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Discussion Starter #1
Just wanted to get some opinions on the ST3's overall reliability, and functionality before considering a purchase. I've had only 1 Ducati before, '07 Monster S2R 800. Had some fun with it but didn't have the power I was expecting. I currently ride an '05 Suzuki GSX-R 600 and an '05 MV Agusta Brutale 750. I'm looking for a more comfortable long distance bike, better weather protection, storage capacity, etc. Also, I love my I-4's but I do miss having a twin.

My main question I suppose is about reliability. My Monster stalled out at stoplights for no apparent reason several times, and I've heard several references to Multistrada's having electrical difficulties when exposed to rain. Is this a problem with the ST3, and/or are there any other common issues to watch out for?

I don't want to have to worry about a failure when I'm 1000 miles from home and there's no Ducati dealer to be found.

Any advice, user opinions, etc would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance for your responses.
 

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I recently bought a 1998 st2 and learned the hard way. INSIST on having YOUR mechanic check out the bike-period. I have learned a lot and now know that these machines need to be maintained or else.

Thanks to many here and my bank account I now have my bike running fairly well-except the oil leak, need for new rotors, etc..

I can say that in all honesty that this bike out of the 14 that I have owned is the most fun to ride(when it's working) hands down. Such a great feel to it. I just came home from a 2,000 mile trip and except for the oil leak the bike is solid. However, my first big trip sucked and the bike sat in the shop for half my time....

Get the bike looked at. This forum is great-you will gain a lot of information but if/when I buy another used ducati it will go to a shop for inspection before I buy it. I'm now 6,000 miles into my st and I'm sure you won't regret buying the RIGHT one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well at the moment (not that I'm in a huge rush) I've got my eye on an '05 with 7600mi on it. Just serviced, looks to be super clean, hardbags, etc. Not a bad idea to have it checked out, though it might be easier said than done with the bike 200mi away from my trusted dealer. Being relatively new with low miles and (I assume) good records of service history, I'm not too worried about it being taken care of, I'm just wondering what exactly would/might NEED to be taken care of over the course of ownership, aside from valves, filters, etc.
 

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I've put about 5000 miles on my '05 ST3 since buying it just about 2 yrs ago. Although I've never been more than a few hundred miles from home, it's never failed me in any way whatsoever. And I pay only moderate attention to taking care of it and have only general type mechanical skills. In my experience, it's all fun and zero hassles.
 

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Well, my st2 v.s. what you are looking at are two different machines. But, I should have added that for comfort I've been VERY happy with my ST so far. I would like to be a bit more upright-I'm toying with the multi for this reason. (I'm 5'8" 170lbs) BUT for twisty roads the st is awesome. I've now had mine for about 2 or 3 months with over 6,000 miles in the bag(I'm at about 1$ per mile still but that's another story).

I would search through as many of the old threads you can find on this forum about what gremlins there may be. I WISH I had done this before buying my bike.

Anyway, of all the bikes I've had I can ride this one the longest with the least fatigue and the biggest smile. I did get a new seat(sargent). The stock one from the 1998 year s a joke and the corbin that my bike came with doesn't work for me at all.

That bike has low miles-which means they didn't or COULDN"T ride it much. My bike came to me with 19,000 miles on it. They 'couldn't' ride it much more as it turns out. Crazy, an average of 2,000 miles a year-give or take until I bought it. I'm doing 2,000/month!
 

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The ST3 is an exceptional bike. Great handling, long legs, good weather protection, a pack mule, captivating sound and damned handsome, too. Even better if you can find an S model with upgraded suspenders. And they are a great bargain, with many very-low-miles examples out there for chump change (ex I saw a 2005 with a few thousand miles well-optioned for ~$6K today). Most could use a bit of tuning to richen up the mixture a bit, and good suspension setup, otherwise a super ride right out of the box. Plan on $800-1200/yr for maintenance unless youre a gifted mechanic. Not to worry - all of the early-year electrical gremlins were exorcised long ago.

pg
DD
 

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I don't want to have to worry about a failure when I'm 1000 miles from home and there's no Ducati dealer to be found.
My ST3S loves to run no matter the what the conditions. Having the scheduled Ducati service done is most important so make sure the previous owner did.

Bling don't mean a thing on the road so stay as close to a stock bike possible. The Ducati Performance kit upgrade improves overall engine performance and the ecu is tunable.

The S model suspension is very desirable with ABS braking a plus.

Good luck in your search.
 

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Well at the moment (not that I'm in a huge rush) I've got my eye on an '05 with 7600mi on it. Just serviced, looks to be super clean, hardbags, etc. Not a bad idea to have it checked out, though it might be easier said than done with the bike 200mi away from my trusted dealer. Being relatively new with low miles and (I assume) good records of service history, I'm not too worried about it being taken care of, I'm just wondering what exactly would/might NEED to be taken care of over the course of ownership, aside from valves, filters, etc.
My '05 ST3 is my favorite bike of the ones I've owned so far. No major issues, just regular maintenance. I upgraded the suspension and exhaust, and it was money well spent. The '05 models are unique in that they have have a wet clutch and open loop injection, two features that boost the chances for a positive ownership experience from a maintenance perspective IMO.

As always, YMMV.
 

