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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]I am at the point in my life where I can achieve my dream of owning a Ducati. I am now getting into moto riding after a very long lay off (twenty years) and would like to hear some advice from the members of the forum. Let’s just say that I don’t know what I don’t know and would appreciate your schooling.

Reality check:
Experience: let’s call it none
Height 6'1', weight 170,
Riding style: Day cruising, commuting
Looking at: ST3 S abs
Misc: Very athletic and comfortable with speed (mtn bike racing, expert skier etc)

Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks for your help.
BVA[/FONT]
:think:
 

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In reality the Ducati ST series of bikes (ST2, ST4, ST4s and ST3) are not beginner-friendly machines Theyre a bit quirky and are not necessarily 'hop on and ride' bikes. In all seriousness, I would consider a more neutral machine.
Not sure what I would recommend, but I am not necessarily talking about a beginner or low-powered machine. Just one that is more 'user-friendly'. An easy ride might be a cool dual-sport, Buell Ulysses, Norton Thruxton, or the likes. There are TONS of great bikes out there.
I'm not trying to keep you from the ST3, goodness knows that it is a great bike. Bt you may appreciate it more coming off something else for a season or so.
Whatever you decide, please take a rider safety course available through or recommended be any reputable dealer.
 

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I always recommend a used, UMJ (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) to beginners.
 

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Bill_Anderson said:
I always recommend a used, UMJ (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) to beginners.
agreed, get a season in on a 600 jap bike, not a sport bike, then decide which duc is for you, go to a bike show and sit on all of them...I personally feel there is no one perfect bike, that is why we all should own one of each!
 

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Bill_Anderson said:
I always recommend a used, UMJ (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) to beginners.
I guess that should be "UJM".
 

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I purchased my 03 st4s brand new in jan 05. The dealer let me test ride any of the the st series. Maybe this would also be an option for you to try.
I jumped on the st after a 7 year leave of absence from riding. My previous bikes had been a 450 honda nighthawk and then a 750 GSXR. I loved the ST4s instantly. Good luck
 

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bvonarx said:
[ I am now getting into moto riding after a very long lay off (twenty years)
I had a 15+ year or so vacation from riding motorcycles while I dabbled in muscle cars and restoration work, and my ST2 was my reintroduction back into the riding world. I don't know what your riding experience was prior to your time away from bikes but the Ducati ST bikes take some getting used to. I road dirt bikes and my fathers motorcycles; Honda's, a Kawasaki KZ1300 touring bike, and a Harley Sportster, so I had ridden a variety of machines over my earlier years (I'm 40 now) to gain experience.

I won't discourage you from getting the Ducati but beware of a couple of things; the ST bikes are big on power and have gobs of torque (I ride a very healthy ST2, and the ST3, ST4 and ST4s machine have more power than my bike), also beware of repair costs, I'm not talking maintenance costs, but actual costs to repair the beast if you go down or simply tip it over by accident. Beaucoup $$$$!!!

If you can hold off for a while and get a Japanese bike first to gain some experience and confidence in your riding abilities then you will really appreciate the Duc. However, if you have saved all your pennies and insist on purchasing that dream Ducati and then drop it due to a lack of experience, you will cry like a baby when it's held up waiting for Italy to come back from their month long summer vacation to send you some parts to fix your dream machine and then you'll cry again when you get the bill for the repairs. Best to you in whatever you decide.

Thomas
 

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Getting a disposable UJM is the most logical advice. However, if your heart is set on a Ducati, then I would suggest you can still get one. But, I would strongly suggest you avoid a new bike and start with a used bike in good condition. I didn't want to go the UJM route either and so my first bike was a used Monster 750. I had a terrific time on that bike and it helped me develop my skills. Power was just about right and handling was predictable. You can pick up a clean used one for under $4k. Other good choices would be the Monster 620 or Multistrada 620...after you get 8-10k miles of experience under your belt then maybe go for the ST if that is what you want.
 

