12.18.99 Stripped of many of the cool parts listed on these web pages, but still with the killer motor and exhaust system, I traded the 900 for a VTR. I talk about this more on the intro page.
10.99 (38,500 miles) Did a track day and the next weekend, test rode a 916. Somewhere in the past 400 miles of track day and the trip up to PI and over Angeles Crest, the frame cracked. I guess it broke my baby's heart to see me on the 916, so she broke her frame.
9.99 (37,500 miles) Finally ended up getting the jetting right - it was a needle problem! The K&N air ratio meters helped that. I was running the slow and main circuits to max richness to try and fill the void from the needles. Those FCRs are incredible... to the bitter end, the different circuits of the carb are so well isolated that I couldn't pour enough gas in to overcome a needle that was three sizes off.
7.25.99 (36,975 miles) Just tried on a set of Magnesium wheels with D207 GPs. Not bad. Not phenominal, either. I would have been a bit disappointed if I had believed all the hype and bought them.
Rode up to Laguna Seca, staying over in Ojai both ways. 520 miles up and 500 back. The way up was a little more because we took I-15 to 91 to get to LA rather than I-5. The way up was 33 out of Ojai all the way up to 198. 33 just north of Ojai is an absolute blast. So was 198. We took 198 to 101 to G16 and stayed over in Monterey. The return trip was G16 to 101 to 58 to 33. 58 was pretty cool (well, it was hot actually) and 33 headed into Ojai was awesome.
Took a couple of 200 mile trips on the weekends since and discovered a very slight oil leak from the rear cylinder where it meets the head. So I loosened and retorqued the head. That was a mistake - it really poured out after that. I'm hoping it was really caused by spraying some contact cleaner on the area to clean off the oil when the engine was a bit warm... Well, I ended up curing it by pulling the heads and using liberal amounts of Yamabond on the O-rings. Hadn't done that previously and now the leaks are cured. Nice.
I put the Gio.Ca.Moto rearsets on my bike before the trip. I bought them because the stock shifter and brake levers had very loose tabs and were quite wobbly. Also, I easily used to drag my feet in turns and don't now. Read about them on the aftermarket page.
Still jetting and rejetting... getting there slowly.
7.4.99 (35,335 miles) Put the Penske Racing 3-way adjustable shock on and it is worlds better than the Fox! The low speed compression damping just eliminates mid corner ripples.
Also have been messing endlessly with the carbs. The Singles came set up as follows: 160 main jet, 200 main air jet, 52 slow jet. I'm running 210 main jet, 190 main air jet (smaller means more fuel), and a 65 slow jet. I'm finally getting it to pull to 9500 rpm, but the plugs were still whitish. Tomorrow I'm trying a 180 main air jet and still fiddling with the slow jet. The thing just doesn't want to idle properly.
Tried this new and cheap slime from Napa to seal the exhaust and it worked for today's 180 mile ride - with many seconds at or over redline. The trick to putting on the spaghetti system is to actually put everything on and together in the position you want, then tighten it all down. That's a pretty good rule for bikes in general it seems.
I switched the brake pads back to the Braking carbon kevlar "race" pads. I tried running the EBC HH sintered metal pads, but I think they just don't work as well on cast iron rotors. The EBC HHs are supreme with stainless rotors.
All in all, I'm real happy with the rebuild - the bike is holding up and getting great milage (~45).
On a side note, I had the rear exhaust valve guide seal break, which I replaced when I adjusted the valves. All you have to do is pull out the rocker arms for the valve and it's all right there. The Nichols breather should come stock on every Ducati. Handsome and oil tight.
I'm real happy with the D207 ZR tires. I tried putting the 170 on the wife's CR, but it was too wide. I got her a 160 and I'm running the 170 now. The D207s are great tires. Even the ZRs feel great with no nervousness and good feedback. I say to all the poseurs with 207 GPs: spend the money on something else.
5.16.99 (34,147 miles) Got it all together. See the rebuild page for some stories on that. Got it together last Friday, put some miles on Saturday, and Monday we loaded up and went to Reg Pridmore's CLASS at Willow Springs. What a blast! The 900 runs like a demon with the new mods. Just did Palomar yesterday and today and had a great time. Unfortunately, I got to watch some guy with bald D207 GPs tuck the front end and launch his bike off the cliff!
My big headache is going to come from the spaghetti pipes and keeping the exhaust leaks to a minimum... This week, I get to rejet the idle circuit of the individual FCRs and at the same time, fatten up the mains.
