I’m a big fan of the 696/797 era bikes. Enough brains to have some nice safety features (ABS, etc) but still simple enough to wrench on. Most importantly, they ride like a dream and are super lightweight for their power delivery.
I like them so much, I own two 696s. One with clip-ons and the Ducati Performance (DP) kit with Termis. The other with taller bars and TKC80 tires for a more scrambler feel.
Both are so fun. Took the DP bike to the track earlier this year at Thunderhill and she did amazingly well. Took the scrambler bike to Babes Ride Out and once there did some dual sport/ADV riding through creek crossings and rutty dirt and she did great too. Really versatile bikes.
AFAICT, the 696 and 797 are near-identical except for the rear swingarm and the slight cc displacement. But effectively they’re the same bike.