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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No, I am really wondering, why do people continue to buy these things?

Ok, I just need to rant a bit.

I bought a 2014 Hyper SP (slightly older, not the first generation, but super clean and low miles, so it should be safe and pretty well sorted, right??). I paid a fairly high price (to me) because it was a bike that I always wanted to try and I decided to go in agnostically and just see how it turned out. Had 4k miles on it when I bought it so, coming from Japanese sport bikes all my life I thought, it should be good to go for a long time. So naive of me...

First thing I learned is that the belts, while not being over their miles are over age so, off to a Ducati expert to change the belts, plugs, fuel filter ($800). I wouldn't want the motor to grenade because I didn't follow Dicati's recommendations on regular maintenance.

While at the shop, one of the O2 sensors decides to give up the ghost. I have 2 choices, replace the sensor ($300+ for the official Ducati part) or have the ECU reprogrammed to eliminate the sensors all together (also $300+). I decided on the latter since there are 2 of them and the second one is probably not far behind. But, more on the programming later.

Then, I am noticing a pulsing in the front brake. Off to do some research on the interwebs, and Lo and behold, this is a known issue with the 2013 and 2014 bikes. Supposed warped rotors very early in life. I am still not 100% sure that is the complete issue but, another $600 for new rotors. I have ridden bikes for 35+ years and I don't recall ever having to replace a front rotor, even due to wear, and I check the thickness to ensure that they are within specs.

Then there is this issue with the throttle when riding at a constant throttle position, IT DOESN'T! Up, down, up down. You can't hold a constant rpm with this bike to save your life no matter how hard you try. More research. Oh, the early ride by wire throttle may have been too light, spring wise, and they went through 5 different iterations (with us as their test subjects) to maybe make it better. I still haven't got the latest version to check because well... other issues to deal with.

Now back to fueling; I had the bike tuned by Rexxer because it seemed to be a reputable tune company and I hoped that it would fix the $hitty fueling along with removing the need for the O2 sensors. The bike has an SC project slip-on so I was sure that tuning was going to help. Well... It still idles like $hit, and burbles down every time you let off the throttle and just for good measure it will stall on you every once in a while just for $hits and giggles. It is great when WOT, but who rides the bike all the time at full tilt on the street.

Next, the bike turns over like a 1930 ford being hand cranked and sometimes fails to start on the first, or even second, try. Oh, this is because Ducati, in their infinite wisdom, decided to use undersized wires to the starter and use improper metal for the connections. Another $170 to buy a kit to fix Ducati's $hitty engineering.

Finally the clutch, Oh the clutch. It grabs at different positions every time you let it out and you need to treat it like an egg shell lest you will be buckin, grabbing and generally looking like an a$$ any time you try to launch at anything more than a granny's pace. Oh, just put a 939 clutch pack in it to address another example of crap engineering and no proper testing (another $200+)

Then, to top it all off, you can't even reset the service light when you change the oil without buying a scan tool for $500+. Are you freaking kidding me?

The bike is interesting, and fun to ride, although all the issues are making me resent it more and more every day. It is unwieldy, unpredictable and seems to have more issues than middle-aged rock star. They all look really good but they are in the "danger zone" of the crazy hot matrix.

Who buys these things? Me I guess. I will do my best to turn this into a motorcycle that I can live with but it definitely will be the last one I ever buy.

BTW: I am a Director of Quality at an engineering company so I know what goes into testing complex new products and what it takes to make sure it is ready for sale to the market. As long as we keep buying these products, Ducati is correct in their thinking that "it is what the market will bear".

I also can't speak for other models that Ducati produces but, I would bet good money that they are not any better, quality wise.

Go ahead and tell me that "you just don't understand" or "maybe you just can't afford a Ducati" and that is fine, maybe those points are true but I will not be buying another Ducati, and ultimately, that is how I really cast my vote, with my wallet. I am just glad I didn't spend full retail price on this poor excuse for a road going motorcycle.

Rant over
Jeff
 

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Been there...took 18k miles to sort out a wonky throttle...7 yrs running still haven't found the reason it doesn't start hot....my bike has been punished...I couldn't sell it if I tried...but still...70k miles later...I'm nearly an expert on all things M821...I hoped to have prevented everyone from following behind me as best I could...the few problems I've had have been extremely frustrating... mostly solvable...and certainly not isolated just to me...be glad there's a forum to vent to...I would have imploded...hang in there...there's no mystery why Ferrari doesn't just sell to anyone...not everyone can tolerate this shit...lol

Andiamo!
 

