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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post and I'm hoping you all can help me out. I'm in the market for a 749 or 749s and after reading many posts on different sites I wanted to know what your personal experience with 05 reliability has been. I will most likely purchase an 06 but assume it's too early for anyone to report on that year. In fact any information on Ducati reliability from any owner is great.

I don't have any problem with the entry price, or the maintenance, but I would like to know what I should expect (I'm a little nervous because of hearing Ducati horror stories). If maintained well should I expect many problems? Is there anything obvious to look out for? Do the newer models stall? Is the heat from the exhaust as hot as reported by 999 owners? Does a slip on/ceramic coating fix this? Any other info you can provide to prepare me is appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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reliablitlity will be fine as long as the bike is maintained well.
04 749 was the only one with the stalling issue and its a warranty fix anyway.
ceramic coating will def. help with the heat from the exhaust, I havent yet rode mine in the summer but I only think it gets really hot during stop and go traffic, but what bike doesnt.
 

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The 749/999 bikes need to be set-up correctly (cam timing, tps, etc.) from the dealer. I can't stress this enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
RI749 said:
The 749/999 bikes need to be set-up correctly (cam timing, tps, etc.) from the dealer. I can't stress this enough.
Is there any way I can ensure this happens or is it more of me asking my dealer to make sure it's done?
 

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T2000 said:
1 If maintained well should I expect many problems?
2 Is there anything obvious to look out for?
3 Do the newer models stall?
4 Is the heat from the exhaust as hot as reported by 999 owners?
5 Does a slip on/ceramic coating fix this?
6 Any other info you can provide to prepare me is appreciated.

Thanks!
1) Not "many" problems ... you might have one or two that are easily and quickly remmedied under warranty... just like any other new bike or car.

2) Stalling, leaking of Coolant (easy fixes) ...

3) Not as much reported as the '03's and '04's.

4) Yes

5) Slip-on will not do anything to improve heat.
They say Ceramic coating improves it, but will never 'fix' it ('fix', meaning to eliminate the sensation of heat completely)

6) People don't go to forums and start 7-page threads on how great their brand new bike is running. Horror stories are the exception rather than the rule ... that's why you hear about them. The new Ducs are awesomely reliable. So, go for it.
 

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I have an 04 749S and enjoy the bike greatly. The dealer I purchased the bike from seemed not to know much about ducati even though they have sold them for many years. The proper set up was done at AZSBK, aka Cycle Moto aka Psycho Mojo, in Chandler Az. They did't even harass me as much as I thought they would for bringing the bike to the other shop first. I can not praise Bill enough for the transformation of my bike from a pretty nice bike into a total hoot to ride.
Reliability has not been an issue. Build quality appears good, though I have changed out some parts for reliability sake. An aftermarket clutch cover is a good investment to protect the clutch in a low side, heaven forbid. I bought a spare set of body work on ebay just to ensure I won't get caught having to buy new in case of a tip over(or worse).
I have a 16 year old honda 750 that has never needed more that tune ups and replacables. I don't expect that from the ducati but with proper maintainance I expect to keep this bike forever.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
TheRC30Guy said:
I have an 04 749S and enjoy the bike greatly. The dealer I purchased the bike from seemed not to know much about ducati even though they have sold them for many years. The proper set up was done at AZSBK, aka Cycle Moto aka Psycho Mojo, in Chandler Az. They did't even harass me as much as I thought they would for bringing the bike to the other shop first. I can not praise Bill enough for the transformation of my bike from a pretty nice bike into a total hoot to ride.
Reliability has not been an issue. Build quality appears good, though I have changed out some parts for reliability sake. An aftermarket clutch cover is a good investment to protect the clutch in a low side, heaven forbid. I bought a spare set of body work on ebay just to ensure I won't get caught having to buy new in case of a tip over(or worse).
I have a 16 year old honda 750 that has never needed more that tune ups and replacables. I don't expect that from the ducati but with proper maintainance I expect to keep this bike forever.
I'm not all that mechanically gifted so when you brought your bike to AZSBK what did you ask for? For them to set it up correctly to your riding style, weight, etc?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
migz123 said:
1)
6) People don't go to forums and start 7-page threads on how great their brand new bike is running. Horror stories are the exception rather than the rule ... that's why you hear about them. The new Ducs are awesomely reliable. So, go for it.
I thought this to be true which is why I'm glad everyone is replying. Thanks!
 

