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Last of the handmade Ducati's?

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This is a description of a 1996 916 on cycletrader.com. What does the seller imply by his last statement, "Otherwise totally stock last of handmade Ducati's"? Handmade?




DESCRIPTION
1996 DUCATI 916, Fantastic unmarked condition. 6000 miles. Carbon fiber front and rear guards. Giacimoto Carbon Pipes, Alloy subframe, Performance chip. Otherwise totally stock last of handmade Ducati's.
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I believe for the first few years, all the Ducati superbikes where hand built and assemblied in their factory... This included the trellis frames that where hand built, a person welding as opposed to an automated machine.
 

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Somebody can clue me in on this, but I thought prior to the mid-90's ALL Ducatis were hand built. They only moved to an assembly-line production about a decade ago. Anyone corroborate that? bevel450?
 

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I was always under the impression my 95 916 was hand built. I don't know what year this changed. I kind of thought the 95 model was the last, but I have no evidence to support that.
 

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My dog house is hand built, but a motorcycle ?

The question begs some definition. "Hand made" is waaay too vague for me.
It seems that it is being interpreted here as a hand welded frame. If so, I'm not so sure about that.

I just looked at the frame of my '93 bike and it looks pretty much like a robot
welded job, and the frame of a '71 bike next to it has a priceless weld on it where the weld is perfectly parallel to the seam. Go figure. I guess the hand was a bit shaky that day.

Certainly all of the Ducati race bikes had/have very thin wall hand welded frames, but to the very best of my knowledge the street bike frames have been outsourced for a very, very long time to people like Verlichi who specialize in this. ( So are you talking about a Verlichi- or other- hand built Ducati or a Ducati hand built Ducati ?)

Hand made would better describe the engines which were pretty much machined in house. Now, almost all of the engine parts are outsourced as well. The last time I spent time on the factory floor there, the engines were
hand assembled like this: Giovanni would take a part from the rack/bin/shelf
and try it in the engine build up. If it did not fit, he would select another part.

Get the picture ? That is closer to my modern interpretation of "hand built". Other interpretations are welcome. Hand built is a bogus term in my book. Simply no definition to the term in modern industrial practice.

Ask the buyer what the hell he means by "hand built".



rob said:
Somebody can clue me in on this, but I thought prior to the mid-90's ALL Ducatis were hand built. They only moved to an assembly-line production about a decade ago. Anyone corroborate that? bevel450?
 

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A few years back Porsche Design Studio built the Ducati factory's assembly line and you'd have to agree that Porsche had mastered limited run auto production quite a while ago. Ducati's hand built? No...But they come very close to the concept. I have a 749R which was built in 2004 and is one of around 1400 built for that year with about 15 coming here to oz. Well, I like to think of that as hand built.
 

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John said:
I was always under the impression my 95 916 was hand built. I don't know what year this changed. I kind of thought the 95 model was the last, but I have no evidence to support that.
'95 was basically the last year of the castiglioni ownership before TPG took over and pushed production without a requisite push for quality. Having seen bikes actually hand built by Ducati Corse; I'm not sure "hand built" is a plus with Ducatis.

But I go along with John.
 

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Hard to argue against that !

jhurley said:
I had always thought that the last hand build Ducati street bike was the 1986 F 1 B ?
 

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I don't know about that.

Well if the 916 is "handmade", then so is my 2001 SSie.
I have massaged every part, external of the motor, sanded, primed and painted every fairing, changed rearsets, clutch,...blah blah blah.

And I take great pride in the fact that my Duc is Itali-Tex!
 

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Hand made

FWIW, I have heard from several sources in recent months the last hand made 916 was in 1996. What hand made exactly means I have not idea but his claim appears to be correct.
 

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"Hand-made"... Does that mean...

...no parts made outside the factory? If that's the case, Ducati hasn't built a hand-made bike in many a decade. The brakes on my '77 SuperSport were made by Brembo and the switches by Aprilia.

... the days prior to CNC machining at the factory? What makes traditional machine-tooling more of a "hand-made" process than CNC machining?

... the days when parts were hand-matched to each other? Fine, but can we assume present-day parts are so uniformly and precisely manufactured that EVERY part can be used as delivered and NO human supervision is required to check fit AT ANY TIME???

... complete build by one person? When I toured in the joint in '99 I was told individual motor assemblies were completed by one individual. Doubtful that same skilled assembler would stroll to a far-away part of the shop to attach the mirrors. Or the turn signals and the license plate bracket. Was there ever a time when a single individual assembled the entire bike? Painted it, too?

Robotic booth painting would likely not be considered part of the "hand-made" process but what about manual spray-painting? Or does the term "hand-made" refer only to painting with a brush. And was the painter required to find his own hog and pluck the bristles himself or could he buy his own brush as long as IT was "hand-made"?
 