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748 and Hypermotard
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I for one started with British cars as my means of transport, points and carbs, so I'm well versed in living in harmony with bad design. I also have Japanese bikes to ride if getting there on time needs to be guaranteed. Still ride my 748R even around town more than those bikes though; every ride is an adventure. I'm old now so I kinda dig that. I don't know what it's like where you live, but here we have a bit of a problem with men offing themselves, I doubt the demise of the internal combustion engine is going to do much to improve those figures.
 

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Ducati owners don't put up with this crap. Ducati's of the cam belt era are maintenance intensive and parts and service aren't cheap. This leads to lots of low mileage bikes on the market which need maintenance and/or repair. Used buyers who aren't aware of what it takes to service, maintain and repair a cam belt Ducati all too often look at clean low mile bikes and assume they'll be problem free and run fine. The advice to buyers is make sure you get the service records for a bike and make sure you understand what it will take to bring a bike up to date on service and make sure they test ride the bike, or have an independent assessment of the bike. Having a bike which has been serviced by a reputable mechanic and is up to date on service is critical to avoid facing large service bills after buying a used Ducati. By the way, one reason there are alot of low mileage used Ducatis is the owners know they are getting ready to have to pay for some big service or repair bills, so they sell. Buying a bike without knowing its service history and running state is a due diligence problem, not a manufacturer quality problem. Caveat emptor, applies to all brands of motorcycles when buying used. The cost to service and repair a Ducati, just makes it a bigger problem if you don't do your due diligence.

You mention that you had to have the belts replaced because if they failed they could "grenade" the engine. Belts age out after 5 years. This implicitly means the previous owner ran the bike for 3 years past when the belts should have been replaced at a risk of grenading the engine. This is a clue as to how well the bike you bought was maintained.

As an aside, you should only think tuning will really fix a bike if the bike is freshly serviced (fresh belts, valves checked/adjust, fresh plugs, TPS synched). If the bike, isn't freshly serviced, it will be tuned to a non-optimal state and when the bike is serviced, it will no longer be tuned correctly.

I own 7 Ducatis and over 25 other bikes from 10 other manufacturers. My 916 has over 60K miles on it. Ducati quality is fine if you know how to set them up and maintain them correctly.
 

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I’ve had close to 20 bikes over the last 20 plus years, and 5 have been Ducatis.. I would argue that Ducatis DO tend to have more quality control issues than your average Japanese bike. But I think you were a bit unlucky to have gotten a vintage of Ducati that was plagued with more issues than normal. With that said, Japanese bikes of that era also struggled with the same issues—wonky fueling from ever tightening emissions standards as well as ride by wire throttles that took years to match the simple analog of a throttle cable.

As to the dry clutch and timing belts, well that’s just Italian flavor for you, like the trellis frame and “L-twin.” They had their perceived benefits, but as mentioned above, do require more frequent servicing and upkeep. You may be surprised to learn how cheap and easy doing your own belts is compared to paying a Ducati mechanic and the same goes with correcting the feel of the clutch.

I guess what I’m saying is, although I agree with you that Ducatis have their issues, for me it’s worth the little bit of extra work because when things are working right, nothing ticks all the boxes quite like my Ducatis… but I’m sure to keep at least one Japanese bike in the stable to avoid down time. ;)
 

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1999 996 Biposto, 2002 Monster 620 Dark
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Because "Ducati" people understand that owning and riding a Ducati is more akin to owning a Ferrari than a Honda. Its a passion and a love for something that you cant get anywhere else. As mentioned above people make assumptions about what they are getting into then bail out without doing maintenance and upkeep. At the end of the day, these bikes are race pedigreed, not reliable Japanese sewing machine pedigreed.

While I do understand your frustration being in the middle of replacing a sprag clutch on a 996, these bikes are a different breed. I am currently actually looking for a Honda CBR, to have something that sits in the corner and gets ignored. But I know when the Duc is down for service the Honda will always start. But it doesnt have quite the same attraction as the 996. Its just something to get by on.
 

