Author Archives: Donn

Ducati January 22, 2016 posted by Donn

Addition by Subtraction – 2007 Ducati 1098

Beside the displacement increase, Ducati's 2007 re-design focused on lightening the bike and improving performance.  The 1098, even the base model, has many updates and features, it's a great superbike alternative.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right

2007 Ducati 1098 for sale on eBay

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 left front

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 front

Capitalizing on the successful Testastretta ( narrowhead ) engine, the EVOluzione engine is 5kg lighter  than the 999's mill, and incorporates innovations like elliptical throttle bodies to improve response of the 1099 cc, 160 hp motor.  Exhaust was also lightened using thinner material in a 2-1-2 configuration, and dispensing with the canister muffler.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right muffler

The traditional trellis frame was re-engineered using larger diameter, thinner walled alloy steel tubing, saving weight and increasing rigidity.  43mm Showa forks are fully adjustable, as is the Showa rear monoshock on new single sided swingarm.  Brakes are radial-mounted Brembos of 330mm diameter in front, and 245 mm rear.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right front wheel

Most noticeable however, is the new fairing design, returning to a more 916 look, with dual high and low beams and turn signals in the mirrors.  The full-featured digital dash is also used on the -S and -R models.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right front

The 1098 on offer has been updated with Ohlins front and rear, and Termignoni exhaust, which brings it up to -S spec, only missing the forged Marchesini wheels.  Looks great with only 4,300 miles, new battery and fresh oil.  Including the front and rear stands is a niice touch.  From the eBay auction:

You are bidding on a wonderful Ducati 1098 with low mileage on.

Main additions were the front forks Ohlins FGRT 803
Rear Ohlins DU788 TTX rear shock
Full Termignoni exhaust
Slick tires with only one track day in intermediate group.
The bike comes with the stands - Pitbull front and Ducati rear and has the original forks and exhaust in a box that can be shipped as well.
Low mileage, only 4333 miles.
Never fell, not even laid down on the side while not in motion.
The bike is almost perfect, some small scratches more than normal in a bike that is 2007.
Great power and torque, new oil and battery, no directs to report.

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 left shock

The 1098 went on to win the 2008 Superbike World Championships with Troy Bayliss aboard, and had many more victories.  The bike regularly reviewed as more at home on the track, too much for the street.  But a veteran or expert rider would be a requirement, which is how I think this 1098 with its slick tires and -S updates finds its way to market.  Experience is a great teacher, but usually starts out with a hard quiz before the first lesson.  The owner is wise to relinquish his undamaged 1098 and trade for a bike with more accessible performance.  Bidding is healthy and has just a couple of days to go...

20160121 2007 ducati 1098 right headlight


Addition by Subtraction – 2007 Ducati 1098
Ducati January 19, 2016 posted by Donn

Make It Take It – 1999 Ducati 996 SPS #388

Hot on the heels of the 996 introduction, Ducati unveiled the Superbike homologation special SPS - Sport Production Special.  The big gorilla at least until the -R was introduced two seasons later, they are quite rare with total production just in the hundreds.  Often limited to the track or gallery, this SPS has Cali title and registration.

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps right

1999 Ducati 996 SPS for sale on eBay

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps left

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps right rear

Sporting an additional 4mm cylinder bore, the 996 SPS carried 123 hp to the fray.  Though there was an update to allow a larger airbox, chassis updates were mostly in the damper department, with fully adjustable Showa forks and Ohlins monoshock and steering damper.  Brakes are Brembo 320mm up front with 4-piston calipers, just a 220mm rear brake is required.  Lightweight forged alloy wheels from Marchesini help handling.  The archetypal styling is by Massimo Tamburini, a superbike masterwork Ducati would refer to for the 1098.

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps cockpit

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps left rear

A rider with 17,000 miles, this SPS looks very good with just a couple of modifications, sprocket cover and levers.  Having the brand's easiest-to-remove bodywork, the owner gamely shows what's under the fairing, and states there are scuffs on the left lowers and tail fairing, but they aren't apparent.  From the eBay auction:

This is the rare and highly desirable SPS model, built for racing class homologation, and one of only 50 imported into the US in 1999, homologated for Superbike racing. A masterpiece from legendary designer Massimo Tamburini, considered by many as one of the most beautiful motorcycle ever made, along with Tamburini's MV Augusta. Up for auction is number 388, street legal with current, California registration. It has been stone cold reliable for me despite its Ducati exotic supermodel reputation, and always well maintained and ridden regularly, keeping the fluids circulated and the engine exercised. Recent service includes new timing belts, spark plugs, air filters.