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migz couldn't have said it any better and I tried to beat him to it!!! These forums (bikes, trucks, cars, doesn't matter...they're everywhere) are a great resource for a lot of information but it seems mostly for people seeking advice to problems. How many 749/999's were sold in the US?? How many truely active members are on here?? And out of those numbers, how many are here solely looking for cures to problems. These bikes are no more problem proned than any other vehicle on the road. The percentages may seem higher due to the total numbers, but it's irrelevant. Yes, you may get a bad apple and you may have problems, BUT that could happen with anything. Don't make a major purchase decision based on that. Get what you want or you'll never be truely happy. I've wanted a Duc since I knew what motorcycles were. If I never owned one based off some of the miniscule problems you read about here, I would have never been satisfied. In my own personal opinion, you can't try to be practical or rationalize buying one of these. A Monster or MS, yes. But not a SBK. If we were all rational, everyone would own a minivan and a pick up truck and that's it. As for the heat thing, I put a full system and wrapped my pipes with the Thermotech wrap. These two items greatly reduced the heat, at least on my bike. I think most of it is due to the full system as compared to a slip on, but that's just a guess. The wrap is also more effective at reducing radiant heat than the ceramic coatings, but the looks is very opinionated. I actually learned the wrap was equal to or better than the coatings at reducing heat from one of the companies I contacted about doing mine. I think it was Jet Hot but not sure. I was actually surprised they admitted that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, I've been on a few boards for different things and what you both say is true. And like you said, it's not a rational decision, but if I buy something else I'm always gonna wonder.
 

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in 2 years my 749 only had 1 problem a bad starter relay. fixed under warranty. otherwise it has been completely reliable.
 

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Wife rides a '03 749s. She's put 17K miles on it, here's the rundown:

1. Needed a new battery in 3 months (warranty, zero hassle)
2. ECU needed resetting, wacky throttle process but it worked.
3. Clutch needed now (17K)
4. Rock into the oil cooler - $100 on ebay.
5. It's making a awful noise internally now (sounds like a super charger), side case removals exposed nothing, clutch and belts getting replaced (at home). Hope it's something simple probably a bad bearing someplace.

That's it. It's been reliable and she thoroughly enjoys it.

Question is - why are you getting a girls bike? ;)
 

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749 Dark O6 And Rockin

I Got An 06 Dark And Can,t Say To Much About It But Dang... You Gotta Ride One After Its 600 Mile Service And You'll Be Blown Away Buy It. If You Can Hold Out, Save Some Money And Get The 749 Or 749s,r. They Really Are Worth More In Paint, Adjustability, Parts Etc. Look For A Good Deal, Something With Aftermarket Pipes Allready On. Thats Were You'll See The Difference From Others, And Stock Models. Nothing Has Gone South On Mine Yet But I'm Only Pushing 1k Miles So Far.
 

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This is a write up I did back in Dec and is in the archives. I'm reposting it here for a write up of my experiances with my 03 biposto. It's kind long but here it is. Hope it helps.
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A 749, two years and 20,000 miles.


The other day on my way to work I looked down and saw the digits “20000” on the odometer readout of my bike. Come the 13th of next month it will be 2 years since I took delivery of my 2003 749 biposto form Redline Motorsports of Yorktown, Virginia. I though it was time I sat down and wrote up my experiences with the modern Ducati Superbike. It’s been the most involving experience of my motorcycling career since my first new motorcycle back in 1982. It hasn’t been all a bed of roses either.

