2002 Ducati ST4s

Ho Ho!

Well, got her at a good price owing to the demise of the ST4 - fingers crossed this isn't the triumph of hope over experience.

Initial impressions are good - motor oozes torque and feels both faster and more relaxed than the ST4 I traded against it (which had race cans and chip). But the biggest difference is the suspension - Showa front and Ohlins back which are a huge improvement on standard Ducati suspenders. Although they do need setting up - factory settings I found too harsh - a bump on a bend and you jump a foot. And, as usual, not easy to set up; lots of trial and error as well a trip to a suspension set up guy - £10 and he bounced and twiddled it and now it's pretty much there. Particularly cute is the hydraulic preload on the rear spring - twist the tap (according to manual you can do this as you ride - I tried it and don't recommend it) and the collar over the spring moves up and down. No more hassle with C-spanners but I did have to put paint blobs on the tap and body as there's no way of seeing how much you've moved it as you adjust it.

4800 miles on it to date and only niggles so far are a very hard seat (which didn't soften with age - 100 miles was as much as my arse could take so I got the seat gelled) and a very high top gear - 90mph before it stops feeling lumpy. Mind you, the seat does have a U-lock built in underneath as standard; nice touch.

Only other hassle was an intermittent judder on the front when braking hard; still looking into this - tightened head race bearings, played with throttle free play adjusted ride height, and finally got new rotors - which seems to have cured it.

The other 'security' feature is a chipped up key - undoubtedly expensive to replace, and with the added feature that if you don't

Holiday snap!
Den and Duc
Den, Duc and Puy de Dome
Ohlins at the back...
Showa at the front...


thumb the starter within 15 seconds of turning it on the engine won't start. Although it will spin and spin, as I found out shortly after my first fuel stop.

It also doesn't have a flip up sidestand... but Ducati, doing it on the cheap, haven't bothered with any logic switches, meaning the engine won't run at all on the sidestand - so you've got to heave it onto the centre stand if you want to let her warm up while you're closing the garage, pulling on gloves etc. A right pain on a gravel drive.

Click here for pictures of the Duc on my favourite roads...