Owning A Ducati: 10 Things To Watch Out For


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May 30, 2023

Owning A Ducati: 10 Things To Watch Out For

Not all roses are red, and owning a Ducati motorcycle comes with some necessary compromises. Ducati needs no introduction, as the Italian marque is firmly planted in the hearts and minds of

Not all roses are red, and owning a Ducati motorcycle comes with some necessary compromises.

Ducati needs no introduction, as the Italian marque is firmly planted in the hearts and minds of motorcyclists across the world. Ducati motorcycles speak for themselves, continuously pushing the boundaries of performance and engineering, all in a style that has become synonymous with the brand.

Ducati's most iconic motorcycles of all time show a clear progression from the early sport bikes to today's modern superbike marvels. Along that path, Ducati carved out a niche market, their bikes catering to riders looking for the highest-performance and sexiest-looking motorcycles and willing to make some compromises for that kind of prestige.

Ducati and cheap are rarely used in the same sentence, and that is consistent with not just bike MSRP but also the total cost of ownership and maintenance, among other things. While Ducati continues to post record motorcycle sales, there are still some things that potential owners should be aware of before pulling the trigger on a new shiny red steed.

This list of things Ducati owners keep quiet about brings some of those things to light, and the last issue may just surprise.

Ducati's bikes are highly tuned weapons and as such, require a bit more care and attention not just while riding, but also in the garage and workshop. Only until recently, Ducatis have had much shorter maintenance intervals than rival Japanese bikes, with Ducatis requiring a service every 7,500 miles.

Owning one of the fastest superbikes ever made comes with its compromises, and most riders will understand that keeping such an exotic bike in tip-top shape will require some extra time, care, and money.

Still, even Ducati's other models had relatively short maintenance intervals, with timing belts needing to get changed every 2-3 years or so many miles. Skipping maintenance is never wise, as one risks catastrophic motor damage if the timing belts break and engine timing goes out.

Some new Ducati models state up to 15,000 - 18,000 miles before requiring valve clearances to get checked, so at least Ducati has addressed the issue, but owning a used Ducati still comes with the price of shorter intervals.

RELATED: 10 Fastest Ducatis Ever Made

Owning a Ducati essentially means that everything costs more, whether it be accessories, parts, or dealer fees. Ducati is officially partnered with Shell and thus recommends their lines of premium fuel and lubricants, which can get spendy real quick. Add on the cost of maintenance if your bike has short intervals between services and the cost of ownership can be quite a bit higher than, say, one of the fastest Japanese motorcycles equivalent.

Some Ducati models hold value more than others, so the potential to recoup some of the money put into a bike is there, but that depends on the model. Certain Ducatis may depreciate quite a bit over time, and thus the cost of ownership over the life of the bike remains much higher than other makes.

Fewer bike models sold in total means fewer stock parts potentially available on the used market. It is no surprise then that there are much fewer used original parts available for Ducatis than similar Japanese bikes. If parts are on the used market, they are most likely more expensive due to the supply vs. demand, or owners may have to pay a Dealer premium for new, factory parts.

There is always the aftermarket, but those parts can also be quite expensive, and manufacturers know that Ducati parts can sell for more than equivalent Japanese bike parts. That must get kept in mind when owning motorcycles with high maintenance and repair costs, Ducatis may cost more to work on but also cost more for the parts themselves potentially.

Ducati owners that insist on having their bikes worked on only by official Ducati dealers should prepare to pay a premium for licensed Ducati maintenance technicians touching their bikes. It's a fact known to many that dealers charge significantly more than smaller, privately owned shops.

It's pretty much a guarantee that Ducati dealers will be charging more than dealers that work solely on Japanese bikes as well. Still, it's important to source professionals that have worked on Desmodromic valvetrains before, to ensure the work gets done properly the first time.

Owners can expect to dish out over $1K easily for a major service and up to $2K if they need to shim valves or perform other repairs. Superbikes that have high maintenance costs must get justified by the riding experience, and Ducati seems to have struck that balance with many riders.

Despite being a relatively small manufacturer compared to the Big 4 Japanese brands, there are still some Ducati models plagued with recall issues. According to the NHTSA website, there are quite a few active recalls for Ducati models.