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Another Opinion

You raise a good question. I have to agree with most of the opinions. I would not start with a Ducati.

I have been riding for close to 38 years. Many different bikes.

I would recommend a more 'neutral' machine to start with. It does not have to be Japanese. A BMW twin , such as a pre-owned roadster or RS would be more predictable, provide abs, and make for a fun, reliable ride.
 

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Newbie or not so Newbie

This is all sound advice and I almost wish I had followed it. I took an eight year leave from riding and decided to start back with a used ST4S. My first bike was a BSA 500 Gold Star at 18 and went through Honda 500, Kawa KZ900 and then to a Suzuki 1000 which I sold eight years ago. I am 55 and decided I had to have a Ducati. I bought a yellow 2002 ST4S Duc with tons of carbon fiber (incl. Ducati cans), tweeked chip, open air box, dyno @ 120 bhp. I take it easy day by day but every day I tell my wife it is like riding a rocket that cuts like a scalpel. Beware with any of the ST series they are wolves in sheeps clothing and require your full attention. It is unlike anything that I have ridden. No regrets yet but who knows what tomorrow may bring.
 

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Guess I differ from many here. I had a 26 year hiatus from riding (first and only other bike was a (new) '74 Suzuki GT380 while in college - sold it in '78). I'd longed for a Ducati over the ensuing years and was finally bitten hard after living in England a couple years ago (where I took the MSF course). Despite recommendations to the contrary (but knowing myself), I bought my dream Duc straightaway and haven't regretted it. Like you, I also ride/race bicycles, and I'm a safety nazi (ATGATT), so I felt confident enough to begin again on a very powerful machine. Was I VERY careful? You better believe it! Like I said, I know myself well enough that I wouldn't overextend and would commit to practicing off-street until I knew the machine. (Frankly, on-street knuckleheads are a much bigger problem, but that's the subject of a whole 'nuther thread!) I have to agree with what others have said, though: if you crash a fully-faired Duc, even a slo-mo parking lot fallover, the parts & repairs can cost you big bucks. Bill's advice on the UJM is sound; if you don't feel really confident climbing aboard an ST now, do the UJM thing for a few months, sell it to another newbie, and then get your dream ride. Good luck!

Cheers!
 

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Yep, good advice I think.... When I came back to riding after a 20 odd year break, I got a Kawasaki ER5 (500 twin) for about 3 months just be get used to riding again.

Then I got an MV F4SR, a Ducati 916 and a Laverda 750S --- now settled down to an ST3 and the MV. I was reading recently that "mature" males going back to riding are starting to kill themselves in greater numbers. I haven't been too tempted to go past my skill level, mainly because when I was about 20 I spent 8 weeks in traction with breaks to almost every bone known to medicine after a bike accident. Seems to make the Sausage song a bit louder, even after all these years.

But I'd start out on something less "vigorous"....

cheers :)

and welcome back...

Doc
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
can't agree more.

I see it so often peole getting on fast or heavy bikes with no riding experience. Some of the worst cases invlove big heavy Harley's....I see so many people with no experience riding these 600 or 700 pound bikes. Starting on a smaller bike is such a good idea to learn to ride.
 

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All of the above is sound advice, but at 6'1" I don't think a 620 monster would be a good choice. The ST3 has a great motor and can easily be ridden casually, but is powerful enough to bite you hard in a brief moment of brain fade. I had years of experience racing formula cars before I ever rode a bike on the street, so I too am comfortable with speed. I started with a Triumph cruiser and even that was a bit intimidating at first. There is just a lot going on when you're in traffic with everyone drinking latte's while talking on the cell phone. I was comfortable on it quickly though and rode it for two years before buying a new ST4s. I wanted a Ducati for 20 years and it is everything I always dreamed it would be, and I feel I ride it very well. But now that I have lots of experience on it, I could never imagine getting it as a first bike. It simply demands too much of your attention until you are very comfortable on the street.
 

