DUCATI ST4 (1996-2003) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"The forgotten Ducati family; sports touring motorcycles"

Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding

"The forgotten Ducati family; sports touring motorcycles"

  • At a glance
  • 916cc  -  105 bhp
  • 44 mpg  -  200 miles range
  • Medium seat height (820mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The forgotten Ducati family – sports touring motorcycles. While Monsters rule in town and the Superbikes jostle for supremacy on the track, few think of these practical yet exciting machines when Ducati is mentioned. It’s a shame as the Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 are excellent machines. The Ducati ST4’s more powerful 916cc engine is the biggest difference between it and the Ducati ST2.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The sports and street machine DNA is obvious in these motorcycles – they handle well – stable yet reasonably quick to steer. Neither the Ducati ST2 or Ducati ST4 should be out of it’s depth on a track day. Bumpy roads can upset the Ducati ST4 but adjusting the suspension can help. Vibration can spoil the party but if properly serviced it shouldn’t be too noticeable. Powerful brakes.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Ducati ST2 relies on an old power plant derived from Ducati’s old 907 Paso. Like most Ducati motorcycles it’s a 90 degree V-twin. It’s liquid cooled and while not incredibly powerful is torquey with superb midrange. The Ducati ST4 is a newer bike with the more advanced and powerful 916cc engine from the iconic Ducati 916.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Despite the Ducati reputation for iffy reliability, the Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 are fine if well looked after. Owners tend to be kinder to their motorcycles than those who have sports Ducatis plus the motorcycles get used constantly – occasional use can be bad for them. Full service history is still essential when buying any Ducati ST2 or Ducati ST4.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

There’s a lot of competition, both from other premium prices sports touring motorcycles like the Honda VFR800 and the Triumph Sprint ST but also from the increasingly excellent budget middleweights like the Yamaha FZ6 Fazer. The Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 still represent decent VFM – just don’t pay OTT dealer prices. Find a Ducati ST2 for sale. Find a Ducati ST4 for sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Panniers are a cost option on the Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 but otherwise standard equipment is reasonably generous on both motorcycles – they are on the sporty end of the sports-touring continuum. Riders always seem comfy but the pillion perch seems to suit others better than others so get yours to try before you buy a Ducati ST2 or Ducati ST4.

 

Owners' Reviews

8 owners have reviewed their DUCATI ST4 (1996-2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

7 years on, it still great

06 March 2013 by venturer

7 years on and my ST4S 2004 facelift 996 engined Sports Tourer still has a few tricks up it sleeve and it still cuts it as a real road bike, with pace to shame a few modern bikes, obviously it's a little slower each year then the newer bikes but i've... Read more not noticed anyone riding them any quicker and no no has made a replacement bike that is any better in my distorted mind.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

2000 ST4

16 October 2008 by jrflanne

A very nice and sedate bike. I took it on a little tour up to Michigan (about 1200 miles 1 way) and did 750 miles in 1 day. I was concerned about fatigue on the interstate but the ST4 is remarkably comfortable. On the way back, I stumbled onto a... Read more great stretch of road. 200 miles of hills, curves, no cops, no traffic and the Duc performed great. Bike gets good mileage and really the only complaints I have are the crappy side stand, the complete whip to get the fairing on and off to do anything, and really the financial responsibility one undertakes when owning a Ducati. The ST4 does not like to start in cold weather (below 40-45F in my part of the world) and the electronics are a bit questionable. I swear I will sell it every time I do an oil change (who ever heard of having to remove the mirrors to do an oil change?), but then I swear I will keep it until the tires fall off every time I ride it.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

scratch or tour

23 December 2007 by cob427

i have always had jap bikes, and in a moment of apparent insanity decided to try a ducati. i am glad i did,the bike has somthing you dont get from jap bikes. i cant realy explian it, but when you start it up all that mechanical clatter and thumping v... Read more twin vibe,there,s just more sense of ocasion. starting some jap bikes is no more exciting than starting a lawn mower.dont get me wrong jap bikes are very good but riding my duke makes me understand what people mean when they say it,s got soul.my bike didn,t come with service history which is potentialy a big mistake with a duke.when i took mine to an indepndant duke specialist it cost me £500 for an engine service and a couple of other miner service items.the st4 leans more towards the sport side than touring with regards to riding position and it,s handling abilities, but its still a very comfy ride long or short distance.mine came fitted with a top box which is a good thing because there,s not much space to keep anything without one. under seat storage is reserved for the tool kit only so i leave that at home and take a pressure gauge and a couple other small items in it,s place.i have just fitted some ducati sport exhausts and it sounds great.it,s a joy to ride what ever mood your in whether you just want a steady ride to youre favourite destination or showing sports bikes the way down youre favorite set of twisties.i dont think i will ever go back to four cylinders,that v twin grunt and good spread of power up to the rev limiter make me feel iv,e been missing out on somthing all my jap bike riding years.A couple of minor gripes, standard screen not tall enough for decent weather protection and a heavy clutch lever.with regards to the cluch i was advised to try clutch springs from a 748 which only made a small difference but still worth while. by with confidance if it,s got service history, but dont pay good money for some thing without it because it could be expensive when you do get it serviced

