The wait is over. The North American premiere of the Ducati 1199 Panigale was last night and today is a full schedule of test rides. My girlfriend Megan and I arrived to the premiere at Ducati Seattle just after 5:30pm to a covered bike on a chess board with the word checkmate in the corner. We mingled and ate some food courtesy of Buca di Beppo. It seemed to be a good mix of people: lots of riders, young and old. There was representation from the last few generations of Ducati Superbikes including a 996, a 749 and a few variations of 1098/1198. There was also a nice and loud 900 SS which have always been a favorite of mine.
I recently purchased a Ducati Superbike and have learned quite a bit during the process and wanted to share some of those things here.
I realized that having an “s” model wasn’t just awesome to look at, but it would provide much better ride comfort. I was able to talk to some local dealers and found out that most would rather have a 1098s than a standard 1198. One of the best things I did was keep an eye out for reasonable prices on the models I was interested in; you can do this by checking on Craigslist or doing research at local shops. Checking with your insurance company will also help give you a better understanding of which model would suit your financial needs. I’m fairly young and have a few tickets so I knew insurance was going to be a big factor. I checked with a few different insurance companies and found out that buying a newer model meant way more in insurance premiums. Always good to do your research!
I started the next part of my journey by riding a 2008 Ducati 848. A local used car lot had taken it in trade, and the previous owner had already laid it down pretty harshly. I figured this was a great way to finally try one out without much risk. It was fairly tame at lower revs, but woke up when you let it rev. I fell in love with the seating position after being almost upright on a previous bike, a 2008 Buell XB12STT Super TT. I decided that because of the damage, it wasn’t the right one. A few weeks later, I rode a 2009 1198, and WOW! What an amazing machine, so much power. I loved it but it didn’t seem reasonable for me try to ride on the street everyday. The last bike I rode and eventually bought was a 2008 Ducati 1098s. After some discussion about my experiences on the 1198 and 848, the 1098 seemed like a nice fit and getting an “s” model seemed to be right in line with my budget. I now ride it daily and put about 2000 miles on it a month.
Between value checks and timing belts you’ll want to make sure that the bike you’re looking at is in good running order. Always ask to see service records and compare them with the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual; if they are too far off you might want to consider another bike or ask for a better deal. With Superbikes, a key factor is the age of the timing belts, which are recommended to be replaced every 2 years. Many of the Superbikes I looked at had low mileage for only being a few years old; the 2008 1098s I bought only had 4464 miles when I picked it up. Since it was over 2 years old, taking it in to do the belts was high on my list. I would also suggest calling the VIN number into a dealership and ask them to check if there are any recalls that haven’t been performed on the bike. I had an issue with the voltage regulator failing which left me stranded my 2nd day out on the bike because a recall had not been performed on the bike.
Finding the right bike is an amazing thing, just make sure you take all the right steps to find it.