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To answer your question, I like the design and I love the handling of the bike. I got a standard Hypermotard 950 since 2020 and have racked up 14k miles over the last 2 years (even with all the travel limitations due to Covid). The bike never leaves me stranded so I think Ducati's reliability might come a long way since 2014.
 

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I’ve only owned 3 bikes, a 70’s Z650 Kawasaki, bought as a jigsaw puzzle I put back together and leant to ride, in the 80’s. A vtr250 when I needed to get a licence in 99.. and my 01 900SS. 74 000km on it, 2 troubles, side stand relay and I readjusted a timing after a couple of years. Later it snapped 8km from home. Really those were it.

ridden with Suzuki owners and Kawasaki owners. I’d prefer not to though.
 
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You are not alone. I went through the same feelings with my first two Ducatis. Hated both of them. Swore off the brand, but I found a deal I couldn't pass up. Common sense would say stay away. However, the deal was too good and I had to have a SF at least once. I don't regret anything. It's the perfect amount of project bike/ride bike. If you are expecting anything else from a Ducati.... you should probably buy a parts bike as well.

With a quick look. Theres lots of available parts online. I don't see the problem...
 

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When I was looking for a Hyper, I also came across the issues with the 821. I guess you're a bit unlucky with this model and your specific bike that probably had quite a lot of postponed maintenance.

That said, as others have pointed out, Ducati's are more maintenance intensive then run-of-the-mill Japanese bikes. Mostly because they are highly strung bikes that have tighter tolerances on almost every part. So preventative maintenance is key, and not fixing it when it breaks; that will get really expensive, really fast.

I personally really enjoy working on my bikes, about as much as I enjoy riding them. I wouldn't be able to afford three Ducati's if I had to take them to the dealer (or even an indy shop) to do all the work. I don't dare tally up the amount of money I've spent just this year in parts (general maintenance, upgrades and some repairs), let alone if had to pay someone to do the work for me 😅
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
When you decided to buy a Ducati, did anyone say to you 'Yeah, go for it, they're really easy to live with'.?
How interesting you should ask (and something I wasn't exactly expecting from this thread). In the 6 hours since it has been up, I have received 12 responses, yet in the 3 1/2 months since I posted the question below about what I should know about Ducati's (and this year/model specifically) 953 people read the post and not one reply.


It seems the old adage "misery loves company" is alive in Ducati-land.

None of the issues that I am having are lack of, or postponed maintenance issues except for the fact that I had to do the maintenance when I bought the bike. They are all poor engineering and testing issues.

I am the type of person who likes to wrench on mechanical things (I own an old diesel truck and have rebuild multiple motorcycles from a boxes full of parts) and, as I said, I will do everything I can to make this a bike that I can live with, but it sure doesn't look like it is going to be a happy journey.

Jeff
 

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Ive owned my 998 for 3 years now. I wish I could say that Ive loved every minute of it, but that wouldn't be true.

In fact, a few months ago, i was ready to cut my losses and sell my bike. I had a major oil pressure issue that ended up ruining the vertical cylinder head. The story is worse than that, but I won't bore you with the details.

Fortunately, a few guys on this board talked me off the ledge. I took my time and fixed my bike. Its nearly 3k miles later, and I am very glad I kept the bike.

I would like to keep the bike forever, but I suppose if the right deal came along, I could probably part with it...probably for another Ducati.

I also have a $100 Ducati 907 project that Ive almost finished. You want to talk about frustrating...but I eagerly anticipate the final outcome.

But maybe I am a masochist. I owned an old Porsche 944 a few years ago while in grad school and not making much money. Now that was a dumb decision!

"Misery loves company." I suppose, but it is satisfying to have a problem on the road and know exactly whats wrong and how to fix it. It has taken a while to get there and I know I will be stumped again. But this board is a great place to find help.
 

