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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello guys,

am new here... been riding an r1 for the past 2.5 yrs and looking to change to a 996/916. have couple of noob qns to ask.. hope u guys could advise me.

1) been hearing that the 916 is very unreliable in her electrics.. myth of fact regarding her electrical problems? kind of worried to get a 916 for fear of that. there is a 1997 year 916Bip and the budget is good for me but the fear or reliability problems is one big issue to me.

2) wat the diff between the 916bip and the 996 standard models?
 

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996 has a better electrical system as it has a more powerful alternator and can better cope with charging the battery and keeping all the electrics going, that said I have a '98 916 that has had no major issues electrically.

Main difference between the 916 and 996 is that the 996 has 80cc more displacement and so produces more power, other than that (and the electrical system) they are virtually the same bike - both are great bikes ;)
 

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We really need a sticky at the top that explains the maintenance myths and realities of owning a 916, 996, 748, 998, 749 and the 999.

We can call it, "Maintenance myths and realities of owning a 916, 996, 748, 998, 749 and the 999 Superbike."

The experts can post up on specific models within the thread.

No slight intended to the converts, us owners should really have something for all those considering a Ducati Superbike. REAL experiences so we can squash the hearsay (or confirm them).

I hope you buy it, its an amazing machine. I don't know what it is, the dry clutch rattle, the exhaust smell, the pipes, etc.... but all those things combined and you feel like/know you're riding something special.

I love tinkering so working on the maintenance issues is really not a problem for me. Aside from an "old battery" issue, it's fired up each time I pressed the start button.
 

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I don´t have a 916 or a 996, but the smaller engine 748.

Mine is an SP (Sports Production) which means that the machine has been tuned at the factory and is somewhat faster the a normal 748.

I´ve had it for 5 years and the odometer is reading 30.000 miles. No rocker flaking, ONE problem with the electrics and ONE problem with the rear hub (my own fault really).

I´ve had it at the track atleast 10 times every year and ride about 6000 miles a year. The bike is great and works just fine. It does require some TLC now and again, but having it clean is just a part of owning it.

I´ve also tried the R1 -01 and found that to be a nice bike aswell.. But the major diffrence is.. well... The R1 is a great bike, but it´s all focused on the engine IMHO. The engine is a great piece of kit, leaving little to be desired. But the Duc is a concept. Everything works together beautifully and the whole package is just "tight". Youfeel everything through the suspension and chassie, brakes are very nice, gearbox is good and the engine is always talking to you, letting you know when to shift even while NOT looking at the RPM´s.

Riding a Duc is about passion and feeling both the road/track together with the bike. Your much more apart of the riding then i felt i was on the R1.

It´s difficult to explain. try going for a testride, you´ll get what I´m trying to say in about 10 seconds.

//amullo
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks guys.. anyone can let me know what the crank hp of the 916bip and 996standard. and is the 916bip single or dual injectors? getting confused over the specs gathered from around the internet.

am i gonna expect quite a marginal diff of power between the 916 and 996 or the power increase is just very slightly.


read somewhere in the forum that the old 916s tend to have bad regulators' problem??
 

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Hp
916-108
996- 112

some else can tell you about the power difference of the two bikes, i've not riden a 996. you need to know that these bikes are torquey, and when you see the 108 or 112 hp numbers, know those italian horses are a different breed of horse than the ones from japan.

i have a 97 748, that means i have the bad eletrical system. it isn't bad, just not great. out of my 17.5k miles only once did i have a regulator problem. all it really is, is the wire that runs the current to/from the regulator has a tendancy to overheat and give a poor charge. $10 for 12-14 guage wire, connectors, and insulation corrects that problem.
 

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Older 916 series bikes (and indeed 748´s) had some problems with there alternator/regulator. this is mostly due to overheating and the fact that the bikes us a single-phase generator system.

The newer 996 (from 1999) had 3-phase generators that are alot nicer to the R/A then the old ones. Changing it out is however very easy. you´ll do it in 5 minutes by the side of the road using what you have in the toolkit.

The 916 was said to produce 114 HP at 9000RPM (max engine speed 10K). But that number is somewhat high. 109 is a more resonable limit, with actuall RWHP being between 104 and 107. Torque figures seem to peak out at about 60-65 ft/lbs with max torque being delivered at about 6500-7000 rpm.

