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Old 05-Aug-2003, 04:35 PM
6Viper9 6Viper9 is offline
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Prospective 996SPS owner


I am possibly about to be offered an opportunity to purchase a 996SPS at very reasonable money and I would like some feedback from existing owners.

I have never ventured into the Ducati owning area before and am a little concerned by all the unreliability problems that are seen to be part of Ducati ownership.

I would like a reliable bike that I can ride no matter the weather in any circumstances including the odd bit of touring abroad. Comfort is not an issue but reliability is.

I need to know if the Ducati's reliability problems stem from poor maintenance or whether they are inherent with the bikes. I don't mind spending money on correct servicing if it means the bike will work when I want it to.

Also are there any areas of significant weakness or problem areas that are worth checking for on the 996SPS model? And what are the approx running costs for 1 year/10000 miles?

Any feed back would be greatly appreciated as I don't want to own a nightmare!!

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Old 05-Aug-2003, 05:10 PM
Felix Felix is offline
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Welcome to the board! Another northerner!

With regards to the SPS, it's reliability is often lessened by poor servicing. If looked after most people would probably give it decent marks on reliability. Service costs are slightly higher, especially if you plan on using dealers for servicing.

One of the most common weak areas is the battery charging system. A 1999 bike will have the newer style (better) rectifier but the high current connection to the alternator will need regular inspection. Easy and cheap to sort if it goes wrong.

Some people have encountered valve rocker arms that loose their chrome plating but Ducati have been fairly forthcoming with warranty replacements even if the bike is out of warranty.

My personal opinion and experience is that Ducati is still suffering from the earlier days when reliability (mainly related to initial build quality) was sub-par. Today, I rate them on par with other makes. Even Honda has problems.

Had a quick look at your website and the bikes you list as final choices are a far cry from the SPS. The SPS will be far less comfortable and be far more track oriented than any of those you list. If you can live with that, you won't regret buying the SPS (provided it's in good nick) and your cheek muscles will hurt as you'll grow a permanent grin!
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Old 05-Aug-2003, 05:10 PM
ducv2 ducv2 is offline
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Had my sps for 4 years, only done around 11000 miles so far (work abroad, thats my excuse). So far my only problem has been with electrical connectors beside battery. Bike has not let me down yet, and also does several track days a year which it seems to thrive on. Due to the low mileage it is serviced yearly, belt change and valve adjustment cost me 600. No way I would buy one without full service history from a dealer who knows ducatis, or without knowing the bikes history and owners. Problems with belts and rockers are no worse than with other 748/9** models, if you are riding in all weathers the finish will not appreciate it. If it is being offered at a good price, make sure it is an sps, and not a tarted up biposto (quick way to check is to look at the front head, does not say 'dohc 4v' on sps engines). If you want anything more, send me an e-mail.
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Old 05-Aug-2003, 05:33 PM
6Viper9 6Viper9 is offline
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Sorry my web site has not been updated since before a recent trip to France where I discovered that I am in need of a sports bike again.

The bike is genuine and has been treated like a new born child since it was purchased (long story).

So basically if you treat it like any mechanical object, with a bit or respect, ensuring that it is cleaned, checked over once in a while and serviced regularly to a high standard by someone who knows what their doing, then it would be as reliable as any Japanese motorcycle.

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Old 05-Aug-2003, 05:50 PM
Henners Henners is offline
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... usually.

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Old 05-Aug-2003, 08:18 PM
pguenet pguenet is offline
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I am a recent owner of a 2000 SPS and have owned many other Ducatis before.

So far I have not run the SPS enough to judge about reliability. I have heard quite a few complaints about this model however. I used to run a 748 before and never had a problem with it but was doing very low mileage because I was running an ST2 for everyday. That one would have a problem every other week but the ST2 is known for that (some people have no problem though so it is a bit of a lottery as well).

I don't and won't run my SPS everyday because there is no point in taking such a bike around town in the traffic. The power is pretty brutal and you find yourself holding the clutch all the time. I don't even comment how scary it is when the road is wet and greasy. I have a crappy Bandit that does the commuting job very well. The Ducati is for playing only and this is were the real fun starts.
Road grim doesn't go well with Ducatis. Over winter I used to clean thouroughly the ST2 every weekend, that's what it takes to keep it pristine... and it would be a shame not keeping an SPS that way. You get a bit fedup with the cleaning job after a while...

As for maintenance, surely never buy without full service history and probably have a service when you get it too (needs servicing every year no matter the mileage). The SPS can be pretty steep if you go by the book as well (a spark plug is about 60 although you could run cheaper ones like Denzo apparently).

I don't regret buying the SPS because it is a hell of a bike and I love the grunt of the long stroke engine. But this is an exceptional bike and as such I reserve it for exceptional fun and not everyday dull riding. Oh and in my decision was also the concern about keeping my licence because an SPS just doesn't run at 30mph!

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Old 06-Aug-2003, 08:55 AM
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Annettes SPS year 2000 has 23,000 kilometres on the clock. Originally I used the bike for touring, rideouts, and a lot of track days. At around 12,000 km it snapped a valve and destroyed the front cyl/head etc, according to Ducati a very rare occourence. All the work was carried out under warranty. The bike was serviced in April and it needed 3 rockers but again although the bike was out of warranty Ducati paid for the parts. other than that the only parts that have failed have been due to muggins lowsiding it (more than once) My old 916 has at least 30,000 miles under its belt and has never let me or annette down, again the only failures have been down to an inept rider with balls bigger than his brain.
All 4 valve head models appear to have fewer problems if ridden regulaly and thrive on being thrashed (on the track officer)

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