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I've got to step in here because there's some serious mis-information being dispensed. My first ever bike, at age 42, was a new 2001 750 Monster. I had it for 2 years, put over 16,000 miles on it, and loved it.

My rip-off dealer 6200 mile service was 489.52, and it did require 2 shims at that time - it's more expensive if they have to adjust after they've checked. My 12,000 mile service by a Ducati factory trained service manager of the local BMW dealership was 417.80, and this included replacing a leaking cam seal - obviously not part of the scheduled maintenance.

I wish people who've never owned a Ducati would stop with the histrionics regarding maintenance costs. I've never owned a Japanese bike so I can't knowlegeably (and therefore will not) compare, but the urban legend numbers that get tossed around for Ducat's are nonsense.

It was a great starter bike, for me. It got dropped four times, three by me, and once be the service manager. Damage was quite minimal - total replacement parts involved a clutch lever and side stand, total damage included very minor scrapes to an exhaust and a mirror, and a bar end. It turns out that the handle bars completely protect the tank in a drop - and this includes a 2 mph high side during which I watched the bike bounce down the road as I hit the asphalt.

Reliability was good, perhaps great by motorcycle standards. It had a clutch slave cylinder recall performed before any issues occurred. It stranded my once with a bad (German) relay. And that was about it.

It was beautiful, fun, and easy to ride. My only regret is that I saved a couple of hundred dollars and got the black, instead of the yellow I really wanted. After the two years, I wanted some more power and comfort (I am b***** than the average motorcyclist), and I traded it for decent money on the Futura. The dealer sold the bike before they even got it on the showroom floor. I just bought an 05 Speed Triple as a back up for the Futura, and if I hadn't already owned a Monster, I would have bought one, and been delighted with it.

Ducati was extremely diligent in making significant upgrades just about every year to the Monster. Therefore, I recommend spending as much money as you possibly can on the latest model year, the color of your choice, and the largest displacement you feel comfortable with (understand that a 1000 DS is not like a Japanese liter bike). You could end up with a keeper, in addition to a good starter bike.

Post up with more questions about the Monster, if you've got them. Have fun.

2cats
 

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If what Wisper found on the web site is for the current model year, I'd also pay attention to differences from previous model years, because of all the changes year to year. I can't remember now. I'm pretty sure with the 750 in 2001, the dark was missing the body color fly screen and seat cowl that came on regular models- and I really like those seat cowls.
 
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