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rickmillertx
02-09-2007, 11:22 AM
I've put 4000 miles on my new Ducati so I'll give my review.


http://www.millergang.us/images/ducati2.jpg

How does it feel?

I'm 6'3" so I was concerned that the somewhat sportbike riding position would be a problem on all day rides. That has not proven to be a problem. The wind force on your shoulders and top of helmet reduce the weight on your wrists to a comfortable level. As with all non floorboard bikes, a long day with the feet in a fixed position causes my knees to tire. So I find myself stopping every 100 miles to stretch my knees.
I nice surprise is the seat. The stock Ducati seat is very comfortable. I have added the beaded seat cover and that keeps the heat down on summer rides.
On the subject of heat. No engine heat is noticed exiting the fairing, but the back sides of the gas tank does get very hot. If you are a habitual tank hugger with your knees you will really feel the heat. I'm going to add a tank bra to solve this.

Performance.

The bike has way more power than it needs. I haven't tried a full throttle 1st gear pull to the red line. I'm afraid it might lift the front wheel and I'm not experienced in riding a 500lb unicycle. But, full throttle makes things happen in a hurry and by the time (and I mean seconds) you are grabbing 4th gear, you are also nearing 100 mph. Redline is 9000. Usable power is from 3500 up. Below 3500 the bike shakes with each stroke so you feel like you are riding a single.
This brings me to the final gearing. I think the bike is geared too tall. Therefore, I have ordered a one tooth drop in the front sprocket. Currently you can cruise easily at 70 in 5th gear. In 6th the bike wants to run over 80 so you end up obliging.
There is a low vibration in the engine at cruising speed, but it is not annoying or hand numbing.

Luggage.

The standard hardbags are easily removed or installed and they have a convenient recessed grip to carry. The locking mechanism on the bag is a little clumsy for me. It takes two hands to open or lock the bag. Each bag can hold a full face helmet. They are tough cookies. I dropped the bike and slid on my side one night. The bag stayed on (scratched up pretty good) and took the weight off the pipe and me.
Helmet locking supplied by Ducati is useless. It is a cable that you loop over a bar under the seat. So to use, you must unlock the seat, run the cable through the helmet and then relock the seat. Not happening.

General riding thoughts.

The bike has a large turning radius and this must be watched when negotiating parking lots. Slow speed turns can result in a fall to the inside when you try to reduce the radius of the turn. The high gearing requires proper clutch slippage to start your motion. Gear shifting is positive and firm. 4th 5th and 6th can easly be shifted without the clutch while accelerating.
Suspension is excellent. The Showa front forks and Olins rear work wonders. This gives you great confidence in your riding. The fairing and windscreen knocks off most wind and reduces buffeting. So the pressure you do feel on your shoulders is constant and comfortable. This is probably not so great in extreme cold, but I avoid low temperatures.

ABS

This was a major selling point for me. I wanted this added safety feature. I have only used it once and it worked wonders. I have never intentionally tried a full lock braking (it just goes against everything I have ever been taught). The one time it did kick in was on an increasing hard braking situation when I passed over some road grime. This caused the front wheel to activate the ABS. I felt the shutter in the front end, but I kept going straight and true. Thankyou ABS.

What are not my favorite things.

I don't care for the digital guages. The digital options for gas gauge, distance etc is just not very usuable for me.

I don't care for the fact that you must remove some of the fairing to change the oil or check the coolant level.

I don't like the heated rear of the gas tank. It gets very hot. I think I can fix that with a bra.

Numbers.

I'm getting about 42 mpg overall. 5 gallon tank. No oil consumption.

Two Thumbs Up.

http://www.millergang.us/images/myduc1.jpg

twistedpinion
02-09-2007, 12:11 PM
Thanks for posting this, the ST3 is on my short list as a next bike.

rickmillertx
05-27-2007, 06:35 PM
UPDATE:
6000 miles now on the bike. Added Ducati Performance package (new pipes, ECU, and high flow airbox). Also dropped one tooth on the front sprocket. Oh what a difference. It is like I have a new bike. Runs smooth, really smooth, from 2000 rpm up. Pulls harder all the way to redline. I love the change. 40 mpg now.

1TallTXn
05-29-2007, 03:51 PM
how many miles you got on that purdy thing Rick?

rickmillertx
05-29-2007, 05:00 PM
About 6100 right now. I just added Throttlemeister and Mag-Knight magnetic tank protector, and a new set of Michelin Road Pilots. I'm getting her ready for a 1400 mile trip in June.
She is look'n good!

MGN54
05-29-2007, 09:27 PM
1400 miles?!?! Where ya headed? Someday I hope to have a Ducati ST. I rode a ST4 the summer I ended up buying my RT. If the ST had had its 12k mile service I think I would have gone for it. My 748 was coming up on its 12k at the same time. Figured the last thing I needed was TWO 4 valvers to do a major service on at the same time! But I have to admit, buyers remorse from time to time when I read a report like you just gave on your ST3s. Sounds like a great bike!

Hope your upcoming trip is a great one wherever you're headed. :rider:

Mark

rickmillertx
05-29-2007, 11:27 PM
It is a fun bike. I'm going to take a long way to Big Bend. I'm working out and getting into shape for a backpacking trip while there. One night out in the wilds, then hike back to the lodge and hopefully my bike.

1TallTXn
05-30-2007, 11:27 AM
I've never backpacked BBNP. Been out there quite a few times in 4x4's its a beautiful country.

Enjoy your trip! :sun: :rider:

FSL
05-30-2007, 12:24 PM
Nice bike thanks for the review.

rickmillertx
09-11-2009, 10:32 PM
20600 miles on the bike now. Not a single thing has failed me on this bike. The drop in 1 tooth on the front sprocket + the Ducati performance package transformed the bike. It runs smoother and more powerful. Dropped 2 mpg for this performance upgrade. At about 15,000 miles the bike really started feeling broken in and everything just feels right.
I'm still a happy camper.

jrflanne
12-02-2009, 12:15 AM
I had a ST4 for a while. I bought it used and put something like 15,000 miles on it. A great bike to ride and it sounded good. Reeeeel goooood! But I thought the negatives (desmo maintenance) was over the top. Had to put an $800 clutch on it and it killed a plug which made me think it broke a cam belt. I think that was the ender for me. And it didn't like to start below about 42F. That being said, it was a great bike. I'm just not cut out for the extra work for a bike I put high miles on. I sold it for what I paid for it.

rickmillertx
08-23-2010, 08:30 PM
29,000 Miles. No problems, but then it shouldn't when the 24k service cost me $2,200. Still love this bike.