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My 2005 ST3, purchased new, now has about 42,000 miles. Has handled multiple days in the rain without any problems. Doesn't object when asked to do multiple 700 mile days. Only upgrades/farkles were the Sergeant seat, DesmoTimes peg lowering brackets, and additional driving lamps on Eagan brackets. Working on a third consecutive 10,000 mile year. Bike has persevered through a "might be faulty oil pump, so we'll replace it just to be sure" situation at the start of year two and a broken closer rocker helper spring in year three. Has also stood up to a rigorous home maintenance program performed exclusively by yours truly.
Bill W.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well that's all good to hear. I think I might go check this one out in the next couple weeks and see what happens from there. Small voice in the back of my head keeps yelling 749 dark for some reason. Found an '04 with 3k miles, adult owned, garaged, etc. for $6700. Hasn't sold in nearly a year. Sounds suspiciously low but certainly is tempting. Doesn't really solve my touring woes but I can't say I'd mind having one. Hopefully practicality will win out and I'll get the ST3.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Looks like my suspicions are coming true, haven't got any concrete evidence on the 749 yet but it rang a bell as having some issue with another forum member. Eh, it's for the best, the ST3 would certainly suit my needs better. One question though, is the factory luggage lockable? I would assume so but I've seen some that isn't, kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me.
 

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After the 2005 (2006 forward) they added a lambda sensor and other stuff which people here have had problems with. So thumbs up on the 2005.
 

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Factory luggage is lockable, comes off the bike pretty easily too.
And the same key locks the bags to the bike. I am still amazed at how much stuff I can pick up at the grocery store on the way home from work, maybe more the my airhead BMW.:think:
 

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Counterpoint

As a counter point to these posts let me just fill you in on my short Ducati experience:
Got a 2002 ST4S less than 4 months ago and have been struggling with the following:
Blown 4...yes 4 relays
Blown 1 fuse...(still trying to figure out if this is a short and where its coming from) I get a knot in my stomach every time I go to hit the starter button
Tried to get help from the local Ducati shop and they found the blown relay but no root cause and fried my volt meter ($170 thank you)
The gas gauge doesn't go all the way to the top so the low light blinks with 2 gallons left (a little less than half)
Shudders when gettnig on the brakes hard (probably rotors?)
MPH is off by probably 10%
It bucks and surges at anything below 4000 RPM like it wants to buck me off and go find chicks...super irritating to ride around town
the tank heats up and fries my boys.
The clutch makes a squalling sound when starting from a stop
The clutch engages at a different point depending when it's cold vs hot
Right turn signal stopped working (found it was a loose connection)
Heaven help you getting it in to neutral when it's cold

She is one sexy beast though!!
 

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The 2005 is a great MY to get an ST3, not only do you have no O2, you can add slip-ons and open airboxes without needing a fuel card (in my case anyway). I like the wet clutch, and the 05 has the more comfortable seat than previous years as noted by many on the board, the electronics have been slightly beefed up vs previous years too.

I just road 4K miles recently 10 days across the West with my ST3 with no issues and have 18K on the bike now. The 3 valve is a strong engine and I run it hard in the mountains around here. One item that many people have had with that MY is the water temp sensor going out (possible corrosion), but that is a $19 Napa or Bosch easy fix.

The coolest part is that is really didn't need anything to be a great bike, it is good to go out of the box. Everything I added (pipes, lowered pegs, open air box, Heli Bars, windscreen, fan upgrade, etc.) were because I wanted them.

Not to discount the previous posts but in my opinion you can't compare the ST3 to earlier models ST4's or ST2's, Apples and Oranges. IMHO, if the basic maint. functions have been performed at that mileage for this model, you are getting a good bike.
 

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I've had my 2005 ST3 for about a year now. I haven't really put that many miles on it; about 4k guess. I like it, it has not given me any problems in the time I've owned it, and the previous owner claims he never had any issues either. It's got about 15k miles total on it now, and people often mistake it for new. It runs perfectly.

If you can find an S, I'd highly recommend it. I find the stock suspension just so-so. The front is a bit harsh on square-edge bumps. I imagine it could be improved quite a bit.

I think the stock brakes are less than adequate. Despite being Brembo, they are the most disappointing brakes of almost any street bike I've owned. They lack bite & feel, and the front rotors/buttons are prone to causing a pulsation. I've tried all the home-remedies found in the forums, but am now going with my initial instinct of just replacing the rotors and pads.

The motor is a good compromise; and I mean "compromise" in a good way. It isn't going to set any land speed records. It's got decent power, but about what you'd expect. The upside to that is that you get reasonable fuel economy and tank range, with enough power on tap to still get sporty. On crappy California gas, mine averages 46MPG, and can get me close to 200 miles on a tank.

I think the weather protection on the ST3 is also a compromise. If you think of an R1200RT when you hear "weather protection" you'll be disappointed with the ST3. It's marginally better than a typical sport bike.

What's really awesome about the bike though is the chassis and light weight. Compared to almost any other hard-bag sport tourer, the ST2/3/4 is very lightweight & comfortable. The side cases hold a good amount of stuff, plus I added a Givi E46 to mine as well. I've not yet had them full.

The instrument cluster is a terd. It has several modes, but always resets to odometer mode every time you turn it off. The estimated tank range remaining and fuel gauge are worthless. They might as well be random number generators. It once estimated my mileage as 146 MPG! Most of the time it is just falsely optimistic, reporting MPG about 5-10 higher than actual. The fuel gauge is very non-linear, and quickly goes from 1/2 to E, while still keeping about 1.5 gal in the tank. Oh... and there's the annoyance of the maintenance light.

Overall it's a good package. I'd kinda wished I'd held out for an "S", but that's more desire than deal-breaker. I did get a very clean & comfy bike for a good price.
 
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