In late 2003 I finally had paid off my truck and had permission to buy a new bike from the home COMMANDER. I had been doing a lot of research on the current crop of middleweight sport bikes, (my last bike, a Harley, had bored me to death) and had narrowed it down to two bikes. The 749 and the Honda 600RR. The rational buy was the Honda, fast, sleek and powerful plus that Honda reliability rep. unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view I sat on the 749. The rest was history, Ducati had its 2.9% promotion going on and my dealer gave it to me at $13K out the door. I rode it home on 13 Dec 2003 singing in my helmet the whole 50 miles home.

The next week was an exercise in frustration. First I use the factory break in procedures so I couldn’t go over 4k then 6k plus that whole snow thing that popped up the day after I put her in the garage. So it took me a while to get the first 600 miles on her. The first night I had her in the garage I used a video cam from my laptop to take a few snap shots of the new bike to send to my friends. Unfortunately the bike came out looking, not hot Ducati Red but PINK. In my haze of happiness I sent them out anyway. My wife then started calling the new bike by that evil name “PINK”, I’ve made the compromise with the wife and she was christened “Rosa”.

The first bump in the rode was that the financing was screwed up between the dealer and the finance company and the first payment was due much earlier than was originally promised. Not really a problem but it did upset me that the dealer told me one thing and the reality was something different. The finance company was really great and the problem was solved in a single phone call. I called the owner of the dealership and he apologized and I got same day turn around on my 600-mile service. It cost me $325. I had my first taste of what the cost of ownership was really going to be.

From there on it was a love relationship for the bike and me. Learning where the power band was. Learning where the roads to ride were. I did my own 3000-mile oil change. I ordered and read cover-to-cover LT Snyder’s service manual. Winter was still full on and I was freezing on my commute to work. I used the bike every day that it wasn’t snowing, raining, or above 35 degrees. My wife found a heavy working mans coverall at a local sporting goods shop that you see road crews wear. It was an extra large and fit over my uniform, and uniform jacket. That and a pair of snowmobile gloves and I’m good down to where ice is a concern. I sewed a Ducati patch I got off e-bay on the back to offset its dirt brown color to give it some motorcycle character.

My 6000 mile service was done at 6500 miles. The dealer sent his truck to pick up my bike for the service and to correct something that had been an issue since delivery. The locator pin for the left switchgear had been broken in shipping and it moved around. That would be replaced at the same time. I didn’t see my bike again for 22 days. This was my first experience with the first come first serve and wait for it policy that seems to permeate almost all Ducati dealers. For the first time I was regretting my purchase of my 749. Mostly for the long delays. On top of that they delivered the bike to me by in transit hey broke the pin in the new switchgear. When I called the dealer he said he had ordered the new part. I rode the bike up to him and they changed it out in about an hour while I waited. The bike did run very good when I got it back. A soon as I was on my bike I forgot all about the wait. (My dealer does very good work)

At about 7000 miles the recall for the oil cooler came out. I called my dealer and he didn’t know anything about it. About 4 days later he called me and told my bike was one that was affected by the recall and he’d call me as soon as he had the parts. The change out took a week. I never had any problem with the original one but why take the chance.

I did the 9000 services and still rode the bike every day, weekend rides and the lot. At 11K miles the stock battery quit. The dealer wanted $90 for an aftermarket. I found one on line for 54$ shipped and became an advocate of using a battery tender. I installed the new battery with the permanent plug run up under the frame work and zip tied where I can plug it in when I park at night and un plug in the morning before work or a ride. Unless you look for it you can’t see it. No more battery problems. Finally the time for the 12 K service came up this past August and at the same time I developed a coolant leak on the upper left hose. I called the Ducati road service line for the first time and my dealer sent his truck. I had the 12K done plus the warranty work. This time it took more than 4 weeks and over a $1000. I was glad that it was my last time using them for routine service. They always do great work but not having my bike for a month for a routine service is excessive and very customer unfriendly.

