Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum banner

1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I had a Ducati Monster 696 for 3 years, 25,000 miles and am thinking of getting a 900ss.

There's something about the dry clutch and classic style (1996 model) that makes me happy. There is enough power for me, and the ergonomics work well as a sport tourer for me.

Having said that - I'm looking for advice on buying a decade old motorcycle.

Here are my current concerns, please chime in if there is something I don't know enough to ask about.

The cracked frames: A local shop says that to fix a cracked frame the entire bike will need to be disassembled and thus cost a lot in labor hours. If I find one without any cracks, should I expect it to crack eventually?

Aside from normal services, what can be expected with replacing older parts that have deteriorated just due to time?
Specifically, I'm concerned that a random part will fail and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere.

I appreciate that these motorcycles are better to learn basic service and maintanence on, as compared to 4v superbikes, and want to learn to be comfortable working on it.
My current level of handiness is hitting finger with hammer, then dropping said hammer on toe. I'm good at swearing and drinking so at least I'm part way there, right?

Essentially, I'm looking forward to some tinkering, but would rather be riding than spending weekends in the garage fixing things.

The alternative would be to buy a more modern, possibly Japanese motorcycle... but where's the fun in that?

Thanks!

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
I would suggest to dramatically upgrade your mechanic's skills in order to deal with an old bike. If you can get yourself to a place where taking the entire bike apart to get the frame fixed is not daunting to you, then you're well on your way to happily owning an old Supersport. It's really not that difficult to take it apart in order to haul the frame to a good welder.

So. There are a ton of threads on here about problem areas with these bikes. You have a lot of reading to do. For example:
head studs break
carburetors act funny
gas tanks rust
electrics are wonky
etc.

Welcome to the highly selective Supersport club!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Hi guys,

I had a Ducati Monster 696 for 3 years, 25,000 miles and am thinking of getting a 900ss.

There's something about the dry clutch and classic style (1996 model) that makes me happy. There is enough power for me, and the ergonomics work well as a sport tourer for me.

Having said that - I'm looking for advice on buying a decade old motorcycle.

Here are my current concerns, please chime in if there is something I don't know enough to ask about.

The cracked frames: A local shop says that to fix a cracked frame the entire bike will need to be disassembled and thus cost a lot in labor hours. If I find one without any cracks, should I expect it to crack eventually?

Aside from normal services, what can be expected with replacing older parts that have deteriorated just due to time?
Specifically, I'm concerned that a random part will fail and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere.

I appreciate that these motorcycles are better to learn basic service and maintanence on, as compared to 4v superbikes, and want to learn to be comfortable working on it.
My current level of handiness is hitting finger with hammer, then dropping said hammer on toe. I'm good at swearing and drinking so at least I'm part way there, right?

Essentially, I'm looking forward to some tinkering, but would rather be riding than spending weekends in the garage fixing things.

The alternative would be to buy a more modern, possibly Japanese motorcycle... but where's the fun in that?

Thanks!

David
Read, a lot, on this forum and others. If memory serves, cracked frames were still a problem in '95, but the issue got better in later years. The same is true for head studs. The steel fuel tanks rusted and leaked, but this is an easy fix if you followthe sticky in this forum. I did two tanks with the POR treatment. The three biggest problems I had during six years of ownership of a '97 CR (besides my son crashing it) were carbs, electrics and rotton rubber/plastic. I suggest strongly that you or someone who knows what they are doing disconnect every connection, clean, coat with dielectric grease, and reconnect. Pay particular attention to the ground and starter connections. The (+) connection to the starter is in a bad place and will be corroded. DO NOT force this nut to spin the bolt, you will be buying a new starter. I had to use a nut splitter to get this off. A thin wrench at the bottom helps with this too.
Go ahead and replace the spark plug wires.
The headlight is pathetic. Ditto the horn.
The OEM Mikunis on these bikes are tempermental at best and require someone familiar with them for optimal performance. Toward the end I just could not get them right despite three trips to a certified Ducati mechanic.

