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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Happy Holidays. I am considering the purchase of a 2001 Ducati 996 with 12,000 miles. The current owner has had it for three years and never had any service done to the bike. It looks super clean and original, but....
I currently own vintage airheads and a Moto Guzzi Lario. Not experienced at all with Ducati problems. I understand that I should pull the heads off, look at the rockers for flaking, replace/recondition if necessary; hone and adjust the valves and replace the timing belts.
I am concerned about the availability of Ducati parts. Any advice before I pull the trigger on this bike?
 

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First question, does the motorcycle run and have you ridden it?

Second question, how experienced are you with mechanical work?

I purchased a running 996 with lack of service history with about 10k mi. About $1,000 later (tires, belts, valve shims, air filters, tool rentals, intake adjustment, oil, etc...) and a couple of weekends it was running like new and has been since.

You should not need to remove the heads with that kind of mileage. You do need to pull the cams and check the followers for flaking. If you find flaky followers budget about $150? For each bad one. Mine were all good. Also factor in a good chiropractor if you are over 50.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It does run. The current owner has owned it for three years and has ridden it very infrequently. He has had no service performed in the three years. It is located 1500 miles from me, so riding it is not an option.
I am mechanically capable, and this will be a father/son project. I own a Moto Guzzi Lario (4-valve) that required extensive head/cam/valve work. I had your exact figure in mind - $1k - for the refresh.
I am a life-long dirt/sport bike rider and 60! I figure it will not get any easier to experience a Ducati. I would rather experience discomfort rather than regret having ridden one.
Parts availability for a 2001 Ducati is not a problem?
 

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A 2001 996 is an excellent bike and it sounds like a great Ducati for you. It will be easy to work on and parts availability is a breeze. Good luck!
 

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Newbie here with my 2 cents. I'm sure others with way more Ducati experience will offer suggestions..

Since your bike runs, start with belts, valve adjustment, and an oil/filter change. Your first oil change will tell you whether you have flaking rockers; there will be shiny bits in the screen. Not a game over, as there are options to address that problem. You shouldn't have to pull the heads. Unless you want to, of course.

Not sure if the problem was addressed by 2001, but on my '99 I had multiple fuel supply issues. Replaced the fuel tank quick disconnects with metal q.d.'s, and while trying to pin down a frustrating leak under the tank, discovered the nut holding the low fuel sensor on was made of plastic (!!) and was cracked. Bought an aluminum replacement nut (had to pull the connector apart to fit the new nut-PITA), then discovered the low fuel light sensor was not working. Bought a new replacement part, and guess what, the new part came with the aluminum nut. Someone figured out the problem after the fact. Reverse engineering.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is, check the under tank connections for leaking.

I bought a neglected 1999 996s with 8500 miles, and found parts were plentiful. I bought new whenever possible, as I could afford, from Ducati Omaha. There are other sources out there too, and for me half the fun was the search.

I'm 65 and can relate, however, as a life long cyclist I found the riding position on my 996 not too much different than my road bike, so for me it hasn't been a problem. Riding the 996 is like slipping on my Sidi's; fits like a glove. My FJR1300 is a rocket ship and comfy, but riding the Ducati is way more exciting and makes me smile big time. I can't wait to get it on the track. Congratulations on your find and have fun with it!


It does run. The current owner has owned it for three years and has ridden it very infrequently. He has had no service performed in the three years. It is located 1500 miles from me, so riding it is not an option.
I am mechanically capable, and this will be a father/son project. I own a Moto Guzzi Lario (4-valve) that required extensive head/cam/valve work. I had your exact figure in mind - $1k - for the refresh.
I am a life-long dirt/sport bike rider and 60! I figure it will not get any easier to experience a Ducati. I would rather experience discomfort rather than regret having ridden one.
Parts availability for a 2001 Ducati is not a problem?
 

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I am mechanically capable, and this will be a father/son project. I own a Moto Guzzi Lario (4-valve) that required extensive head/cam/valve work. I had your exact figure in mind - $1k - for the refresh.
If you have the patience to find parts for the Lario, the 996 will be a breeze. Took me 6 year to find a LeMans III rear fender!

Nothing feels like a 996, jump in and enjoy!


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Bon Vivant
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I'm gonna be a realist here for a minute, and then you go ahead and do what you want to anyway. ;) A Ducati 996 is not like other sport bikes and it's especially not like other sportbikes of the era - These old ducs are torture to ride - not just for the extremely committed racing position but the harsh unforgiving suspension as well. I promise you one day out on the bike and you'll hesitate the next time and then again the next and the next until you just dont want to ride it anymore. You may be thin and in great shape but at 60 enjoying a 916 series bike is gonna be tough, especially on the street (most of us can endure these bikes on the race track during 20 minute sessions so if you're buying it for track days I think you'll enjoy it more).

I've seen this happen so many times, you'll buy the bike dump a bunch of money into and ride it 3 or 4 times and it'll sit until you finally sell it. I have 2 good friends right now both very experienced riders with probably over 60 years riding and racing between them and both have ducati superbikes that they never ride.

You want to experience a Ducati? get yourself a Monster, a Hyper, or a Multi and find out why Ducatis are really great machines...
 

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You've already said it- don't die wondering!

These tamburini bikes are hugely enjoyable to ride, full of character with fantastic sounds, very easy to work on, and have have true racing pedigree.

As mentioned, part support is surprisingly still very good.

You can always get 1.5 inch risers if your neck gIves you grief with the stock clip-ons.

