Buying a used Ducati Superbike in India

Buying a used Ducati Superbike in India

05/12/2021

With lockdown almost gone and majority of my friends back riding, the itch to get a bike was getting stronger with every passing day.

BHPian AtheK recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” – Christopher Reeve

Let me begin by quoting something I posted in my Drakula – Apache RR310 Thread

There is something about motorbikes, which makes me go weak on my knees. I had always loved them from a young age, and always wanted to own one looker of a bike. You place a Ducati Panigale and a Lamborghini side by side, I know where my feet will take me, I don’t even have to try.

Exactly hree years after posting that, this happened, the key to happiness:

And the happiness itself:

Likes

  • The way it looks, it’s mesmerizing. I can actually sit and stare at it for hours.
  • The Torquey L-Twin Engine, oodles of torque.
  • It can go fast, like real fast.
  • Slipper Clutch + Ride by wire + 6 speed gearbox combination.
  • Multitude of Electronics with three riding modes. It has you covered.
    Great exhaust note.
  • Quick Shifter.
  • Great brakes.

Dislikes

  • Heat, heat, heat, oh and before I forget, HEAT.
  • Wooden Plank like Seat.
  • Missing Auto Blipper (Big Miss, especially when the Supersport S, which is more touring-oriented, gets it)
  • Expensive to Maintain.
  • Difficult to procure accessories, especially with Ali-express not shipping anymore to India, and Covid wreaking havoc on any travel plans.
  • Dated Speedometer with major miss being no fuel gauge on the Speedometer.
  • The stock shotgun exhausts looks mediocre.

The Road To Happiness

Year into Drakula ownership, I realized that although it is a great bike, the vibrations are something I am not able to live with. We had a great time together and you can read about it on the thread above. The power, though enough for Indian roads, is very linear, so it got boring, and I started looking for a change. In my ownership thread, I had mentioned that the one bike that I was eyeing during my bike search was a Ninja 650, and luckily a well-kept bike came up for sale. I acted quickly, and I had the Ninja home in around a week’s time. The owner was a great guy and had hardly pushed the bike, we are still friends and he went on to pick an ADV bike. The Drakula was then sold after few months to a really nice chap, who too has stayed in touch till now. Drakula has since changed hands again and is with another owner, who I have no idea about, so long my friend.

Ninja 650 was a very good upgrade, the biggest gripe I had with RR310 was gone. This is a smooth engine and you don’t have vibrations, you can tour on it all day long. I was able to do around 600 KMs a day trip without any issues. The only issue I had with bike was again the fact that power delivery is very linear, and though it does everything well, it just does not excel in anything. The fun factor started disappearing, and then the lockdown and pandemic happened. With no rides, I had a lot of free time to think about what to do, add to it the mood which was borderline depressing. I spoke to my wife one day and told her about my bucket list of owning a Ducati, luckily the IT industry did not take a major hit and I had been saving for the bike for quite sometime. She reluctantly agreed and I started looking for a pre worshipped bike on every platform.

In the entire Ducati range, the only family that excites me is the Panigale family, and with the budget I had, the only logical choice was 959 as V2 had just entered the market, and would be sometime before it shows up in the used bike market. Luckily, I was able to land a Panigale 959 in a couple of days. It was a very well-kept bike and after a quick test ride, I decided to go ahead with the bike. Owner was in Dubai and his friend helped with the test ride and other things. Owner informed me that RC is with VST Ducati and he will arrange for it shortly and I can then do the transfer and take the bike. Then started a long wait for VST to find the RC.

In the meantime, I had already put my Ninja for sale, and I found a nice buyer (again someone I have been in touch with till date). He made the payment and took the bike. Parting shots of the Ninja 650 during my last ride on it to Yelagiri:

Make no mistake, Ninja 650 was a great bike and will always be close to my heart, just that I guess if I had got it directly before Drakula, I would have kept it much longer. This plus the Lockdown just fast-tracked the decision to get the Ducati. I eventually though still ended up putting around 7000 KMs on it which is almost equivalent to how much I did on Drakula. So long my friend.

In the meantime, the owner of the 959 was in constant touch with VST, but they were not able to find his RC. Him being in Dubai and with no option to travel, we could also not lodge an FIR to get a duplicate RC. We eventually had to let go off the deal. The bike is still with him as of today, we are still in touch and he was one of the first ones to congratulate me once I was able to get my hands on a 959.

With the deal off the table, I was back to point zero, and hence started the search for a clean bike. Riding friends were informed and constant refresh of platforms like OLX and others was started. This is when the reality hit me that the SBK used market has been pretty much taken over by dealers and middle men. It’s near impossible to get a clean bike on trading platforms, and the one being traded by dealers and middle men are very shoddy. This issue seems to be even more prevalent with brands like Ducati and BMW. After one month of frantic searching, I did not get even one good lead, and a couple of bikes which did show up were either lapped up by dealers or were just not worthy enough for a look as well. With lockdown almost gone and majority of my friends back riding, the itch to get a bike was getting stronger with every passing day. I decided to widen my search and look for other bikes as well while I continued my search for Panigale. Below are the few bikes I considered:

Multistrada 1260S

Unfortunately, a good friend and one of the biggest Ducati fans I have known is no more with us, but what still remained was his bike. I got to know it was on sale, and I started contemplating if I should pick it up. The bike after all is top of the line with all the electronics in the world and a proven workhorse. I slept over it for a few days, read all about it and it is indeed a technological marvel. One thing I could not come on terms was the looks, no matter how much I try, how hard I try, I was not able to look past it. The bike just did not connect, I tried hard, very hard, but just could not. No offense to current Multi owners, beauty lies in the eye of beholder, just that it does not work for me.

