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Niall's Spin: Ducati ST3

Niall looks back at Ducati's mellow and now defunct entry in to the world of sports tourers

Click to read: Ducati ST3 owners reviews, Ducati ST3 specs and to see the Ducati ST3 image gallery.

Ducati's ST3 is, of course, an excellent sports tourer. Its punchy, pleasing, usable three-valve, V-twin motor cruises along comfortably between 140-mile fuel stops and the practical if slightly bulbous fairing gives good weather protection in the process. It's comfortable too and also looks the part, although a touch bland when painted silver - Ducatis should all be red, shouldn't they?

But what I like best about the ST3 is that it constantly reminds you of its Bologna heritage and what the rest of the family likes to do when the weekend comes: go racing. Not that it wants to take off recklessly at every set of traffic lights or ask to be thrashed around a nearby racetrack, it just has that special pulsing Ducati feeling that urges you to give it the odd blast through the gears on a regular basis.

We sports toured to and then round the famous and frightening Nürburgring circuit in Germany and the ST3 came up trumps in every department. Everyone agreed only the more expensive Triumph Sprint ST would maybe have the edge for all-round use, but I particularly like the way Ducati has retained the sporty feel inherent in its engines and chassis while still providing a very capable and characterful sports tourer.

In 2006 the ST3 became available in a higher-spec 's' (lower case) version with ABS, TiN-coated forks and Öhlins shock to better deal with the demands of long-haul trips, luggage and twisting mountain passes - and maybe even the odd track day if the mood takes you. Motor remained unchanged, but price went up from £7650 to £8495.

Ducati ST3 Specifications

Price used £4,500
Engine 992cc, liquid-cooled v-twin
Power
106bhp @ 8,750rpm
Torque
74.4 ft/lb @ 10,000rpm
Compression ratio
11.3:1
Bore x stroke
94 x 71.5mm
Front suspension
43mm Showa, preload adjustment
Rear suspension
Monoshock, fully adjustable
Front brakes
2x 320mm front discs
Rear brake
245mm disc
Dry weight
201kg
Seat height
820mm
Fuel capacity
21 litres
Top speed
145mph
Colours
Red, Metallic Grey