I did the 15K and the 18K services myself with the help of the Desmo Times manual and website. Plus borrowing a few tools from another .MS member. The bike developed a brake problem on the front that is a-bit weird as it seems to want to be bleed but I can’t get any more air out of the system, despite using almost a full quart of fluid and using all bleed points and banjo bolts. So now the bike is back with the Ducati dealer for him to try and figure it out or maybe a master cylinder replacement. (2 ½ weeks and counting). This is my first real problem with the bike and it’s not really much of a problem.

I did my first track day in Oct 05. You cannot know the capabilities of your superbike until you put it on the track.

After 2000 miles and 23 months I have come to a few conclusions about Ducati Superbike ownership. 1. Have a nice well of money if you need your dealer to do any work for you. 2. Doing it yourself is not nearly as hard as many people make it out to be and it is significantly less expensive. 3. Turn in is heavier than the jap bikes but much more stable at speed in the turns than the jap bikes.. 4. Yes you will walk out to the garage to just sit and look at it. 5. Pirelli Diablo Dragon Super Corsa tires are Nirvana. 6. HH brake pads will hurt our nuts on the first application if you are not ready for them. 7. Clean your clutch steel plates with a Scotts bright pad every 5K miles. 8. A PCIII, an aftermarket exhaust, and a +3 rear sprocket are necessary to do this engine justice. 9. Being stuck in traffic on this bike is preparation for your time in Hell. 10. Yes you can use a superbike for everything from commuting to track days she will just keep on running reliably and well.

I love my 749 and intend to keep it and ride it for track days and weekend romps for a long time to come. However……a daily commuter………….well see what Ducati come up with in ’07…..
 

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T2k - don't even worry about it! I've been a straight-four Japanese rider for nearly 15 years, and after a recent string of R1s (adore them, btw), I decided to indulge my Ducati desires recently with a '94 900SS|SP with 15K miles. I know it's not a new superbike, but let me tell you, the Ducati reliability and service myth..is just that - a myth! I will concede that there were clearly electrical and other minor upgrades made that solved some early issues, but that's irrelevant for you, and as for the main unit (engine, chassis, etc), I've found it to be utterly reliable and totally simple to wrench on! Yes, you need to service them more regularly than Jap bikes because of the unique valve design, and yes, if you're not accustomed to nut-ball Italian valve-trains, you should have a dealer handle all valve adjustments and timing belt changes. But, this bike is far, far simpler, more accessible and easier to work on than a comparable-era Japanese bike. And seriously easier than the voodoo that so many try to make you believe! Seriously...do not fear the Ducati. The service thing is really a myth perpetuated by overly expensive dealers combined with a customer base that is often a lot more show than go. Remember, no exotic Italian vehicle is a "buy and forget" affair. However, they can be very resilient too, so don't think it's going to self destruct if you miss an oil change! {Mike C -Where are you? I know you missed what? Your last 3(!) valve adjustments?!} They are involving, passionate vehicles that require a greater degree of attention than comparable German or Japanese makes to get the most out of them. They have tremendous charisma and are phenomenally rewarding if you get involved with your vehicles. If that's not you, and you just want the motorcycle equivalent of an NSX, then buy a Honda....it's an amazing piece of engineering kit, but you'll get rid of it next year. The Duc you might keep for a decade or more. You'll wear it like a badge of honor.
One final thought...I had the same concerns that you had going into this. I wanted an '04 749s, but I didn't want to drop 14 large on something I might end up regretting. Not only am I now completely comfortable and anxiously waiting for the 749s, but I'll be keeping the SS too, thank you very much! I also want my awesome '99 R1 back, but the doctor in the Lexus SUV on the cell phone felt otherwise! I should post pics. It wasn't pretty! If anyone knows of a pristine example with low miles, let me know!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all the detailed information and personal, realistic experiences, it has all been very helpfull. Now to get through taxes so I can go pickup an 06. :D
 
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