In addition to that being the biggest drawback, below are few points that just made the decision easier:

  • The bike had been stripped of all accessories that Mihir had so thoughtfully added to the bike, the legacy of the bike had been tainted.
  • The asking price was a bit high as per market standards.
  • Desmo service was due in another 4000 KMs, so another minimum expense of 50 Thousand lined up.
  • Accessories to be installed again which would cost another big hole in the pocket.

I might have let go off owning your bike, but Mihir my friend, you are missed, and may your soul RIP.

BMW R1200RS

A BMW R1200RS came up for sale, the bike looked beautiful and had all the makings of being a powerhouse when needed and a tourer for majority of the time. I did some reading around and thought this could be a good option and deserved a look.

 I called up the owner and got to know that the bike was DL registered and that kind of killed the deal as with the way Bangalore cops have been these days, I really did not want to take the trouble of having an outstation bike. The owner is a gem of a person and we are in constant touch, beauty of finding a true biker is that you connect pretty immediately. The bike was posted on the Team-BHP classifieds, though it is now sold.

The Mighty V4

What? Why? Isn’t that a track focused machine? Are you out of your mind?

Those are the probable questions that would strike you in the flow of this writeup. Well, when you get desperate, you suddenly realize that the heart and head balance goes for a toss, your heart starts to take over your mind. I got to know that a V4 has come up for sale, the asking price was almost double of my initial budget but then this bike is also one of those bikes which probably deserves that price tag. I sat down and recalculated finances and decided on a figure that I can offer the seller by taking a small amount of loan and pumping in a little bit of more savings. It was a stretch but then the heart kept telling you that it is worth it and the saying of YOLO overshadowing your brain thinking capabilities.

The owner owns S1000RR and V4 and wanted to let go off the V4 as he was not able to do justice to have both similar powered super sports in his garage. I met him and took a look at the bike. I was already sold on the bike, seeing the bike was a formality, and the bike was kept well. The only problem was that tires were dead and I could not ride it, I anyway did not want to as I did not have experience of handling such a powerful bike and then riding it in such a condition would have been disastrous to say the least. So I saw the owner riding it and got a go ahead from VST that the bike was clean and maintained well. I decided to take the leap of faith and made an offer to the owner, the stretch that I had worked out. He told me he would get back to me.

While waiting for him to answer I also checked out the previous-gen S1000RR, because why not. Since I was almost spending so much, better to check S1000RR as well. A couple of TN registered bikes were on sale and some through dealers in Bangalore. The price quoted was high and I was anyway smitten by the V4, so I waited for the owner to respond.

This looks so damn neat though too.

So the owner messaged me and told me he can give me the bike at around Rs. 50K more than I had quoted. I sat down and did my calculations, it meant I would have to shell out close to 1.5 lakhs more, as I will need to get a new set of tires and a full fledged servicing done. Insurance also had lapsed which will need to be renewed. The goal post had been shifted. I told him I need a couple of days to respond to him. I spoke to my wife and she said do what you want to do, and we all know what that means.

Head started taking over the heart now, I realized I was just pushing myself too much towards something that I would never use to it’s potential. Forget roads, an extremely experienced rider would not be able to push the V4 to it’s limits on a track itself, I would hardly scrape the surface. I was in all honesty scared as well, a jump to 200+ BHP from a puny 65 BHP bike that I was riding, that was too much. The bike builds speed like crazy, and although I have a lot of control on my wrists now, thanks to me getting old, you never know when you make a small mistake, the margin of error with this bike is low. So with a heavy heart, I had to say no to the owner.

Enter Panigale 959 AKA Mark 13

During Pooja:

The V4 owner asked me that since I had mentioned that I was interested in a 959, a friend of his might be interested to sell his bike. He said he had recently picked it but he might sell it as he was eyeing the V4, this was a welcome break. He called him and his friend said he is still not sure, but I can come take a look at the bike. I went and took a look and was sold immediately. It was a very well-kept bike and it was shining. The owner had taken good care of the bike and it had near new tires and had SC project Exhaust installed. The brake pads were recently changed. Only immediate expense was replacing the rear brake disc and getting a new key as the bike just had one key.

I had few friends accompanying me, and they also liked what they saw. We did a quick test ride, everything seemed to work fine and we agreed upon a price. He quoted a reasonable price so I did not haggle, though the owner informed me that the insurance has expired so I asked him to reduce that price or get the insurance done. He agreed to it and I paid him a token amount and the deal was done. We got Mark 13 home in the next couple of days and started the transfer process.

Just like that, a childhood dream was fulfilled. I finally owned a Panigale and I was overwhelmed, a feeling hard to describe and type, so I request you guys to please roll with it.

The three bikes, the part and star of this story, together on a ride:

Continue reading more on the ownership experience and BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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