It is past time that I wrote something looking back at the life of my 620 engine in my 2005 Ducati Monster.
In September of 2014 the clutch on the bike was slipping badly, and after talking to my mechanic about how much it would cost to replace the clutch I decided to get a lightly used 695 engine and put that in. I thought it was worth the extra money to just start fresh. So I retired the 620 engine with just a bit over 75,000 miles on it.
When people hear that you have 75,000 miles on a Ducati Monster they always ask two questions. How did you put that many miles on the bike and what sort of mechanical issues arose in that time.
This blog is going to try and answer both.
How did I put 75,000 miles on the bike?
It’s not hard to put a lot of miles on a motorcycle living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Year round riding weather plus great roads in nearly every direction you go. I averaged 12,000 miles a year for the 6 years that I was riding the bike. (I got the bike with 1,300 miles on it in June 2006 and rode BMW for 2 years) To be fair a lot of those miles are me riding to work. I would guess I do between 9-10,000 miles a year just going to and from work. This does include occasionally taking the Long Way Home. In addition to going to work, and the occasional weekend ride I have done a bit of touring on the bike. I’ve gone down the Coast to LA twice on this bike, and up to Portland three or four times.
So that’s how I put the miles on the bike.
How was the bike/engine for reliability?
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yes services are more frequent on a Ducati of this vintage. Every 6,000 miles it needs/should be looked at. Yes that means I did 12 services in the life of that engine. Was it expensive? Yes, but I found a great mechanic with decent rates and just stopped worrying too much about it. Honestly the years with the BMW weren’t that much cheaper (a couple of hundred dollars a year) and the Monster is a much more fun and engaging motorcycle.
So what broke with the “finicky” Ducati.
Not a whole lot.
The biggest issue we had (me and my poor mechanic) was the oil pressure light that kept coming on. This was finally figured out to be a short somewhere. And still has not been fixed. But it caused a few trips to the shop, and a couple of replaced oil pressure sensors as well as a compression test and a couple of other things as we tried to track down the supposed oil pressure problem.
The stator went out at 60,000 miles. Which happens on Ducati’s and was a pain in the ass because it disrupted a trip to Death Valley and could possibly be blamed for nearly killing my friend.
However, that’s really all that died that wasn’t crash related. I’ve replaced turn signals, headlights, brake levers, and front rotors because of crashes. As well as mirrors for aesthetic reasons, and my seat for comfort.
There is one other thing I feel compelled to mention in the interests of full disclosure. I’ve also had to replace my Dash. I got the bike with a plexiglass “fix” glued over the tach. I bought the bike with a salvaged title and I suspect this damage to the dash was a big part of what totaled the bike. I’m pretty sure this “fix” was not that great since eventually enough water got into it and caused my dash to die. This might have happened without the crash damage, it is hard to say for sure.
I’ve haven’t had a chance to put that many miles on any other bike. It doesn’t seem like a lot problems for 75,000 miles although I did go through a lot of Tires, Chains and Oil.