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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I figured that now that my 916SPS restoration is about done, this might be a fun story to share and maybe it would help some other people doing something similar.



First, a little background. Years ago, I had a couple of Ducatis and I used to do some very cool Ducati things. I even owned one of the factory team race bikes and I used to run that on the track. Last year, after years away from motorcycles, I ended up with a Ducati 1098R by accident and after one ride through the awesome Colorado foothills, I decided that after so many years away from motorcycles, I wanted to build back a collection of rare limited and homologated Ducatis. Long story short, I decided to do my favorite WSBK homologation model from each generation and two or three from the 916 era (916SPS and a 996R/998R) and stop at the 1199 Superleggera because that's the only Superleggera that's actually built to WSBK spec. Other than one bike that has delivery miles, all get ridden so nothing is just "for show" so getting top quality bikes are super important. In all, I have 1994 888 SP LTD #95 with 5k miles, 1998 916 SPS #774 with 6k miles, 2001 996R with 7 miles, 2006 999R Xerox #69 with 3k miles, 2008 1098R #262 with 1k miles, and 2014 1199 Superleggera #213 with now about 800 miles.



This is the story of 1998 916 SPS #774.

Last year, I started searching for a '97 or '98 SPS. While those aren't the only years I would take, those are the two years I like the most. During the course of my search, a strange ad popped up - it was from a seller who said he had not one but two 1998 SPS's. It had no pictures and all the makings of a scam. But here I was, months into a search, and this ad kept coming up like 4 days in a row. So I said WTH and sent an email to the ad's poster. Nothing happened for a few days and I was convinced nothing would. Then at almost a week after I responded to the ad, I got a deluge of phone calls and emails from the seller.



I won't bore everyone with the stupid details but after a series of phone calls with this very unique individual, I figured out that he bought both bikes in 1998 from a dealer in Chicago. One was new with 7 miles on it and one was used with 6k miles on it. Eventually, I would come to know he never rode either bike. Anyway, he got a loan on them, defaulted on the loan within a few years, stored the bikes an off-site storage locker, was pursued by the bank for years. His loan was sold four times and now he was trying to get out of it as best as possible.



He gave me all of the loan details and who owned the loan now. They had a branch here in Denver and I went down there and explained that I wanted to buy a piece of collateral from a loan they held the paper on. The bank manager assured me that it's easy and they do this all the time. Then she looked up the loan and her eyes got very big. Apparently, it really was a giant mess. She said that not only could I not simply buy one bike out of the loan and that I would have to buy all of the collateral in the loan but she couldn't sell the collateral to me: I would have to negotiate with their legal department.



So already knowing that this was going to be a hairy deal, I said again WTH and moved forward. The new step was verifying the existence and condition of the bikes. as I was so far away, I sent someone to inspect the bikes. Not only did they exist but they were indeed what they were supposed to be and in good shape. The 7 mile bike was a legit 7 mile bike. The 6k bike looked exactly right for a 6k bike and they all had the right pieces on there and were 100% stock with the exception that neither had turn signals.



I will skim the next part because it was a lot of weeks of phone calls and negotiation but eventually we came to an agreement. I told the bank that they needed to find the titles and then we could do the deal a certain way: I give the money, they hand me the titles, and my good buddy Matt (who now owns my old 998RS), XLR8R on this forum, would pick up the bikes at that very moment and take them to his house. That took a while to coordinate but we got it all done.



Knowing that I wanted an SPS that I could ride and didn't really want to own two identical bikes, I sold the 7 mile bike to a good friend who is a professional race car driver. It's possibly the lowest mileage '98 SPS in the US.



Then shipped #774 to Colorado. Everything was there and in nice shape but it was clear that if I wanted to ride it, it would need to be completely gone through. I shipped it back to Colorado and took it to Boulder Motorsports were we started disassembling to see what we had. Very quickly, we realized that this bike deserved a full refurbishment and restoration, including a complete engine rebuild, just because it deserves it and wanted it to be basically a brand new bike that I could really ride and enjoy. Every nut and bolt was undone and the entire bike was redone. The engine was blueprinted and rebuilt to race spec with slight modification: all parts isotropic superfinished, new Pistal pistons, and a few other small things like mild head work and crank treatment. Brian and Clem did a pretty amazing job and I couldn't be happier with it..