All of this is in addition to the usual fluids, tires, chain, sprockets, pads, etc. that will need to be inspected and/or replaced. Demand the service records and be sure the valves and timing belts are within their age and service limits.

These bikes are fun, light, comfortable, and pretty simple, but if you want reliability in a Sport Tourer as well, go find yourself a '98 thru 2010 Honda VFR800. They aren't perfect, are much heavier, and do not have the soul of a Ducati, but are a lot less likely to leave you stranded. Overall, my 2002 VFR is the most enjoyable and reliable street machine I have ever owned, and it is 11 years old today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
From my recent post - get comfortable with a voltmeter and electrical diagnostics (wiring diagram very helpful). Be prepared to go through wiring top to bottom, replace connectors / pins as needed, and upgrade the high current legs.

I'd advise going section by section and testing work before moving on - you don't want to wind up with compound electrical issues.

Other than that and stuff previously mentioned, these bikes are pretty reliable if you sort out the wonky bits...

Cheers,

Tom


Sent from my iPhone using Motorcycle.com App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
I agree with Hunde. By far my biggest problem have been with electrical issues on my 1994 900SS. I've had it for about 1.5 years and it hasn't left me stranded yet. No current problems with my carbs or anything either. The only mechanical issue I've had was a wierd gear selector problem that was resolved with a minor adjustment to the shift fork. Since I fixed the starting and charging circuits, I've put about 3,000 trouble free miles on it. Now its up on stands in the winter for fork seals and new tires. Its good advice to be handy with some tools. Pick up a repair manual for the bike and just dive in. It is infinitely more simple than working on a car and (at least for me) more enjoyable. Sort out the common problems you've mentioned like frame, electrics, etc. and you'll have a fairly reliable machine. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
I agree with everything thats been mentioned but do need to add these bikes are very simple and easy to work on while being fun as well! Their considerably easier then the 4V's thats for sure. I just finished up putting my 96 all back together (frame powder coated, etc.). Now on to the next project!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,109 Posts
I luv my bike. That said, nobody mentioned the crank plug yet, did they ? Mine hasn't fallen out, yet. This is a potential catastrophe, of which I have decided to be in total denial. Stay tuned for my whining when it does. But, I'll fix it and keep the SS.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
317 Posts
Welcome back to the Ducati Family, Mr Turnipseed.

I hope you find you love your SS as much as we love ours.

Where're you from? If some of us are in the area we may be able to help you in your search.

Here's just a few threads here to get you started. Enjoy!

Ducati Supersport issues and things to look for:

Cracked Frame Info:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the replies! I expect to have lots more questions, and will be sure to search the forum and read as much as possible.
I'm in Washington DC, which has a pretty active ducati community so I'm sure to learn a lot both online and in person.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
317 Posts
There are some good roads an hour west of DC, once you get toward the mountains. It's looking like my job will be taking me to DC this summer, in fact. Now I gotta find a place to live... Inexpensive rent in a nice neighborhood with good schools for the kids. Yeah, right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
537 Posts
I'm on my second SS, and haven't used either as a sport tourer (I have an ST for that), but one of the previous owners did. I found a receipt for a new tire installed at Las Vegas Harley Davidson (quite a haul from Kansas City) dated 9/11/2001 (wierd).

In my opinion, the biggest issue to check for before you buy is broken head studs. My current SS had two and almost relegated the bike to parts status. It can be extremely difficult and expensive to remove the broken studs since they often break off below the surface of the case and are made of a diamond hard metal. Almost impossible to easy-out. I'd suggest putting a wrench on all eight to make sure they're not loose before you buy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,483 Posts
I noticed no one has mentioned the swing-arm. After the cylinder studs breaking - that's probably the next most common failure (of the alloy swingarm models). Failure points are around the 'pinch-bolts' on the main pivot, and near the top shock mount. Then the next failure problem is the frame. OTOH - mine has done >60,000 kms - and the frame is still fine. For now. But - I've had to replace a couple of broken studs (well, replaced the lot...), and the swingarm, due to a crack.

