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Hello Everyone...I just joined the board today and I'm happy to be here. I've just moved to the Lancaster, PA area and am finally in a less crowded area where it seems like a good place to own a bike. I've never ridden or owned a bike, but am looking for something fun, unique, comfortable and reliable. I've been doing a lot of reading and have stopped into a few different shops to look at some bikes (Ducati, Harley, BMW, and Triumph). Everything is pointing me towards the Monster 696 since it seems to be an easy ride, nice ergos and lightweight. Oh yeah...I think it's gorgeous.

So, my questions:
- Would you agree that this is a great bike for a beginner?
- How is reliability on the newer Duc's and what are your thoughts on longevity? I'm impressed by the 7500 miles between service aspect, btw.
- My commute is about 30 miles each way and about 90% is highway. Is this a reasonably comfortable bike (I'm about 5'10" and not a heavy guy)?

Thanks in advance for all your feedback!
 

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i'm 6' myself but alot wider.. I found the 696 too small for me visually.. and I felt like the handle bars were in my lap... ppl told me I dwarfed the bike..

but as for riding it.. it's a piece of cake.. i found it very light and nimble and forgiving and easy to toss around..

reliablility wise shouldn't be problem...

but most owners change their oil much more frequently thant the 7,500miles
 

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yep, the 696 is an awsome 1st bike even for more experienced riders. i love to ride them, there fun, defiantely enough power to get around and absolutely awsome in the canyons, a little suspension tweaks and your golden to handle almost anything.
 

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696 was my "1st Bike"

I had plenty of time to research bike before finally settling on the 696. Like you, it was my first bike (first bike in over 20 years) and I was a bit nervous about it. I have come to love it, and found my previous year of motorcycle riding experience (and couple of summers of moto-X fun in my cousin's back 40) came in handy; skills I forgot I possessed came flooding back. Just as important -or even more so- my 25 years of competitive cycling have made my riding safer and more confident. Having said that, I think the 696 is a fine first bike for someone who will maintain a healthy respect for the power and weight of this particular motorcycle. Take the first year or more and learn to become a skilled rider. I took the intermediate riding skills/safety course before buying the bike and also bought great book on riding techniques. Additionally, I spared no expense in getting proper riding gear. Riding is inherently dangerous and risky, even if you're careful and conservative, you will likely go down at some point in the first year. Frame sliders and protective gear will minimize the damage.

On reliability: my Duc came with an oil leak... which was covered under warranty. I stressed over it a bit at first, but discovered it was only a very minor seeping and my shop fixed it right (quick & for free) after the summer. The new Monsters, from what I gather, will be more reliable and less finicky than those in the past. Still, I believe the equivalent Japanese (or BMW or KTM) may be more refined, smoother and ultimately more reliable. In my case, time will tell, but I'm already considering trading out for the above brands once the warranty runs out if it gives me any grief (at least 2 glorious years!)

One thing I have learned from my purchase is for what it is, the Ducati is somewhat more expensive than the competition. I consider the higher cost, payment for the high-style, something I'm perfectly fine with. Another is, I love the look of the naked bike and the riding position is good (we're about the same height/build), but "touring" is not the 696's strong suit. Still, I just bought the tailbag AND saddle bags and will see how it goes. Windscreens, ground clearance and more rugged looks will entice me towards bikes like the BMW 800GS or KTM Super Duke next time. The 696 is just too pretty to take out in inclement weather or on dirt roads. (Lack of practical fenders and not-so-weatherproof-looking wiring harnesses keep me wondering.)

All in all, I don't regret it - the bike is super fun and gets lots of complimentary looks (children and middle-aged men love it!). It handles extremely well, the front brakes are VERY powerful and have a good feel. The sounds it make are intoxicating - even stock. The torque off the line up to about 40mph is great fun; above that and it loses steam (something you won't notice for quite awhile.) As a freeway commuter, I might leave the 14t stock gear ON and just get used to the in-town response. Give it 3 months anyway... Judged on fun-factor alone, this bike is tops. It should have good resale when resold.

Feel free to email with any other questions! Good Luck and enjoy the process of choosing, it's part of the fun. And test ride as many bikes as you can before you decide!!!
 

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Not gonna tell you if you should or shouldn't buy it. My FIRST bike was/is my M620D.
Test rode a few bikes[naked] and none had the 'appeal' or the 'calling' the Ducati had. Is all about what moves you or which bike 'talks' to you.

