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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2013, 12:14 pm Thread Starter
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new (to me) 900ss?

Hi guys,

I had a Ducati Monster 696 for 3 years, 25,000 miles and am thinking of getting a 900ss.

There's something about the dry clutch and classic style (1996 model) that makes me happy. There is enough power for me, and the ergonomics work well as a sport tourer for me.

Having said that - I'm looking for advice on buying a decade old motorcycle.

Here are my current concerns, please chime in if there is something I don't know enough to ask about.

The cracked frames: A local shop says that to fix a cracked frame the entire bike will need to be disassembled and thus cost a lot in labor hours. If I find one without any cracks, should I expect it to crack eventually?

Aside from normal services, what can be expected with replacing older parts that have deteriorated just due to time?
Specifically, I'm concerned that a random part will fail and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere.

I appreciate that these motorcycles are better to learn basic service and maintanence on, as compared to 4v superbikes, and want to learn to be comfortable working on it.
My current level of handiness is hitting finger with hammer, then dropping said hammer on toe. I'm good at swearing and drinking so at least I'm part way there, right?

Essentially, I'm looking forward to some tinkering, but would rather be riding than spending weekends in the garage fixing things.

The alternative would be to buy a more modern, possibly Japanese motorcycle... but where's the fun in that?

Thanks!

David
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2013, 12:28 pm
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I would suggest to dramatically upgrade your mechanic's skills in order to deal with an old bike. If you can get yourself to a place where taking the entire bike apart to get the frame fixed is not daunting to you, then you're well on your way to happily owning an old Supersport. It's really not that difficult to take it apart in order to haul the frame to a good welder.

So. There are a ton of threads on here about problem areas with these bikes. You have a lot of reading to do. For example:
head studs break
carburetors act funny
gas tanks rust
electrics are wonky
etc.

Welcome to the highly selective Supersport club!
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2013, 3:32 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr turnipseed View Post
Hi guys,

I had a Ducati Monster 696 for 3 years, 25,000 miles and am thinking of getting a 900ss.

There's something about the dry clutch and classic style (1996 model) that makes me happy. There is enough power for me, and the ergonomics work well as a sport tourer for me.

Having said that - I'm looking for advice on buying a decade old motorcycle.

Here are my current concerns, please chime in if there is something I don't know enough to ask about.

The cracked frames: A local shop says that to fix a cracked frame the entire bike will need to be disassembled and thus cost a lot in labor hours. If I find one without any cracks, should I expect it to crack eventually?

Aside from normal services, what can be expected with replacing older parts that have deteriorated just due to time?
Specifically, I'm concerned that a random part will fail and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere.

I appreciate that these motorcycles are better to learn basic service and maintanence on, as compared to 4v superbikes, and want to learn to be comfortable working on it.
My current level of handiness is hitting finger with hammer, then dropping said hammer on toe. I'm good at swearing and drinking so at least I'm part way there, right?

Essentially, I'm looking forward to some tinkering, but would rather be riding than spending weekends in the garage fixing things.

The alternative would be to buy a more modern, possibly Japanese motorcycle... but where's the fun in that?

Thanks!

David
Read, a lot, on this forum and others. If memory serves, cracked frames were still a problem in '95, but the issue got better in later years. The same is true for head studs. The steel fuel tanks rusted and leaked, but this is an easy fix if you followthe sticky in this forum. I did two tanks with the POR treatment. The three biggest problems I had during six years of ownership of a '97 CR (besides my son crashing it) were carbs, electrics and rotton rubber/plastic. I suggest strongly that you or someone who knows what they are doing disconnect every connection, clean, coat with dielectric grease, and reconnect. Pay particular attention to the ground and starter connections. The (+) connection to the starter is in a bad place and will be corroded. DO NOT force this nut to spin the bolt, you will be buying a new starter. I had to use a nut splitter to get this off. A thin wrench at the bottom helps with this too.
Go ahead and replace the spark plug wires.
The headlight is pathetic. Ditto the horn.
The OEM Mikunis on these bikes are tempermental at best and require someone familiar with them for optimal performance. Toward the end I just could not get them right despite three trips to a certified Ducati mechanic.

All of this is in addition to the usual fluids, tires, chain, sprockets, pads, etc. that will need to be inspected and/or replaced. Demand the service records and be sure the valves and timing belts are within their age and service limits.

These bikes are fun, light, comfortable, and pretty simple, but if you want reliability in a Sport Tourer as well, go find yourself a '98 thru 2010 Honda VFR800. They aren't perfect, are much heavier, and do not have the soul of a Ducati, but are a lot less likely to leave you stranded. Overall, my 2002 VFR is the most enjoyable and reliable street machine I have ever owned, and it is 11 years old today.


John Carruth
Medina, TN

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2013, 4:38 pm
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From my recent post - get comfortable with a voltmeter and electrical diagnostics (wiring diagram very helpful). Be prepared to go through wiring top to bottom, replace connectors / pins as needed, and upgrade the high current legs.

I'd advise going section by section and testing work before moving on - you don't want to wind up with compound electrical issues.

Other than that and stuff previously mentioned, these bikes are pretty reliable if you sort out the wonky bits...

Cheers,

Tom


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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2013, 5:50 pm
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Start here: 900SS: SP vs CR

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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2013, 6:09 pm
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I agree with Hunde. By far my biggest problem have been with electrical issues on my 1994 900SS. I've had it for about 1.5 years and it hasn't left me stranded yet. No current problems with my carbs or anything either. The only mechanical issue I've had was a wierd gear selector problem that was resolved with a minor adjustment to the shift fork. Since I fixed the starting and charging circuits, I've put about 3,000 trouble free miles on it. Now its up on stands in the winter for fork seals and new tires. Its good advice to be handy with some tools. Pick up a repair manual for the bike and just dive in. It is infinitely more simple than working on a car and (at least for me) more enjoyable. Sort out the common problems you've mentioned like frame, electrics, etc. and you'll have a fairly reliable machine. Good luck!

1994 900SS
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2013, 6:18 pm
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I agree with everything thats been mentioned but do need to add these bikes are very simple and easy to work on while being fun as well! Their considerably easier then the 4V's thats for sure. I just finished up putting my 96 all back together (frame powder coated, etc.). Now on to the next project!
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 6:15 pm
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I luv my bike. That said, nobody mentioned the crank plug yet, did they ? Mine hasn't fallen out, yet. This is a potential catastrophe, of which I have decided to be in total denial. Stay tuned for my whining when it does. But, I'll fix it and keep the SS.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 9:32 pm
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Welcome back to the Ducati Family, Mr Turnipseed.

I hope you find you love your SS as much as we love ours.

Where're you from? If some of us are in the area we may be able to help you in your search.

Here's just a few threads here to get you started. Enjoy!

Ducati Supersport issues and things to look for:
Everything that Can Go Wrong with an SS
Used DUC buyer: Problems to look for?
What to Look for on a Used 2000 750 SS?
New 900ss owner.....and some questions
Looking to buy ss
Newbie here, I want to buy but I want opinion on value.
Cracked Frame Info:
Cracked Frame Question
Older SS frame cracking questions
Value of Cracked SS Frame???
900ss cracked frame repaired
Cracked Frame

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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Looks like sticky material to me. (ew!)
Keep adding to it, oh knowledgeable ones!

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