Hey Ducati! Do you ride a motorcycle? I just got my M1 endorsement 3 years ago and I'm enjoying my 97 Honda Shadow ACE VT1100! I'm an old dude and my engine is not what it used to be. The V-twin will do. Anyway, in my previous life I was nuts about bicycling. I still have 12 bikes. Half are steel with down tube shifters. 3 with STI and one carbon (just to see what all the fuss is about). I started riding in the era of steel bikes (1990s) and to this day I love a good steel ride. All that fancy mechanical shifting do-hickies and plastic fantastic whatnots has it's place if your racing but if you just like the pleasure of long rides with your buds, a good steel frame with down tube shifters are fine. Hey, they're 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 speed compatable!
My body can not take the rigors of riding hard anymore. My racing days are over. I may occacionally race on the velodrome, but that's it. I say if the bike fits you well then learn as much as you can and ride the hell out of the steel steed. It'll only get better. I promise.
Stay safe and keep the rubber side down.
Yes JaeP, I ride a Ducati 998. I got my MSF endorsement about 3 years ago as well. I absolutely love my bike. In fact, motorcycling is what made me start cycling. I figured that if I want to continue riding my motorcycle for another 20 years (I'm 43), I need to get in better shape. Furthermore, I plan to take the Ducati for my first track day in a couple of weeks and I hear that can be pretty demanding physically. Cycling has helped tremendously thus far and Im sure it will continue to do so.