916´s only had single injectors, except for the SP, SP3 and SPS engines, that had dual injectors. 996´s have dual injectors. Want to read more? http://www.moto-one.com.au/performance/duel_inject_throt.html

The 996 is torquier and gives more power then a 916. Ducati said 112 HP and all 996 I´ve seen to date have that on there rear wheel. So they where conservative. Max power is at about 8000-9000 RPM´s. Torque is at 68-70 ft/lbs at 8000 rpm, but has a VERY flat curve, giving the rider alot to work with.

Here are two dyno charts.
An early Ducati 916
Horsepower

Torque


And a 996 Hp then torque
Horsepower

Torque
 

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Upgrade the retifier and upgrade the three primary wires and that takes care of the older electrical problems with the 916. The 996 has more grunt on the power band. Flaking rockers? This involved the hi rev 748 and the 916, 996 motors too. Left out of the flaking loop apparently was the 95 916. At that time Ducati did the chroming of the rockers in house. In the later 96 916s they sub letted that job outside and then things started going to shit. Contact Buckelew on this forum for more detailed info on this issue. In any case, if you buy any of the above bikes just be mentally prepared (a little financially too) that there is a strong possibility a few rockers have to be replaced, the flywheel nut might back out (I think this was fixed in the later 996), cush drives might back out and the aforementioned electricals. No big deal.
 

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Bobaganoosh
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John said:
Upgrade the retifier and upgrade the three primary wires and that takes care of the older electrical problems with the 916.
If you buy a SBK with a single phase charing system and want to change to a three phase, be prepared to pull the motor apart. The Alternator and Flywheel are different between the single and three phase. That also includes changing your crank. Different flywheels = different crank. The alt nuts backing out are only a problem on 3 phase bikes.

The single phase will work well, but you have to be aware of problems that may arise and fix them before too much damage happens or you may get stuck miles from home with dead bike. I upgraded all my wires to 14 gauge and used GM WeatherPak connections. Haven't had a problem since.

This is damage you may find on single phase bike. When you are shopping for a bike remove the right fairing, look for the regulator its black box under the battery and check the plugs and see if they look like this or worse.

Before

After
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the advice...

how does a 916sps compare with a 996standard? what are the differences..

and what are rockers?
 

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ctk333, rockers are "rocker arms", like traditional rocker arms except there are two rockers per valve: one opening rocker and one closing rocker. Instead of the valve using a spring to close it, the two rocker arms are actuated directly from the camshaft, which in-turn has one lobe controlling the opener and one lobe controlling the closer. The tolerances are very precise and there is no valve float, even though spring technology has progressed since the desmodromic valves were introduced, thus making the 'no valve float' advantage moot.

Where the rocker arms contact the cam lobe surface is where the flaking happens. The rocker arm contact face is hard chromed, and the hard chrome surface eventually degrades and flakes, ruining the rocker, possibly the camshaft and even possibly damaging the engine internals. There are a few fixes for this, but none are free, and can range from $50-$79 per rocker arm depending on what you get. Remember, there are 16 rocker arms, so $$$$$$$$$$. Ducati *may* offer a "goodwill" warranty on the rocker arms, but only for parts; you pay the labor.

Generally, IMO, the newer the bike the better, as long as the engine/bike has documentation. Just like any vehicle platform, evolutionary changes happen over time, so the niggling problems on early bikes supposedly get fixed with each new iteration of the design. The 998 is probably the most reliable, if only because the testastretta engine isn't prone to some of the desmoquattro issues, and you'll find more low mileage 998's than anything else.

Just for reference, my 2000 996 was average I guess, and made 113hp/68 ft.lbs. at the rear wheel before the engine blew up. I'll also align myself with those that say the upkeep of a Ducati will be more, because it's been that way for me. Even little stuff like bolts vibrating loose has really bugged me. At my last track day, I lost a few bolts due to vibration: three holding the front "V" cowl (both lost at once, a replacement one lost a session later!), seat lock cylinder vibrated loose and carbon exhaust guard bolt worked its way loose. My engine blew up at 12000 miles and I was stupid enough to rebuild it. It's terribly uncomfortable, gets pretty crappy gas mileage since the engine rebuild and finding parts can be hard at times.

I love it though, and can't imagine owning any other sportbike.
 

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Bobaganoosh
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The gold things are rockers.


 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
so the only way to check is visually through the oil screen for the chorme flakes, on a frequent basis, i suppose?

is this a common problem among the 916 and 996? or just a small minority of them get it?
 

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The oil screen is a good place to look. Since the flakes are non-ferrous, they won't stick to the drain plug magnet, so the screen is your best bet. The chrome surface will look bad before it flakes, which is why a well documented bike is best: known service intervals means a known time frame for when these types of issues may have started.

