30 April 2009 – Decisions, one-percenters and the Naked test

Above: The one-of-a-kind Brad Tire Machine hard at work on a set of Carrozzeria wheels. It doesn’t get any better than that. He’s working so fast his arms are blurry. Oh, wait a minute, the camera is just out of focus. All kidding aside, Brad is the BEST tire change man around. I wouldn’t trust anybody else with my high-priced wheels.

I appreciate Mark and Bill posting the past few days. I’ve been slammed with orders. I put the blurb on the website that I’ll be gone the 2nd and 3rd week of May, and the floodgates have opened on last-minute orders, including the inevitable express shipments for orings. Super.

Today I headed to my tire machine to change out the tires on Keith’s ST4S wheels, and put the Michelin 2CTs on the Carrrozzeria wheels for the 1000SS.  That plus a workout and an afternoon in the office and evening in the classroom killed another day.

Okay, decision time. I’m relatively certain I’ll be popping smoke in August to head to Tampastan for a tour or duty. I had deluded myself into thinking that I could just move all my inventory with me to Tampa, but there’s no way. I can’t fight a war and ship Ducati tidbits in my spare time. I have one idea to keep it afloat, but failing that DT will go on hiatus from the 2nd week of August this year to Summer 2010. Notice I didn’t say I’m going out of business. No fire sales of panic here. Fortunately, none of my inventory spoils.

What brought on this momentus decision. It’s called quality of life. Keeping a house afloat, keeping an eye to the sound of the gunfire from overseas, staying fit, continuing my military education, trying to be a good Professor to my students, AND running a business at night is killing me. The following incidents tend to make me want to run away anyway.

NOTE: What follows is my an example of when my calm demeanor is set off by a 1 percenter. It in no means reflects my attitude to the 99% of my customers who are most excellent.

An episode today sealed my decision to take a long-term break from this shit. I sell 2 variants of flywheels – Nichols and Slingshot. Slingshot only makes the simple 3-phase flywheel. It’s just a hunk of billet, just like the Nichols brand piece. The Nichols 3-phase variant is $199. The Slingshot is $119. That’s quite a price difference. So, I put a note up on my Nichols flywheel ad that I substitute the Slingshot flywheel for the Nichols one for that variant of flywheel. For the other 4 variants I use Nichols because they are the only ones available (Note: I probably sell about 10 flywheels a year, so we’re not talkng an earth-shattering amount of business). Nichols is expensive, but it’s good stuff.  But I can’t see paying an extra $80 just for the Nichols name on the 3-phase flywheel. That variant has no timing pickup… Nothing. Just a slab of billet. So, a customer in Australia orders the Nichols flywheel. I substitute the Slingshot, charge him $119, and send it out. I get an email that he sold his 998 for a 996R and needs a different flywheel. After checking and several emails back and forth, I found out that the 996R uses the same flywheel. Good to go? Not quite. Next I get an irate email from the customer that the flywheel he received isn’t a genuine Nichols flywheel and wants to know what I’m going to do about it. What am I going to do about it? How about I reach out across a few oceans and choke the living shit out of you for saving you $80….But I digress. I reply that the ad states I substitute the slingshot flywheel for the Nichols. The problem is when I created the sales receipt, instead of calling up the slingshot #, I simply called up the Nichols part # and discounted the price to $119. The customer is convinced I screwed him. How I don’t know, but I suppose the Nichols item on the sales receipt spun him up just as his email did to me. Perspectives as like assholes, and we all have them. And since my perspective is the biggest, I therefore am the biggest asshole, so I win. But I digress…. again.  

So, I offer to pay for his return shipping, then order one of the pricey Nichols units that I don’t stock, then charge him the difference and pay for the return shipping. I also state that if he wants this option it will conclude further business between us = I’ll blacklist the shit out of him for being a $#(*&%. Just a little taste of my world for all your DDers. Do I sound like I need a vacation?

