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Discussion Starter #1
OK, tell me I'm crazy to want to buy an 851 ($6000), well cared for, with all the more reliable(?) 996's around. That 851 just looks sooo good....and not too far away, either!
-Rob
 

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The modern Ducati thing ALL starts with the 851. It was the first Duc to generate a buzz since something your grandad might remember.:D
 

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You may be crazy, but not for wanting that bike.
 

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I love the 851's. Its one of the bikes I've wanted forever. I say go for it. They arent unreliable but finicky on tune just like the 996. I should know, been tinkering with mine for two weeks now. And again, if you DIDNT want it, you would be crazy. Best wishes.
 

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All three years are different as you probably know.

1990 has conventional forks, a shock design from the mid 80's, and round mirrors.

1991 has USD showa forks and square mirrors, but the engine is the same except for the placement of a couple of sensors.

1992 has the Terblanche restyle like the 888 and a slightly hotter motor.

In my experience the engine is not too bad to work on, although going by the maintenance schedule of the time you will have the bike apart more than together. Valve adjustments perscribed every 3000km!

Some parts these days are becoming very hard to find. Rear tail lights and the seat cowl being two. I don't think Corbin makes a seat for it now, but it is a big improvement of the stock prostate pounder.

There is another forum online dedicated to the 851 & 888. Not sure I can post the link on Ducati.ms
 

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I would think that using modern collets and shims (and clearance specs) would negate the need for the 1800 mile adjustments. The heads are identical to later bikes aside from valve sizes and/or cam profiles. Ducati revised their clearance numbers in the 90s to extend the service intervals. Throw in a set of MBP collets and you'd be good to go.

All three years are different as you probably know.

1990 has conventional forks, a shock design from the mid 80's, and round mirrors.

1991 has USD showa forks and square mirrors, but the engine is the same except for the placement of a couple of sensors.

1992 has the Terblanche restyle like the 888 and a slightly hotter motor.

In my experience the engine is not too bad to work on, although going by the maintenance schedule of the time you will have the bike apart more than together. Valve adjustments perscribed every 3000km!

Some parts these days are becoming very hard to find. Rear tail lights and the seat cowl being two. I don't think Corbin makes a seat for it now, but it is a big improvement of the stock prostate pounder.

There is another forum online dedicated to the 851 & 888. Not sure I can post the link on Ducati.ms
 

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I believe the acceptable clearances changed (wider range before adjustment) in the later 90's to facilitate longer valve adjustment intervals. With the early bikes they were very conservative. I don't think they appear to go out of adjustment any more quickly than later desmoquattros.

Back in the day though, you could go broke haveing the thing maintained. The internet didn't exist as a real resource like today. Owning an 851 in the early or mid-90's would be like owning a Benelli Tornado or similar in the US now.
 

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If it's a 92' the heads, collets, etc. are the same as every other 4 valve Desmoquattro. The 92' 851 and 93'-94 888's all have the same valve size as the 748 and 916. Cams are the same as 916/996 unless it's a SP model. (Except that one of the cams has the provision for a mechanical tachometer drive)

The earlier ones had smaller valves and the valve collets were a little different but the new style collets work.

Maint. is no different than a 748/916/996.

Go for it! What year is it?

Tons of info. here. Ducati 851 and 888 Forum

There are some differences between the pre-92 and the later bikes but not a lot. All that info. is on our 851/888 Forum
 

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If it's a 92' the heads, collets, etc. are the same as every other 4 valve Desmoquattro. The 92' 851 and 93'-94 888's all have the same valve size as the 748 and 916. Cams are the same as 916/996 unless it's a SP model. (Except that one of the cams has the provision for a mechanical tachometer drive)

The earlier ones had smaller valves and the valve collets were a little different but the new style collets work.

Maint. is no different than a 748/916/996.

Go for it! What year is it?

Tons of info. here. Ducati 851 and 888 Forum

There are some differences between the pre-92 and the later bikes but not a lot. All that info. is on our 851/888 Forum
Marvin is the man :D when it comes to the 851/888 series bikes! Check out the web page as he explains above and you'll learn everything you need to know about the bike!
 

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i owned a 92 for many yrs and it is an exceptional bike. change the typical things.. in my case, charging fix, suspension upgrades, crucial are new clip-ons (changed the handling 100%). 6k may be a little steep money wise
 

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Discussion Starter #18
851 Ducati

Thank you everyone for your input...

It is a 1992 monoposto. 22k miles, asking $6800 USD. Owner lives in a ritzy town and the 851 looks very clean (as best a photo can show) and well cared for. It has race bodywork + original bodywork. I may check it out IF I can rationalize spending the $$. And remember to look for lockwire holes...
-Rob
 

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Considering the 888 SPO of a year later is basically the same bike with different graphics and a slightly bigger bore (2mm?), I can't see a 50% price difference between it (~$9k) and this one for the $6k range.

Obviously you can buy 748, 916, 996, and many 999 for the same money as the '92, but it will always be a much rarer bird (like 10:1 for the 9X6 bikes).

And the last thing, the sound of the 851/888 is second to none. I had a Termi on my 999, didn't even begin to compare. There is something about the bass of the exhaust (mine has FBF pipes), the induction noise, and the sheer rawness of everything that really makes an 851 that is opened up sound like nothing else, including other Ducati twins.

This is a bad video of the bike in my garage last spring with my daughter's toys strewn all over. I need to take some better ones.
 

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If you can, do it. After all, as every ducatisti you want the 851. You've found one, get it.

As far as i know, there is near no rocker issue on this early Desmo4.
 
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