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Hi guys!
New to this forum and looking for some advice.
In the past i used to ride a Honda VFR 750 f, great bike but got bored on it. Since i am 6'6 and looking for a fun road(non highway) bike with some off road capabilities i came across a Desert Sled. The reason for this is because it has a retro look, longer suspension travel, seat height, fun character and simple nature. Of course i also looked at adventure bikes they always seem to be so bulky and full of plastic. Plus, those bikes give me the feeling that i am 50, not 32.
After doing some research the only things i doubt are reliability and maintainance intervals. I want a bike that can take some abuse, is as reliable as Japanese brands and doesnt spend more time in the garage.

Are my doubts justified and if so, are there alternatives which have more or less have the same characteristics? Other scramblers are too low for my frame or dont have off road capabilities.

Thanks!
 

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You won't know if your doubts are justified until you test one.

Alternative if you want retro looks and some off road capability would be the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE. Maybe Tenere 700 if you are into the Dakar vibe.
 

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Is he still here? I think what he was looking for was not only the confirmation the Sled would work but also about the reliability and maintenance costs. Well, if he's still here.... Ducati's used to have a reputation for high maintenance requirements and dodgy Italian craftsmanship. But those days are long gone. Even by 1996, when I bought my 900SS, they were pretty reliable bikes, given the admittedly sometimes finicky required maintenance. In 1996 the belt change interval was IIRC, 6,000 miles, and valve checks were...I forget but not infrequent. In 1999 I rode my SS across the country with no problems whatsoever. Pretty dang reliable. Ducatis nowadays have far, far, surpassed those requirements. Their maintenance schedules are on par with the Japanese and I think, and I'm pretty sure I'm right, that the quality of Ducatis surpasses those of all the Japanese brands, even most of Honda's bikes. There are a couple of Hondas, the CBRs and Goldwings, whose quality and craftsmanship rival Ducati's but that's about it. The rest are plastic crap. Bottom line, if you're worried about Ducati's being unreliable or high maintenance....don't.

Well fellow Ducatisti...think he's still here and reading this? hahahaha
 

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Is he still here? I think what he was looking for was not only the confirmation the Sled would work but also about the reliability and maintenance costs. Well, if he's still here.... Ducati's used to have a reputation for high maintenance requirements and dodgy Italian craftsmanship. But those days are long gone. Even by 1996, when I bought my 900SS, they were pretty reliable bikes, given the admittedly sometimes finicky required maintenance. In 1996 the belt change interval was IIRC, 6,000 miles, and valve checks were...I forget but not infrequent. In 1999 I rode my SS across the country with no problems whatsoever. Pretty dang reliable. Ducatis nowadays have far, far, surpassed those requirements. Their maintenance schedules are on par with the Japanese and I think, and I'm pretty sure I'm right, that the quality of Ducatis surpasses those of all the Japanese brands, even most of Honda's bikes. There are a couple of Hondas, the CBRs and Goldwings, whose quality and craftsmanship rival Ducati's but that's about it. The rest are plastic crap. Bottom line, if you're worried about Ducati's being unreliable or high maintenance....don't.

Well fellow Ducatisti...think he's still here and reading this? hahahaha
I've never been a Honda fan but to state that Ducati quality surpasses Honda or any other Japanese bike is absurd and ill informed. But since you rode one cross country with no problems 21 years ago, that's all we need to know. Now if we want to just go by anecdotal eveidence, my experience is that Ducati doesn't like to honor their warranty. It's also a fact that parts and service are crazy expensive compared to Japanese motorcycle brands.

Motobike writer quote:

"The annual USA consumer survey of the top 10 brands found similar results to last year with the Japanese marques leading the reliability stakes. Yamaha recorded the lowest failure rate for four-year-old motorcycles with 11%, followed by Suzuki and Honda (12%) and Kawasaki (15%).

American brands Victory (17%) and Harley-Davidson (26%) were midpack, and Triumph (29%), Ducati (33%), BMW (40%), and Can-Am (42%) were the more trouble-prone brands."

