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Old 06-20-2013, 05:42 PM   #1
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Are Ducatis more expensive to maintain than Japanese bikes?

I'm looking at something like a used Monster, which I'm finding a lot of around the $7000 range on CL.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
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I guess this don't count, since I have never owned one, but from everything I have heard and read (a lot of it) they are considerably more expensive to maintain than Japanese bikes, especially if you cannot do your own valves, which are a lot more complicated and seem to need to be done a lot more often than on Japanese bikes.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:07 PM   #3
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yes.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:16 PM   #4
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Maybe. The Monster's don't have bodywork to remove, so that's a help. The aircooled 2v ones are really bulletproof bikes. Except for the valves, pretty easy to work on. I compromised by checking the valves. If adjustment was needed, took it in, where they had the full shim set. It's not voodoo, pro Italia has a nice video on how to that's a real help. OTOH, this is from an owner of a V Star 650.... "Getting to the valves for check/adjust now requires removing the seat, speedometer, gas tank, intake manifold, and carbs. It's a royal pain and if I don't have the time, energy, space, etc, it's about 4.5 hours of shop time. At today's shop rates, that's between $350 to $500 in labor alone". That's about what my M750 would run me....... What's a modern 4 cost, with the added complexity of access, cam removal, etc?
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
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Yes...but they're worth it!
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:39 PM   #6
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I guess this doesn't count either since I've never owned a Japanese bike, but the valves aren't nearly as complicated as some might have you believe, at least on the two valve bikes.

You say you're looking at a monster, but that doesn't mean much since they came with a variety of engine options over the years. As already mentioned the two valve air cooled bikes are pretty decent, once you fix all the past owners sins. That may not be a trivial process depending on how abused/neglected it's been.

The timing belts are probably the main expense a Japanese bike won't have. Every couple of years you'll have to put a set of those on. Expensive for the shop to do it, not bad ($100 maybe?) to do it yourself.

Once the valves settle in they don't require an adjustment very often. If you plan on keeping the bike a long time and are worried about it you can pony up for the trick collets from, um, I've forgotten now... and they will extend the intervals even further. Some dealers will exchange shims but even if they don't, they're not expensive and you rarely need more than one or two. I bought a neglected 900ss a few years back and it needed two, with a third right on the limit so I replaced it too.

So the simple answer is yes. How much more expensive? Who knows. Valves on an M900 are easier/cheaper to do than the valves on an S4. And again I have no clue what it costs to have a Japanese bike worked on.

Having no idea what your skill sets are, I'd say that owning an older Ducati and not being able to do the work yourself will not be cheap. I've got multiple bikes and live in Michigan so miles don't get piled up very fast and I've got a few months downtime each year to take care of things. I spend much more on insurance and registrations than I do on maintenance...
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:37 PM   #7
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Yes...but they're worth it!
Kinda my point in quoting the V Star 650 owner's expenses. And it's hardly a thing of dreams.....
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:16 PM   #8
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In my experience, you have to really want it. But then, I bought a doomed and abandoned model.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:04 PM   #9
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Well, the 7,500 mile valve job on my 1100 EVO Monster cost me $360.

I'm gonna buy me a DVD...
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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Yes

Pick a few parts and compare prices. You can price Ducati spares at Ducati Ohama's website here, and likely elsewhere. Jap parts prices aren't hard to find.

Beyond that, there is the cost of maintaining the valve train, and the higher price of failing to do so (e.g. if an old or incorrectly tensioned timing belt breaks).

OTOH, as noted above, many owners find that their care is rewarded over the short and long term, and an air-cooled Monster will be possibly the least costly model to run. (Until you start to mod it. )
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesmoDog View Post
I guess this doesn't count either since I've never owned a Japanese bike, but the valves aren't nearly as complicated as some might have you believe, at least on the two valve bikes.

You say you're looking at a monster, but that doesn't mean much since they came with a variety of engine options over the years. As already mentioned the two valve air cooled bikes are pretty decent, once you fix all the past owners sins. That may not be a trivial process depending on how abused/neglected it's been.

The timing belts are probably the main expense a Japanese bike won't have. Every couple of years you'll have to put a set of those on. Expensive for the shop to do it, not bad ($100 maybe?) to do it yourself.

Once the valves settle in they don't require an adjustment very often. If you plan on keeping the bike a long time and are worried about it you can pony up for the trick collets from, um, I've forgotten now... and they will extend the intervals even further. Some dealers will exchange shims but even if they don't, they're not expensive and you rarely need more than one or two. I bought a neglected 900ss a few years back and it needed two, with a third right on the limit so I replaced it too.

So the simple answer is yes. How much more expensive? Who knows. Valves on an M900 are easier/cheaper to do than the valves on an S4. And again I have no clue what it costs to have a Japanese bike worked on.

Having no idea what your skill sets are, I'd say that owning an older Ducati and not being able to do the work yourself will not be cheap. I've got multiple bikes and live in Michigan so miles don't get piled up very fast and I've got a few months downtime each year to take care of things. I spend much more on insurance and registrations than I do on maintenance...
This.

I recently sold a 2V Multi with 38k miles. I did the valves, belts, etc. Inexpensive if you perform the work, else $$ add up.... Of course, highly dependent on how many miles you put on the bike.

My car requires a valve adjustment at about the same time interval (car is a daily driver) as the Multi and I pay to have it done...worth it to have and enjoy the car.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:33 PM   #12
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Good link for Ducati Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moronic View Post
Pick a few parts and compare prices. You can price Ducati spares at Ducati Ohama's website here, and likely elsewhere. Jap parts prices aren't hard to find.

Beyond that, there is the cost of maintaining the valve train, and the higher price of failing to do so (e.g. if an old or incorrectly tensioned timing belt breaks).
Thanks for the link. Free shipping on orders over $25. That shouldn't take long to rack up an order.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
I guess this don't count, since I have never owned one, but from everything I have heard and read (a lot of it) they are considerably more expensive to maintain than Japanese bikes, especially if you cannot do your own valves, which are a lot more complicated and seem to need to be done a lot more often than on Japanese bikes.
it depends on which Ducati motor you're talking about....

My 2V DS1000 Multistrada (first gen) was cheap to have the valve lash checked on... book price was $215 and that's what the local shop charged.

That's a 7500 mile interval now, (6000 then). Every other one of those you'll be replacing timing belts, but that is not a break the bank deal.

The Testastretta is an expensive motor to maintain, but it's likely that just about everyone who owns one....thinks it's worth it.
Not many people buy them without knowing what they're getting into.


Puh-LENTY of Japanese bikes can be expensive to maintain though....ask your local Honda shop what they get to do valve lash inspect/adjust on a VTEC V4.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DesmoDog View Post
you can pony up for the trick collets from, um, I've forgotten now... and they will extend the intervals even further.
MBP collets
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:45 PM   #15
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When people say Ducati's aren't expensive to maintain, they really should append a bunch of asterisks/footnotes to that statement.

If you :

- don't ride often enough to do belts/valves often (less then the valve check interval a year)
- are able to do your own work and/or have a Ducati dealer who doesn't price gouge near you (plenty of them do)
- have a bike which has absolutely nothing go wrong with it
- never drop or scratch your bike

Then yes, Ducati's are "reasonable" to maintain, but still likely will be more expensive then any equivalent Japanese offerings. If any of the above fail, you are potentially in for a world of hurt.

I had a friend drop his Monster in the parking lot and was quoted nearly 4 grand to get it back to original condition. Not saying that's the norm, but it is something to think about.
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