7.23.98 (33,527 miles) Well, the bike is still all apart. Check the rebuild page for some info. I sold the Fox shock because I didn't like that it had a remote reservoir that hose clamped to the frame, so I'll be going to Ohlins.
10.12.97 (32,610 miles) Just completed another valve adjustment, and the damn swingarm broke again in the same place. Got that rewelded, the welder (and a 900SS/SP owner himself) noticed that the factory welds were "cut out" a bit, so he did that this time. I got a FOX shock, too. Oh, I also got the Nology Hot Wires in and threw those on. Pretty interesting... the kit says to run a non-resistor type of spark plug, so I threw in some NGK DP8EA-9's vice the DPR8EV-9's and they leaned out the carburetion so I had to go up a size on the main jets. Apparently, the spark got a bit stronger with the non-R plug.
9.30.97 (32,444 miles) Again, a lot has gone on since my last entry. I've got the Staintune spaghetti system installed, and gone to Willow Springs. While there, I basically blew a fork seal and lost the pin to my rear brakes that holds the pads in! The fork tube was basically continuously dirty on the inside part of the tube and some rust formed, which cut the seal. I put in Race Tech fork springs (read about that in my aftermarket page), along with new Race Tech Ultra Slick US-1 oil. The oil in there was only a year old, and had 6,000 miles, but was as nasty as stuff I've drained out of 1983 Honda CB650SC's. Sooooo, keep up on your maintenance!
9.30.97 (Cont'd) As far as the brakes go, I don't use the rear brakes often, and didn't notice their absence until I actually looked at them! I ended up getting a new pin (the Brembo "Upgrade kit") with this silly little plate that's supposed to hold the pads in quietly and by pressure, keep the pin in. (Yeah, right) So, I drilled a hole in the little end of that pin that sticks out of the caliper and safety wired it to one of the brake pads, making sure that it won't fall out. I also bought a pair of the new pins for the front calipers, that comes with the protusion and little R-clips that goes in the holes in those, but I ditched the R-clips and opted for safety wire. It won't fall off as easily as a clip.
9.15.97 (31,945) miles A lot has gone on in the past 1k miles and last month... I got some full leathers, so my confidence went up accordingly,and then I started having problems keeping my feet on the pegs while trying to hang off the bike. I got Lockhart pegs, but they didn't help that problem, but look cool and are only $35 to dealers. So I got some from European Cycle Specialties, which are like $110, but totally worth it: they grip your foot at any angle or amount of contact, allowing me to fully hang off. And totally drag my new StainTune header... so I got the killer awesome Staintune Spaghetti system.
9.15.97 I also went and got a 1997 ZX7R front brake master cylinder and threw that on my bike... awesome power! Talk about hitting a brick wall when you get on them hard! I'm getting my BRAKING carriers turned now, so I can mount up my new killer 5mm thick rotors soon, too.
9.15.97 ALSO sometime in the interval, my damn clutch went out! Apparently, Barnett clutches are only good for about 6000 miles. FBF recommended using the factory one, which lasts on average of 20,000 miles, but still costs $300. Since the Barnett only costs me (or your local dealer) about $100, I figure it's all about the same.
8.9.97 (30,995 miles) I went canyon diving on palomar mountain, and cooked off my brake fluid, which tightened my sphincter, cut my day short, and bummed me out. So... I drained the fluid and am now running that DOT 5 BelRay silicon base purple stuff. It worked great! Killer breaking action with minimal fade. I even had the front tire howling into a few turns, too. Those EBC-HH pads rule... but DO get hot, turning my rotors bluish, and the pads themselves a bit pruple in the middle. Heh, I guess that the downhill tight side of Palomar is the ruler to measure brakes by.
8.1.97 (ok.. out of order..) About that damn oil leak. Here's the story. I thought (and hoped) that it would be the clutch cover. Well, as it turned out, that cover was so warped that it could have been leaking, but when I first changed that gasket, it just leaked MORE, so I went back in and then saw that the cover's mating surface was super-wavey, and sanded it flat on a table. Well, that didn't cure the leak, so I ordered the pulley holder tool and the oil seal that's on the belt drive's shaft. That seal was in crooked from the factory, which explains how it could leak just a little at 10,000 miles and much more so at 30,000 miles. The new one is in straight, and my oil leak is gone. FINALLY.
