Years sold: 1998-2007
MSRP new: $12,495 (1998 ST2) to $15,295 (2003 ST4) to $12,495 (2007 ST3)
Blue Book retail value: $2855 (1998 ST2) to $5950 (2003 ST4) to $7670 (2007 ST3)
Basic specs: A V-Twin sport-touring bike with a full fairing, detachable hard saddlebags (standard in some years but optional in others) and legendary Ducati twisty-road handling. The ST series began as a single-overhead-cam, two-valve-per-cylinder model (hence the “2” in ST2) in 1998 and was joined by the four-valve ST4 in 1999. The ST2 went out of production in 2003, but the ST4 remained until replaced by the three-valve-per-cylinder ST3, which first appeared in 2006 and finished its brief run in 2007.
Why It Won: It didn’t. Ever. Maybe it should have taken home a Ten Best trophy, but it always got nipped by some other bike in the category. Nevertheless, these are superb sport-touring machines that—no surprise, given their heritage—lean heavily toward the sport side of that classification. They’re quite capable long-distance mounts on the straight-and-not-so-narrow, but they don’t really come into their own until the road gets twisty, the more so the better.
And check out those used prices. For little more than you would pay for a lot of smaller, less-versatile bikes, you could own an honest-to-desmo Ducati that not only offers sporty handling but is an excellent multi-tasker. And because these bikes tend to be owned by, er, “more mature” riders, they usually have been cared for more diligently than is the case with most other brands.
Useful resources: Type “Ducati ST2,” ST3” or “ST4” (or all three) in your web browser and you will encounter somewhere in the neighborhood of a bazillion sites that deal with this series of Ducati sport-tourers. From forums (www.ducatiwiki.net or autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/st2_owners) to bikes, parts and accessories for sale to tech assistance to buying advice, most of what you need to know about these bikes will be right at your fingertips.