Test ride a couple of bikes and then. ask your but and gut which one was the one that really moved them when they answer, you'll know.
 

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Had been off bikes for 30 yrs. When I got back on I had a Yamaha V-Star 650 for about 6 months, but after riding a 696 I was hooked. The 696 is one of the easiest to handle bikes that I have ever ridden. Enough power for what I'm using it for. Added touring seat and bar riser to make it acceptable for short touring. Zero problems and just going over 6,500 miles in the first year. I did opt for the Termi exhaust, air cleaner, and ECU system. Other stuff too, but you can do what you want to the bike. Stock form is quite acceptable. Whatever your first bike, if you use common sense and don't try to be a street racer you will probably be OK. I second what the other member said about good gear. Don't ride without gear, but remember it is only designed to protect you if you put the bike down. Nothing will protect against impact with a stationary object or another vehicle except prudence and acquired skill. Good luck.
 

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I'm a middle-aged born-again who had been away over 20 years. I'm 5'10 and didn't like the ergos initially. The bars are way too low, mirrors marginal, and the seat gets uncomfortable.

I almost got rid of it in favor of one of those leftover GT1000s many dealers have (hidden jewels, BTW).

Then, I got the Jese Racing risers and the Duc touring seat, and am very pleased with the results. Next stop: Rizoma mirrors!

The handling and center of gravity is excellent, as on most Euro bikes. The Brembo brakes stop on a dime and give you change! If the bike were a car, I would compare it to a BMW Z4, or Porsche Boxster (with sports suspension upgrades on both). Toss a Harley of most Jap bikes around, and you'll notice the center of gravity seems almost a foot higher!

The Monster series is relatively straightforward for service, and there's all kinds of cool mods to really "make it yours".

Must agree with the others on the importance of gear. Gear is good!

Best of luck to you!
 

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Buy a dirtbike and learn to ride a motorcycle properly.
Riding is Sliding
Sliding into corners and Sliding out of corners
You don't learn that on the street as the only time that usually happens is when minivan mom pulls in front of you.
If you learn to ride in the dirt you will develop the survival skills needed for the street.

Learning to ride a motorcycle consists of ......
1> Getting all of the braking, shifting accelerating functions down so you don't even think about them.
2> Riding it, bending into a curve, countersteering when the rear wheel steps out sideways, locking the brakes into a slide and backing off as needed, wheelies, stopies,
3> avoiding obstacles and reading the riding surface. In the dirt you get lots of riding surface/traction changes so you learn the sliding but most all of the obstacles are stationary, trees & rocks. On the street it's all minivan moms, teens on cell phones, blue-haired heading to wherver they go and drunks.

Problem that you newmbys have on the street is learning #1 before #3 causes you to drop the bike or kill you. %99 of the people who start their riding on the street NEVER learn how to properly do ALL of the things in #2. Therefore they are generally inferior riders and more likely to become a victim to the minvan moms etc etc.

A first bike rider and a rider who is returning to the sport after a 20 year absence are two different things...... especially IF that 20 years ago experince was tearing it up on a MX bike because that is the exact type of experince that is needed.
 

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dirt bike is so much lighter and more nimble...

especially compared to a super sport...

u also never see street bike guys with their leg hanging out with the heel inches from the ground in a turn and gunning the throttle to spin the back end around...

not to mention powerband, tires, suspension etc

the same principles apply I agree.. but manuevering and handling a 260KG bike has alot of differences...
 

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dirt bike is so much lighter and more nimble...

especially compared to a super sport...
u also never see street bike guys with their leg hanging out with the heel inches from the ground in a turn and gunning the throttle to spin the back end around...
not to mention powerband, tires, suspension etc
the same principles apply I agree.. but manuevering and handling a 260KG bike has alot of differences...
I always recommend that new riders put down a healthy amount of seat time in the dirt also. It usually has a lot less consequence if something goes wrong (for the rider and other motorists) and teaches solid fundamentals in a low risk/stress environment. Once you're conditioned to riding a moto, the drill is the same if it's a 250# motocross bike or a 1200# fattie with saddlebags. At least then, they're armed for learning the curve of the asphalt without having to even think about the basics...of the basics.