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Italiano Sport Tourer

08 May 2007 by flyingdragons9999

Wow! come with center stand (thumb up), useless windscreen in rain (thumb down). Please check defintition of "Tourer" for more design upgrade and improvement. Read more

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Love'em or hate 'em - An Italian Masterpiece

15 September 2006 by m0box

I have had a desire to own an Italian bike for years, but was put off by the old reliability issues, but I threw caution to the wind and ended up with a 3 year old demonstrator. Once fired up, that delightful tune demands you just keep on playing it.... Read more Sure, at tickover they sound like the gears are not on the shafts they should be, but once under way and over 3000 revs, joy - pure joy. The grin factor is just huge. Frame is excellent and you feel like your riding on a rail in the road. Brakes also very powerful, yet have good feeling. The seat is great for both rider and passenger, but round town the forward inclination puts a lot of weight on your hands. The clutch is heavy. Commuting in London gave me tennis elbow in the left arm. Motion is needed to help take the weight of your hands, or strong back muscles! Apart from the main bearings having to be replaced at 12,000 miles, the "Duke" has been superb. I love it on the open road, hate it round town. Strengths: Good gutsy motor, solid frame, super brakes. Comfy seat, 50mpg average even when caneing it hard, Italian Styling. Weaknesses: Heavy clutch, you have to get used to the riding position.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Superb,2004 facelift model with open pipes.

01 May 2006 by venturer

This bike has it all, starting with the 996 motor, you can thump about on single track roads 2 up, grunt past cars 2 up with under 7k on the clock (that would leave an on the redline vfr750fv for dead) 1 up on fast A roads 115mph is basic stuff and... Read more not having to use more than 7k on the clock, ride it like a two stroke and it is a very fast bike on single track roads, bumpy B road, fast A road anywhere you like. how good is this bike, well its replaced my VFR750FV and my CBR954-RR3 both are for sale. Strengths: Everything. Weaknesses: Fuel consumption when gunning it, servicing costs are well out of order, eats rear tyres.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

One of the best bikes I have ever owned - reliable, economical and FUN!

09 March 2006 by Aero65

Having owned the ST2 from new in 1998, I have nothing but praise for it's performance, handling, braking, economy, reliability and build quality. If they are properly maintained, Ducatis are as reliable as any other bike. I took mine for a 3000 mile... Read more ride to Prague and Budapest and when I returned, nothing had needed any attention apart from routine chain adjustment and lubrication. Tickover was as sweet as it had been on the day I bought it. The only non routine maintenance has been replacement of the clutch slave seal, a quick and inexpensive job. I have no hesitation in buying another. Strengths: Just about everything really. Weaknesses:
Fiddly fairing removal for servicing. Dzus fasteners saves a lot of time.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

My Review

08 February 2006 by rewby

Having owned my st for a year, I have found it more than capable of either touring two up with full luggage or a blast through the twisties. Reliability has not been an issue with 6000 miles notched up without a hiccup. On the downside the seat can... Read more be a bit hard though my pillion says its comfy. Strengths: Mid range punch Mirrors Good hard luggage handles well decent brakes. Weaknesses: service costs, seat .

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 8 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1996
Year discontinued 2003
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 105 bhp
Max torque 66 ft-lb
Top speed 155 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.3 secs
Average fuel consumption 44 mpg
Tank range 200 miles
Specification
Engine size 916cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 215kg
Front suspension Preload, Rebound
Rear suspension Preload, Rebound
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1996: Ducati ST2 launched in October.
1998: Revised rear suspension, longer gear lever.
1999: Ducati ST4 launched.
2000: Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 get grey frame and wheels, new clocks, improved side stand, braided steel brake lines.
2001: Suspension rebound adjustment removed from Ducati ST4.
2002: Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 get catalytic converter and aluminium clutch housing.
2003: Minor styling tweaks.
2003: Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 discontinued in September.

Other versions

Ducati ST4S: similar to Ducati ST4 but with re-tuned 996cc engine and superior suspension.In production from 2002 to 2004.

Photo Gallery

  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati ST2 & ST4 motorcycle review - Side view