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I say go for it!! Just start out slow and be careful to ride your own ride epecially in groups. Don't try to keep up with others if the pace is quicker than you are comfortable.

My experience: I started out on dirt bikes at 10 and had one through high school. I never owned nor ridden a street bike my entire life until 3 years ago. I bought a kawasaki mean streak 1500 and owned it for 1 1/2 years, and then bought an ST3 and have had it just over a year. I did my first track day last week and now I am a knee dragging fool.

My opinion is that you can either ride or you can't!!! But you have to be honest with yourself and your abilities and always keep some in reserve.
 

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The bike I like to recommend for beginners is the Honda Nighthawk 750. Enough power to have some fun, but not too much to get in trouble quick. And nice neutral riding position, decent brakes - decent starter/learning bike. From there you can move onto something sportier or tourier or whateverier. You might even decide to keep it as a spare/foul weather/commuter/errand bike.
 

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Bodhi said:
The bike I like to recommend for beginners is the Honda Nighthawk 750. Enough power to have some fun, but not too much to get in trouble quick. And nice neutral riding position, decent brakes - decent starter/learning bike. From there you can move onto something sportier or tourier or whateverier. You might even decide to keep it as a spare/foul weather/commuter/errand bike.
Excellent recommendation. I went on a ride last year to Diablo Dam and over the North Cascades Highway with a flock of Nighthawks. Great looking bike. Add some soft luggage and you have a good all around bike until you are ready to move up.
 

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What’s comfortable with speed cover?
how much riding have you done previously?
how'd you do?
did you take skiing lesson, or figured it out on your own?

I started back ridding on a 91 yamfzr1000, put 62k+ on it sold it
bought a Yamaha 98 R1, changed those out until I had an 04R1,
did a lil racing, track days, California Superbike School, was invited to be an instructor-did that for a couple of years.

pu a used 03 st4s abs last July since then I've put 11k on it.
I had a crush on these for a quite a while, lowest weight most motor with hard bags.
And my biggest criteria, a fully adjustable chassis.
Its no R1, but it makes me smile. I’ve been maintaining it myself, with the help of the oem shop manual and this forum.

imo, the Japanese stuff is more refined, like a 180+mph sewing machine.
vs- old school. not bad just a bit coercer. This my 1st twin, its not as quick as the 1k Japanese, but it IS fast. Plenty fast enough to complete your lifecycle a 3-5 seconds.
All the 1k & most of the 600’s inline 4s are 0-150mph is 10-12 second.

Coming from a harley-davidson, the Ducati feels carved from billet.
from the Japanese, its close.

I say get what you want.
Respect it, get some schooling, practice.

few books to forward the cause:
Twist of the wrist II, Keith Code
www.superbikeschool.com
Proficient Motorcycling, Peter Hough
Sport Riding Techniques, Nick Ienatsch.

if you want easy, a Suzuki SV650 is heralded as the one.
Not a bad track day bike either-really!
If you want a Ducati, and all that that implies?,
Enjoy.

a lil bit of advice,
When you put the side stand up, she's gonna go over.
big ones or little ones. it doesn't matter. be careful.

If you what a garage queen, she qualifies.
If you want something to take out and exercise, stretch its legs a bit?
Imo, it won’t disappoint.

Andrew
 

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2003 ST4s

I am in the get what you want and learn to ride it safely group. When younger I had a Honda 750, then Honda 900 and after a 10 year layoff I got a 1995 Harley Fatboy. I kept it 10 years and then got a Big Dog Bulldog in 2004. This year, I wanted something a bit user friendly and something with bags so after checking BMW, Honda and Ducati, I purchased a used 2003 ST4s with 3500 miles.

This is my first sportbike, and while different, it is still a motorcycle and watching the other drivers in cages is the number one priority. I am still learning to lean and turn, but love it after putting 1000 miles on it thanks to an early spring here in Kansas.

I am thinking of adding some Cycle Cat bars as I do have a lot of pressure on my wrists, but everything else seems fine. :eek:
 
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