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps top front

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps left unfaired

When properly set up, the 996 would turn in with the best and the oversquare desmoquattro revved willingly.  Charging system woes had been solved but the cooling system made city riding a risk, and rocker arms needed looking after.  The focus on lightweight materials paid dividends every ride.  Carl Fogarty took the 996-engined 916 to the WSBK banquet in 1998 and would take the 996 in 1999, crowning the 916's many titles.  Though the starting bid is up there, it looks like this SPS has had the consistent usage and maintenance which is really the best thing for any motorcycle...

20160118 1999 ducati 996 sps top rear



Make It Take It – 1999 Ducati 996 SPS #388
Moto Guzzi January 15, 2016 posted by Donn

Cafe Traditionale – 1984 Moto Guzzi 850 Le mans Mk III

Moto Guzzi went back to the drawing board to meet emissions ( noise mostly ) constraints, and heavily revised the 850 Le Mans, keeping the air-cooled V-twin, but quieting some of the noise and critics.

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 right

1984 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk III for sale on eBay

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left front

Revisions to the engine and bodywork led the way for the Mark 3, the angular headed 2-valve twin generating 81 hp.  Angles dominate the fairing design as well, the bikini doing a nice job protecting the rider, and connecting the angular design to the fuel tank and seat fairing.  Guzzi traditions like Dell'Orto carburetors, linked brake system, and shaft drive are retained.  New ideas are there, like air-adjustable suspension and the crankcase vent routed through the frame tube to reduce noise.

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 binnacle

20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 right front

Under new ownership, the Le Mans offered here has had a little freshening up, and looks good for its 29,000 miles.  Substantially stock, I'm liking those head guards.  From the eBay auction:

The bike is very unmolested, all the cables, grommets, fasteners, clips etc are as from the factory (except the valve cover fasteners which I replaced with stainless and the odd nut here and there). The bike hasn't been apart or messed with. All switches, idiot lights, horn and turn signals work. The mileage is correct. The bike was owned by a lady for 20 years who really looked after it and just rode it. The bike sat for 5 years before I bought it.

I've owned it for a year and a half and in that time done the following work: repainted the original bodywork. Fairing decal set from MG Cycle. Tank has no dents and has the original factory paint. New crossover and fuel lines. Carb rebuild and set up. Full service and oil change with filter and FAC front dampers in the last week. I've put approximately 3K miles on the bike and it runs flawlessly.
Prior upgrades were stainless brake lines, Koni shocks and a Dyna ignition.
20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left rear
20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 right rear wheel
Moto Guzzi ignored the arrival of the Interceptors, GS's and GPz's, and stuck by their sport bike principles and their fans.  The heavyweight tested as a fun, stable ride, and once the air suspension was set up, a good handler.  The formula has brought Guzzi into the water-cooled, fuel injected era, if not WSBK.  The owner is really into it and has his own Guzzi fan site.  This nicely updated classic will get plenty of attention on the next coffee run...
20150115 1984 moto guzzi 850 le mans mk 3 left shop
Cafe Traditionale – 1984 Moto Guzzi 850 Le mans Mk III
Ducati January 13, 2016 posted by Donn

Flak Bait – 2002 Ducati 748

Probably going to light up the switchboard with this pick, an older, junior Ducati - non-S ( let alone -R ), PITA to ride in town.  But this last-year base model, lightly ridden with a lot of nice updates, and - wait for it - cam belt maintenance ! - has a lot of good attributes and is kind of pushing my buttons.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right

2002 Ducati 748 for sale on eBay

20160112 2002 ducati 748 front left

20160112 2002 ducati 748 left rear

Accompanying the 916 to the showrooms from 1994-2002, the 748 used the chassis and crankcase from the 916 and smaller heads.  The resulting 97 hp came at a higher 11,000 rpm, and the bike used lower overall gearing, increasing it's street fun factor.  The 748 has close ratio transmission and of course a dry clutch.  43mm front forks are from Showa, with a Boge monoshock on the progressively linked single-sided swingarm.  Two-into-two exhaust snakes around the swingarm and up under the seat.  A picture of the now-classic fairing is next to the word Ducati in the encyclopedia, this one with monoposto seat fairing and number plate.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 cockpit

