Well as the title says, I just ticked over 5,000 miles on my M696 this morning. I bought the bike exactly one year ago this month and had to endure a typical WNY winter of non-riding. All in all I think I did pretty well for saddle time.
Mods / Accessories: Termi slip-on carbon fiber pipes (mounted them in the higher holes, gives a great stream line look with the tail section.), Competition Workes fender eliminator, Powder coated the exhaust heat shields, 14T front sprocket, DP tail bag (makes this bike a legitimate tourer if needed).
So as you can see not a lot of mods, just a few little things. The best mod you can do is 14T conversion as with any Ducati it really wakes the bike up and makes it bearable around town.
Problems: After putting the DP pipe kit on I was having issues with the bike running very hot. My dealer solved this problem by simply playing around with the TPS to get it adjusted properly. I also stopped using the high idle switch as we think the CPU was reading that as the beginning throttle position and messing up the fueling. The CPU is supposed to recognize that high idle switch and bypass using those readings for fueling, but we don't think mine was. The simple fix was to just stop using it and I have had no issues since. The result is an incredibly smooth running bike. Prior to the pipes (only about 800 miles), I would get a lot of noticeable vibration in the mirrors and bars. With the fueling now correct the bike is smooth as butter at all RPM's above 3500.
Squealing rear brakes: Simple warranty brake swap, not sure if I just got bad pads?
The Good: I absolutely love the bike! It was my first "sportier" bike as I learned for a year on a 1980 Suzuki GS 550. The bike has the perfect amount of power to let you have fun, but also keep a beginner out of trouble. In the twisty stuff the bike behaves beautiful and quickly builds confidence. Some higher rearsets would be a nice mod, but I can't justify the price for a beginner bike. Some people don't seem to like the looks, but I think it is downright sexy. The bike attracts plenty of attention between the Termi's and looks alone. Mileage wise I seem to average about 45 mpg.
The Bad: She is a finicky starter on cold mornings, but always gets going. Insurance really sucks just because it's a Ducati and I am only 22. I've racked up some miles pretty quickly so my first major service is quickly approaching, but I guess that goes with the territory. Riding two-up sucks as the passenger pushes you in to the tank!
Future: I'm hoping to buy an 848 towards the end of the summer. I really can't justify getting anything bigger than that (i.e. 1098, 1198, SF) and from everything I have researched I think it will be the perfect roadbike. I eventually plan on doing some track days so it will be good for that too. If track days go well I would probably pick up my lusted after 748, but we'll see how that goes.
The idea is to keep this bike for my fiancée as she is looking to learn how to ride. I'm going to have her spend a bit more time in the saddle of a dirtbike and then take the MSF course. Once she does that I think this will be a perfect bike for her and I can't justify taking the depreciation hit when I have the bike paid for already.
All in all I would recommend this bike to anyone looking to get in to sport riding or anyone looking for a very practical cruising bike.