Are you sure there's nothing closer than 1500 miles, though??
 

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Get it because you know that you want it.

At this point in time they are inexpensive bikes to own, and have always been quite easy to work on. Then you have the support of the forum.
 

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I bet Flynbulldog sits at the mall outside the Santa booth, and tells all the kids he's not real.:ROFLMAO:

In reality, he's more right than wrong. But if it's a project you want to enjoy with your son, and a bike on your bucket list, eff it. Only live once, and I can't think of any better garage art than 996.
 

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I bought my 2000 996 Mono as a new bike in 2001.
still have it and since 2012 it has been a committed track bike.
Parts are readily available, the bike is easy to work on, an absolute blast to ride
image001(1).png

and the design is still fresh in my opinion
 

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riding position aside, and it is an uncomfortable bitch of a thing....
3 years with zero service work is a concern, you don't know what service history it had before that? i mean, if it was fully serviced just before the current owner got it then... maybe it's worth considering, maybe.

You need to consider the obvious, belts, filters, fluids, then there's rubber, tyres, hoses, seals, as well as all of the intangibles that come with a neglected bike, condition of the clutch, wheel bearings, steering head bearings, chain and sprockets....
Unless it's very cheap i'd look for something else, not being able to see it in person would make me nervous.

If you particularly want that era superbike look for a 998, it's so much more bike for the money, and mileage on any of them isn't an issue, it's better than a neglected low mile bike, unless you're a committed tinkerer that can deal with a myriad of issues that may show themselves gradually as you use it, in-between physiology appointments LOL

Good luck though, and i guarantee it will surprise you in more ways than one.
 

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I guess with all of this chiropractor and physiology talk, I should add an opposing view. I'm not saying that this will be typical of everyone but it is my experience.

I am in my mid 40's. I have eight 916 generation Ducatis. Four are street bikes and four are track bikes. I regularly go over 120 miles in a day on the track, do many two day track stints and have done a few 3 consecutive day track mini-weeks with no physical discomfort. I have also done a bunch of 200 mile plus road days through the Colorado mountains, again with no physical discomfort.

I understand that these are uncomfortable bikes for some people but that doesn't mean it is for everyone. These are awesome bikes and I love them and I speak from the heart when I say that you should try one with an open mind and see how awesome they are.
 

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Bon Vivant
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I guess with all of this chiropractor and physiology talk, I should add an opposing view. I'm not saying that this will be typical of everyone but it is my experience.

I am in my mid 40's. I have eight 916 generation Ducatis. Four are street bikes and four are track bikes. I regularly go over 120 miles in a day on the track, do many two day track stints and have done a few 3 consecutive day track mini-weeks with no physical discomfort. I have also done a bunch of 200 mile plus road days through the Colorado mountains, again with no physical discomfort.

I understand that these are uncomfortable bikes for some people but that doesn't mean it is for everyone. These are awesome bikes and I love them and I speak from the heart when I say that you should try one with an open mind and see how awesome they are.
haha yeah sherpa we could all do that in our 40's. I had a 1098s as a daily ride in my late 40's and would typically do 250 to 300 mile days (also in the Colorado mountains). I can still ride these bikes at 58 but why suffer when a streetfighter or a monster is so much more comfortable and the performance and capability on the street is superior.

I was out riding today with a couple of buddies, one was on his 996 (only because his ST4S is in the shop). We had a great ride but every so often we heard about how harsh and uncomfortable the bike is and he made a point of how proud he was to have crossed the 1 hour mark without a break... I promise you, if he had space in his living room - that bike would be there instead of in the garage. :LOL:
 

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Uncomfortable? A little. I'm over 50 and rather round in the middle and try to get out on mine every weekend. A 300km round trip the the local (Adelaide) hills is a real blast and rarely leaves me sore and always happy to go out again the next day. The only time it's not fun is for local suburban riding and in traffic on 30 degree (C) days. And no, I'm not fit, have a buggered back and dodgy knees, so you lot must be soft.

Buy it, ride it and enjoy it :)
 

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As a father and son project I see no downside to buying one, if it does not fit you it may fit your son. Too many body types and fitness levels to determine if you can ride it, I have plenty of 70 year old riders who own and ride superbikes as well as road bicycles. They never complain about suspension or riding position. Those who ride Harleys or are not active often complain the most so you might look at what makes you uncomfortable now .

I say go for it as a bucket list bike it would be high on the list for many and if you do not sink too much money into it you will not have to worry about losing money trying as they are climbing in value. Do a complete top to bottom tune , new tires and find a track day to see what it is capable of. Enjoy making fun memories with your son and best of luck.
 

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haha yeah sherpa we could all do that in our 40's.
.yea .. and I could spend an entire weekend participating in a TaiQwonDo tournament (I could kick out the 7 foot high top of a doorjamb with my heel at 5'6" overall height then as well without my floorpplanted foot leaving the floor). Today, even just attempting that (at 60yrs old) trying that would accomplish little beyond suffering the well deserved ~snickers behind my back~ of the EMTs in the ambulance on my ride to the hospital.

Shit, I used to change clothes in a phonebooth in my 40s let alone toss-leg over a race bred motorcycle with a razor sharp tune for any more than an hour over more than a day.....
 

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Enjoy making fun memories with your son and best of luck.
Ducvet has added an important bit, because you and your son are not going to be:
A any younger than you are today
B have any more time together than you do today
C any more physically able than you are today

tempus fugit, enjoy The Ride.
 
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