But if the street is the initial choice, I think the 696 would make an ideal first bike to a new rider due to its light weight and great brakes. Just take your time and stay alert. Good luck!
 

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Yes it would make a great first bike.

You should sign up for rider safety lessons. Just stay alert, ride safe and enjoy your new Ducati.
 

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Good first bike.

The engine braking and torque of a 1100 would be a little bit intimidating for a first bike and get in the way of riding it. Along with that the 696 is incredibly flickable and in the hands of a good rider blindly fast around the bends. It is still a very capable of speed.

Just take it easy and watch the road. People do all sorts of crazy things in cars you need to be ready for. Most of road safty isnt about what you do but what everyone else is doing and putting yourself in a place which is safest. That just takes a little time to become instict but it comes.

Enjoy yourself and dont get pushed into things by more experienced riders if you feel your at your limit and out with mates.

Im only saying this from what i went thru. Not trying to tell anyone to suck eggs ect. If your having fun and recieving your dose of adrenaline then its doing its job. Its the only measure you need.
 

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696 is an absolute blast to ride.
The motor rips.
The bike is agile.
It's so much fun, every one should have one.
That said, it is not a long-distance touring bike. After even as few as 20 miles on a straight road, I don't want to be riding. The seating position of sport bikes simply does not lend itself to mile after mile in the saddle.
Throw in some curves, I could ride it all day long.
I have another bike that's a better choice for distance riding..........
 

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going to have to disagree with a lot of the comments on how good the 696 is as a first bike. fun is a relative term. it isn't fun to come off because you can't handle your bike.

i've done 6k miles on a 696 and now have over 4k on a 1100S. i don't think a bike that is expensive in its class and you have to wait forever for spares makes a good beginner's bike. i think we all forget just how we all felt when we first rode a motorcycle and subsequently had our first ego-bashing down.

what's with the obsession of power and beginners? if you had never climbed a hill you wouldn't hike up a mountain unless you knew what you were doing. just because you can doesn't mean you should...

japanese. preferably a 250 that isn't new, won't scare you when the unexpected happens right i front of you, and you learn basic maintenance on. and ride it all year round, rain and shine. you will learn an awful lot about grip and you will quickly forget about how good your bike looks, speed or horsepower when you go round a wet, muddy bend on a twisty road in winter. gravel will quickly have you shitting your pants, too.

in short, learn your craft on something that won't stress you out completely or bankrupt you when you run out of road, have a car pull out in front of you and discover first hand that you really actually know very little about riding when it ultimately counts.
who among us hasn't been there?

your ducati will be that much sweeter if you buy it as a rider with experience.

and your wheelies will be much more impressive as well :)

of course, i am an old fart (47) whose first bike was a horrific CD 175cc honda that i was forever working on, breaking down, trying to keep up with traffic and hating its looks.

but i'm really happy that it was my first bike.

moral of the story: be the best motorcyclist you can be and don't pay too much attention to old farts :)

longest ride: 423 miles round trip from washington d.c. to west virginia (seneca rocks)
37 degrees in the mountains...
 

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Well the whole point of the 696 being good is that it isnt overpowered :)

1100s would be a bit trickier because of engine braking.


Personally my first bike was a CBR6 and i never had a problem. I know one women who owned a Busa as a first bike. They all only go if you twist it.

As long as the bike is easy to control it can work as a first bike. In that way large comfy smooth engined busa and light and easy 696 are fine.

If you want a shed so you can drop it loads of times and not care well thats diferent.

In some regard i think peoples perseption of power being the bad guy and not bad choices and attention is the cause of quite a few problems. I think thats probably a bit off topic tho really.
 

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well, not wishing to pick a fight, but a big problem with beginning motorcyclists is how to maintain control of their bike at very slow speed, not how much power is available. most are too scared to open the throttle fully wide open.

if you want a demonstration of beginning motorcyclists, go and take an MSF course. very highly recommended.

i know a dj that can work 4 turntables at the same time, but that doesn't mean someone else can mix two tracks just because they have the equipment...(it actually takes around six months to learn how to mix). now, unless you're a dj, i'm pretty sure i can mix a couple of tracks better than you. equipment will not make you a better dj, (or rider) if you have no skills. and that's what beginners are by definition.

sorry, but 80 bhp is not a beginner's best friend, nor are brakes that can bite quickly.

