This is my 1999 900ss Ducati.
I just HAD to give it a page; it took me 12 yrs to finally
buy a Ducati, and I'm thrilled with it!
I will say I still pretty
much prefer the older "pit bull" styling, but I
bought this bike because it was a steal, and because of the
performance and maintenance considerations. The looks are
starting to grow on me. In fact, I love looking at it in person
(much more than in pictures), and riding it even more than
As you might be able to tell
from the rest of my site, I'm a do-it-yourselfer. I'm also
a tinkerer. I can't leave anything alone and so I've made
several modifications to the bike since I bought it. In the
above picture you can see the "flush mount" turn
signals in front(MIT, sin#1) and the Sargent seat skin.
The seat skin is really a
pain to get right, and you pretty much need an industrial
duty stapler to do it well. I struggled thru w/ the heavy
duty stapler I have. I'm not sure I'd recommend it unless
you know what you're getting into. I got it straight and tight,
but there's a slight bubble on both sides where the piping
meets the fairings, the cover didn't quite fit my seat right.
(and yes, I used heat and stretched etc etc...) For the headaches
and time it took, if you like your seat but want the custom
look, send it to them and have them do the work....BTW, the
"Carbon FX" material on the main seat is a definite
and huge improvement over stock.
I made this set of billet
6061 clipon bars to replace the stock ones. The bars weigh
more than stock and help eliminate vibration quite well. The
beveled holes are there to help seperate the main mass of
the bars from the clamps attaching them to the bike. This
is something I learned in guitar making, it hinders direct
vibration transfer. The dampening hole also (hopefully) will
allow them to collapse at that point before causing extensive
damage in the case of a fall(hopefully it works that way,
and hopefully I'll never find out). The bars are tapped on
the ends to accept a 6mm screw for my bar end mirrors. They
are also 1/2" longer than stock for a little additional
leverage. If you look closely at the top bar you can see the
notch required to allow the pinch bolt to pass by.
One of the things I hated
about the new style bodywork is the extended "ram air
inlets". They don't really do much of anything and they
look stupid; so I took a coping saw to them. Now they only
protrude about 1/4" and follow the contours of the main
panels. Much better IMO.
I made a "fender eliminator"
from plate aluminum. The eliminator keeps the stock turn signals
and license plate light and mounts with the original fender
bolts. The turn signals are about a total of 6 inches narower
Pro Grip gell grips and Zefal
"Dooback" bar end mirrors. Took a little getting
used to looking at my hands in order to see behind me, but
now I much prefer it to stock mirrors, I can see what's behind
me and not my elbows.
A couple different bi-metal
holesaws and a drill press vented the clutch cover. I vented
the stock sprocket cover as well...
It now has a clutch cover
with the "Flying D" cut out of it...Cool!
Ever thought about those
K&N case breather filters instead of all the pipes and
boxes on the bike stock? Well, I found this breather filter
at AutoZone for about $8.00, 1/3 the cost of the others and
it's red, but not ducati red.(other colors/chrome availiable
as well, MIC, sin#2, oh well) The tubing it came with is 3/4"
od and about 1/4" id. This would be restrictive so I
drilled out the ID of the filter's tubing to 1/2" and
use a piece of 1/2"copper plumbing pipeto reinforce it
(remove the tubing before drilling so as not to contaminate
the filter). This gave it basicly the same id as the breather
valve nipple, it also made the fit of the filter to it's tubing
more solid because the copper tubing forced the od larger..
This way there is no restriction and it provides for more
solid clamping. I've heard some say a breather filter is more
restrictive than the long plumbing affair, but aerodynamic
theory says it isn't...I can't test it to say for certain.
