STealth Bomber

Having decided on what I wanted, then it’s a matter of finding one – these are Ducati’s forgotten machines – people who don’t know ducati’s don’t know what they are, and most ducatisti will go for the image of the Superbikes or a little light lunacy from the Monster range. A recent second-hand one would do nicely, preferably in stealth matt grey, with panniers. This might take a while. On the other hand…

…I walk into my little local Honyamukiumph dealer, Haslemere Motorcycles, to buy some chain lube. And guess what’s sitting in the showroom – a year-old, mint ST4s with less than four thousand miles on it. And in grey, with panniers. Stunned, I talk to Mark, the v helpful sales guy – turns out they’ve just taken it in p/x from a regular customer. Price is good, but he’s not really keen on taking another Ducati against the ST. So it’s a small ad in Motorcycle News for the 748, while I go in to pay a deposit and do the paperwork. So far, so good, and I’m sitting, chequebook in hand, ready to do the deal, when I think I really should have a final good go over the machine. Now there’s no oil showing in the sight glass – not a problem, as the machine’s on its sidestand — so I ask Mark to hold it upright while I check the level. Still nothing showing. Hmmm. Tip it a bit further. Still nothing. Mark wheels it into the workshop and comes back a couple of minutes later, looking glum – it’s taken 1.5 litres of oil to bring it up to minimum. Not good and I’m not taking the chance. Impressed with the honesty and openness of the dealer though and if I ever buy a Japanese machine or a Triumph, I’ll go to them. Turns out that the previous owner was the sort to ride a motorcycle and not check the oil level until the warning light comes on. Not a good move when running a Ducati.

So back to square one. Phoning around dealers reveals that, while second-hand machines are about as available as rocking horse poo, there are some decent deals to be done on new machines – it’s the end of season and sales are thinner on the ground. More than I ideally wanted to pay, but the opportunity is there. Most are coming in at around £7500-7700 all-in, with panniers – usefully below list. The difference comes in the trade-in quotes, which range from the only slightly painful to the painfully derisory. The decision goes to the line, negotiating with Pro-Twins and Ducati South London. Pro-Twins get it, on the grounds that I’ve dealt with them since I got the 748 and I trust them. As a Scotsman, I did feel culturally obliged to play the push-the-deal game as far as possible, but finally laid off that on compassionate grounds as Brett broke into a cold sweat.

The deposit’s paid and I’m just waiting for the thing to turn up – the only other delay being the wait while the wheels are taken off and painted red. That had to be done, along with a few shiny carbon extras, of which more anon. Engine and gearing mods can wait a while. Lifestyle accessories will of course include a Termignoni Carbon pipe and Ducati Corse kevlar slippers…

1 Comment

  1. Andy

    Have you got any SIMPLE tip on making an 2001 ST4S supspenion a little more aggressive ?

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