No matter who is tracking it, these statistics have been consistent for years. The surprising thing is that BMW owners think the sun shines out of their assholes because they own a Beemer.
 

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I've never been a Honda fan but to state that Ducati quality surpasses Honda or any other Japanese bike is absurd and ill informed. But since you rode one cross country with no problems 21 years ago, that's all we need to know. Now if we want to just go by anecdotal eveidence, my experience is that Ducati doesn't like to honor their warranty. It's also a fact that parts and service are crazy expensive compared to Japanese motorcycle brands.

Motobike writer quote:

"The annual USA consumer survey of the top 10 brands found similar results to last year with the Japanese marques leading the reliability stakes. Yamaha recorded the lowest failure rate for four-year-old motorcycles with 11%, followed by Suzuki and Honda (12%) and Kawasaki (15%).

American brands Victory (17%) and Harley-Davidson (26%) were midpack, and Triumph (29%), Ducati (33%), BMW (40%), and Can-Am (42%) were the more trouble-prone brands."

No matter who is tracking it, these statistics have been consistent for years. The surprising thing is that BMW owners think the sun shines out of their assholes because they own a Beemer.
Not absurd or ill-informed. Have you sat on some Japanese bikes lately? I spend too much time loitering around bike shops that's for sure! My local Japanese bike emporium carry the big three and my local Ducati shop also carries Triumph. As much time as I spent at the emporium, I spend more time at the Ducati shop. The Japanese bikes, save for some of the Hondas, are rife with cheap plastic and apparent cost-cutting measures. You can feel the cheapness. The Ducatis are built to a higher standard and it's apparent when you sit and play with them. The Triumphs are nicer still. I think Triumph is doing the best job as far as fit and finish are concerned. If you idea of quality is reliability and you're still going by the antiquated idea that Italian bikes are iffy, you have no idea what you're talking about. Not only did I ride cross-country 21 years ago, but I also just rode my Desert Sled from San Antonio to Birmingham, Alabama with nary a problem. My buddies on their Multistradas are racking up huge miles with no problem. Same with my buddies on their Diavels.

As for your warranty problems, I've never had any problems with my SS or my Urban Enduro or my Desert Sled. My local dealer sorted any problems I had which admittedly were very minor. The electric grips on my UE weren't working (faulty installation) and they fixed that, my Sled had a faulty tire valve which was fixed same day.

Somebody pissed in your Ducati cereal and you're not happy.
 

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Not absurd or ill-informed. Have you sat on some Japanese bikes lately? I spend too much time loitering around bike shops that's for sure! My local Japanese bike emporium carry the big three and my local Ducati shop also carries Triumph. As much time as I spent at the emporium, I spend more time at the Ducati shop. The Japanese bikes, save for some of the Hondas, are rife with cheap plastic and apparent cost-cutting measures. You can feel the cheapness. The Ducatis are built to a higher standard and it's apparent when you sit and play with them. The Triumphs are nicer still. I think Triumph is doing the best job as far as fit and finish are concerned. If you idea of quality is reliability and you're still going by the antiquated idea that Italian bikes are iffy, you have no idea what you're talking about. Not only did I ride cross-country 21 years ago, but I also just rode my Desert Sled from San Antonio to Birmingham, Alabama with nary a problem. My buddies on their Multistradas are racking up huge miles with no problem. Same with my buddies on their Diavels.

As for your warranty problems, I've never had any problems with my SS or my Urban Enduro or my Desert Sled. My local dealer sorted any problems I had which admittedly were very minor. The electric grips on my UE weren't working (faulty installation) and they fixed that, my Sled had a faulty tire valve which was fixed same day.