you never had a problem. ever?

no bike is 'easy to control'. depending upon the severity of the situation, what i'm saying is that some are easier than others. also, we all have different skill sets. if we both went out for a ride on identical bikes, our impressions of that ride and the demands it made upon us would not be identical. especially if we are of very different heights and weights.

and nobody wants to drop their bike loads of times and not care about it? that's not what i said at all.

it's not going that's the problem, it's how you come to a stop. weight becomes the enemy in those scary moments that 99.99% of motorcyclists have experienced but apparently you've never had, and it's a very strong fighter.

and i'd like to see a large, comfy busa in the mountains...because i've yet to see a single one in all my mountain rides. i only ever see them on major roads and in urban areas.

i do have to completely agree with what you say at the end, though. there are many more problems facing a beginner than power.

i will say that the 696 makes a fantastic second bike, though. unlike the 1100.

respect. even though i disagree, because at the end of the day, we're not riding goldwings and harleys :)
 

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Well i agree with you that they are all tough to ride for a little until you get used to it.

In that regard i would agree that rather than the 3-4 day training course it takes to pass your test a 3-4 month period on a smaller bike would probably be good before you buy a permi. Liek a long term rental. The problem is people want a nice bike, and i cant blame them, i do.

The problem is its only when youve got the weight and hard brakes that you first think. Ohh **** that gets heavy beyond that angle. Crunch" or " christ those brakes bite". To an extent there will always be a baptism of fire period :)

I dropped my 1100 s for the first time today. Very annoying. Sat near the kerb and was too close. When i got off it to fetch my gloves the stand must have cliped the kurb and fliped up. Bike fell over. Very annoying. Luckily just broken clutch lever and frame protector did the job. The bikes spotless still. /phew i dont have to kick myself for feeling a twat.

Thank god for that :)

Lesson of that. Crash / fork / frame protectors really work. Only damage the ego.

If your buying a new bike dont leave the showroom without them.
 

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I've been riding my whole life, a lot of dirt at first and now street for the last 12 years. I've got about 60k miles in over that time, although I have yet to make my first long trip on my 696.

Here's what I'd say. First it depends on your price, if you're willing to spend it the Ducati is as nice as they come. If you like the look but not the cost, remember parts are expensive too, I'd look at something like an SV650.

The things I don't like about my 696 are that the mirrors stink, the rear brake stinks and is noisy, handle bars are to low, 5th and 6th gear are worthless without a sprocket change or doing 100 miles an hour. All things that can be fixed with mods.

The things I do like about the 696. Great handling..did I mention great handling? Good looking and Monster Art Kits and customizing leaves you with endless options. Really good front break and combines breaks, if you ignore the back break noise. Decent acceleration and tourque, again a different sprocket can take this from decent to excellent. Low seat height, I'm 5'10" too and being able to easily put your feet down is underrated. Light weight, my wife rides this bike and it's only about 25 heavier than her Ninja 250R. Steel braided lines, Marchenini wheels, Brembo brakes and ohhh yeah it's a frickin Ducati.

All together, it's not a touring bike but if you're looking to tear up some curves and have a good time...not to mention turn a few heads, this is the bike for you. The most important thing it to be safe, and learn how to ride properly. You can't ride if your turn hurt or dead, so you might as well keep two wheels on the ground be safe and continue having a blast.

Good luck with your decision.

PS: Also it also looks good next to your other bikes

 

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i've had my S4R for about 2 months and about 1300miles

in that time.... first time i rode it.. i crapped myself.. i was on an adrenaline rush till the next day... i thought who would ever need more power than 130hp?!? now i have a termi kit on the way

now.. I look for any turn I can find and I'm scraping my boot sliders thru the curves..

I love carving the corners and have really adapted to the bike..

in fact I find harley's harder to drive (and much worse) than my bike..

my chicken strips on the tire are 1/4 inch or if that.....much less than the bikes above

i'm even contemplating trading in for an 848 now...



point is it all depends on your "natural" ability and how much of it comes forced...

if u have a good sense of balance and bearings, and understanding of the bike, the physics involved and the feed back between the road and the tires.. and u can manilpulate ur right hand (i've had the back end slide on me in a corner almost like a drift, and i just let off a wee bit and kept her straight) correctly then no problem


and most importantly DON'T PANIC and u'll end up making it worse..
 
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