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Gixxer,
I fully get it. I'm on my 3rd Ducati and have gone through my share of frustration. If you spend enough time on them the highs outweigh the lows, at least in my experience. I was pretty much an YZF1000/R1 guy for awhile, living in Carlsbad, CA I purchased a few R1's. The last one was worked on by Jeremy Toye (Graves exhaust, ram air kit, dyno tuned, PCIII) and I loved that bike. At some point I realized I'd been spending a lot of time lusting after Ducati's. Had a couple guys pull up to the red light on some tricked out 996's with open clutch covers, the sounds those bikes put out, combined with the way the bikes looked...the hook was set.
The R1 was stolen and I took the insurance money to the Ducati dealer in Oceanside, bought a yellow 998. Riding that bike on the track, even at my lame B group pace, was exhilarating to say the least. The bike had always been a bit of a torture rack on the street but I kinda grew into that, on the track it ALL made sense. Front end feel was amazing, low end torque just put a grin on my face. I was passing guys on literbikes around the infield section (only to have them run past me on the banked straight, LOL). It was all in good fun but quite a memorable experience. I've had many memorable experiences on Ducati's and I guess that's what keeps me sticking with the brand. Standing around the parking lot at Mother's on Palomar, hearing a couple of Ducati Superbikes roar up the mountain. Holy shit that sounded amazing. Seeing Bostrom, Russell, Gobert, Pegram on Ducati's at the AMA rounds, Bayliss on a 1098R at Miller in Utah, meeting Eraldo Ferracci and then buying my 1098R from his dealership.

If the juice isn't worth the squeeze, it's time to take a different path. I hope you find your good times on your Ducati though. Ride safe...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great input, Thanks. Just a bit frustrated with it right now. I will likely get past it but I need to release it to stay sane.

Thanks to all

Jeff

Gixxer,
I fully get it. I'm on my 3rd Ducati and have gone through my share of frustration. If you spend enough time on them the highs outweigh the lows, at least in my experience. I was pretty much an YZF1000/R1 guy for awhile, living in Carlsbad, CA I purchased a few R1's. The last one was worked on by Jeremy Toye (Graves exhaust, ram air kit, dyno tuned, PCIII) and I loved that bike. At some point I realized I'd been spending a lot of time lusting after Ducati's. Had a couple guys pull up to the red light on some tricked out 996's with open clutch covers, the sounds those bikes put out, combined with the way the bikes looked...the hook was set.
The R1 was stolen and I took the insurance money to the Ducati dealer in Oceanside, bought a yellow 998. Riding that bike on the track, even at my lame B group pace, was exhilarating to say the least. The bike had always been a bit of a torture rack on the street but I kinda grew into that, on the track it ALL made sense. Front end feel was amazing, low end torque just put a grin on my face. I was passing guys on literbikes around the infield section (only to have them run past me on the banked straight, LOL). It was all in good fun but quite a memorable experience. I've had many memorable experiences on Ducati's and I guess that's what keeps me sticking with the brand. Standing around the parking lot at Mother's on Palomar, hearing a couple of Ducati Superbikes roar up the mountain. Holy shit that sounded amazing. Seeing Bostrom, Russell, Gobert, Pegram on Ducati's at the AMA rounds, Bayliss on a 1098R at Miller in Utah, meeting Eraldo Ferracci and then buying my 1098R from his dealership.

If the juice isn't worth the squeeze, it's time to take a different path. I hope you find your good times on your Ducati though. Ride safe...
 

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2011 Multistrada S Touring, 2000 Monster 900 S
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It's a long one, so sorry in advance.

First thing I learned is that the belts, while not being over their miles are over age so, off to a Ducati expert to change the belts, plugs, fuel filter ($800). I wouldn't want the motor to grenade because I didn't follow Dicati's recommendations on regular maintenance.
800+ for belts, plugs, and fuel filter is pretty outrageous if you ask me. At 4k miles there wasn't any good reason to do plugs or fuel filter, either. Belts on these can be replaced at home, by a beginner, in less than a couple hours. Just saying. Following the service recommendations from Ducati are usually a pretty safe bet (except for oil change intervals!).

While at the shop, one of the O2 sensors decides to give up the ghost. I have 2 choices, replace the sensor ($300+ for the official Ducati part) or have the ECU reprogrammed to eliminate the sensors all together (also $300+). I decided on the latter since there are 2 of them and the second one is probably not far behind. But, more on the programming later.
Yeah, had one fail on the 821 Hyperstrada I used to own. Fairly common. Coincidentally though, with Ducati ownership you begin to realize that Ducati makes almost none of their own parts - so finding out who DOES make the parts is helpful. The O2 sensors are made by Bosch. So.. through my own looking around, I realized these were used by many other manufacturers (with their own internal part numbers) as well as available through Bosch themselves. I paid $90 for a genuine Bosch O2 sensor (back in ~2017 so probably a bit more now), identical to the one I removed even down to the wire length, at a Polaris dealer. In a Polaris bag. According to them, it fit a RZR 1000 side-by-side. Fixed my CEL with "genuine" parts and less than an hour.

