If you spend time and money setting up the Ducati 999 to suit your weight, riding style, the track etc. it can make you feel like you've just qualified on the front row for Misano World Superbikes. But on ordinary, ill maintained UK roads the Ducati 999 can sometimes feel harsh, a bit raw and unforgiving. Occasionally, all that power can simply overhwhelm the old school trellis chassis.
There's an addictive lunge about the Ducati 999 motor, which sounds awesome with Termignoni pipes. In many ways the booming 90 degree V-twin defines the motorcycle brand, but it’s no match for a Suzuki GSX-R1000 or Yamaha R1 on track, especially coming out of tighter corners, where the sheer grunt of the Ducati 999 can make it harder to get on the gas whilst keeping traction.
The 2005 onwards Ducati 999 is not only faster, but likely to be more reliable, with a tweak to aid cam belt cooling on the engine, plus the deep sump motor standard across the range. Servicing is crucial on the Ducati 999 - every two years it requires a 14 hour workshop check and replacement of cambelts, fork oil, fluids etc. Neglected Ducati 999 models will break down - sooner rather than later. The overall build quality on the post 2005 motorcycles is a tad higher somehow, as if Ducati were really trying to make people fall in love with the Ducati 999 model.
At £20K on the road, the Ducati 999R isn't good value. You could build your own Ducati 916 special for half that and make people openly drool in the street. Best value in the range has to be the Ducati 999S from 2005 onwards, with plenty of poke, good chassis kit and Termis as standard. The Ducati 999 Biposto tends to go for the least money secondhand, so an early 2002 motorcycle is the cheapest entry ticket to the world of Ducati 999 motorcycles. Find a Ducati 999 for sale.
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The dashboard has a race motorcycle-like simplicity, but has been known to light up like a Vegas slot machine if water gets into its electronic brains. There's a lap timer, oil/temp warnings, air temp monitor and a fuel consumption display. An immobiliser is standard on the Ducati 999 range too. Seat comfort is minimal and the pillion pad on the Ducati 999 Biposto is basically for a short trip back to pitlane.