Anyways, I won't go on and on about it. I'm just going to post some pics. I'm going to try to get them in order. All that's left now is that I'm waiting for a new set of wheels which should show up any day now.



Pics to follow as I will post them from my phone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
More as I can’t do that many pics at once.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here it is going together.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
And here it is now
 

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Not to divert focus from that absolutely stunning bike, but who's 2004 S60R in the last photo? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Not to divert focus from that absolutely stunning bike, but who's 2004 S60R in the last photo? :)
That's my daily driver. I bought it a few years ago and I upgraded the suspension with a bunch of track stuff from IPD and subframe bushings from Kaphlenke Racing. And a few other bits here and there. :)

It has to live outside because the garage is full of cars and bikes but it's been the best daily driver I've ever had.
 

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Love posts like this, they never get old. The bike looks great, you did well.


Such a bummer the 1998 bikes didn't have any of the Cagiva graphics on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Love posts like this, they never get old. The bike looks great, you did well.


Such a bummer the 1998 bikes didn't have any of the Cagiva graphics on them.

Thanks. I do get that some people are really attached to the Cagiva graphics but I love the '98 graphics a ton, especially the decal-less tank. It's a super clean look and it goes well with the '98 improvements like the carbon airbox. I also love the titanium con-rods, the new brake caliper mounts, the new frame, and the other improvements that the '98s have. But to each his own. I'm sure that there are plenty of people who complain that Heidi Klum isn't gorgeous because her elbows are too pointy or her knees are weird. :)

I do love the graphics of the '97s too but I don't like the '97 bikes more than the '98s. Still, if the right '97 comes my way, I would love to add it to my little group.

Oddly enough, one of the issues that I've come across with a few '97s is that they've been altered a fair amount: the frame and fairings are the right ones but I've seen a motor swap (unbelievable, really) and a couple of big bore kits (definitely more livable than a motor swap but you don't get the authentic SPS experience with a 1080 or whatever). The '98s seem to be more left alone as the motors were pretty tricked out for what they were.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did you get a good deal on the pair, or pay around market value?
I'm not really sure what "market value" is. I mean, how do you value a bike that's never been used and another that needs a full restoration? I'm sure someone will say that I paid too much and someone will say that I stole them. All I know is that it was a fun adventure and I have a perfect SPS that I can ride with zero regrets about how I got here..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Whats with the high comp piston if you wanted it oem? Just asking because you state its to be as close to oem as possible with no changes?
Well, I don't think that I ever said that but here goes:

I was going to reuse the OEM ones but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that using the Pistals made more sense. I'm rebuilding the whole engine and superfinishing parts and machining the crank and such, I should probably go a little further and replace the pistons. I didn't want it to be 100% OEM (I never said I want it to be as close to OEM as possible) but I wanted it to be somewhat close to an OEM bike with the upgrades that I like. I wouldn't want to get to the end and have regrets that I didn't do pistons while the whole thing was apart. I wouldn't think that I would get the chance again without some serious expense.

I made other changes as well: changed the rear spring to one that more suited my weight (167 lbs), changed the springs in the forks too, installed a slipper clutch, changed the air runners to carbon, changed the gearing to 15/38 and did a 520 conversion, changed the rear sets and foot control levers, and I'm going to change the wheels to forged aluminum five spokes. I also refinished the carbon to be a little more glossy than it was originally. I wanted it to be the best version (for me) of a correct '98 SPS. Some of that is left to interpretation but I don't equate those things to a motor swap or anything but maybe I view that differently than others do..
 

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I'm not really sure what "market value" is. I mean, how do you value a bike that's never been used and another that needs a full restoration? I'm sure someone will say that I paid too much and someone will say that I stole them. All I know is that it was a fun adventure and I have a perfect SPS that I can ride with zero regrets about how I got here..
Exactly... I've said that very thing over and over again on this forum. If it's what you want, then it is worth whatever, within reason, it takes for you to get it. I was told over and over again that I was overpaying for my '02 748R, which I bought from a forum member, but it was the year and model that I had been unsuccessfully trying to find for years, so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it. I have not regretted it, not even for a second, in all the years since.