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right front

Offered by the original owner with just 3,400 miles, this 748 was obviously somebody's baby.  Beside the Arrow titanium exhaust and Power Commander, there has been attention to the clutch, rear sprocket, and chain.  The body updates include seat fairing, body-color mirrors, Dzus fasteners for the side fairings, and carbon here and there.  As listed in the eBay auction:

  • Arrow Titanium Exhaust
  • Power Commander Fuel Injection Module with Custom Dyno Mapping
  • Ducati OEM Mono-Tail Body & Seat Conversion
  • Ducati OEM Red Mirror Conversion
  • OEM Quick Release Fairing Fastener Conversion
  • Billet Aluminum Brake Reservoir Covers
  • Hardened Aluminum Rear Sprocket
  • Titanium Sprocket Bolts
  • Billet Aluminum Sprocket Carrier Conversion
  • RK 520 Gold Chain
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Chainguard
  • Pauli Moto Billet Aluminum Clutch Cover
  • Pauli Moto Billet Aluminum Clutch Pressure plate
  • Pauli Moto Billet Clutch Pressure Plate Spyder
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Mid-Pipe Heat Shield
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Sprocket Cover
  • Ducati Performance Carbon Heel Guards
  • New Pirelli Diablo Tires
  • Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame
  • Ducati Performance Soft Cover

20160112 2002 ducati 748 front

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right peg

Not super high-res photos, but the bike looks excellent.  Maintenance on the easy-revving engine shouldn't be deferred because of rocker arm concerns, and the bike has recent cam belts and tires.  A little easier on the cooling system, the 748 is friendlier to road use, as long as you can handle the racey ergonomics.

20160112 2002 ducati 748 right rear

20160112 2002 ducati 748 left peg

Because of their long model run it'd be hard to call a 748 rare, but as always really nice ones are never around when you're looking.  Many found their way to the track and the slippery slope of modification and the generation's very successful competition history.  The similar way the two sizes of superbike are built you'd have to think Ducati either lost money on the lower priced 748, or made a bunch on each 916 or 996.  Though an -R or -S would be nice, the 748, especially cared for as this one, is a lot of bike for the money...

20160112 2002 ducati 748 rear


Flak Bait – 2002 Ducati 748
MV Agusta January 11, 2016 posted by Donn

MV Agusta 3, Robots 1 – 2004 MV Agusta F4 SPR

Featured in the 2004 film i,ROBOT, the MV Agusta F4 SPR tumbles in an early action sequence and give its all to take out a few wayward automatons.  Unlikely more than a few moviegoers knew of MV Augusta's recent revival with Cagiva backing, still less knew what a bike Hollywood had just sacrificed for the film.  The Special Production Racing limited edition was a very special 750, lighter and more powerful than most larger displacement sportbikes.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right

2004 MV Agusta F4 SPR for sale on eBay

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr left front

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr left rear

The F4 750 was the inaugural MV Agusta after Cagiva purchased the trademark, and outside help was enlisted to ensure success.  The 749cc transverse inline 4 was derived from the early 1990's Ferrari F1 engine, and the F4 continues to use the radial valve layout today, in the 1000cc engine.  Thanks to 12:1 compression and an updated cylinder head, power is spectacular for a middleweight - 146 hp at 13,000 rpm.  The grey steel trellis frame connects to massive 50mm upside-down front forks from Marzocchi, with nitride hardening.  Rear suspension is a single-sided swingarm sprung by a Sachs damper.  Bespoke Nissin brakes are 310mm in front with 6-piston calipers, and 210mm rear.   Exhaust is updated for the SPR, and the factory offered three optional rear sprockets to adjust gearing.  The satin black bodywork is set off by silver graphics, and carbon front fender, intake covers with CRC ( Castiglioni Research Center ) emblem, and swingarm guards.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr cockpit

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right fairing

A speed-oriented exotic requires exercise and maintenance, and this SPR has had both.  It looks pretty flawless with 6,800 miles.  Just a couple of clear lenses and an HID headlight have been added.  From the eBay auction:

