A statement I’ve always maintained since I owned and modified one was that despite making some of the nicest motorcycles to ride, Ducati makes the worst motorcycles to own.
In some ways the Bologna bike maker has tried to shirk the old adage of owning 3 Ducatis – one for riding and 2 for the shop. But despite extended service intervals (a selling point that drew me in back in 08) they may have also gone backwards in reliability with all the additional electronic doodads they now ship their bikes with. My lend of Dan’s bike recently reaffirmed this for me.
Firstly you should know that my views will always be biased because I’ve had so much enjoyment and trouble-free motoring from almost all my motorcycles especially my 2010 Harley.
I have only ever needed to call a tow truck for a mechanical issue with my Ducati Hypermotard. It was only a stuck shifter but it still left me bike-less for two weeks and fuming mad. I also had other niggles like hard starting and a sticky head stem bearing after putting the bike away wet. It always needed something doing from belts to bald tyres (ok the tyres was probably me).
60,000 trouble-free kilometers from my Harley also makes my expectations pretty high for anything to compare. I didn’t even get 3 days out of riding Dan’s Ducati before a check engine light had me sidelined with a suspension error code.
It’s a real shame that a bike with such a sweet engine, chassis and suspension like the Multi, is let down by overcomplicated gadgetry. And for what?
A button that makes a bike more gentle in the wet or on gravel. Last time I checked that’s what your right wrist is for and mine hasn’t failed me yet. Or perhaps suspension that is dampened at the push of a button? I happily adjusted preload and dampening on all my bikes by hand.
While there is always a place for the gadgetry I hope Ducati takes a step back and makes a sweet bike with little or no extra electronic add-ons. The Multi engine in a Hypermotard frame would be great start. Keep the ABS and Traction Control, and help me change my mind.
This should have been an extended review and follow-up to my initial thoughts but it wasn’t meant to be. I still love Ducatis, but they have ways to go to lure me back into ownership.
So I want to hear from Ducati owners who have done a lot of trouble-free miles – are you out there?