Somebody pissed in your Ducati cereal and you're not happy.
Ducati pissed in my Ducati cereal. I've had a 2016, 2017 and now a 2019 Yamaha. My Scrambler had just as much plastic as the Yamaha. In one year I had 2 major warranty claims, one of which they refused to pay the labor, a clutch that started slipping (which apparently they never seem to address. This forum is full of people with this problem and Ducati blames it on wear and tear)and then a $600 service. I was a Euro bike guy for years with CZ, Husqvarna and Maico motocross bikes. I'm on a British MT 10 forum and the Brits savage all European bikes, even Triumphs. On paper all of the euro bikes look spectacular but from what I've seen, they all fall short on reliability and not based on my couple of buddies and a trip 21 years ago.

BTW....what is wrong with plastic? Are Ducatis coming with steel or aluminum body panels? In the mean time, I've never had a single failure or warranty claim on my Yamahas. 3 different dealers never had to sort out anything. I assumed that Ducati improved their reliability and I wanted it to be a great bike. In some ways it was, but having a clutch go in 1 year was the final straw for me. On top of that, you pay a premium on all Euro bikes, more for parts and service too. I put on over 7000 miles on my Scrambler and loved it and was disappointed that I had so many issues. I've opted to go another way and not have to deal with those kind of issues. As far as having no idea of quality, I wrench on motocross bikes for 20 years and now do all of my street bikes. I installed my heated grips and never had any issues and I wouldn't even consider taking a bike back to the dealer because of a tire valve, although those kind of things don't happen on my Yamahas. You pretty much sound like the Harley guys that still think their bikes are the fastest money can buy. But as we all know, that kind of ignorance can't be fixed.
 

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Wow, sorry for all your bad luck. I've never had anything happen with my bikes and among the community of Ducatisti in San Antonio, I can't remember anyone having the problems you describe.

I don't know why you keep belittling my experience. First hand experiences from friends is real evidence. I've been in the Ducati community for 25 years and know a LOT of dudes. Sure there have been problems but I don't know too many guys that are unhappy with their Ducati purchases. Actually, I don't know any. And you keep referring to my trip 21 years ago. hahahaha...dude, that was just an example that even that long ago, a Ducati could make a cross-country trip with no problems. And as I mentioned, I just did a similar trip on my 2017 Desert Sled. I'm not saying those two trips are the foundation of my belief that Ducatis are reliable.

I envy your mechanical expertise. I'm not a great mechanic so would rather have the guys at the shop do it right than me possibly messing it up. I don't see a problem with that. But at least I know my limitations. I did build my 900SS from the bare frame after a dealership ripped me off on a custom build. I let the guys at the shop install the wiring harness and do a safety check on it, because, as I said, I know my limitations. yeah, I'm not great but I'm not clueless either.

I don't question your experience...I too am a long time rider, been riding for almost 40 years. Up until I bought my 900SS in 1996, I rode Japanese sport bikes. I had a 2007 GSXR-750 as recently as 2012 and absolutely loved it. I put heated grips and bar risers on it. Yosh full system with a PC. Other little touches. Toured Arkansas on it. Still wish I had it. Don't get me wrong, I like Japanese bikes. I would love to have a new CBR1000RR-R.

You are right in that they are stone reliable so in that regard, you are right about that aspect of their quality. I spent about two hours yesterday hanging out at the Ducati/Triumph dealer and just working the controls, feeling the surfaces, just seeing the materials, only Honda comes close to the craftsmanship of either the Ducatis or Triumphs. Of those two, Triumph is outstanding. I don't think anyone in the industry is doing fit and finish better than Triumph.

What's wrong with plastic? Nothing. But if I was given a choice for a streetbike between one with plastic fenders and one with some nice aluminum ones, I'll take the aluminum.

I don't even know why we're arguing. I just like nicely finished, nicely turned out bikes and I bet you do too. I'll take tidy, tucked in wiring over a jangly exposed mess anytime.

Comparing me to those Harley guys is the most hateful insult anyone has levied against me in a long time!! hahahaha
 

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I will join in with this discussion. I have had many Hondas and BMW’s and other makes as well. I think the finish of the Ducati Scrambler 1100 I own is not a patch on the others. I was that disappointed with the paint finish on the tank I had to have it repainted. Looking at other bikes in the showroom as well I’ve noticed poor finishing.
 
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