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Discussion Starter #1
I think I have lost my mind, I have a 91 907ie & a 91 900ss, Now I am thinking of another older Ducati, this time a bit sportier -Here are the ones I am thinking of---an F1, an 851 or an 888. Part of me is leaning more toward a 91 851, That way all would be the same year--weird maybe but consistent They would all have white wheels lol. Being that I dont know that much about these 3 bikes I am asking for you guys to chime in and tell me --The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly about all 3. These would be street bikes only never on the track but would be ridden a bit aggressively. any help and or advice will be appreciated. I realize it may take years to find the right one but first I must decide which one is the right fit
 

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Not at all sure what to tell you that you probably don't already know. Of the 3 you mentioned, the 851 is probably the most accessible if you can find one. The F1.....I've seen one in the last 20 years. The same one, every year on Cannery Row during WSBK/MotoGP weekend in Monterey. Seen just one for sale in the Bay Area in the last 5 to 6 years.

I've seen probably 12-15 851s pop up for sale on Craigslist in the Bay Area over the last 15 years or so. The one's I've seen haven't gone for silly money and anywhere from $4500-$8000 is what I've seen, depending on condition, records and mileage.

888? Forget it. Prices are what I'd call stratospheric for the most part. I've seen a handful come up for sale over the last few years. 3 last year alone. $10K is probably the lowest I've seen for one to upwards of $15K for more pristine ones.


Thing is, they were only made for a short time, and not many were made before the 916 showed up and few gave thought to the 888 for a number of years. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have one....but I can't justify the money required to own one...not with all the bikes I already have.

As for mechanical issues with them, I don't have a clue. There are others here with much more experience in that regard though. I'm sure one or two will chime in with info on that...as well as availability and prices in their parts of the world.........sean
 

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I have owned a '90 851 for 23+ years now. If you already own older Ducs you know what to expect as far as OEM build quality and the semi-handbuilt nature of these things. Not to mention parts availability.

Owning one of these older bikes is easier now than it used to be in the pre-internet days. There are now plenty of online resources for maintenance, tools, and upgraded parts. Back in the day it was the FBF catalog and the dealer parts counter.

I would agree the 888 seems a little bit overvalued (F1 too) compared to the 851. There were 500 851 brought into the US from '89-92 including the handful of SP examples. The 888 is not that much more rare (200 in '93 & 100 in '94 IIRC). The 888 looks very cool, doesn't seem to offer that much more in performance, not enough to justify a 50% premium IMO. Maybe the 851 is undervalued in actuality.

Anyway, point is all of these bikes are quite rare and special. Bike night most places you will be almost assured to be the only F1/851/888 in attendance. I get way more questions and comments on my old bike than anything else I have ever had.

I see the appeal of having three of the same year. As you probably know '90-91 models are mechanically identical except for the forks, triple clamp, and shock (EDIT: mirrors are rectangular on '91 as well). The '90 M1R forks and shock can be made to work "good enough" when setup for your weight.

Power-wise, don't expect a dramatic upgrade over your current bikes except on the top end. 7k-10k has a nice pop in power for the early desmoquattros. But it is nothing compared to the bikes that have came since (my 1299 has as much power as my 851 and 999...combined). My 851 feels like a toy, almost a beginner bike with respect to power. Funny how times change.

Comfort: there isn't any. Depending on your build and age, an 851/888 can be anywhere from OK to horrible. I rarely ride it these days (only 500 miles this year) so after owning it for half my life I am contemplating selling it next spring. We will see.
 

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If you want a project, I've got an '88 Tricolore frame with swingarm and corse hoop/rocker...
 

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I'm rather biased, and while the F1 is the Ducati that made me a fan to begin with, the '91 851 is my favorite of all of them. I finally bought one a few years back.



The earlier bikes don't look as good to me, and while the later bikes are arguable better functionally, I don't like how they look as much. Which isn't to say I don't like them! I have a buddy with a '94 SPsomething and it's pretty nice... but the white frame and wheels was the high point for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am going to hold out until I find a 91 851 for the right price, I'm not in a hurry, hell it took me 7 years to find the right 900ss lol
 

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Good choice, i'm partial to the 888 as i have one but the 851 will be easier to find parts for. From my experience at least, the 92 851, and 93 888 body panels are kinda scarce, have you seen what is asked for a tail light assembly??? that alone will make your eyes water....

Underneath they're very similar, the Airbox is much less refined and the injection with a P7 ECU isn't the greatest but you can update the injectors from the reds to greens and even plug a P8 in if you want (The P8 gives you the extra option of differential F to R mapping i think???)

The RR will likely have been replaced a few times already, but the issues are the same with all the old bikes so you know what you're looking for.

The 91 has rectangular mirrors and Showa forks which are both well worth having, you may get lucky and find one with an Öhlins rear, pretty sure they had Marzocchi as std up to 92, then went Showa?

They're a good robust bike but they are water-cooled and it's a MUST to look at the bike without bodywork, the radiators are fragile and the black engine covers often suffer heavy corrosion if they're not looked after, pay particular attention to the hoses and thermostat, the genuine set up has been NLA for a long time now and some suffer overheating issues because incompetent dickheads jerry rig them and get the plumbing wrong. There's no V panel until the updated body style in 92

If you're looking for the right one, to me that would be a well presented (regardless of mileage) documented maintained bike that has obviously been respected if not loved. The fewer the mods the better, slip ons are acceptable, rear shock will be likely, much more than that and start looking harder at it and or moving on to the next one, good luck finding one with an intact airbox but if you do it will likely be a peach.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm right there with you to me bone stock is what I am looking for, I am not scared of mileage as long as all service work has been done on time and correctly & also as long as it has not been thrashed to death, Hanger rash does not bother me as long as the bike has not been down If the paint is tired I can repaint it--broken, cracked or non-original bodywork that I may very well walk away unless it's so damn cheap I cant say no to lol
 

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I had a bit of an odd bike, which must have been a very early '92 851. It was a '92 with '91 bodywork, straight from the factory. I actually had 2 opportunities to buy 888's, but couldn't pull the trigger. I'd keep going back to the pictures of the 851 I sold. I actually sold it because I thought I wanted a 888, but after a lot of looking, there's just something about the '91 bodywork that I couldn't shake, so I bought another one. To each his own, but I think the '91 851 is one of the most gorgeous bikes ever made. Right up there with my '80 Honda CBX that I never should have sold.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I may be wrong but I would think a 91 would have upside down forks, white wheels & white frame--along with the other bodywork being different on the 91
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Nice and I do appreciate it but yes I am now set on a 1991 851, I know the 888 is probably a better bike, but I'm old and cranky so I may as well have a bike just like me lol--plus not saying the price is too high but it's more then I am willing to pay for something that to me is no more then a toy
 
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