I suppose I should take such incidents in stride as being part of running a business, but when I try to do a good thing and it backfires I get all revved up. I need to just do some of my yoga and deep breathing exercises and all my worries will just go away and I’ll never again have to fret with irrate customers. Yeah, the chance of that happening is about as great as me falling for some chick I barely know.

I got an emal from Editor Dave that this year’s bike comparo can’t take place in July because he and brother Donnie have scheduling conflicts. I have military duty the first 2 weeks of June. That only leaves the last 2 weeks of June to do the test. This year we will test exotic Nakeds (yup, there’s my bit of sex for this post). Head to head we’ll pit the Ducati Streetfighter S versus the MV Brutale R, Aprilia Tuono-R, the KTM 990 Supermotard, and the Buell 112x Cafe Racer. This year, we’ll head North/East from Los Angeles into the Sierra mountains for some stunning scenery and 4-5 days of flogging test bikes. Gee, that shouldn’t suck. The only downer is having to tell my best bud Brad that I can’t do the trip out West with him and Bluto. I’m going to try to do a North GA mountains trip for a few days instead with Brad. I may try to sneak away next week for a few days to get in an excursion. We’ll see. While I love to do my trips with Dave and Donnie, It’s a bummer that it’s a trip for the 3 of us. The scenery and roads are so spectacular it leaves us speechless. Such experiences should be shared with loved ones.  

The Super ST2 is up on the website for sale. I’ll kick back and bask in the beauty, and wait however many months/years it takes to sell it. I’ve got plenty of time. You can check it out at:

http://desmotimes.com/98ST2.htm

Enjoy your whatever hell day it is tomorrow. Peace out.

29 April 2009 – “Itch the Scratch or Scratch the Itch?” billg

Damn I don’t know if the Street Fighter itch will subside or not… I’m starting to look at what ST’s are selling for. That is not a good sign. What I should probably do is build a track bike. I was going to mention this on the BB to pose the thought of which Duc makes the best track bike? One similar to one you (meaning I) already ride… another S2R or take it up a notch to an S4R, or something with a fairing? I lean towards something that I already have my mind wrapped around in riding position. Any thoughts…pro con ?

Ah the pitfalls of being single, the only person to tell you “No” is yourself. What makes this more of an issue is that I see two unrelated things. The hunt for Steve Fossett on Discovery Channel and a new article on the web of how a biker was hit by lightning while riding back from a charity event.

With Steve Fossett, he did more things that could have killed himself, and yet he went down in a plane that has a spotless record. A plane that is considered one of the safest out there. But he crashed anyway while scouting out some land. He could have died ballooning across the ocean; or flying into near outer space; or had he lived to attempt his land speed run, he had a 50/50 chance of dieing trying to go faster than anyone had ever gone before. But fate had him going out in a way that stymies those who have watched him do insane projects, one after the other. God Speed to him!

The second thing that didn’t help my itch was a web story on the biker. Here’s a guy coming back from a charity event to prevent violence to children. A worthy cause. Only to be struck down by lightning on the ride back home while riding. What the hell is up with that?

The older you get, the more you realize that you only get one ride. If you sit on a couch and are happy with that, then that is all it will be. If you chose to do otherwise, then THAT is all it will be. If you save every dime to prepare for retirement, you still stand a chance of being hit by debris from de-orbiting space junk. Who knows, in 20 years if we will still be “allowed” to have internal combustion engines. We may be marginalized as “collectors” and be limited to de-militarized engines with lead poured in the cylinder heads like vietnam war trophy AK-47’s, only to be viewed at the post-modern museum of propulsion, right next to the Evolution of Man exhibit.