I don't know off the top of my head which bikes are most affected by the flakes, but most 748/996 are. I'm not sure of the 916, and if so, the '96-'98 model years I think. Others know better than me. The 998 has been unaffected so far.
 

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In europe, It´s generally considered that the 95-98 916´s have less problems with flaking then the 996 of 99-00.. Doen´t ask me why. Some say that Ducati had a sub-standard supplier and some say that the chroming process was altered because of enviromental legislation.

The only way to REALLY see a flaking rocker is to pull the cams (on a desmoquattro anyway). This is generally done when replacing the cambelts, just to be sure.

The chrome on the cams is alot sturdier and durable then the rockerchrome, since they get more cooling (spinning wildly). To be fair One must say that it simply seems that some people very rarly have a problem with rockers and some have alot..

For example.. my 748SP has one of the highest revving engines Ducati ever made, having a top engine speed of almost 12.000 RPM. I´ve ridden her HARD on the track up to 15 times a year for the last 3 years and have had ZERO rockers flake on me.

A friend has a 916SP3 of the same year and he had to replace 10 rockers and one camshaft. His and my bike are used about the same way, started and run the same way and built during the same month. Also HIS bike has LESS miles then mine. Service has been somewhat neglected on his bike compared to mine (and not by much).. and that is the name of the game.

*Proper starting and running procedures (idle (1000-2000rpm) 60-90 seconds and below 4000 rpm until "warm"
*Oilchange every 3.000 miles
*Valve clearance check every 6.000 miles
*Cambelts changed every 2 years or 12.000 miles incl. inspection of the rockers.

//amullo
 

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the single phase system is fine once you understand it's limitations. most problems with charge wires and plugs melting and reg/rec units failing stems from the alternator pumping a huge charge into a low battery. the easiest way to prevent this is to ride daily or use a battery tender. the flaking rocker issue is very hit and miss, some are lucky some are not, the usual offenders are the exhaust openers on the rear cyl. these are the last to get oil, but the others can go too. the sp' and sps' had two injectors as did the 996's. the single injector is no handicap however as 2 injectors are really only necessary when you have over 125 hp. even then a variable fuel pressure reg can up the fuel pressure and solve that problem too. in all, the superbikes as a series are just as reliable as the next bike, perform normal maintenance and take pride in it and it will serve you well. they are a little more expensive to run than a ujm but i would suggest most here consider that a small price to pay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
i used to came across a web site where by it show the history of the evolution of the Ducati superbikes, stating the differences, the specs, the changes to each model from the 916 series to the 999 series.. i lost the URL add and cant seem to find it through the search engine..

anyone know of the URL?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
can anyone advise me what accessories come with the 916sps stock?

not sure of the diff in the parts between the 916 and 916sps.
 

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The 916sps came with a termignoni openexhaust (50mm), a rear paddock stand and dustcover.

But the major diffrence between the 916 and the 916 sps is that the sps had a 996cc engine and the 916 uses the 916cc engine.
 

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ctk333 said:
thanks for the advice...

how does a 916sps compare with a 996standard? what are the differences..

and what are rockers?
Flaking rockers is a standard issue on any 4-valve water pumper (748/916/996) from 1996 until the changeover to the testastretta motor. There have been occasional reports of flaking rockers on testastretta motors - but very rarely.

The 851/888/ early 916's (pre-96) don't have this flaking problem. It began when Ducati outsourced the plating of the rocker arms (hard chrome). It might have lessened in severity during the 90's, but you're still more likely to find a rider who is dealing with this problem than you are likely to find one who has never had a rocker problem.

The rocker arms are the heart of the desmodromic system. While normal valve actuation may involve a rocker arm (an arm that rubs on the cam shaft on one end , pivots in the middle, and pushes down on the valve on the other end) the Demso system uses a rocker to open the valve, and one to close the valve.

Ducati lowered the price of the rocker arm replacements from $225 to $48 - at least in the US. And more shops are pulling the cams during a service and looking for the flaking problem so that the rockers can be replaced inexpensively before they cause more damage to the cams or valves.

As for the electrical issues, prior to 1999 electrics sucked. I went through 4 voltage regulators before I hard soldered the connections and put a fuse in-line on my Electrix regulator. Plug in a heated vest and go for a long ride and you'll find your battery dead because it can't keep up with demand.

The electrical system is anemic. Best thing to do is go through your electrical system and clean the connectors and coat them with dielectric grease to keep them from corroding. you can also touch them up with pliers (lightly) to make sure that the spade-type connectors are tight. Or do as some have done and replace connectors with aftermarket weatherproof connectors.

hope that answers your questions.
 
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