2004 The purchase
I'd always wanted a Ducati monster, and in 2004 I became the happy owner of a barely used (under 500 miles) 2003 Ducati Monster 620i.e. Dark, with all the accrutrements I would want. Not knowing anything about red keys or the such, trusting the dealer I purchased it from on their word that "they'd find the red key for me".
2006 Attempted saleI found myself close to broke in 2006 and my Ducati was my only vehicle. Hopeing to get $5500 for the bike so I could continue with my life I put her up for sale. Similar model Ducati's where selling for $6000 at the time so I bit the bullet and would accept as low as $5000 for her. What I got in return was a learning experience I never expected.
Some people checked out the bike, I got some fair offers between $4500 and my asking price ... then the question of "red key" came up. I was surprised that every time I gave the "I have never had the red key, the dealership owes me it", the buyer was no longer interested or would cut their offer in half! The most audacious of which was: "Good luck without the red key! I'll offer you $2000."
Thinking my bike suddenly had a major flaw confused me, how would the lack of the red key be worth a $3000 deduction in price? Was I cheated on any of the rides up the coast or through the country on my Ducati? That's what got me to researching, asking questions, and talking with mechanics.
Amazingly I found that anyone I talked with believed the lack of a red key was a huge bane on my bike. They protected their red keys feircly, the few people I talked with that had a Ducati with no red key had a similar approach to mine "You only need a black key to go just as fast. If the lack of a red key is ever an issue I'll deal with it then".
LearningLuckily things turned around for me financially and I never needed to sell my bike. I learned a lot about the key situation and took it for what it was worth.
My initial research is how I found most of the solutions on this site. Heck, I even manually read the RFID signal from my sole black key in hopes that I could manually make duplicates. My efforts where fruitless, but I felt that the red key situation was a moot point and it's the lack of education on the matter that caused for such a response in the buyer's reactions. If I needed to, I could at least now explain the options to anyone else who owned a Ducati without a red key.
2009 Selling out againIt's been 5 years, I still love my Ducati and it still performs like a champ. However, once again I'm in a bit of a financial squeeze so my Ducati is back on the auction block. Choosing the quickest route I priced her $1000 under blue book value to see who chimes in, and amazingly 3 years later the buyers are still clueless how the keys work or always try to knock down the price 2000-3000 dollars the second they hear there is no red key.
Frustrated with this, I created this site and have ordered a cheap $15 key blank (two of them for a total of $30+$5 shipping) to give a first hand experience on how easy it is to make duplicates of Ducati keys.
If things turn around again financially, I'll buy the replacment ECU as well and report my experience here and to anyone I meet.
Date added: May 7, 2009