She winters in my office and I never get tired of looking at her...


 

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Well, I don't think that I ever said that but here goes:

I was going to reuse the OEM ones but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that using the Pistals made more sense. I'm rebuilding the whole engine and superfinishing parts and machining the crank and such, I should probably go a little further and replace the pistons. I didn't want it to be 100% OEM (I never said I want it to be as close to OEM as possible) but I wanted it to be somewhat close to an OEM bike with the upgrades that I like. I wouldn't want to get to the end and have regrets that I didn't do pistons while the whole thing was apart. I wouldn't think that I would get the chance again without some serious expense.

I made other changes as well: changed the rear spring to one that more suited my weight (167 lbs), changed the springs in the forks too, installed a slipper clutch, changed the air runners to carbon, changed the rear sets and foot control levers, and I'm going to change the wheels to forged aluminum five spokes. I also refinished the carbon to be a little more glossy than it was originally. I don't equate those things to a motor swap or anything but maybe I view that differently than others do..
The one who asks shall find the answer :)
 

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It was quite an adventure to say the least...Ryan has courage beyond what you can even imagine with regards to his comfort level to dive into that unique situation and sort it out. I kept telling him to hang in there (it's fun to be a part of a deal like this, particularly when it's not your money!). To see that storage locker door open up to reveal two SPS's sleeping away under old bed sheets was quite an experience. I've read about those kind of scenarios and it was crazy to actually get a chance to see it live. Here's the unridden bike before it headed off to it's new owner. I expected a storage scar or two to which there were absolutely none; just a hazed over headlight lens that can be easily cleaned up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It was quite an adventure to say the least...Ryan has courage beyond what you can even imagine with regards to his comfort level to dive into that unique situation and sort it out. I kept telling him to hang in there (it's fun to be a part of a deal like this, particularly when it's not your money!). To see that storage locker door open up to reveal two SPS's sleeping away under old bed sheets was quite an experience. I've read about those kind of scenarios and it was crazy to actually get a chance to see it live. Here's the unridden bike before it headed off to it's new owner. I expected a storage scar or two to which there were absolutely none; just a hazed over headlight lens that can be easily cleaned up.
Matt, I told you this before but none off this would have been possible if it weren’t for your encouragement, help, and amazing assist on the pick up. The whole story is too much for anyone not involved to totally get but I think that we are far enough removed from it now that you and I can laugh and be like, “did that really happen???”

Thank you again. This would never have happened without your help.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here are some pics of the engine build for everyone who appreciates that stuff.
 

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Beautiful! I'd be kinda jealous, except that my motor was on the stand next to yours - haha. Scratch that, I am jealous - your bike is a beauty.

I give you a boatload of credit for going through with the transaction. From your description, the deal could have gone south on any number of occasions. I think many of us would have bailed early in the process. You were really fortunate that Matt was able to assist. He's a great member of the community.

I hope to see the bike on the road sometime soon. Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Beautiful! I'd be kinda jealous, except that my motor was on the stand next to yours - haha. Scratch that, I am jealous - your bike is a beauty.

I give you a boatload of credit for going through with the transaction. From your description, the deal could have gone south on any number of occasions. I think many of us would have bailed early in the process. You were really fortunate that Matt was able to assist. He's a great member of the community.

I hope to see the bike on the road sometime soon. Congrats!
Mike, for someone who has a bike with at least as much restoration work into it as I have in this one, that means a lot. Thank you.

Yeah, there were a lot of places where the deal could have gone bad but I've done my fair share of transactions and put enough safeguards in place. Still, the biggest safeguard of all was Matt. I wasn't going to hand over $1 unless he could load up the bikes at that very minute. And even then there were still a couple of scary moments like when I gave the money to the bank and got the titles and send him a pic of the receipt and he didn't believe that it had gone through and wouldn't let Matt load up the bikes.


I have a pic some where if my bike lined up next to your 900 SS/FE with neither of their fairings on. I'll see what I can dig out.
 
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