The bike came to me with
the Ducati Performance carbon fiber exhaust and performance
chip. Only other mods not detailed in the pics are reverse
"race" shifting, I lowered the front trippleclamps
10mm on the forks to speed up steering , NGK Iridium IX spark
plugs(MIJ sin#3?) and a "Throttle Rocker". The last
two I'm still deciding if I like them or if they are worthwhile;
so far I'm liking the throttle rocker. To get the race pattern
shiting, I just flipped the arm at the gear box so it was
above the shaft instead of below (the pictures are pre-mod)
. Ok NGK Irridium plugs: no point to them for this bike' and
the Trottle rocker stays under the seat for the very rare
long "cruise ride". After the other mods done since,
the throttle rocker is an unplanned wheelie just waiting to
happen! (I managed to surprise myself with it a few times)
Here I modified a stock
hugger into a "shorty". Originally I went
without a fender (because thats how I got the bike) but
I didn't like
the rear shock. It was only a matter of time before a seal
failed or something. I simply sketched out the outline
with nice flowing curves and left enough "meat"
in the mounting extensions so it wouldn't be flimsy. I cut
it out with a jigsaw (hand type) and cleaned it up with
coping saw, rasps and sandpaper. I also cut off the chain
guard and mount for it...
bad color/contrast editing to get the hugger to show up in this
The bike does have a couple
of the common Duc afflictions, a leaky clutch slave (rebuilt
with a new "quad ring", works VERY well)), a little
oil at the base of the rear cylinder from either the case
breather or a weeping base gasket (It went away with the new
case breather, I also get less "milky oil" in wet
weather now. whoda thought?). And it's a cranky, cold hearted
beast. ...No matter, it's a DUCATI! and it's unlike any other
bike I've ever owned. I bought it because I wanted a bike
that spoke to me and that I'd want to keep forever, certainly
not because it's "the latest greatest". I've owned
RD 350's (club racing), a ZX750E(factory turbocharged 750
"ninja") FZR600, FJ 1200 and even a couple Shadows
over the years. I got sick of the japanese inline fours (not
that there's anything wrong with them by any means), yeah
they're more reliable but they just don't stir the soul...I
wanted something with personality, and this bike simply ROARS
Update Feb 2003
Recent performance modifications
include a lightweight flywheel (not the super light Nichols
unit, but a 3lb lighter FBF unit) and a 14 tooth front sprocket.
I also added a billet fuel cap because I hate having to use
the key to refuel; my helmet and gloves are usually burying
it making it a pain. Besides, the cap looks COOL....
Oh yeah, I also stripped
off all of the CA spec emissions plumbing.
I recently did the valve adjustments
on my bike. Unfortunately I have the valves with the groove
which the closer shims get hung up on. After sanding/filing
one I decided to make a puller for the closer shims. It works
very well. It's all stainless steel with a machined stainless
steel thumbscrew which can also be turned with a 5/8"
wrench. When the shim is loose, it is trapped inside the puller
for easy removal....
Tip: when pulling parts which
have many different sized screws that must be replaced in
the proper location, get some cardboard and punch undersized
holes in it in the basic bolt pattern. Then just insert the
bolts in the holes as they are removed. Label the "top"
of the pattern and set it aside...
I used"zip ties" to
keep the valves in place with all the shims removed. Worked
like a charm, but getting them cut loose was a bit touchy.
(I used electronics flush cutting side nippers)
FWIW, a valve adjust on this
Desmo was MUCH EASIER than the adjustment on the 750turbo
(shim under bucket, had to pull the cams to change a shim,
reassemble and recheck. repeat as necessary). It's not hard
to do, certainly harder than some bikes, but it's not nearly
what I was expecting after all of the "vodoo" type
things I'd heard...
Update March 2003
Here's a picture of the bike
in it's current configuration.
The exhaust was changed to
high pipes and I just recently finished making the solo
my first time making anything from fiberglass. It uses a
stock seat pan with the rear center section cut out (now
a TRUNK!) and 3/8" neoprene for the seat.
Here's a closer look at it (also
shows the cool gas cap)
BTW, I LOVE THIS SEAT!! It lowered
the seat height by maybe 3 inches, I'm "set in"
better with less weight on my hands and my legs tucked a bit
more. I can really "lay on the tank" if I want.
My nuts aren't slamming into the tank on every bump and expansion
joint. And surprisingly, that 3/8" thick foam pad seems
more comfortable than the stock seat (probably because of
the altered seating more than the actual cushioning)
I also aquired a set of levers
cheap so I could make "three finger" levers. I just
cut off the ends at the break away groove, hammered a bit
more curve into them, sanded the ends on the belt sander,
drilled and beveled some holes, and then finished them off
with a wire wheel on the bench grinder...
