Badly built, unreliable and overpriced
Ignition relay burnt out twice, both times leaving me stranded.
Headlight replaced at a week old when the reflector started corroding.
Intermittent failure of rev counter traced to corroded multiplugs on the wiring loom. The bike was only 3 weeks old at the time! This was fixed, but just before I got rid of the bike it was happening again.
Original battery died within the first month, despite the bike being used at least twice a week from new.
Hose union on the rear brake caliper started weeping.
Light switch on the rear brake failed.
Very noisy (even by dry standards) clutch. Much noisier than the demonstrator bike, but apparently "within limits".
Coolant leak from rear (vertical) cylinder head gasket at 1,000 miles.
All this within a month!
Maybe Ducati's sports bikes have a unique appeal that offsets the exorbitant price and primitive levels of build and component quality, but that doesn't extend to the ST4. I bought it with an open mind, but sadly even the worst rumours I'd heard about Ducati quality and reliability didn't do justice to the experience I was about to endure.
This bike replaced a very tired 75,000 mile D1 model ZZR600, which although a total dog in most respects, actually never let me down. This £8.5k ST4 left me at the side of the road in the first week of ownership.
In the end things got so bad, I used the Sale of Goods Act to reject the bike after just under four weeks of ownership on the grounds it was both not of merchantable quality, and unfit for purpose (part of the reason I chose it was to tour, and how can you tour on a bike that hadn't in the time I'd owned it completed more than 150 miles without something going wrong?)
Lovely, lovely engine from the 916 superbike, good performance and handled beautifully. Sadly, these qualities were rendered irrelevant by the problems. My first and last Ducati.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 1st April, 2005