Ducati 900SS

While we both really like the good ol SS, we just don't seem to ride it that much anymore. Zina's got "Pogialli", the M900ie, which has become her all time favorite bike. Then, she got the MHe and we have to ride all the bikes to keep them happy. Wellll, the SS wasn't getting ridden enough and the battery died. I charged it up, but it wouldn't crank over the motor and load tested poorly. With new battery, the SS is ready to ride again.

Zina previously had a Radian and a K75S. Why did she pick the Ducati? Well... seat height was a big deal and the fact that the Ninja had purple wheels, too! (Z can't stand wheels with loud colors) She got this ride new in 1995 at a dealer in San Diego which no longer sells Ducatis. I met Z when she saw on an Internet site that I, too, had a Ducati and asked who did my maintenance. She brought it to me a few times for valve adjustments and what not.

She first got the stage 2 jet kit with K&N and air box mod. The purpose was to get rid of the low speed stalling and harshness from the lean jetting from Ducati. With the stock mufflers, her bike was crisp and very tight.

Sometime later, we both had ditched our current spouses and rediscovered each other. Then she took my TBR aluminum mufflers when she got me the spaghetti system for my 900SS. She really liked how they sound and preferred the look of the shiny polished aluminum.

We started riding together and Zina wanted more brakes. I had upgraded to the ZX6 master cylinder and was wanting a little bit more, so I tried out my setup on her bike and she loves it to this day. When I threw on the cast iron rotors to see if she'd like them, she noticed that they made the bike stop harder and faster than with the stainless rotors.

Zina noticed that the engine had a real bad vibration / buzz near 6,000 rpm. I rode it and agreed. I tried out the Nichols lightweight aluminum flywheel and it helped reduce the vibes dramatically. The other usual benefits of a cripser rev up and down were also apparent.

Before heading out and doing some serious track days at Willow Springs, I wanted to ensure that we both had steering dampers. I fitted the WER rotary damper under the steering stem. Zina likes it: doesn't notice it at all. That's the point, life stays the same and no headshakes.

Z really liked the look of the polished wheels on my 900SS, and I was going to get some magnesium wheels but sold my bike. To make it easier to get good rubber for all the bikes in the house, I wanted to see if a SP wheel would fit - and it did easily. So, I went and got a used 5.5" rear wheel and sent it and her front in to get polished.

See the red bungee net on the back? Well, Zina is quite the McGyver type and decided to remove the hooks from it and sew it together. The net now is a continuous loop that goes around the seat, ensuring that the cargo is more secure and she also didn't like how there are no places to hook the net to the 900SS.

See that little bit of gold around the rear axle? That's a CR chain adjuster plate. Those things kick ass! I was so over changing the rear tire or even adjusting the chain due to the cheesey stock adjuster plates. Of course, they're for sale at Cycleworks.

The summer of Y2K, I found out that Nology coils melt down on some SSs. I didn't understand why and finally found out that Ducati went to a cheaper ignition module with high primary current in the coil. So? I developed the Dyna kit on Z's CR. The end resulting kit is an easy bolt on, not requiring rigging or trips out of your garage to install. Read about the Dyna coils kit.

We tried out the Pro Italia large bore, low effort clutch slave cylinder and Zina and I both like the reduced lever effort. What we didn't like is that they fail and start leaking! This left Zina stranded on a track day and she had to ride the 916. Enter the Yoyodyne clutch slave cylinder with its anodized surfaces, it should definately outlast the plain aluminum PI unit. With its simpler construction, the Yoyodyne is more than 10% less than the PI unit.

Late August of 2000 (26k miles on the bike), I wanted to cure a subtly worsening oil leak. Upon removal of the alternator cover, something metal smacked on the lift. It ended up being a piece of the shifter spring, which had inexplicably broken. Upon repair of this and the oil leak, the clutch push rod was pulled to replace the o-rings - and there was much wear at the clutch end. It was then discovered that the end seal on the input shaft had basically failed, allowing clutch material to cake up and contaminate the needle roller bearing for the push rod. New parts: input shaft seal and neelde bearings for push rod, push rod, o-rings, and clutch throwout bearing.

Current mods & stats:
  • TBR Slip-Ons (Zina loves the way they sound... deep and set off car alarms)
  • Dynojet Stage II Jet kit, with open airbox and K&N
  • Dyna coil kit with NGK wires
  • Nichols lightweight flywheel
  • Yoyodyne low effort clutch slave cylinder
  • WER rotary steering damper
  • Kawasaki ZX6 master cylinder with steel braided lines
  • Braking carbon kevlar front brake pads
  • EBC rear rotor
  • OE stainless rotors on front (pic above is inaccurate)
  • 180/55-17 Michelin Pilot Sport out back on 900SS/SP 5.5" wheel
  • 120/70-17 Michelin Pilot Sport in front
  • Polished aluminum OEM wheels
  • Gold anodized billet aluminum "CR" chain adjuster plates
  • Afam 15/39 steel sprockets on Afam Super-reinforced x-ring chain
  • Raybrig Metal-White H4 bulb