I am the second owner and purchased this bike in the summer of 2005. The previous owner only put approximately 3000 miles on the odometer before selling it to me to purchase another toy. Since the bike has been in my care I have only put an additional 3700 miles on the odometer through occasional weekend rides. The bike has never been taken to the track or abused. I have always stored the bike with a dust cover inside my garage hooked up to a battery tender. The bike is currently housed at my office. The bike is completely stock except for the clear turn signal lenses and HID headlight. All the carbon fiber pieces are OEM. The bike starts every time and runs perfectly. All functions work on the bike as well.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right rear

I recently performed the following maintenance items at approximately 6500 miles:
-Oil and filter change with AMSOIL synthetic
-Coolant flush
-Brake fluid flush (Front and Rear)
-New fuel filter
-New fuel pump
-New fuel hoses
-Professional Fuel Injector Cleaning by RC Engineering
-New NGK Platinum Spark Plugs
-I also performed a valve check on the bike at about 5000 miles and found all of them to be within factory tolerances with no adjustments needed.

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr left fairing

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr right front wheel

Reviewed as a chore in town and a dream on the open road, the SPR isn't super light at just over 400 lbs, but the power comes on strong around 7,000 rpm pulling strong right to the nearly 14,000 rpm redline.  A sweet handler with Ohlins adjustable steering damper, the F4 SPR can make quick work of straights and turns.  For this level of performance and in such fine shape, even the buy-it-now seems reasonable.  Shame if even one real F4 SPR was sacrificed making the movie...

20160110 2004 mv agusta f4 spr front


Suzuki January 8, 2016 posted by Donn

Re-Upped – 1999 Suzuki TL1000R

Fully faired and with re-designed chassis, Suzuki's TL1000R provided a short-term home for their wonderful 996cc V-twin.  Originally built to compete with Ducati for Superbike wins and sales, the factory returned to the four-cylinder formula for racing in 2004.  The distinctive sound of the TL-R's chain and gear cam drive, also used in the Bimota SB8K, lives on in this very clean example.

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r right

1999 Suzuki TL1000R for sale on eBay

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r left front

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r left rear

Re-tuned from the TL1000S for more top-end power, the TLR reviewed as having easier access to the 11,000 rpm rev limiter, though peak power of 135hp is back at 9,500 rpm.  As with most big twins, torque is excellent at 79 ft-lbs.  Triple adjustable 43mm front forks are helped by an oversized steering damper, as well as geometry changes from the -S.   Rear spring and damper are separate, the shock absorber being a rotary rather than pushrod type, all in the name of keeping the wheelbase manageable with the long engine.  Brakes got a nice update with the 6-piston Tokico calipers in front, riding 320mm disks.  The fairing is wide for a tandem twin and provides good protection, dual high and low beams, ram air intakes, and a Hayabusa-style hump hiding the passenger seat.

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r cockpit

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r left muffler

Looking excellent with just about 16,000 miles, the owner has added carbon mufflers with ecu re-flash, smaller turn signals, and a few carbon accents.  He also reviews recent maintenance in the eBay auction:

The bike has thousands of dollars in aftermarket upgrades and accessories below is a list:

1. Full M4 Stainless steel exhaust system with Carbon cans (This exhaust sounds just like a Jap bike should)
2. Carbon Fiber Rear Hugger
3. Carbon Fiber look Air Dam Surrounds
4. Shorty turn signals front and rear
5. Smoked Windscreen
6. Tank Protector
7. Chrome swingarm spools
8. Yosh-Box ECU remap for M4 exhaust (Yosh-box not included)
9. Speedo-healer installed
10. 41T rear sprocket installed

Here is a list of recent maintenance items done to the bike (Most done within 100miles)

1. New Avon tires installed (Front and Rear)
2. Brand new oil and filter (Synth oil)
3. Chain adjusted and oiled
4. Steering stem bearings cleaned and repacked with fresh grease
5. Front and rear axle bearings cleaned and repacked with fresh grease
6. Valves checked and found in spec at 12k

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r right front wheel

The owner also posted a walk-around video here.

20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r rear

Some useful and tasteful mods to this TLR, thankfully only one set of frame sliders.  Preventive maintenance very much appreciated.  Tested as needing a slight weight reduction for its sporting ambitions, the TL1000R can still lift the front wheel easily.  The video of the loping twin and $3500 buy-it-now almost had me planning a trip to Indy, not this time, but I think somebody will and be happy for it...


20160107 1999 suzuki tl1000r right rear

Re-Upped – 1999 Suzuki TL1000R