7 DUCATIS YEARS OF DUCATI
THAT COST LESS THAN YOU THINK Ducati’s forgotten gems can make brilliant used buys, says Phil West ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Ducati ST3S (2003-2007)
Ducati’s sport-tourer STS are the classic ‘forgotten Ducatis’. Beginning with the ST2 in 1996, powered by the liquid-cooled, twovalve 944cc V-twin, then supplemented by the more powerful, 916-engined ST4 in 1998, the able but dull-looking STS never quite gained the following their versatility deserved. A final revamp with the facelifted, three-valve ST3 came in 2003 and, though also ultimately a failure, it’s by far the best of the bunch being invigorating, competent and classy, especially in Öhlins/marchesiniequipped S guise.
Ducati 749 Dark (2003-2007)
If the 999 is the unloved Ducati superbike and the 749 its even less appealing baby brother, then the budget 749 Dark has all the ingredients to be one of the least appealing Ducati sportsters of all. Intended as the ‘entry-level’ 749, it was the cheapest and distinguished by its satin black paint, more basic suspension and lack of steering damper, making the Dark a bargain way into genuine Ducati superbikes.