when you've had experience on both. (Mostly I think I'll be looking for confirmation that my decision to have a 748 instead of an R6 is the right one. :) )

My personal experience going from a 900SS to a 748 was that after bullying the SS around the track for several years, getting on the 748 at the track really opened my eyes to what a track experience could be. I'm sure others' mileage will vary on this point, but I found the 748 so incredibly much easier to ride fast that I never looked back.

I'll be looking for your report after your track school. :D
 

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rob said:
My personal experience going from a 900SS to a 748 was that after bullying the SS around the track for several years, getting on the 748 at the track really opened my eyes to what a track experience could be. I'm sure others' mileage will vary on this point, but I found the 748 so incredibly much easier to ride fast that I never looked back.
I've yet to get my 900SS to a track (paid for 3 track days, but they all got canceled - bastards!)

I can say that for commuting, it's been one of the best bikes out there.

However, I'm sure that once I start to get out on the track, I'll probably REALLY start lusting for a SBK....

nice choice on the R32, I've got a VR6 GTi.

The thing can be a royal PITA sometimes, but in general, it's an awesome car, and great fun to drive, especially after I got the stage 2 coil-overs on it...hehe

I'd tend to equate the two, VWs and Ducs. you either love em or you hate em...;)
 

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JDuc said:
I'd tend to equate the two, VWs and Ducs. you either love em or you hate em...;)
Or you love 'em and your spouse hates 'em...which is my situation. :eek:
 

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kenshin223 said:
Hello everyone.

I was hoping to get some advice on purchasing a new (used) Ducati. My budget can afford me somewhere in the range (if i can find a deal) of a 99-01 748 or 996. (6,0000-7,000). I was hoping to get some information on what maintenance issues I may expect with these bikes and what known problems they may have, or what to look out for when purchasing a motorcycle.

I've owned (in order) a cbr600F3 - 2001 R6 - and a 2001 R1. All japanese bikes that i never realy had to do anything to besides change brake pads and oil changes (never tracked, just fun riding)

I plan on tracking whatever bike i purchase a couple times this season (Washington, DC) and was hoping to get direction from you guys if buying a Ducati would be a reasonable purchase or if i should just save my $$ and get another newer r6 or r1. I simply am uneducated about ducatis and have never ridden one.

thanks for your help on a potential ducati owner.
I came from somewhat similar background like you. I had several jap. bikes, and I never thought of buying a Ducati. Well, one day for personal reasons I eneded up buying one. Ducati is not all that. It's a beautiful bike and unique to its styling, and it sounds awesome. It sucks to ride the bike around town because is not made for slow speeds. It is best ridden hard and fast. It is not as smooth as the jap bikes at slow speeds.

Anyway, the price you pay for a Ducati is on the maintenance. It is a beach! If you are like me, having a Ducati is simply not worth it. I put about 20k in 6 months on my old 01 748s, and it was expensive. Furthermore, I don't even want to mention all the pain and hassles I had to go through to make it run right. You have to really love Ducati to stick with it. They are unreliable and unpredictable as females. One day they are great, and the next PMS kicks in.

I simply tell people who are going to buy a Ducati to be ready to fix up the bugs they come with. After all the bugs are fix they are pretty good. YOU MUST KEEP THE MAINTENANCE UP TO DATE! I would also recommend to have a second bike and not have the Ducati as your only bike. I tell you this because I had to wait for 4 months at one time for my bike to be fixed.

I tell you this though, once you've had a Ducati somehow you want another one lol. Since, I pretty much know how it is now, I'm getting ready to buy another one since I have a second bike I can use in case the Ducati gets sick on me.

I've seen several 748's around for about $7k-$8k in excellent condition. If you've had an R1, I would recommend the 996 or 998. The 748 doesn't have much power, and you'll get bored of it like I did.
 

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GusGus748s said:
I came from somewhat similar background like you. I had several jap. bikes, and I never thought of buying a Ducati. Well, one day for personal reasons I eneded up buying one. Ducati is not all that. It's a beautiful bike and unique to its styling, and it sounds awesome. It sucks to ride the bike around town because is not made for slow speeds. It is best ridden hard and fast. It is not as smooth as the jap bikes at slow speeds.

Anyway, the price you pay for a Ducati is on the maintenance. It is a beach! If you are like me, having a Ducati is simply not worth it. I put about 20k in 6 months on my old 01 748s, and it was expensive. Furthermore, I don't even want to mention all the pain and hassles I had to go through to make it run right. You have to really love Ducati to stick with it. They are unreliable and unpredictable as females. One day they are great, and the next PMS kicks in.

I simply tell people who are going to buy a Ducati to be ready to fix up the bugs they come with. After all the bugs are fix they are pretty good. YOU MUST KEEP THE MAINTENANCE UP TO DATE! I would also recommend to have a second bike and not have the Ducati as your only bike. I tell you this because I had to wait for 4 months at one time for my bike to be fixed.

I tell you this though, once you've had a Ducati somehow you want another one lol. Since, I pretty much know how it is now, I'm getting ready to buy another one since I have a second bike I can use in case the Ducati gets sick on me.

I've seen several 748's around for about $7k-$8k in excellent condition. If you've had an R1, I would recommend the 996 or 998. The 748 doesn't have much power, and you'll get bored of it like I did.

I have a few issues with your take on this....you treat ALL ducs the same.

When it's a KNOWN fact that the SBK are more tempermental than the others....unless you believe that the SBKs are the only Ducs out there maybe?

The air cooled bikes don't come even close to the SBKs in terms of being tempermental or expensive.

Just please, don't cast a shadow on the entire breed just because of one bad line.

;)
 

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JDuc said:
I have a few issues with your take on this....you treat ALL ducs the same.

When it's a KNOWN fact that the SBK are more tempermental than the others....unless you believe that the SBKs are the only Ducs out there maybe?

The air cooled bikes don't come even close to the SBKs in terms of being tempermental or expensive.

Just please, don't cast a shadow on the entire breed just because of one bad line.

;)
Let me correct myself or else other will start crying. My comments and experience is/are on the super bike models only.
 
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no worries i knew what you meant since this entire post was based on my question of the 748 and 996 compared to other superbikes.
 

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Some electrical problems (voltage regulator, IIRC) with the earlier ones

Rockers and cams can be a BIG problem with any 4-valver. Have them inspected PROPERLY.

In-tank fuel lines are prone to splitting and this is hard for some to diagnose. If/when that goes or gets overheated it may also take out the fuel pump and that may damage the wiring or charging system.

Make SURE you fit an in-box air filter. If you don't, you run the risk of the undertank fasteners loosening due to vibration and falling into the injectors and cratering the top-end.

One run of bikes had the crankshaft nuts improperly torqued at the factory. They could back out and damage the crankcases.

One run of oil coolers is prone to splitting and leakage.

Some of the early water pump seals failed prematurely.

The (water) coolant overflow tanks may break and may break repeatedly.

Clutch slave cylinders are prone to failure.

Rear brakes usually need to be bled.

Suspension set up is probably WRONG no matter what you weigh. For most years, the front is sprung for a 190lb rider, the rear for a 160lb rider. Can you say "Understeer"? Get it set up properly and you won't believe it's the same bike.
 
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thanks for the specifics. its realy helpful to go into purchasing a bike knowing what to expect, so my hopes are realistic and a buyer isnt upset with their purchase. thanks for your help in breaking down what i may expect to be dealing with when owning one of these motorcycles.
 
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