Ducati ST2 motorcycle test


Biker test: Slow Philou

Ducati 944 ST2At the house of
Ducati, ST stands for Sport-Touring. The motorcycle was released in 1997 and has
since that on points of detail, the improvements made
over the years having consisted in practically eliminating a few small
irritating defects in the first vintages (charge regulators little
endurance, oozing from certain clutch receptors). One can
say that in 2002 the ST2 is a very reliable motorcycle if maintained in
the Ducati network (every 10,000 km).

The aesthetics are rather discreet for a Ducati,
but quite chic in a metallic gray livery of your choice,
or metallic blue, or buttercup yellow, or red
deep. The paint is of good quality, causing reflections
of light on the pretty rotundities of the beautiful.
Underneath the fairing is a tubular trellis frame that looks like
to that of the Monster, and the famous 90 ° twin-cylinder engine
L-shaped, with a displacement of 944 cc, water-cooled.
It is here in a version with 2 valves per cylinder (like the
900 Ssie), controlled by a desmodromic distribution which is
the hallmark of Ducati engines, with Magneti Marelli injection.
Horsepower is "only" 83hp, but they’re fine
present even at moderate engine speed.

Deployment of the sidestand cuts off the
engine, the center stand is stable but too
backwards, lifting the motorbike on its power plant is a bit painful.

In the saddle, the two half-handlebars are not as high as on a roadster
made in Japan, and placed rather forward, they imply
a slight inclination of the pilot’s bust, conducive to
road driving and very pleasant at speed
sustained. In town, it is possible to adopt a more upright position
by sitting as close as possible to the 21-liter tank,
of which no protruding edge interferes with my knees. I
am struck by the narrowness of the motorcycle.

The instrument panel is complete with, on a readable LCD display,
a daily trip, a clock, the fuel gauge, the temperature
motor. The passage in reserve is indicated by the flashing
last sector of the gauge and by an orange light.

Orders are at Japanese standard. The saddle is a seat
rather firm, but well padded.

Contact and music! The twin desmo awakens in the symphony
serious but well controlled with its two exhausts.

The dry clutch lever is hydraulically operated.
It is very hard for the first two thousand km, then the
clutch plate springs become less coarse and
the pilot’s left hand has built up muscles, everything becomes a lot
no longer "normal" and we no longer lend
all attention.

First turns of the wheel

The gearbox also needs a thousand laps
of km to become very pleasant. Another 2000 km and she
is at the top, very precise and fast, a treat.

Clutch on 2002 models is Ergal, it is quieter
than those of previous models.

As the twin knocks under 3000 revolutions / minute, in town the transmission
end of the 15 tooth gearbox output pinion and 42 tooth crown
teeth is rather long. Often the ducatists who ride a lot
in built-up areas replace the 15-tooth PSB with a 14-tooth
of 916, which gives them more flexibility and recovery from
2500 turns.

The road is a treat

Road holding is excellent in all circumstances, allowing
to swallow large curves with great stability provided by
a very rigid frame and well-damped suspensions.
When the coating is not very good, the ST2 shakes a little more
her crew, but she remains stable and secure.
It remains comfortable on long journeys, 800 km during the day are not
not an ordeal neither for the pilot nor for the passenger, who are one
and the other well treated.
The suspensions adjustable in all directions make it possible to adapt the bike
to your weight and the load that 2 beautiful Nonfango suitcases can carry
sold with the motorcycle for an additional charge, and goes very well with its
line, without destabilizing it up to more than 200 km / h (on circuit).

The engine is torquey from low revs and its range
of use is very wide, ranging from 3000 to 9000 rpm.
But you don’t have to bump into him all the time, and he
is extremely pleasant to wrap on the couple between
4000 and 7000 rpm, speeds that allow you to drive quickly
without changing gear. Entering a bend is done on the engine brake
which is very sensitive with 2 bowls of 472 cc each, in a
superb very serious music from the 90 ° twin ….

Fuel consumption is between 5.5 and 6.5 liters / 100
km depending on road profile and speed, a little more in town style
Parisian region.

The coded lighting is correct, without being exceptional, and a bit
better in lighthouse. It can be improved with bulbs like Philips
Premium or equivalent.
At the bottom of an inverted fork, quite flexible and with 43 mm tubes
very rigid, the Brembo brakes impress with their diameter of 320
mm. In use, their attack is never brutal even on the
wet, but if you pull on it the slowdown is a
extremely reassuring efficiency. The rear brake is a modest retarder
which does not run the risk of blocking the wheel and "losing the rudder
», But stabilizes the bike when entering a quick curve. I have learned
to appreciate it.

On the highway

The machine is very stable on its trajectory and the speed limit allowed
by the ST2 once past 10,000 km (the engine is then really released),
can easily spray your driver’s license. At 7000 rpm, with
the original 15 x 42 reduction, we are already at more than 200 …
and the engine can take 9000 revolutions.

The protection is correct for a 1.75 driver with the original screen,
but it becomes excellent with the mounting of the proposed + 5 cm screen
by Ducati (Ermax and Secdem make them even higher), which does not
do not disfigure the profile of my beautiful too much.
My motorcycle was delivered with Michelin Macadam 90s, including the grip in curves
in the wet is nothing to envy. To be replaced in aftermarket
by Bridgestone BT 020, whose reassuring grip in the dry as well as on
the grasmouille, gives full satisfaction to the majority of Ducatists
in ST2 .
Gone are the days of the saying “Ducati, toolbox”. Well maintained
according to the instructions of the owner’s manual in the Ducati network
(because the desmo adjustment requires some specific tools and methods)
the ST2 has no more problems than another motorcycle. And at
11000 km I did not have a single problem .
A friend who did 34,000 km with his first ST2 (he just took some
a) spent, including purchase and resale, 0.22? / km instead of 0.26? / km
with its previous Honda VFR. ).

Strong points Weak points
  • Look
  • General quality
  • road holding, braking,
  • engine approval, fuel economy
  • comfort
  • hand muscle clutch the first 2000 km
  • difficult center stand
  • fragile rigid plastic rear indicators
  • only one daily trip
Point of view of the enchanted (Raphaël, 27 years old, Oise)

"I use it every day for my job and I ride too
much for my pleasure and that of my passenger. I got it
bought in February 2002 after a BMW and a Honda
Deauville, I have already done 12,000 km with without having
known problem. It’s the best bike I’ve had,
you can never get bored on the handlebars with an ST2. I would resume
the same if it had to be done again "

Point of view of the disgusted (Jean-Christophe, 37 years old, Loire Atlantique)

“The ST2 was the first bike I have
bought after having obtained my A license. I was not sure
what to take and I let myself be influenced by my sympathetic
dealer. I never felt relaxed
on its handlebars, it is too precise for a beginner
on a motorcycle and do not forgive mistakes as a trail can do.
Finally I sold it after 4 months after being
put on the ground on a false maneuver, fortunately at low speed.
I now drive a Triumph Tiger which fits a lot
better to my style and with which I feel comfortable


An essay by Slow Filou

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One thought on “Ducati ST2 motorcycle test

  1. 100% agree with dam69. Impossible to achieve such mileage by driving a little sportingly (the only way to really test the tires. Otherwise they are all equal).

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