The most recent Ducati model with a recall is the 2021 Monster 821 / 1200 and while there are many reasons to love the Ducati Monster, a rear brake hose that potentially gets heat damage causing the rear brakes to fail is definitely not one of them.

Other recalls listed by NHTSA are for the 2010-2014 Multistrada 1200 which states that around 6000 bikes in total may have throttle issues, as well as the 2017-2019 Monster 1200, Monster 821, SuperSport, and SuperSport S which has a shift lever that may have been incorrectly assembled leading to the shift mechanism coming off leaving riders stranded.

RELATED: Ducati Unleashes Monster 30° Anniversario

Ducati's are known for their monster torque, and that torque comes with a price that many owners may not talk about often. The clutch has to withstand a ton of abuse and be able to hold up without slipping, thus requiring heavy-duty clutch springs to get utilized.

Heavy-duty clutch springs require much more force to pull the clutch lever, and that heavy clutch pull can be fatiguing over time. One popular solution among Ducati owners is to install a bigger aftermarket clutch slave cylinder, which relieves some of the force needed to pull the lever in.

Ducati is famous for using the dry clutch in many of its bikes, especially the Ducati sport classic motorcycles, making the signature Ducati rattle sound. The downsides of the system are that it may require shorter maintenance intervals than the newer wet clutch systems used in some of the new models.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why You Should Throw A Leg Over The Retro-Tastic Ducati Sport 1000


Ducati is world-famous for building some of the greatest V-twin motorcycles of all time, and anyone whose ridden a V-twin motorcycle before is no stranger to just how much these engines vibrate the bike. Ducatis specifically have become known for their outrageous low-end rumble, but no matter how awesome they sound, it must get said that they do vibrate quite a lot.

This can render mirrors essentially useless as everything becomes a blur, though that may be low on many riders' lists of priorities. What can be more concerning is bolts and fasteners rattling loose over time, which adds to the importance of proper maintenance and checking over the bike frequently to ensure everything is up to snuff before riding.

Engines get hot and when sitting on an exotic Italian beauty that makes well north of 100 hp from a highly-tuned engine, that means heat dissipation can be critical. Straddling one of the greatest motorcycle engines ever made comes with compromises, and that means in this case that legs and butts can feel the heat, literally.

Especially on air-cooled models, but even liquid-cooled models throw heat off the engine and exhaust pipes, which quickly heats up the leg on the exhaust side and especially the seat. Stopping at a light or for other reasons for an extended amount of time can become quite uncomfortable when riding a Ducati.

In most states lane-splitting is still illegal which can add insult to injury as well. ​​​​​​​


Ducati produces some of the most gorgeous motorcycles ever made, and owning one may lead some to believe a few stereotypes are real. While Ducati produces fewer bikes overall than its competitors, they are not as rare these days as some may think. It would be unrealistic to think that all but the rarest Ducatis will turn heads everywhere they go.

The Ducati name gets backed by racing pedigree, but some of the smaller base models can actually be quite tame and offer a mild experience. That may be a good or bad thing, depending on expectations.

Riders should prepare for an out-and-out race-tuck riding position and not-so-great street manners if they want the newest, sexiest Ducati superbike available. While Ducati makes ridiculously sexy bikes, riders get surprised that oftentimes nice bikes attract more like-minded men than women!

Lastly, one issue rarely talked about by Ducati owners is the fact that despite all the other issues, riding a Ducati may convert one for life to become part of the Ducatisti. In the end, motorcycles are a passionate vehicle and when riding a bike that offers a peak experience, all the other issues fade into the distance.

Owning a Ducati may raise standards of what a bike should be, with Ducati quality known for being top-notch and premium, making other bikes possibly look and feel cheap or mild in comparison.

Once a rider has tasted the heart-pounding, adrenaline-filled, emotional performance of a Duc, it may make all other regular standard bikes feel, well, boring.

There are also a few other brands that have such a loyal following. Owning a Ducati buys you a ticket into the family of Ducatisti worldwide that have also decided that cost and issues be damned, Ducatis are the best motorcycles ever created.

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Eric King is a motorcycle enthusiast at heart but loves all things with a motor and wheels. From watching racing to riding and racing roadbikes as well as dirtbikes, he loves it all! He has experience writing articles for a motorcycle publication and enjoys the process of writing about one of his greatest passions. Along with a deep knowledge of bikes, he also enjoys working on, driving, and writing about cars and trucks.