What we said then
“This is the Ducati we’ve been waiting for since the original 916. It’s a Ducati sportsbike in the truest form. Blood red, stunning to look at and absolutely pure in its purpose. It’s been a long time coming but it finally looks like Ducati have built a sportsbike that can run with the best. Finally, the 1098 stands for what a Ducati motorcycle means – pure unadulterated sportsbike heaven.”
MCN first test – December 22, 2006
But what is it like now?
The 1098 beneath me might be eight years old and have 8727 miles of life behind it, but the feeling is the same as when it first arrived on the scene.
Push the starter (a conventional button unlike the recessed unit on more modern Ducatis) and it thuds into life. I can sense almost every explosion as the Testastretta Evoluzione motor drones beneath me and the twin Termi pipes bark their intent.
This is a bike you just have to rev at a standstill and the LCD dash is lovely and clear in its display. A good solid handful of clutch (that fairly heavy feeling hasn’t gone away with miles) and you are away. As long as you don’t have to U-turn and find your thumbs trapped between the tank and the bars.
You don’t ride a 1098, you plug into it. The seat is narrow and firm while the wide tank with its sharp edges is perfectly placed for knees to grip. As soon as you are moving the 1098 feels like it is just dying to show you its capabilities.
Smooth corners are demolished by this thoroughbred and the chassis and brakes remain impressive despite the passing years. It’s not as instantly agile as a Panigale, but it is considerably more relaxing to ride.
Wind on the gas and the 1099cc engine serves up a near-perfect blend of power and torque with a lazy nature that makes it deceptively fast. With a genuine 144bhp and 77ftlb of torque,
it’s a beautiful motor at any speed, except in town, where the underseat pipes can get hot and the heavy clutch annoying.
Common faults explored
This bike is the standard model, not the S, and therefore has more budget Showa suspension as opposed to Öhlins units. Oddly, this means less chance of oil leaks as it is generally the higher specification forks’ seals that let go if the bike is left standing. Ducatis are generally very well looked after and this bike’s previous owner has used clear protective film on just about every panel to prevent stone chips ruining its looks. But this conservative approach has extended to the tyres, which are Michelin Pilot Road 3 sports-touring options rather than newer, sportier rubber. Considering it only has 8737 miles on it, so isn’t a high-miler, this seems an unusual choice of tyres. The bike turns over rapidly, so the battery would appear to be in tip-top condition and the sprag clutch isn’t squeaking. It is being sold with a nearly complete service history, which also bodes well.
Like many used Ducati sportsbikes, this one has an aftermarket double-bubble screen, and the tiny bolts that hold it in place don’t appear to have been rounded when it was replaced (replacements cost around £4 each). The knee grips on the tank look ugly but should be easy to remove without damaging the paint, and this bike comes with Termignoni pipes, which is a bonus. The standard pipes are not included but it is cheaper to buy a used set of OE cans on eBay than invest in Termis.
Service Manager at Ducati Coventry
‘A brilliant day-to-day Ducati sportsbike’
“The Ducati 1098 is a wonderful motorcycle and a really solid used buy as long as you purchase a good one. As with any Ducati, maintenance is key to owning a 1098 and although the new Evoluzione engine is far better built and more reliable than the old V-twin in the 916/996/998/999, it still needs to be looked after.
“Ducati increased the service intervals on the 1098 and while you still need to get it serviced every year (or 7500 miles) and the belts changed every two years, the valve clearances only need checking when it reaches 7500 miles (or a multiple of), irrespective of age.
“So if you only do 6000 miles in five years, you don’t need the valves touching, unlike on a Testastretta. Servicing is also cheaper on the 1098 compared to the older models. Because the Evoluzione is far easier to work on, a minor service costs around £250, a major with belts is £450 and valve clearances with a major service is £650.
“There are a few quirks on the 1098 that can be sorted out with good routine maintenance but can ruin the riding experience if left unchecked. The swingarm on early models collects water and can cause the lower shock mounting to rust, which is sorted by drilling a hole in the swingarm and ensuring the nut is lubed.
“The rear hub seizes up in the swingarm, but we remove it and grease it during a major service. Some owners go mad when tightening the rear pinch bolts, which can cause the swingarm to crack and also squash the hub, so always check this area for damage.
“The major Achilles’ Heels on the 1098 are the fuel pump and ignition relays, which fail regularly. We actually change them every service as they only cost £3.50 each. Also, if the dash is flickering then the chances are the rectifier is on its way out, but again, that’s not a major issue and is relatively cheap to swap. Finally, the fuel tank breather furs up, causing the tank to vacuum and the bike to lose power – another simple fix.
“Honestly, a well-looked-after 1098 will run as good as gold, they are a brilliant bike. If I was looking at a day-to-day Ducati sportsbike, I’d buy a 1098S. But I’d fit it with a Termi system as they respond brilliantly to being allowed to breathe properly…”
Thanks to: The Superbike Factory, who are selling this bike for £6991. Visit www.superbikefactory.co.uk.
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