8.7.97 (30,750 miles) In preparation for my trip up to Palomar Mountain, the real place to thrash off a track, I borrowed some leathers, and also was getting pissed at the lenghty throw of the shift lever... Well, I saw that the bolt on the tab on the lever that the transfer rod is attached to is very close to the pivot for the shift lever, and there there was another 1/2" of room to move the bolt down, making for a shorter throw. Drilling the tab about 1/4" down from the stock location put the transfer rod's bolt in the center of the tab near the bottom, and resulted in dramatically shorter throw for shifting. Of course, lever effort increased a bit, but this is good, since it will be much less likely for me to bend a shift fork this way, too! I also just put on the Pirelli Corsa 180 rear tire. (Nice!) See you on Palomar every Sun and Mon!
7.29.97 (30,425 miles) Put on the Staintune header today. My how pretty! And it added power to the thing! Quite a bit, in fact. I'd definately recommend this as the second mod done after the carb's. Tomorrow I get to replace that seal. Yippee. Oh, I put the high pipes back on... they look too good. I'll get a machinist to make me some kind of deal for any potential passengers to put their feet on.
6.25.97 (29,550 miles) Just did a major tune-up and service. Adjusted the valves and found that the exhaust closer shims were pretty good to go, but the intakes were a bit off. Remeber that this is the first valve adjustment after the valve job. I also retorqued the heads, exhaust manifold nuts, and frame bolts. While all apart, I tried changing out the clutch side engine cover gasket to stop that oil leak (but it didn't work, so now it's the seal on the belts' drive pully shaft).
6.8.97 (29,100 miles) Long time, no write! I've been trying to sell my baby, so I haven't really been riding her. :( Anyway, I just put on those killer EBC-HH brake pads, and they are awesome! They have the same or more extreme absolute stopping power as the Galfers, and absolutely no brake dust on a 100 mile romp tonight! Even two-up, the pressure required to slam down the speedometer needle was comparable to squeezing the middle of an aluminum can to make it crunkle a little bit! Anyway, they're cheap, too, costing dealers only about $20 per disk, about half what Galfer's go for. Expect to pay about $30 or $35 per disk retail, where the Galfer's dealer price is $40 to $45 per disk!
2.14.97 (28,000 miles) All seems well so far... I bought the Two Brother's Racing "Low pipes" for my bike. Actually, I just bought the connecting S bend pipes to put the mufflers lower so I could ride passengers. I found that the pipes are somewhat louder now, a bit like carbon techs, but not as obnoxious. I also had to rejet the FCR's... from the 175's to 178's. I fianally got my new tach cable, too.
11.2.96 (26,970 miles) My steering stem bearings are gone... and the new ones from Cagiva retail for $76 each, top and bottom. Timken bearings. I hope they are as good as thier cost! The original ones died in 25,000 miles!
Anyway, I discovered that the bearings were unacceptably worn when I put on a new Pirelli Dragon front tire. It's one of those really sticky ones, too, so we'll see how long it lasts! So far it feels terrific.
So it turns out that RK won't warrantee my old chain that massively unevenly stretched after only 300 miles. They say that they don't warrantee chains on Ducati's. Hmph. Now how can I tell my customers to buy RK chains when they ask for a good chain? (I don't anymore) Oh, and that was their $85 good chain, too. So now I had to go and get the $120 DID that Fast by Ferracci runs on all of their bikes.
The next goodie(s) are on! Two Brother's Racing countermeasure 2 oval high pipes and Keihen 41mm FCR carbs. Man o man, those carbs are sweet. The shop I work at put a set of those on a customer's bike with FBF 11:1 pistons and did 2nd gear power wheelies at 55mph!! WOOO-HAH! With my slightly more conservative gearing (15/37) I can't get it to power up in second gear, though it will rise with the slightest of provacation! Those carb's made the bike even more streetable than ever! I had heard stories of abruptness and lack of control, but it isn't so! I can ride on mountain roads in third the whole way from 35mph to over 100! (But of course, we only do this on closed course roads, not public ones! :)
And those TBR pipes! They have a terrific crisp bark and incredibly deep base sound. They are typical of all of the TBR pipes that we've installed at our shop -- nicely quiet until provoked and with an unusually clean crisp sound character. They look killer, too! The only criticism is that they are nearly impossible to install and make them look even. Kinda irritating to perfectionists like me! :)
High compression pistons are INSTALLED! Forget 11.2 to 1, I got FBF 12:1, and they work great on 92 octane pump gas. I also got the heavy duty cylinder studs, new valve guides, since the originals wore out at only 25,000 miles, and I polished up the ports a bit while the valve guides were out. I used to run 15/39 sprockets, but since the pistons, went to stock 15/37 and the bike pulls even harder than before! The pistons go for about $270, the studs for roughly $80, and all of the gaskets for $40. The shop I go to would probably entertain mailing goodies.