I guess sometimes the whole environmental thing just makes me sit back and look where things are going. Two strokes are bad. Ban them. Anything that is “judged” bad for the environment, make it harder to own and ban that too. Let’s all just sit around and eat tofu with jelly made from house fly larva as they are decidedly the only creature that is left unprotected. Maybe it’s not just an environmental thing at all, maybe it’s just a control thing. Someone always wants to be the supreme alpha since they know what’s best. Pick a period in history and try to find a time when someone was NOT at war. And while all this distraction to living a life goes on, there are those who want to put forth an agenda. Be it prohibition; the gun control act of 1934; the Revenue Act of 1862; 1973 National Speed Limit Law. Much has been done to appease those who have pull (money) inside the Beltway.

I often wonder what would be the reaction of people if the United States allowed a cross country race that was sanctioned. What would it be like if we had our own version of the Isle of Man? How many kids know about the days of old when wooden tracks were built for racing? While the Olympics still uses it for bicycling, I can only imagine the thrill of seeing motorcycles doing the same.

It just makes you wonder. Do I itch the scratch or scratch the itch?

28 April 2009 – Etc…(Mark)

Had a couple of rides this weekend with LT and company.  The Saturday ride had my wife on the back of the ST with me.  She’s a great passenger and loves to sight see out in the fresh air but it is now quite clear to me that there are two things about motorcycling she does not, repeat, not like.  1.  the ability to reach out and touch the black top due to excessive lean angle and 2. getting her head ripped off by wind blast…which we’ve decided is anything over “normal” highway speeds on the ST.  Got it.  I see the addition of a Gold Wing in our distant future.  We love doing things together and motorcycling is no exception.  A Wing with a properly setup suspension can get dusted off quite easily by me on my ST in the twisties most of the time but damn can they carve “for a big bike”.   We’ve had ’em eat sportbikes for lunch on local rides in the hands of our local members of what I refer to as the Gold Wing Roadracing Association.  I’ve got to think hitting the twisties at speed behind that huge windshield while seated in an easy chair has got to be more comfortable/acceptable than the back of my ST.  Hmmm…

I picked up my 999 from LT.  Despite his gracious efforts to bandaid my clutch pack, my clutch slipped nicely passing 6000rpm heading into the real powerband on the way home when I hammered it.  Engine pulled very nicely as if off a fresh Desmo Times service but I’ll need to pull the clutch pack fully and inspect it with measurements.  No worries.

 

****RACE SPOILER ALERT****

I spent Sunday afternoon catching up on F1, WSBK and MotoGP.  I watched 4 races with some time travel courtesy of the DVR.

-Formula 1-Interesting rules changes this year have yielded excellent competition.  We’ve had three different teams occupying the front row in as many races though Jensen Button is the most consistent overall driving for the Braun GP team (formerly Honda) this year.

-WSBK-Race 1 was phenomenal with Spies snagging victory from Haga in the last couple of turns.  Race 2 was dominated by Haga as Spies crashed out on lap one after losing the front end. 

-MotoGP-Rossi gets spanked by his teammate and Stoner makes the best of the situation with a 5th place finish.  Nice work Casey!  Hayden?  No idea.  Never saw him or heard his name on the broadcast.

27 April 2009 – Panic Mode

I got flooded with orders this past weekend. I’m guessing that riders are in full prep-mode for Spring/Summer riding, and have been putting off their maintenance until now. Better late than never I suppose. I get a kick out of some people I know that will put off things until the last minute, and then pay Express charges and other fees to get things in the nick of time. Brad sees this all the time with customers wanting tires fitted the day before an out-of-town excursion. While I sometimes forget small details, I’m pretty good about preparing for my trips well ahead of time. For instance, I’m supposed to go on a 10 day motorcycle trip 2 days after returning from 2 weeks of Military Duty in June. If my bike isn’t prepped before I leave for my military duty, I’ll be in a sorry state trying to unpack from the Army at the same time I’m packing for the trip.  In fact, the bike is already prepped and I already dug out my touring packing list. The few items I will need aren’t show-stoppers and I can find them locally. Of course, it helps to have spare parts sitting in bins for just about anything I need. In fact, during times of poor sales I just laugh and say that I guess I’ll have spare parts for my bikes in perpetuity.

