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Thought it was time to register after lurking here for many years. My story goes something like this.

My Ducati experience started in the mid 90s. Previously, as the owner of litre Hondas (CB900, Vf1000), I thought all Ducatis were odd looking, under powered, unreliable and uncomfortable. Although the 851/888 piqued my interest with WSB success in the early 90s, I considered them exotic and out of my league.

Then went on a ride day with some guys I mostly didn't know personally, about 30 bikes in total. Before leaving the local Golden Arches restaurant, I notice two older guys (probably about my age now, late 50 ish:laugh:) standing beside two Ducatis that I thought at the time were as old as them. They were probably 70/80s Bevels of some description. I remember thinking the tyres looked skinny and how could that 18"? front wheel turn in? My VF had a 16 incher, it was obvious to me that these guys would not be going the whole way and would be slow.

Off we went, out of town onto the highway, everyone obeying the speed limits. As the first turnoff was taken, onto a nicely surfaced "Back" road with just the right amount of twisties, everyone is into it and my VFs 120? HP is keeping me in the lead pack. As the road started to narrow and get even more twisty, the VF let me know that it was not at home anymore, by shaking its head violently,as it did when getting a bit front light at speed, mostly because of the mentioned 16" front. Anyway most others had also backed down from the heady heights achievable by the Japanese 1000 fours of the day.

Almost immediately, when the first decent corners appeared, the two "old" Ducatis were there and with little ado gone! I never saw them again for the rest of the day. I remember the sound they made as they passed me though and the fact that they seemed to change lines at will while cornering! I didn't think too much more about it.

Then a guy I was working with at the time (GSXR1100 at the time) went and bought a brand new 916SPS! This thing just blew me away. It was the most gorgeous thing I had every seen or heard. Anyway as friends do, one afternoon after work, he tossed me the keys and jerked his head at the road, grunting something about owning it if I dropped it and running in so don't rev it past blah blah blah. I wasn't listening by now. It was worth half my house at the time.

I returned the 916 (unmarked) about an hour later, the grin stayed for weeks. Later he traded the 916, which had proved troublesome, on a new 996SPS. This was even better and I got to ride it a number of times. He offered to sell it to me for a bargain price when it had to go during his divorce, I didn't have the money at the time :frown2:.

I had sold the VF1000 by then and vowed to get a 996 one day if it was the last thing I did. Life intervened for a bit, then about ten years ago I happened on a neat 2001 748 (aussie S, euro E) locally, it was affordable and I have owned it since and will take it with me to the grave. Hopefully not the other way around. :laugh:

I have been doing a major refurb on the 748 this last six months or so, so added an 2000 Aprilia Mille to the shed to ride in the interim, what a great machine, its a keeper.

Recently put the 748 forks back together with K-tec stuff and remounted, rebuilt all the calipers. Touched up my new (to me) black Marchesinis, ready for new Supercorsa SP tyres and wavy discs. Ohlins rear shock on the way. Next is Belts, Valve check, complete new clutch to install. Replaced a lot of crappy fasteners with s/s or aluminium or titanium. Also have new rearsets, clipons and heaps of CF. Like to do all the work myself.

Plan is to use the 748 for track days mostly, something I am yet to do. I have also collected a couple of s/h sets of 94mm barrels and 853 pistons that have plenty of laps left in them. Engine will be phase two>:), once the handling is sorted. Really like the idea of the testastretta swap for the future too.

Enough for now.
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