Then, I am noticing a pulsing in the front brake. Off to do some research on the interwebs, and Lo and behold, this is a known issue with the 2013 and 2014 bikes. Supposed warped rotors very early in life. I am still not 100% sure that is the complete issue but, another $600 for new rotors. I have ridden bikes for 35+ years and I don't recall ever having to replace a front rotor, even due to wear, and I check the thickness to ensure that they are within specs.
Yeah, another issue I experienced. Have it on my Multistrada right now, too. Got my 821's rotors replaced under warranty and the problem came back within 4000 miles. Apparently it's got something to do with sticking rotor buttons (not necessarily warping, which can be cleaned. I haven't gotten around to trying that fix yet, but might be worth a shot before new rotors. I agree it's foolish that it even happens in the first place. It seems to be because of the thinner rotors on newer models, IIRC ~4.5-5mm thick instead of something like what my older monster has, at least 1-2mm thicker. Damn bean counters.

Then there is this issue with the throttle when riding at a constant throttle position, IT DOESN'T! Up, down, up down. You can't hold a constant rpm with this bike to save your life no matter how hard you try. More research. Oh, the early ride by wire throttle may have been too light, spring wise, and they went through 5 different iterations (with us as their test subjects) to maybe make it better. I still haven't got the latest version to check because well... other issues to deal with.
Now back to fueling; I had the bike tuned by Rexxer because it seemed to be a reputable tune company and I hoped that it would fix the $hitty fueling along with removing the need for the O2 sensors. The bike has an SC project slip-on so I was sure that tuning was going to help. Well... It still idles like $hit, and burbles down every time you let off the throttle and just for good measure it will stall on you every once in a while just for $hits and giggles. It is great when WOT, but who rides the bike all the time at full tilt on the street.
Yeah, shitty fueling is common on MOST Ducati's without aftermarket tunes. Unfortunately no good way around it, the twins just aren't as smooth as inline 3/4s to begin with. Add in bad fueling and it gets worse.

Also agree that the spring tension is way too light. Full ride-by-wire throttles all suck this way though, you don't get the "feedback" you do from a cable throttle. Setups like what are on the 10-14 Multistradas make the most sense to me - Throttle + Cable + TPS, which electronically controls the Throttle Body. Best of both worlds.

Next, the bike turns over like a 1930 ford being hand cranked and sometimes fails to start on the first, or even second, try. Oh, this is because Ducati, in their infinite wisdom, decided to use undersized wires to the starter and use improper metal for the connections. Another $170 to buy a kit to fix Ducati's $hitty engineering.
There were also reports of bad batches of Thailand made starter motors. You can swap in Denso-made starters (which I believe all the new Ducati ones are) for easier starting. Wire upgrade if you're feeling particularly flush with cash.

Agreed though, this was a stupid oversight, but they continue to do it. Inexcusable in my mind.

Finally the clutch, Oh the clutch. It grabs at different positions every time you let it out and you need to treat it like an egg shell lest you will be buckin, grabbing and generally looking like an a$$ any time you try to launch at anything more than a granny's pace. Oh, just put a 939 clutch pack in it to address another example of crap engineering and no proper testing (another $200+)
Yeah, had that one too. There are/were "kits" available to add the "judder plate/springs" to the existing 821 clutch packs. I bought one for my 812, and it made a big difference. Might be able to dig up that part number for you, significantly cheaper than the entire clutch pack.

Dumb it was ever a problem, but at least they resolved it in later models and fixes are available.

Then, to top it all off, you can't even reset the service light when you change the oil without buying a scan tool for $500+. Are you freaking kidding me?
Haha, agree 100%. Right to repair is important, and Ducati (among most others) continue to go out of their way to screw over owners to help their service network. Really unfortunate things continue to get worse generation over generation.
 
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