So clean and unspoiled. Little did she know...I found her on evilbay. She'd just been listed late in the day at £5500, and with only 5000 dry miles on the clock - and the Race cans and ECU fitted - I had to have her, so I rang the shop and left a message offering £5200 unseen. The next day they called back and accepted my offer. I was very lucky on a few counts. Firstly, an old mate of mine - Chris, from race/tuning shop XBikes - was up the road in Wisbeach and her offered to ride over to check her out (cheers Chris). He declared her almost mint. Secondly, I had no idea the bike had just been immortalised in TRON, and as a discontinued model they were going up in value, especially against a backdrop of excitement around new expensive cafe racers from the likes of Norton, and retro bikes popping up everywhere in TV campaigns and even on thier own TV series...
Keira couldn't work out why she wasn't going anywehere, even at 7000rpmBut the bike wasn't my own yet. ... I had a very different vision. All in all it's a typical story of small changes and additions, each made one at a time until the sum of the parts added up to something a little more unique, but she's still far from finished. The US Ducati Forum was my main source of information, with other people's bikes to inspire me, and plenty of links and advice on how to get what I wanted for my bike. I started with the obvious. Does my Bum look Big in this? RG Racing. They kindly drilled extra holes for an LED tail light from another model. I had to get the bracket re-cut, and re-bent to fit properly. The indicators came from a German company, ShinYo, (yes, I know they don't sound German) who make all kinds of unusual stuff. (Well worth checking out, by the way) Next up was the colour... Ok, so Ducatis are supposed to be Red... but... When you see a red Ferrari, how often do you think WANKER instead of being impressed...? ... But if you see a silver one, or a black one, suddenly they're cool. Ok - be honest now, it's partly envy - but we also hate show offs. ...Well, I often feel the same way about some Ducatis. I wanted something a little more original and less, well, Italian perhaps. Instead of paint, I decided to try a vinyl wrap. It was cheaper and easy to reverse. Brett at WrapMyBike in Slough did it all for a couple of hundred pounds, and they did a superb job.
This 900ss turned up at the Ace Cafe on Italian Car & Bike nightOther mods followed fast... New Michelin Pilot Pure tyres replaced the AWFUL fake retro Pirelli Phantoms, which were flat-profiled and had about as much grip as tupperware. Really, I can't emphasise enough just how shit they were. If you have them on your bike, change them now. The sharper profile of the Pures was possibly the best aftermarket handling accessory money can buy. It was like a new bike afterwards. The basic suspension also needed sorting as the ride wasn't right... ...so Mike Dawson at MD Racing fitted me some progressive Wilber springs in the front forks (German again!) and changed to heavier fork oil, and he set up the adjustable rear Marzzochis for my weight and riding style. This transformed the ride even further. A lighter clutch action came courtesy of my mate Ian H (who has a lovely GT1000) when he offered me his unwanted Rexx Clutch slave. I found an independent guy in Germany (again?) who was producing "gauge lowering brackets" which tilted the OEM instrument cluster back, flatter and closer to the yokes. (much more reto looking). In an effort to De-Bling the bike I also removed the chrome rings on the clocks (thanks to a how-to on the Ducati forum).
Step away from the Goldpinstripe, man!
Louis the Lid thought he'd found the perfect hiding place
(Great photos Barry).debate is raging as to whether they will still function if they're not at the high point of a closed hydraulic system. Who knows... Also, I need to sort out the ugly black triangles... The rearsets, passenger footrests and end cans all hang off two big black triangles, which are not awful, but not nearly as pretty as the setup that comes on the single seat (monoposto) version of the bike (just look again at the rearsets on Ian's Paul Smart). There's a great company in the US who specialise is parts for the Sport Classic called JCPak selling one solution; "Mack hangers" - which are perfect, but very expensive at $550, so Hugo and I are looking to get some made in London for a fraction of the cost, and then I will fit the monoposto standard rearsets which are plenty nice enough. Here are the lovely Mack hangers from JCPak...
Nice, but $550 (with rear footrest adapters)!So - here we are... black on black, stripped-back & beefed-up.