People do worry about what can go wrong with Ducatis – especially older ones like this 888 – but a lot of the time their fears are unfounded. The big issues, on a bike like this which is used fairly regularly, is to keep on top of changing the oil and filter, and to have the cambelts checked/changed as per the service intervals, which are two years or 12,000 miles. This one was in for new belts.
As long as you do these things, and swap the fuel filter occasionally, Ducati engines are good as gold. It’s usually the little things – like seals on the clutch slave cylinder – that go, and ancillary items like starter solenoids can pack up.
The real rule though is that if you leave a Duke standing for any length of time, don’t think you can just get on it and go; the belts will more than likely be weakened from stopping in one position for so long, and if one snaps disaster for the engine’s internals will follow… then there will be a big bill.