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Ducati 400 or GS500

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by catch-22, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Then there were two.....am looking at either of these bikes for the duration of my L's and P's (15 months) and would like peoples thoughts...preferably from people who have actually owned both.

    I'm 6"3' and weight in at 90kg.

    Some of the things I would like to know -

    whats acceleration like on both - say they were side by side?
    Engaging ride - which is better?

    over to you..

  2. I'm guessing most people would prefer the GS500 over the Ducati here.. Simply because they're more reliable (Ducati's are known to fall to parts - sometimes).

    And servicing and all that on the Suzuki would be easier and cheaper. Will learn alot off the Suzi..

    Edit: Speelling
  3. You're even comparing them?
  4. catch-22 I'll throw another spanner in the works and suggest cb400 not because I own one but read and do all the research and see for yourself. It has more than enough power to keep you satisfied for 15 months and beyond especially with its vtec system. I am similar height and weight to you and have done 1000km day rides and have had no issues with aches etc.
  5. and you can get them with ABS- safety net
  6. I do like the look of the CB400 but have always viewed the Honda as a fairly conservative bike. And as they are in the $8k range it competes with the Duc 620 and I know which I would jump at.

    The reason I am comparing the 400 and the GS500 is pricing only. I have heard a lot about the 400, some of it negative. Have even heard that one of the cylinders doesn't actually fire which is why they are somewhat slow....but what is slow. That is what I am trying to gauge..

    For example, are they as slow as the VTR250 I did the L's on?
  7. The price may be dearer but as stu_h suggested comes with the safety net of abs (which has come in handy on many occasions) which is an immense asset for a learner, vtec, latest technology etc. If price is your only factor then best of luck. Price was a factor to me but reliability and technology far outweighed the cheaper alternatives out there.
    Not sure which Honda cb400 you are referring to that is conservative because this bike has only been in Australia for the last 2 years (biggest selling bike in Japan & Singapore). The tri colour abs versions look nice.
  8. Do you mean the current, ABS incarnation Res?
    My uncle had one around 10 years ago...
  9. Just wondering what you are comparing here? If its the cb400? Not a chance. Not sure how the Duc goes, but the CB400 is significantly quicker than a vtr250 and to my knowledge, slightly quicker than a GS500.

    Not quite sure how the cb400 is conservative - looks? EFI, VTEC and ABS tends to suggest to me it isn't all hat conservative.
  10. I'm not comparing the CB, it was simply suggested I look at them.
  11. Yes the super four incarnation (abs and non abs) has only been around for the last 2 years but there are older 78-85 models still floating around which I believe was the last time they were imported into Australia by Honda before the current super four vtec batch.
  12. hahah price is not the only factor. But the gs500 and duc 400 are within the same price bracket which is why I am comparing. Just as the CB400 and Duc 620 are in the same price bracket, as stated.
  13. This could read either way....care to expand?
  14. I have a GS500f that i ride practically every day, i purchased it at the beginning of 2008. Initially purchased solely as a commuter but i found it to be a very pleasing ride. I still have it now even though i have not been on restrictions for quite some time.

    It handles well, i find my partners ZZR250 more nimble and far easier to throw into corners quickly, but i still find the GS500 engaging enough for me. I have had it out at Eastern Creek and it was lots of fun, likewise with the weekend rides i have taken it on.

    GS500 is great at cruising at highway speeds (100 - 110), it sits at 5000rpm @ 100km/h in 6th gear as opposed to my fiances little 250 which is revving quite high. Mirrors can be a bit hard to see stuff in at higher rpms when accelerating due to vibration but are vibe free when cruising.

    Fuel economy is excellent, it worked out to be about 3.8-4 L/100km when i was commuting to the city (after wearing in), and it usually needed to be switched to reserve somewhere around the 370-390km mark.

    Fairly simple and cheap to service (Haynes has a decent manual for the GS series), i check my valve clearances every 12,000km (hardest regular thing to do) and use Delo400 and genuine filters. One of the exhaust valves will need a shim changed next service as it is really close to the looser limit (bike is at 34,000kms).

    Big issue for me is that the quality of the finish is a little down, with one rider i met who had owned is bike for several years showing me the rust he had around the triple clamps. My bike is starting to show rusting signs in the same area, so i have started to grease this area now to try and slow the rusting down. I'm an all-weather rider so this probably hasn't helped it i suppose....

    Any q's on my experience with GS500 just fire away, i won't be much help with the comparison though unless its with a ZZR250.

