I admit, I’m pretty anal when it comes to buying a bike. It’s got to look clean, well-loved, and ride perfectly.

When I bought my CBR600, I’d been looking at Ducati Monsters, an SP1, FireBlades and more, but most of them had something wrong with them. The CBR I have is very clean and looks great, but I keep getting this itch for a Ducati Monster S4R (I don’t like the styling of later models).

On the way back from working in Edinburgh at the Great Carole Nash Scottish Motorcycle Show, I stopped off in Newcastle upon Tyne to have a look at a Monster for sale.

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I always look at the chain first, and this one was pretty grotty. Things didn’t improve when I found some flaking paint on the engine, tired fluids in the brake and clutch reservoirs and a little corrosion on the shock’s spring. This guy had loved owning the bike (he’d had it from new), but wasn’t particularly mechanically minded, so hadn’t obsessed over it like most Ducati owners.

He was selling it as he had a Victory in the garage, and I felt sorry for him – a lovely bloke, he just needed to make some money on the bike. The price dropped significantly. In fact, If I told you what I could have got it for, you’d call me a bloody idiot. Sure, the fluids were easy to sort; the belts would have to be replaced immediately (they’d never been changed); and I could get the engine repainted. But I just didn’t get that magical feeling.

When I find the Monster of my dreams, it’s going to have to be pretty-much perfect. Maybe it doesn’t exist and I’m chasing an impossible dream, but I live in hope that one day the ideal bike will come along at the ideal price. Can you be too obsessive when you’re buying a motorcycle? I don’t think so… do you?

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Tony Carter

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