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I’ve never owned a Ducati, but have always wanted one. I’m more of a touring guy and not interested in racing or track days so I think an ST is what I want. But which one and what year. I want what is going to be most reliable, easy to maintain, and best resale value. So, do I want and ST2,3, or 4? Thanks for any input and recommendations.
 

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‘07 ST3s, 09 GT 1000
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I decided it was ST3s abs , 68,000km , so far … cross Canada in ‘17 bike is ‘07 , so ten years when I prepped and went riding , no issues …. so have had to change a fuel filter & a rear brake switch , the filter should be a maintenance item , so the only failure was one switch , comfortable , reliable , modern enough for me , can still do belts and valves in the shed …. kinda bike I wished for !
 

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Fabulous choice, you are a man of taste. ST4s is my poison. bought it nearly 2 years ago, put 7000km on it in the first 6monyhs, then 2000 in next 18months with all the shit going on. Great to ride, no gadgets to worry about. More power than I will ever use and cruise for 3 hours at a time. I can get 380km on a tank highway running.
 

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ST3S or maybe a ST4S. The ST3S are more refined and a better motor for touring. Both have top rate suspensions.
 

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ST2 has lots of grunt
ST4 has the 916 4 valve engine, silky smooth everywhere
ST4S has the 996 engine, grunt like a 2 valve, smoothness and power of the 4 valve, awesome bike.
ST3 is a very nice bike, but it's bit like a Honda to ride, silky smooth, for me, a little bland but an excellent bike.

I would be looking at a ST4S and failing that an ST3, preferably an ABS model with matching panniers.

Low mileage is nice but a religious service regime and a record of it with receipts and books is better.
 

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Oh I am going to get flamed now !

I have had a ST4s for 19 years at 10-12 I decided it was not reliable enough to tour any more. IMHO either low or high mileage I would not like to cover any distance or time on this bike. The best you are going to get is 14 years old and the design and build is not good enough (for me) to trust. Add to this that my bike is well maintained and I know most every inch.
 

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i don't agree with that at all, but experiences vary. the 2 are all old bikes now, and many will be 100k or more. i like the 3 the best i think, once they're well set up. all of them need the suspension fixed.
 

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Regarding resale, the STs buy and sell cheap. They are old school sport tourers like the Honda VFR which are out of vogue. IMO, I wouldn't pay much over 4K for an ST3/4 or 3K for an ST2 unless you are looking at concours level perfect. Maybe worth more if you had receipts on all the work done to it and upgrades. As long as you don't pay much, you won't lose money if you sell it down the road.

I have an 06 ST3 that I have put 20k miles on that I still love and have plans on keeping it. Best bike I've owned for what I do with it (light touring, some two up, sport riding). That said, I would not get one if I weren't handy with a wrench and had to take it to Ducati to get it serviced. Tons of info here on keep it going as long as you don't mind working on it. There are only a couple of big dollar issue that I'm aware of. One is some of the ST4 engines had soft rockers which can wipe the cams. Someone here would know more on what to look out for on this issue. The other is cracked cases around the rear engine mounting that has happened on a few bikes. The forum has info on what to look out for. My bike has been stone reliable other than normal older bike stuff that needs attention.

Regarding which one (ST2,3,4), I went through the same decision. It came down to getting a newer bike since cost wise they were all relatively the same. I also like the newer bodywork. All the motors are good, but 100 HP is my happy zone, so ST3 or ST4 would be my suggestion.

These bikes are brilliant for what they are designed to do. However, they will get expensive if you don't plan on performing your own maintenance.

Scott
 

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I bought a 2000 ST4 last year in southern California, sight unseen (with ~32000 miles), had my brother go look at it.
In hindsight, perhaps an unwise decision, fast forward to April this year. Mechanical inspection in Escondido revealed something that made it unwise to consider riding it home to Ontario Canada, so we sourced a 2001 ST4s motor and had a local mechanic install it. That also had some complications, such as clutch basket retaining nut backing off in Flagstaff.
Well, I git that fixed and am now home.
Long story short, and others have pointed it out. As these bikes get older, maintenance history is very important.
I now have a few more thousand miles on a very comfortable sport touring machine and a trip across the country in the waning days of a pandemic. Surreal.
 

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I rode my friends 2002 ST4s for two weeks and then bought an ST3s. My friend would agree that the 2006-2007 ST3 motor is smoother and more refined. I think the actual usable power difference is debatable.

I use mine for local canyons and have only once toured with it. My touring ergonomics complaints are upper extremity issues like shoulders or neck hurts (even with bar risers) for the over 55 crowd.

For touring, I would gravitate toward a more reliable and service friendly bike like the FJR 1300, V-Strom and or if you wanna stay sportier with some uniqueness, the Triumph Sprint ST 1050.
 