    *Edit - Oh, the big reason i went with the GS500 at the time was the number of reviews about its reliability (accurate thus far with me) and the fact that i fit well on it (i'm 189cm)
  15. Out of those 2 I'd go the gs, however if you can stretch the budget to a 620 monster (not the 600) I'd go that every time. As far as the 'concerns' about reliability with Duc's go, if you're careful about which one you buy and you're vigilant with maintainance it'll be fine.

    I have an 05 620 Monster Dark (lite), i ride every day and it hasn't missed a beat. Love it! Although at 6'3 you will probably be cramped on a monster. I'm 5'11 and I'm fairly cramped on mine.
  16. Thanks Lucius for a tip top write up...btw, have you tried inox on the soon to be rust spots. Its what everyone uses on their boat that has been exposed to salt water. Just spray a little on after every wash/rain. Not good to hear about the rust though.

    D, there is a 20mm difference in seat height between the duc and gs, the duc being the shorter.
  17. If you want a Ducati, buy the Ducati. If you want a practical bike which you can use/abuse every day without worrying about it and still have it start every morning in all weathers, get parts off the shelf and not have to deal with Ducati dealers, buy the GS.
  18. Hi Catch 22,

    Had similar decisions to make not that long ago - I've got a list of various stats for the bikes if that helps - yes, I am that methodical. :)

    I was looking at the LAMs approved 600 ducati monster, the Duc 400, the GS500 and the kwaka ER-5. I felt the 600 was a little to expensive for a short term bike for the duration I'm LAMSing (and the possibility of me crying in a most unmasculine way if I dropped it). I had some concerns about the Duc 400's grey market origins in terms of servicing (despite being mostly the same as the 600) - especially as I ride every day so need a certain reliability.

    In the end, I decided an ER-5 was the way to go - harder to find than a GS-500, but from what I'd been reading had better suspension, and was liquid cooled.

    But ... I ended up with a GS-500 simply because I could not find an ER-5 at the time, and the GS-500 cam up for a very very good price - about 1.5k under what I was seeing them for elsewhere - because it had been lovingly prescuffed by the previous owner. That said, I have noticed that the front suspension is very very soft so will be looking to upgrade that soon - the parts can be had for about $120 from the US.

    I've done some longish hours on the bike (unfaired), including highway work and CBD commuting and had no issues.

    Interestingly, Murphy being who he is - just after I bought the GS-500, at least two ER-5s showed up. But its all good, as my girlfriends getting one of them for her first bike so we'll be able to have some fun comparing bikes.

    Hope this helps

  19. I have a Duc 400.

    I had a small problem with carbie balance after I went to a K&N airfilter and aftermarket Megacycle pipes.
    Once that was sorted it has been all smooth sailing. the 400 is suprising in it's pickup and ride. I do enjoy riding it alot, and ride it as much as possible.

    I had a look at both the Suz and Duc found the Suz just didn't really feel right. I am only 5'9", 90kg and really the Duc just felt right. It has plenty of pickup and is very nimble around the city as well as out on the twisties. Servicing costs have been remarkably low, I can do most of the stuff my self. I can't say that I have had any problems with spare parts, cause I haven't needed any. but any 620 parts fit the 400, they are basically the same bike but with a re-selved cylinders to fit a smaller piston in them.
    That does mean they are lacking a little in power, but when you are learning that is not a bad thing.
    I am getting 360 out of a tank and having a fuel level warning light that comes on at 1/3rd left is rather handy. It does feel like it needs a 6th gear at times, and my speedo is out some 8km's/h @ 100km/h. If you can find a 620 with resonable Km's on the clock grab it. You will find the extra grunt to be handy when you start to out grow the bike. But there are not many around. If you do go for a baby 400 Monster, get one with low KM's as possible, mine had only 1600 on the clock when I bought it.

    Really it is all about feel, I didn't get this bike because of brand but how it felt when I rode it. That is what my decision came too, I am prepared to spend a day cleaning and making sure the bike is running well. so it is all about ride feel

    I am now looking to upgrade and went and had a play on a new 1100S Duc monster, I am un-impressed, While the FZ-1N felt nice is just a little too tall, and I dont like to screw with seat heights etc. but the Street Triple R that felt fantastic. pitty i can't get one till March.
  20. At 6'3" go for the GS, I'm just 6' and I still had to get 3cm lowered footpegs just to fit on my Monster 600.

    The little Monsters are lovely bikes, but they're just too small for tall folk unfortunately.