Im thinking of getting a 1996 916 sp. According to the current owner it's done only about 30++k but its has definitely aged 12yrs old now. What would the common problems faced for this particular bike? I was told belts need to be replaced every 25k and some valves adjustments. Electrical? Other than that, anything else I should look into? He also mentioned that it requires abit more of a TLC compared to a Jap inlines, true? Anyone who had this bike before, mind to share some common problems or known problems?
A 916SP is a nice bike and is getting on in years now. Are you planning on riding it regularly in traffic - these things are highly strung and were built for the track and don't like anything else. A 996 makes more power and will tolerate traffic and a 916SPS (or even better 996SPS) is a far easier biker to live with.
Just buy with your eyes open - if you want it for performance there are faster models and if you want civility this is the most uncivilised of all the 916/996/998 bikes. However that rawness gives character like nothing else.
Of all the 916/996/998 bikes the 916SP probably revs the best and more importantly like to be revved to get maximum power. So number 1 remember if it was ridden as designed it has done some hard miles.
By 1996 Ducati was in severe financial straights and the build specifications of the SP models could be very variable (not all examples were created equall). Many of the unique parts (if originally fitted) are now obsolete (e.g. the cast-iron full floating front discs).
Belts need replacing every 2 years (or 6000km), rockers can flake and the electrics were not particularly strong (and may need upgrading).
With 30k on the clock the front forks will need overhauling (note these should be Showa Special forks - different to the ones on the 916, however see comment above).
Don't let this put you off, the 916SP is a great bike that is still plenty fast and will make you smile like nothing else when ridden in the correct environment, remember it isn't a 1098, nor is it a Jap bike.
As said above buy with your eyes open.