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My ST3s has been, if not most reliable bike I have had , it in top 2 … not hard to make bike fit you re:comfort , I was almost 62 in ‘17 when I did the long trip across Canada …just sayin’
 

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I LOVE Ducati's and wanted a sport tourer. When I came across an ST at a great price (and the stars aligned), I jumped at it. It's an ST2 and I am very happy with it. I had missed out on an ST4 two years previously. Both bikes were in great shape and, if I remember correctly, the same year (2000). Did I get the better bike/worse of the two? Only personal preference is to say.

Like the others have said, these are 20+/- year old motorcycles. If you don't know how, or are uncomfortable with, wrenching on your own machine, it might not be the best choice. I have taken to changing my own tires and doing my own valve adjustments, enjoy doing both (Valves more so than tires), and other than tinkering with the headlight, have had very little else to work on. If you like to wrench a little, the 2 is a great choice. Valve adjustments are dead easy, though the electrical is a known weak point. The 4 and 4s have, obviously, the 4 valve heads and are a bit more labor intensive to work on, but the process is not undoable by a lay person. Really don't have much experience with the 3's, but do remember really wanting one when they came out. :)

When all is said and done, they are all really great machines and all have their little niche's to fit into. If you can find one in great shape at a low price, jump at it. If it looks beat to snot and the buyer is charging a premium, "...because it's a Ducati!" smile, nod, say, "Nice Bike." and walk away. :)
 

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As other have said, previous history will be important, have you ridden one. They arent very friendly in traffic, but on the open road fine and a twisty one excel. The 2 valver didnt have the flaking rocker problems,but if you go that way dont buy an early one with the gold frame (probably 2000 or later depending on your countries registering regime), they are notorious for a dodgy charging system, The 2 valver also makes pretty much the same power as the others up to around 7krpm,and is a little cheaper to service.If i were buying one now, id be looking for one with upgraded suspension, perhaps (if an earlier model) better headlight,and at least 1/2 inch bar risers. Had my blue ST4 from new
 

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I have had 4 Ducatis and decided to sell all but my 2004 ST3. It has not been perfect, I have had some electrical issues, regulator/rectifier. I have ridden the ST4S & like the motor better on the ST3, more low end grunt, but not the top speed of the ST4.
If there is a problem with the ST3, the valve adjustment is rough to do on the vertical cylinder, the exhaust one is a pain.
All in all I like the ST3 the best, which mine is not the ABS bike. I have a friend that has the wet clutch ST3S with ABS & he mentioned that he like that bike better than the standard ST3. I must admit, now having a bike with ABS, (my 2016 BMW GSA) I would think about the ST3S ABS bike which is 2006 & 2007.
 

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Oh I am going to get flamed now !

I have had a ST4s for 19 years at 10-12 I decided it was not reliable enough to tour any more. IMHO either low or high mileage I would not like to cover any distance or time on this bike. The best you are going to get is 14 years old and the design and build is not good enough (for me) to trust. Add to this that my bike is well maintained and I know most every inch.
I have an ST4S I bought earlier this year in great condition with 24,500 miles on it. I’ve since put another 3,000 miles on it with no issues whatsoever. A top Dakar rider, Edi Orioli, on Instagram took one 14,000 km across Europe successfully. Just to be fair to the bike.
 

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SR71: 2005 Black ST4s, Ducati perf pkg. Weapon of Ass Destruction: 1997 Red MG Sport 1100i
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FWIW, the only one I have experience with is my 2005 ST4s (non-ABS) which had 18k miles when I got it and now as 21k. This was the first model year of the ST4 with the wet clutch and it came with the snowflake front rotors. This bike also came with Heli bars instead of the stock ones, a 14T front sprocket and the Ducati Performance Package, which consists of open airbox, carbon fiber cans and a replacement (remapped) ECU.

The only real modification I have made is to send the forks to Cogent Dynamics to have Rick replace the crappy stock valving with Ohlins. I recently replaced the 14T/38T sprockets with 15T/42T. I was not impressed with the way the stock forks performed.

It runs real strong/smooth and now handles very well. The front brakes are not quite as powerful as the larger ones on my 1997 Guzzi Sport 1100 but they stop well, at least without a pillion. However, the seat and my ass do not get along because it slopes toward the front, so that will be the next mod.

I am the 4th local owner and since it was an estate sale no service records came with it (survivors were not mc savvy) and the other 2 did their own minor maintenance I don't know what problems it might have had earlier or what might be typical for the model..

The only reliability issue I've had was that Luigi at the factory/dealership did not properly secure the output hose to the in-tank fuel pump, resulting in me having to trailer it back home after getting a lift back to town on the back of my friend's Harley (The horror! The horror!).

I do all of my own mechanical/electrical work, change/balance my own tires, etc. so I do not have any experience with getting repairs or maintenance at dealerships. The nearest one would be a 500 mile drive anyways. From what I hear it can be similar to buying a horse, where the actual horse is the cheap part of the deal.

I recently swapped out the belts and will be doing valve check/adjustment next. If you plan on doing your own work it is advisable to buy some specialty tools and a shop manual to make the job easier. There are also helpful vids on YouTube.
 
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