Sunday, April 19, 2009


Still only 1 bike in the garage (not counting the TTRs) -- swapped the Ducati for the 'mono yesterday. Cycleboyz will be able to do a safety for me this week, and then I will start the process of getting it "titled" and get a plate on it. As usual, any time I go to move a bike this year, I get unusually cold, windy, wet or muddy weather. No rain, but it stayed below zero until the afternoon. Brrr!

The 'mono now has a proper oil tank. Including the frame, this part is the single most expensive piece on the bike. I guess you get what you pay for -- looks to be over 2L in volume, and tucks right out of the way into the side of the frame. A bit heavy in steel, but what the hey -- it would have been more expensive in aluminum. Powdercoated satin black, I might come up with a logo for the blank space on the side.

You'll note that the two oil lines exit and enter the tank from the bottom. Some neat internal pipework has the outboard tank feed line carry on INSIDE the tank, up to the top near the cap. The other line is the return to the engine. I'm still waiting on a barbed 14mm banjo oil fitting I had to order from the states... until that arrives, I won't be able to fire it up. As well, although I do have a oil cap in the top, I need to find out exactly the thread pitch of the bung for the cap, and for the drain. When I went to pick it up, the fabricator wasn't there, so there was some guesswork involved. Notice a total lack of outboard bracketry -- its all hidden on the inside of the frame rail. Nice!

I went back to the electrical bits once I got as far as I could with the oil tank. The battery needed to be spaced down a bit in order to properly fit under the hump of the Ducati seat. Rather than rely on 4 m6 allens into alloy riv-nuts, I drilled holes for 2 m8 bolts. This allows for a heavy-duty spacer on each side, and a locknut on the top. Do not want to lose the battery while on the road!

I was able to grab a DRZ ignition switch off of ebay, new with 2 keys. I was hoping that with some luck and a drill, it would be able to fit into hole provided on the upper triple clamp. This was not to be the case -- the depth of the ignition tumbler hole is too deep, and the holes didn't line up. This solution is temporary... I did check it once plugged in, and the switch works as it should.

I set about mounting the rest of the electrical stuff on the rear subframe. In all, with the seat in place, most everything is covered up quite well. A few zip ties should prevent anything from hanging sloppily below the seat.
As soon as the rest of the oil fittings come in, and I sort out the return hose, I'll fire the bike up again. I've made considerable changes to the carburetor, so that will require some fiddling. Would like to see it run for a longer time (obviously), get some heat into the engine, and figure if it will turn a wheel. Currently I am modifying the tail Canada-style -- use epoxy resin, apply the mucky stuff outside, and when things have begun to set, take it inside to cure. Doesn't stink too much, and I think Kate has gotten used to it anyway.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Soon after my last post I did a pile of research on the strongest battery available that would still sit in between the rails of the subframe of the Ducati. A YTX -14 had twice the cranking power and amp hours of what I was trying to start the bike with on that cold morning a week ago. Before buying, I trolled ebay to try to find a suitable battery box that would make installation simpler. I found a YZF1000 box, which was essentially a plastic case with threaded mounting nuts on the side for under $10. I then went and picked up the battery from the store... cost nearly $100!
Curiosity got the best of me, and when the temperature rose to a balmy 4 degrees, I had to try to fire it up again. This time, with the more powerful battery duct-taped into place, I went through my usual first of the season startup procedure (with all bikes -- I'm a sympathetic mechanic). Plugs out, bike in 6th, turn it over a bunch of times. Then plugs in, crank the bike until the oil pressure light goes out. Then, add fuel and spark to the mix (prime the flatslides with a couple of squirts of fuel), and sure enough, the bike started. Some smoke from the spray fogger I put in at the end of the season last year, but it seemed to run OK.
Noise -- the reverse-megaphone (and headers) are originally from a late 80s 750 F1. The header diameter is not huge, but adequate (same size as stock 900). For some reason, the nature/taper/diameter of the megaphone is doing some funky things to the sound -- a bit of a raspy whine, rather than a rumble. Some soundwave experts could probably explain all of that, but after ensuring there were no leaks or anything, I realized that there was likely not enough baffling (it was a race system), and the megaphone shape, for a smaller displacement engine, was doing some goofy things to the exhaust sound. The rumble turns into a bit of a high pitched raspy whine... pretty antisocial. And no, its not anything to do with the engine, as other 2-1 systems I have had on the bike sounded nothing like this. I'll be looking for a more traditional muffler to see if there is any difference.
You know, aside from the season for racing, I've really learned the hard way with exhausts on this bike. Life is full of "woulda, shoulda, couldas", but I should have kept the stock higher-exit SSFE exhaust (it did have a few dings, but was cosmetically decent), got the 1 undertail made by Doug at ARC, and have been done with it. When I hit the track for that season, put the stock system into storage. I did sell it for some good coin, but it is worth (to me) more than I got for it (at the time). The time and money invested in getting exhaust systems done for this bike is something I should not try to calculate. Again, Ebay has always reduced the pain of a mistake (in 1 case I even made money on a buy and sell), but I am behind on the transactions. Granted, trying to get something to "fit" this frame & swingarm configuration was not going to be easy, but modification of a set of stock headers, rather than re-engineering a set of aftermarket pipes, might have been the simpler route. The cost of education, as dad says. I am likely an expert as to "what fits what" when it comes to aircooled Ducatis and exhausts...

As for the 'mono, it's still at cycleboys. I've seen the oil tank progress, and it looks very cool -- the fabricator has found a way to tuck it in nicely to the LHS of the frame. The mounting points will be practically hidden, and some internal pipework really simplifies oil hose routing. They are even going to powdercoat it on-site for me.

I got the 916 tail section in the mail as well. Came in great shape -- Cheetah bodywork is an option if you don't want to spend the money on sharkskinz! In the process of installing a tail light -- seat went into place with a minimum of fuss.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ducati days

With the 'mono off at Cycleboyz, I had some time to work on the Ducati. Just goofing around I decided to check to see how the mantis headlight looked up against the front of the Ducati. Then I decided to see how easy it would be to mount it. Then I checked to see if the wiring would work. One thing led to another, and I installed the fairing! I really liked how it looked -- and the metallic silver is growing on me.

It was likely helped by the silver wheels I mounted. I prefer these over the gold ones, and I got the pair for a screaming deal from a guy in Alberta -- matches the black and red "tone" of the bike a lot better. I also attached the ducati wheel rim stickers I had patiently kept for a few years. Even better, swapping cold tires went better than it should -- the gold pair are on ebay -- I hope to get at least what I paid for the silver set.
The wiring of the headlights went pretty quickly -- a diode is required so that the lower light comes on when the lobeam is on, and both when on high. If you just attach them as is, one comes on low, and then shuts off (and the other comes on) when you switch it on high. I did this about 10 years ago to my EX500 -- I wanted to ape the then-new Bimota vDue headlights. I got the signals wired, a new oil warning light installed, and checked everything out. I tried to start it, but it is just too cold -- as well, the battery is a bit weak for this application -- OK for a racer, but not powerful enough for a streetbike that might be left for a few days. Some internet research has led me to what I think is a suitable batter, but it will require a custom battery tray installed in the subframe. Oh well, its been awhile since I have done any welding...