(Aug 96) While the bike was "down" getting machine shop work and awaiting parts, I decided to cure that "wet" shaft on my rear shock, and replace the seals... so while I was in there, we at our shop decided to throw in Race Tech's GOLD VALVE, and their Ultra Slick oil, too. It works great, and I can feel the different damping rates nicely. Also, while we were at it, we figured the forks could use some rebuilding, too, since they were feeling kinda tired. Here again, we went for the gold valves, ultra slick oil, ultra slick bushings (inner and outer) and new oil seals for the halibut. When all was said and done, the forks feel very close to how they did before, but just a touch softer when confronted with sharp bumps. BTW, the original bushings were showing some wear, too. I guess that a wheely a day doesn't keep the doctor away ;)
(Jun 96) The latest reminder of who's boss came in on me... back when the "throwout" bearing, the one in the pressure plate in the clutch, siezed, it was turning the push rod. Well, it also wore a hole in the hydraulic clutch's slave cylinder's piston. No one anywhere had one, but Pro Italia came through (with no discount for our shop). That baby was $50, and don't forget shipping. Sooo, if your bearing siezes, it's worthwhile to investigate that your slave piston is well lubed on the other side of the push rod.
(Jun 96) I also noticed that I can't clutch up wheelies in second anymore, so I got one of those Barnett clutches (Retail: $135 ... we'd sell for $135 or so in San Diego). Now it's in and it's killer! The "DryFlex" (TM) design uses an extra friction plate, too! 7 vice Ducati's 6. It comes with pretty gold anodized springs and the driven plates, too.
(Jun 96) Braking Power! Several of you readers commented about either GSXR-750 or ZX-7 master cylinders for the front brakes, well I put on a master cylinder off of a (91-93) ZX-6D, the one without the ram air, and it works great. To cope with the banjo bolts and hose routing, I did like the new GSXR's and ran a single line from the master cyl to the right caliper, where I put the Brembo "double" banjo bolt, and ran the other line to the left caliper. The brakes are hella strong, and I didn't end up getting Galfer pads (none in town), so I went with the EBC Green Stuff (TM) pads, and I'm suprised at their feel.
EBC pads: same absolute power as Galfers, but with more linear initial grip with much better control and feel. For those of us with white rims, the EBC's leave a dust that's easier to clean than the Galfers.
(Dec 95) Oh, and there was this little squealing sound on the left side... well it turns out that the throwout bearing on the clutch seized and was turning the push rod! Well, that $10 bearing is on order, too. Hopefully, the hi-temp grease will be ok for now. I fixed it with a Honda part! The Ducati replacement bearing came as an open caged affair, so I found a Honda equivalent for less. P/N avail upon request.
Speaking of Japanese parts on our stallions, I found that a Suzuki GSXR fairing mount (that bolts to the side of the head) replaces our oil cooler mounts nicely. Email for P/N.
The advantage of Japanese parts --> is rapid availability.
The advantage of Ducati parts --> The gaskets are really cheap.
In September (95), my swing arm actually broke into two pieces and separated! The break occurred at the weld for the left side axle carrier, and all that was holding on the axle was the bike's drive chain! Thankfully, I was able to get it re-welded and beefed up a bit.
Oil leak! My beloved stallion is seeping the vital fluid from the oil cooler lines where they attach to the engine. I've tried a few tricks, but hopefully new crush washers from the Mother Country will be the fix. 12/96: Nope, they didn't work. The fight goes on, and is still going on ....
Sometime in late `94 or early `95. After the jet kit, my mpg dropped from 40+ to around 35, but power is up immensely! Well, as it turned out, the base settings for the Dynojet jet kit are a bit rich... so I put the stock size main jets back in (140, vice DJ's 144's) and now I've got more power at 3000rpm than the stocker had at peak torque, near 6000rpm! Can you say wheelie? Oh, and the mpg's are back near 40 again. As far as jetting goes, don't be afraid to put in the stock size 140's if your bike runs too rich with the 144's. I put the Stage 2 kit in an otherwise stock 900CR, and it ran great with the 144's. Apparently, stock Ducati mufflers flow better than SuperTrapp's.