Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Ducati 750ss for a first bike off restrictions?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by toadcat, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. #1 toadcat, Sep 14, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    I am due to get onto my full license very shortly. I have been looking at a lot of bikes over the past year or so and have just started to pay attention to the Ducati 750ss (the late 90's-early 2000 models with EFI). I've already searched this forum and online to gather a bit of information about them.

    A few questions for anyone with experience with this bike:

    1. Is the riding position as 'head down, ass up' as other sport-bikes or is it a bit more relaxed? Comfortable during the whole tank's run? Would a full day's riding (~800kms) be very draining? I intend to do a few long multi-day rides with this.

    2. I've heard that the engine is not suited at all for commuting or low-speed riding due to the vibeyness of it below ~4,000rpm, the 'button' (i.e. on-off) clutch style and the relatively poor steering lock angle . Is this really the case or is it a bit of exaggeration?

    3. How is the servicing costs? It's an air/oil-cooled lump without much power so the tyres should last fairly decently I expect. What about the belt replacements (I think every 20,000kms) - I've heard they are usually ~$1,000 to replace. Is this correct? What about the general maintenance (oil and filter, brake pads etc) - are they obscene or just slightly higher than a comparable Jap sportbike? I won't be getting it serviced at a dealer.

    4. How reliable overall are they? From what I've read the engine is generally quite bulletproof but the electronics are where the problems surface. Is this something that is likely to rear its head at any time or is it something a problem early adopters had to deal with and the problems will largely be solved by now (i.e. previous owners would have had to replace parts)?

    5. Anything else I should consider?
    Keep in mind, I'm very open to suggestions of other bikes.

  2. Sorry, I don't think you're going to like this.
    My opinion is that buying a Ducati, particularly an older one is rather like signing up to a religion. 'Should I become a ( insert religion of your choice here ).'
    If the answers to your questions 1-4 are significant, then I don't think the 750ss is for you.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Thanks for the post AlGroover. I thought this may be the case - they seem to be a bike you purchase more with the heart than with the head... After hearing one on full song with the Ducati Performance pipes though it may very well be such a purchase :p
  4. A quick search didn't turn up a clear answer, but if that bike has desmodronic valves you will pay handsomely for a service AND need to find a mechanic that actually knows how to handle the desmo system. If servicing and parts costs matter to you at all, buy something else. If money is no object and this bike is what stirs your loins, so be it. The comment above about Ducati being a religion has some merit.
  5. #5 Justin Stacks, Sep 14, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
    If you're worried about cost in any way, a Duc is most likely not for you.

    Over all, you are going to pay more in servicing than a Jap bike. Everyone buying an Italian bike knows this. You don't go buy a Duc for value.

    Just read the following thread on how brutal it can be:


    I personally would not be able to handle 8+ hours on a supersport. You're probably better off riding something with a bit more up right sitting position if you will be doing a lot of those type of rides.

    Italian bikes are known for their poor electrics. I bought an '07 MV and the previous owner had those issues sorted, but it doesn't mean that it will absolutely happen, only that it could be an issue and you will need some spare coin to repair if it becomes an issue.

    When you are looking at a bike from 90's, anything can become an issue because of age. Ask the previous owner about service history, try to buy something with service logs, ask what the costs were for servicing, etc.

    What are you looking for in a bike? Performance, value, style, all of the above? Why did you pick the 750SS? Is it because of price point?

    Duc's offer something only Duc's can provide, but it comes at a price, and if you are willing to pay that price, go for it!

    However, a newer Jap bike can still give you better performance and value, but may not stir your soul, in which case you have to decide, what you really want.
  6. I accept that it will be more but what I'm trying to figure out is how much more - i.e. will I be paying over $350 for something as simple as a front brake pad change etc etc. Is it really that much more given the longer service intervals? (As in 150% the costs and over?)

    Yeah I don't think I could for a while until I get 'ride fit' but I'm still young and want to ride a more sporty bike while my back/knees are still up for it. From what I understand, the 750ss isn't as hunched over as other Japanese race reps - is this the case? I will have to do some comparisons on that ride ergo website I think..

    Good points - this essentially bumps the 'cost' up as I'd have to keep a spare bit on money around if the reg/rec shits itself and needs a tow + fix...