Electrics - as mentioned - are a big thing too. Check/clean and re-plug all connectors that you can get to. Check the plug on the headlight bulb - if it shows signs of heating/burning - replace it, and while you're at it - wire up the headlight with a separate feed from the battery via a fuse and heavy gauge wire into two relays (for high and low beams) - this will improve the lighting hugely. Also remove, clean (including removing paint from bike frame) all connections between the frame, battery, and motor for the earth wiring. This is another of those 'well worth the time' jobs.

Change the fuel filter (in the tank). Change the fork oil - often that never gets done - and makes a big difference to the ride. Do the usual air and oil filter changes. Check/change the cam belts.

After that, you can start playing with things like new rear shock, exhaust, clutch kit, carbs, cams, pistons... :D Still plenty of good stuff around for the 900's. Enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
In defense of the bike:

1. Who knows why Ducati used such cheap wire. But the wiring diagram is KISS-simple and rewiring the major features isn't that hard. If you re-wire your starter relay, and replace/rewire your regulator, you're pretty much good to go. That's like an afternoon of work, if that. Not every motorcycle is that way.
2. Maintenance access is pretty durn good. People gripe about the rubber cam belts, but it only takes a few minutes to change them. I haven't had to do the clutch yet, but again everything is right out in front of you. Don't underestimate how nice it is, to be able to work on something without two hours of removing crap beforehand.
3. I don't find the carbs to be that bad. Buy a jet kit, follow the instructions, badabing.
4. I think the engine is a brilliantly simple, robust design.
5. Price of entry is pleasantly inexpensive.
6. And as for the other stuff, well that's what happens when you buy old motorcycles. You gotta work on them. Frankly I feel the SS is a pleasure to work on.

I don't compare the SS to something like my wife's Ninja. That Kawasaki is practical transportation. She doesn't want to do anything but add gas and oil (or, to be more precise, have me add oil). The SS is more of a cafe racer mentality. Something that's wild and temperamental. There's gotta be a tradeoff somewhere, and if the bike was a dog there would be no reason to mess with it. But there's something special about the SS. Kinda the looks, kinda the sound. Kinda the feel. It's like having a petite, adorable, oversexed Italian girlfriend from Bologna who is, to be sure, kind of a nut; but in a generally entertaining way. Sometimes she goes bonkers on you, but she's redirectable, and in the end the sex is good, and she doesn't expect you to spend a lot of money on her. Sure, she might crack up completely someday. But probably not today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
In defense of the bike:


I don't compare the SS to something like my wife's Ninja. That Kawasaki is practical transportation. She doesn't want to do anything but add gas and oil (or, to be more precise, have me add oil). The SS is more of a cafe racer mentality. Something that's wild and temperamental. There's gotta be a tradeoff somewhere, and if the bike was a dog there would be no reason to mess with it. But there's something special about the SS. Kinda the looks, kinda the sound. Kinda the feel. It's like having a petite, adorable, oversexed Italian girlfriend from Bologna who is, to be sure, kind of a nut; but in a generally entertaining way. Sometimes she goes bonkers on you, but she's redirectable, and in the end the sex is good, and she doesn't expect you to spend a lot of money on her. Sure, she might crack up completely someday. But probably not today.
Wow, that really sums it up! and if you have ever been to Bologna and seen the "belle donne" you would agree even more
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Btw I beat the living hell outta mine and fix things when they break which is almost never.

Got stranded once when the fuel pump shorted out. But I'd just had the fuel lines and filter in the tank messed with.

So I kinda expected it.

It's comfy, quick enough to scare me, looks and sounds amazing.

FCR carbs are up and coming.

Frame hasn't cracked that I can see.
Electrics are holding up
Carbs allow me to start the first time every time...

Maybe my tech is a genius?

Ain't selling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top