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Huh ??????? "

" don't know what it means but his claim appears to be correct ?"

In all sincerity FE 900, would you like to take another stab at that ? The above statement is pure whacky in my view.

That said, and with second thoughts, it seems to me that the only 1995 era Italian bike that has unargueable claim to "hand made" would be a Bimota.

Any thoughts on that ?



900FE_79 said:
FWIW, I have heard from several sources in recent months the last hand made 916 was in 1996. What hand made exactly means I have not idea but his claim appears to be correct.
 

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bevel450 said:
Get the picture ? That is closer to my modern interpretation of "hand built". Other interpretations are welcome. Hand built is a bogus term in my book. Simply no definition to the term in modern industrial practice.

Ask the buyer what the hell he means by "hand built".
I dunno. My interpretation of "hand built" in this context means that it wasn't built on an assembly line. Assembly line manufacture reduced to the simplest description is where you have one part of the line that works on one part of the motorcycle, and that's all they do. One part builds the frames and passes it along. One part assembles the suspension to the frame. One part builds the engine, while another part mounts it to the frame, and so on. The people responsible for mounting engines to frames do that all day long (in theory). They mount one engine to one frame, and then they grab another engine and another frame and put those together and pass it down the line.

"Hand built," to me means that one person or group of people assembles the entire bike. I doubt that means that the guy who casts the heads is the same guy tightening the fairing stay bolts...but the parts all come to one place and then are put together by a group of people who complete the bike before moving on to another bike.

Does that make sense?
 

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A Bimota is "hand made". A modern Ducati is not.

Hand made means small manufactured lots. Selective fit of components. Lots of tweaking. Where labor is cheap, technology is expensive and vice versa. That is what history shows us. ( Where, for example, the great cars of the 1930's were all "hand built". They had to be because the manufacturing technology was so absolutely horrible, that it took hours and hours of low wage hand fitting to make anything at all.)

So hand made should never, never be confused with quality ! The manufacturing guys on the list will agree with that in a heart beat.




rob said:
I dunno. My interpretation of "hand built" in this context means that it wasn't built on an assembly line. Assembly line manufacture reduced to the simplest description is where you have one part of the line that works on one part of the motorcycle, and that's all they do. One part builds the frames and passes it along. One part assembles the suspension to the frame. One part builds the engine, while another part mounts it to the frame, and so on. The people responsible for mounting engines to frames do that all day long (in theory). They mount one engine to one frame, and then they grab another engine and another frame and put those together and pass it down the line.

"Hand built," to me means that one person or group of people assembles the entire bike. I doubt that means that the guy who casts the heads is the same guy tightening the fairing stay bolts...but the parts all come to one place and then are put together by a group of people who complete the bike before moving on to another bike.

Does that make sense?
 

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handmade really is a subjective term, bevel450 is right about out sourcing too, verlicchi have been making frames for ages, the race stuff is still hand built, but the rest is robot welded in jigs. also, once TPG took over, they worked hard at installing full production lines. this doesn't mean robots assemble the bikes though, with the production lines one person does one job and the bike moves along to the next person/job.
if you want to talk about true handmade bikes look at HRC, they handbuilt every RC30. one team of (IIRC) 6 guys turned out a max of about 20 bikes a month.
 

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bevel450 said:
Huh ??????? "

" don't know what it means but his claim appears to be correct ?"

In all sincerity FE 900, would you like to take another stab at that ? The above statement is pure whacky in my view.

That said, and with second thoughts, it seems to me that the only 1995 era Italian bike that has unargueable claim to "hand made" would be a Bimota.

Any thoughts on that ?

What I meant by "his claim appears to be correct" is that I have heard from several people that the last hand-made 916 was the 1996 model year. So all the people that told me that was the last year agree with this persons claim that it was the last year they were made. Again, I have no idea by what hand-made really involves, I was just stating that it appears to be a correct statement.
 

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Thanks for the clarification

900FE_79 said:
What I meant by "his claim appears to be correct" is that I have heard from several people that the last hand-made 916 was the 1996 model year. So all the people that told me that was the last year agree with this persons claim that it was the last year they were made. Again, I have no idea by what hand-made really involves, I was just stating that it appears to be a correct statement.
 

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as Buckelew stated the last of the handbuilt were ALL the 95 models as this was last of the Castiglioni ownership before TPG took over. my .02
 

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I always thought it was kinda cool that on the inner side of every piece of bodywork on my '95 900SS/SP there's the initials "SAV" and the original date of assembly.

The "personal touch" is always nice :) Plus it means I can have a birthday party for my bike :D


d.
 
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