    I'm interested in the Duc just because it is a lot more different to the generic Jap middleweight 4's which just seem to be literally clones of each other's bikes... I've moved away from the sound they make too and have fallen in love with the v-twin's noise. The bike has all the good bits I'd want from a sport bike (the good frame, suspension and brakes) but the power isn't such a mental step up from what I'm used to - 45hp to ~65-70ish compared to the 100+ a Jap inline 4 puts out when spun right up.

    Unfortunately reality may have to kick in (student = not much money) and I might end up just getting something a bit cheaper like an SV650. I'd probably get the shits with their brakes/suspension and end up spending just as much to 'fix' it as I would have buying the duc...
  7. These days there are a few different twin, V and parallel, on the market with varying degrees of sporting prowess and all very different to the four-pots in the middleweight displacement category. I'm very happy with my Wee-Stromm, other guys love their Versys or Gladius. They're all good bikes within their design brief, just find the one that suits what you want.
  8. Go through the service costs of the previous owner, that way you have an idea on the costs of minor & major services. That being said, something may come up that the previous owner did not have to deal with, and it may cost a lot more than expected simply cause it's an older Italian bike. I can't say categorically since I've not owned a Duc. Someone on here may be able to give you an estimate on actual costs.

    The ST4 is more of a sport touring which would be much easier to ride for 8+ hours. You may want to check those out as an alternative. The 750SS may be a little more upright than some of the Jap SS, but it's still a SS. However, you can always take a few more rests and get through the day, so I wouldn't totally rule it out completely, but only you know your tolerance and how many 800+ km rides you'll be doing p/ month.

    That's fair. Same reason why I went with the Aprilia RS125 as my learner, (although had to use a VTR for a few months), before purchasing the MV Brutale. However, I did make that purchase knowing that I will spend more money over all in cost of the bike and servicing, but that's worth it to me as I get giddy every-time I look at my Brutale, which just wouldn't happen with a Jap bike.

    I know the feeling. However, let's say you get the 750SS, it breaks down, you don't have the $$ to get it fixed, so you're bike less for a couple of months? Can you deal with that? Or is your bike your primary mode of transportation?

    The good news is that once you're out out of uni, you'll be able to
    purchase the 750SS and have coin lying around to fix it if any unexpected problems come up, or you can go straight for the Duc 848.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. @Blabbs has one I think, or his wife maybe, he might drop by.

    IIRC the 750 is very low spec, pay the money for the 900 if you do want it. It is more likely to keep value. Really could be cheap, though I probably wouldnt commute it.

    I dont agree that a new 4 valve 848 or the like will be necessarily be more reliable
    • Like Like x 1
  10. That's a good idea. I'll also have a word with my mechanics - I've seen quite a few Ducs in for a service with them so I'm sure they will be able to give some guidance.

    Hmmm.. I REALLY, REALLY like those ST4's... That is definitely going onto the shortlist. They're quite cheap now too..

    I know what you mean - the Japs are no doubt awesome rides but... there's just more to the Duc than you get with the Japper. Better suspension, build quality, wayyy better engine note and probably handle a bit better too. I think the tradeoff in servicing costs would be worth it - even the purchase price of say a VFR800/Blackbird v. the 750ss/ST4 isn't really much at all.

    Another very good point. I can generally get a loan from my parents to cover things in the short run (the GS's engine exploded and I was up for $1,700 which I certainly did not have immediately). But even a new engine for the Suzuki took only a week to get replaced and I was itching to go pick it up. I'd imagine random assorted electrics would take a fairly long time to arrive from Italy if there's nothing in stock over here.

    Haha that sounds like a plan (Y)[/quote]
  11. Low spec in what way? The engine is a fairly big lump and not very powerful but I'd be happy with what it can do. The suspension/frame/brakes is mainly what I'd be after - from what I've read they're fairly alright kit (Showa, Ohlins and Brembos)? The gearbox being only a 5 speed and very spaced/tall gear ratios is a bit of a disappointment too.

    I've had a good look at some ST4's - they seem to tick every box precisely but 115hp straight off LAMS has me a bit apprehensive.
  12. Your head will say one thing and your heart the other. It's a matter of convincing your wallet which one it will have to follow....
  13. Just because the bike has 115hp, it doesn't mean you have to use all 115 of them. If you have self control and a steady right hand, it shouldn't be an issue.