Not as cool as a set of CRG
or other $180.00 plus levers, but at $25.00 for the "crash
damaged" levers it's a good option. It works very well
for me as I always like to have a couple fingers guarding
the levers when I ride, and I always keep one or 2 fingers
on the gripswhen using the levers. Now my "grip
fingers" aren't getting smashed when I pull the levers.
Update April 2003
I recently wanted
to get new tires put on and work on the rear suspension. Since
I had the new rubber already I just wanted to take them and
the wheels to get the rubber swapped but I needed a way to
support the bike on stands. I had automotive jack stands and
I've used them before (sliding 1/2" rod thru the swingarm
pivot) and I had a rear stand, but no fork stand. Here's what
I came up with...I drilled holes thru the swingarm stands
pads. I then removed one of the front axle pinch bolts and
bolted the stand to the forks. Works like a charm. And for
a quick lift when using with the wheel and axle in place I
can just use a bolt and nut thru the hole and up into the
fork tube the same as most fork stands work.
Update May 2003
I came across a set of Dyna coils real
cheap so I decided to get them not even knowing if I could
use them (I knew someone else could if I couldn't). The coils
on the later model Ducs are the same as the earlier ones and
the bike benefits from having them replaced with higher performance
coils (as per Chris Kelley at CA Cycleworks).
The mod was pretty simple. I fabricated
two brackets to mount in the stock locations from 1/8"
plate aluminum. The plates offset the coils about 1/8"
off center. (front coil offset forwards, rear coil offset
Here are the plates with the coils installed.
Coils are mounted to the plates with 6x25mm allen bolts and
nylock locknuts(temporary screws are shown in the picture).
The front plate could benefit from having the coil offset
maybe 3/16-1/4 of an inch instead of just 1/8".
At 1/8" offset the coil "just"
hits the ducting. I trimmed it back although the fairing "fit"
without the trimming, just not as easily as I wanted. The
front coil fits in the opening, and the aft coil sits behind
the ducting without interference. A side benefit of this mounting
location is that the coils will get plenty of cooling air
(Dyna recomends 5ohm coils if heat is going to be an issue,
3 ohm for better performance, these are 3ohm)
Only other thing to do is cut off the existing
coil plugs for the pos and neg wires (black/white is negative
on both coils, the colored wires go to the pos coil terminals)
Solder the eyelets to the wires and insulate the connection
with shrink tubing. I just finished the install, so I don't
have much to say about performance, but it does seem like
the bike starts easier and idles smoother quicker than before.
Update July 2003
The $5 filter ring.
I wanted to try an open airbox, but didn't wan't to spend
about $70 on a filter ring not knowing if I'd like it, so
I made one
I bought an 8' lenght of aluminum
trim for 1/4" plywood from the local super hardware for
about $5.00. Outside dimensions are aproximately 5/16"x
I cut nothches in it to make the bends
Then I riveted the ends together with a spacer
I used a dremel to grind retaining grooves for the stock
clips, it's important to keep the grooves aproximately 1/8"
from outside edge so that the clips function correctly. My
first grooves were in the middle and the clips didn't "snap
over" securely. Here's the ring off the bike and you can
see the two sets of grooves (not very pretty ones either...)
Update April 2004
The latest mods not mentioned before
are 14t front sprocket and Rearsets with race shift.
With these rearsets the shift lever mounts directly to
the shaft without intermediate linkages. I also went
with an aftermarket clutch slave, just to try it out.
It really doesn't seem to lighten the pull much.
The bike's hanging
from the ceiling in the garage, well the frame is anyways.
The motor is out and I'm dropping in a set of High
Compression Pistons and a Power Commander. Also a general
cleaning/ upkeep (replacing rusted hardware etc...)
ring for the ducati clutch slave cylinder. EPDM rubber of
much heavier construction, seals much better and rectifies
the leakage/early failure problem.. same part you may have
heard of and can get from a european dealer for 12.00 delivered(the
only other source I know of). $2.00 ea (only
one needed per slave)