...looks like I successfully registered...Took up motorcycling later in life. A lot of "mid-life crisis" types seem to ride HD. I admire all motorcyclists, but Harleys' are so big, heavy and have all that stuff hanging all over them. Learned on a Kawasaki dual purpose, then two Hondas followed; a mint 96 Nighthawk then a 07 919...before the current 2009 m696. The Hondas were excellent, very reliable, electric smooth in-line fours. But I could not resist the Ducati lure and travelled 400 miles to the nearest Duc dealer. For me the Monster 696 appealed because...in my order of preference 1) Lightest bike in its class...followed very closely by 2) Style, then 3) Spirit (I would imagine only a Ducati owner really understands the "spirit" of a duc...4) The sound...only a Ducati can make. This winter I am doing alot of mods, starting with H-competition Rodan Box "under the seat" exhaust (which I discovered in this forum - see ryanracer posts), Sato rearsets (Rizomas were tempting but the Satos are a great looking high quality item and at least $200 less) and DP carbon front and back mudguards. Also planning on fender eliminator. More in "my minds-eye" but I am learning very quickly how expensive of a hobby Ducati ownership is!