    I'm not sure what you're riding skills are like, so you'll have to make that judgement call as only you know if you're ready or not, but it's not like it can't be done. I'm coming off my Ps and the Brutale has 136php to contain.
  14. Brakes and suspension a believe. Maybe i am thinking of the older ones which was what i was looking at.

    You really would get a better answer over on the ducati forums. Ducati.ms.
  15. One thing I did read about on the Duc forums is that the 750SS is very easy to work on, so there may be things that you can do yourself to save on money. Or at least if you bring it in, you know there isn't a lot of wasted time trying to reach the engine, unlike the 748 which apparently is a pain in the ass to work on.
  16. Go full sport while you're young and you can cop it. you will be fine on a sport bike the comfort comes after about a few months of riding it.

    Besides once you finish uni the ability to do long multi day rides will evaporate somewhat with 9-5 work.

    But why am i posting this i know you in real life i can just advise you through other channels.
  17. If you're keen on an "L" twin give the SV650S a go. But keep in mind the
    sv650 (non lams) makes more power and torque than a 2 Valve 750 Ducati engine.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. The 750SS motor is a 2 valve air/oil cooled engine. For a 750 it is quite underpowered, from memory it puts out around 65hp. Where as an SV650 (non LAMS) I think puts out around 75hp.

    My advice is to ride EVERYTHING the remotely interests you and then make up your mind.

  19. 1. Ducs are known for their lack of comfort. 800km is difficult to do on any supersport bike though. I guess the other comfort related issue is heat when riding in traffic/low speed, especially on a 2V air coolie. On a hot summer day you will roast. But many of us are willing to sacrifice some comfort for the other pleasures involved in riding a Duc.

    2. The engines are fine for commuting and, if anyting, they will improve your clutch control. Steering angle is limited but I dont find it to be an issue...I have clip-ons on my Monster and the steering lock is very limited. Only time I notice it is in car parks. Gearing is veeery tall so a 14 tooth front sprocket is something you will want to put on pretty much straight away. But really I don't think they're a bad commuting bike. to give you an idea of how flexible they can be, I did my MOST test on my Monster. With clip-ons and the stock 15 tooth sprocket. The only time I was able to fully disengage the clutch in 1st gear was in the run up to the emergency stop. It was not possible to do the U-turn within the boundaries with the limited steering lock. It wasn't easy (far from it) but I passed. Any bike that can get you through the MOST test should be fine as a commuter.

    3. I don't know how much servicing costs. If you own a Ducati I think you need to be prepared to work on it yourself. There is HEAPS of online support. Don't be afraid to tinker. Parts are more expensive than jap bikes. But the parts that you'll commonly be replacing (timing belts, valve shims, brake pads etc) are generally only marginally more expensive than jap parts. The parts that you less commonly need to replace can be eye-wateringly expensive. If somebody is quoting you $1000 to replace timing belts I suggest you tell them to shove it right the way up there. It is a simple job and it'll take you 2 hours the first time you do it. It is east to fcuk it up and you will regret it if you do but, as i mentioned before, there is HEAPS of support online in the form of forums, guides and even videos by California Cycleworks who manufacture the belts, showing you exactly how to do it.

    4. Post EFI motors are generally fine. There are some electrical gremlins that can surface, especially if you spend a bit of time riding in the rain, but all the common such problems are generally well known and documented (again, online support). You need do keep up the maintenance though. Maintain it well and you will be rewarded.

    5. An SV650 is a great bike. The gen 1 has about 65hp and the gen 2 has about 75hp so the gen2 will be noticably perkier, but even that is no rocketship. SVs sound nice (not AS nice but nice) and they go pretty well but they don't look very nice and with their pogo-stick forks they don't handle that well. Put a gixxer front end on them though and they become a bit of a weapon.

    You WILL spend more money maintaining a Duc. You NEED to learn to work on it yourself unless your mum's name is Gina Reinhart. But when you do work on it yourself the maintenance costs aren't as horrific as some people would have you believe. Plus you'll be learning, and knowledge is invaluable.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Not really, not on the 2 valve motors. As I said before a 20,000km service cost us around $1000 but a ZRX1200 cost roughly $2000 for the equivalent service.

    Brakes, they are brembo's. Brake pads cost the same as other brake pads.

    The worst part of Ducati ownership is finding a mechanic willing to work on the motor. The rest of the bike is just a bike, they are nothing special or different.