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.