Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Portland, OR USA 97204
Unlike many, it seems, I have had a great relationship with my dealer. I got a pretty good deal on my '00 900SS and was very pleased with how the dealership treated me. They went above and beyond the call of duty when my chain broke (long story).
When I totalled the SS, I got a great deal on the '00 996 biposto demo (9 whopping miles), and the sales manager worked hard to sell me the bike. I hate haggling and the only new vehicles I've bought are the two Ducatis.
I think there are a couple reasons for my story. I bought a lot of aftermarket stuff for my SS from them, totalling a couple grand. I stopped in to see them and look at the showroom stuff. I loaned them SBK tapes and went riding with them away from work. I've become friends with them and they call me by name when I show up. The sales manager and floor manager are good people and have hired good help. The service guys, albeit slow on occassion, are also friendly and good mechanics.
It's kind of a crapshoot, but I treat it like a relationship. I give them my money for the bike and accessories, and they provide me service. I don't expect them to lose money on me, and I give them my business whenever possible. They know I spend money there and they treat me accordingly.
BTW, the floor manager (who I ride with whenever possible) has an ST4s, and loves it. I've seen great reviews about the bike, and some track times close to or equal to the 996. Go figure!
As for reliability, I've been fortunate enough to not have any reliability issues. The chain that broke on my SS was a quality chain (DID X-ring) and was a freak thing. The dealer really took care of it, so it was really a non-issue. The SS was bulletproof and very low maintenance. Of course it only had about 7K miles when it died and untimely death due to my f**k up.
My 996 only has 765 miles on it, but so far it's been wonderful. (knock on wood)
The last issue, "nit-pix", is totally personal. I knew from the beginning the 996 would be somewhat uncomfortable, higher maintenance, and expensive to maintain/accessorize. I had no preconceived notions about getting a perfect bike. Ducati will always be a niche bike IMO, and subject to the quirks that go along with small production run machines. Sure I wish the seat were a little more comfortable, I wish there was a clock with the instruments, I wish there were more under-seat storage space, higher clip-ons, etc... You know what? I'll never be able to ride this bike (or probably any other for that matter) to it's limits, and no bike maker will make the perfect bike, but I don't care. I don't think there are any horrendous oversights or mistakes on the bike that would make me avoid it. Some "nit-pix" I've heard but not experienced are these: jumpy tachometer, flaky rocker arms, unpredictable voltage regulator and poor fit & finish.
I think you should get the ST4s. It's a great bike! I also wish you luck in finding a good dealer if you get the Duke.
Last edited by erik900ss; 12-18-2001 at 05:29 PM.