Sounds like a saga, however I have had a completely different experience with my 2001 ST4. Just turned 17K miles, and it has been nothing but fun and enjoyment. I ride a lot, and like it more now than when I bought it! Great bike, gets lots of attention, handles incredibly, and that motor!
I have had more than enough problems with my ST4. I too would NEVER buy another Ducati. Servicing is horrendously expensive (I have had two bills over £1000) and the thing eats batteries. It lives on an Optimate in the garage, so is always fully topped up, yet refused to start after work a couple of weeks ago (I have not ridden it since). I surmise there must be something wrong with the wiring, something draining the battery, but that's not the point as far as I'm concerned. There should not be a simple problem like that.
The clutch has been a problem (the reason for one of the £1000+ bills) and the radiator costs over £700 (the reason for the second big service bill).
Also, if you drop it, DO NOT pick it up by the tank - it's not stressed for that sort of thing. Guess how I found out...
The fairing was not designed by someone who gave any thought to the need to remove it to work on the bike. And the swing-arm seems to have too much play.
Looks like I might have to buy a Triumph or, god forbid, a Honda.
I have had an ST2 (similar bike) for the last 6 years and have done 26,000 miles on it.
The only problems I've had have been needing to rebuild it after writing it off after a side on collision from a car, no damage to frame, engine, wheels etc.. these things are tough!!!
After that I broke the fuel pump wiring by tilting the tank too far forward (past the little peg there to support it, and have had 1 new set of wheel bearings.
A few problems have arisen because a garage kept ordering the wrong parts.. not a fault of the bike.
All in all I'm very pleased with it.. that's why I've kept it so long.
Yep they can be touchy? I have my ST4S for nearly 3 years and I love it, there just is not any other bike that I have tried that would replace it, (yes and I have tried them all).
Have decided to service it myself as I trust no one, and do not want to pay them silly service bills. Fairly easy to work on. Belt is an easy job.
The problems are: wiring (big multi connector full of water), simple dry out and clean with electrical cleaner and cover it up by using a large heat shrink to recover.
Fuel pump relays; well just carry a spare or swap it out with one that you don't use to get you home.
Chains, well don't last long do they, use a scott oiler will help.
Tyres, by far the best I have ever had is - pilot road2. Last 3 times as long as any other tyre AND COMPLETELY TRANSFORM THE BIKE.
Fuel is good at 180 miles per tank (2 up).
At the end of the day it gets looks everywhere I go, and I love it sound and handling. It will do anything the others will do and better. 160mph; How fast do you want to go. It is normally all down to the riders skills. Well do you still think they're all bad?
I guess everyone has different experiences. I've had my ST4 for 6 years, and live in Australia at the end of a dirt road. Had a couple of minor niggles, regulator went, one connector failed.
Other than that, she is a beautiful, reliable, fast and comfortable bike. 30000km on the clock and looks just about new. I love her madly.
I do tend to eat tyres though. Service costs have been at least as good as a Japanese bike.