If you have been to the Ducati website lately you might have noticed something is missing. The ST3 is no longer listed in the 2008 model line up. It appears that Ducati’s sport-touring model has been abruptly discontinued just after 4 years of production. Kind of makes you wonder why since the ST3 was the most reliable of the Ducati ST bikes.
The first ST3 came out in 2004. The following year 2005 they made a bunch of improvements to the bike, two of which were a wet clutch and a nicer seat. In 2006 they came out with the ST3s model which had ABS among other upgrades. It seems like they were improving the ST3, so why is it gone?
The first sport touring model, the ST2, was launched in 1996 and in 1999 the ST4 joined the sport touring line up. The two models looked similar but had different engines and options. The ST3 replaced the ST2 in 2004, where ST4 was discontinued a year after the ST3 came out, if I recall correctly.
I have not found any official explanation on the web to why the ST3 is no longer in the line up for 2008 but I did find some clues.
If you search for “Ducati” on www.powersportsbusiness.com and read the press releases in order you will see a pattern develop starting with this press release dated April 2007: “The new 1098 Superbike led first-quarter sales. The new arrival doubled sales of the company’s Superbike family, with more than 600 bikes being delivered to customers. The Monster and Sport Classic families balanced out the final mix with combined sales of more than 600 bikes. The remaining sales came from the Multistrada, Sport Touring and Supersport families.”
In May 2007 Ducati Motor Holding announced a new CEO and in the Fall of 2007 Ducati Motor Holding presented a new strategic plan for 2008-2010 to the financial community.
And if you read the quote above and look at the Ducati website you will notice that the bikes that are gone from the line up are the ones being mentioned as not making as much money as the superbikes, monsters and sport classics. The super sport is gone, the 620 Multistarda is gone and the ST3 is gone.
The Ducati website - 2008 model line up
Can you blame them? The ST3 was never a really popular bike. I’d imagine most people looking for a sport tourer would not buy a Ducati. Face it, getting your valves checked every 6,000 miles costs a lot of money if one puts on a lot of miles per year touring.
How did I end up getting a ST3? The ST3 is a great bike for a shorter rider. The seat is not very tall and it's also narrow, so that allows a rider to get more foot on the ground. I'm 5'5" and I had to shave an inch of foam on the seat to be able to touch the ground with the ball of my foot. The ST3 is also light for a sport touring bike, which helps a shorter rider if they can’t flat foot the bike. I sat on other bikes and they felt really big and heavy, the ST3 fit me.
By the way, I found a great website that has a lot of info on the Ducati sport touring models - www.perryr.com/DucatiSTFAQ.html