BUYING WISDOM: DUCATI 851
Experienced motorcycle dealer Ciarán Perrin of Extreme Trading Ltd, Norfolk, who are selling both bikes says: “Ducati bodywork is actually very good and many 851s have stood the test of time pretty well, but the paint on frames can craze, so check that if it bothers you. Don’t rely too much on service history – a bike may have all the stamps in its book, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the services have been done properly. If in doubt, get an experienced Ducati mechanic to check a bike over before you buy. Always use genuine Ducati cambelts.
“Mechanically, 851s don’t give a lot of trouble if they’ve been looked after. Most mechanical parts are still available, but parts like airbox hoses and body panels in good condition are getting hard to find. Suspension on 1989-on bikes is by Showa and, I think, better than the early bikes’ Marzocchi kit; the 1990 SP2 uses superior-spec Öhlins kit. The 1989-on bikes with 17in front wheels handle better than the original 1988 Stradas with a 16in front.”