I enjoyed a Blackwater blast yesterday with Michael (S4RS) and Mark (ST4S). I rode the MV. The MV is the closest thing I’ll ever own to what I imagine a MotoGP bike to be. It’s a fire-breathing torque beast that wants to do 100MPH just to breathe. The throttle is VERY touchy,  it’s louder than hell, the acceleration sucks the air out of your lungs, and it handles amazingly well for a 500 pound Superbike. Unfortunately, my cooling system fix didn’t seem to do much to lower the heat. It puts out 180 degrees at highway speeds, and shoots over 210 the instant a red light is approached. My manual fan switch kept things around 200 in traffic, but it’s no fun feeling your thighs and butt bake, unless your into that sort of thing. The only way to keep the bike cool is to flog it in the twisties. I hear that at 178 mph it’s supposed to run the coolest, but I can’t imagine going that fast on a bike. 😉

Enjoy your Mon

24 April 2009 – Choices, Timing & Living in the Moment

Life is a stressful event. Fortunately, most of us are able to manage our daily activities and dodge potholes with relative success. Occasionally, decisions arise that have far-reaching implications. The last year has been tumultuous for me in this regard. I’ve been very aware of decisions that have sent me into uncharted waters. Only hindsight will tell me if the paths I’m taking were the right ones. Sometimes, it is more comforting to travel the familiar path, being safe in the knowledge that a known commodity is stable and predictable. I’ve been around long enough to look back at the forks in the road to determine if I should have chosen different paths. Fortunately, I don’t have that many regrets. The few that I do have haunt me during quieter moments. One of them involved a girl I dated while living in Arizona. She was a Canadian attending ASU. I had just moved from Penna to AZ to attend grad school, and we stayed at the same graduate dorm. We instantly hit it off and fell in love. After a brief semester, she flew back to Canada with the intent of saving her money to attend more schooling in Arizona. We carried on a long-distance relationship for a summer, but soon it was obvious that she wasn’t coming back to Arizona for schooling so I let her slide away. She soon found somebody else and got married. Karyn would call me several times each year thereafter, lamenting her decision to give up on us (usually she was drunk when she called. Hmm, maybe I should be glad things didn’t work out… glug, glug, glug). It did me little good to get her calls, but I wonder if she thought ahead of time about the possible consequences of her decision, and if her life’s path would have been happier if she had returned to Arizona to be with me. Of course, I probably wouldn’t have started my PhD had she returned, so that would have been a financial disaster in the long run. I also never would have met Suzi… but I digress.

In retrospect, I wish I would have sat down with Karyn before she flew home to explain that there are a few moment’s in one’s life where decisions have far reaching consequences, and that opportunities such as what we had were rarer than rare. I met a gal recently that I wish I could have the same conversation with. Unfortunately, I’ve found out several more truisms over the years. First, don’t assume your conceptualization of reality and rationality are the same as the person you are interacting with. Both are uniquely personal and unique. Second, the tighter you tend to hold onto something, the more likely it will slip quickly through your fingers. The saying that “if you love something, set it free” used to sound like a cop out to me. I now think it makes sense, but only from a standpoint of understanding that there are some things you can’t control, and understanding that can bring peace of mind. Finally, don’t overthink the want to have something last at the expense of enjoying what you now have. There is something to be said for living in the moment. We all lose in the end, but we shouldn’t pass on experiences that make us better persons in the meantime. At the same time, decisions bring consequences, and we need to live with the outcomes of our actions. The trick is to balance living in the moment with preparing for the future.

I’ve found that timing (and to some extent luck) dictate what paths we take on the forks in our roads. I didn’t choose to be in Civil Affairs and Special Operation in the US Army. Ten years ago I was on the path to Battalion Command as an Armor officer, blissfully unaware that Armor would be leaving my State for good. In retrospect, it was a good thing for me. Likewise, I didn’t choose to be a college professor or entrepreneur. It just sort of happened. In retrospect, I’ve been very lucky, or should I say a hard worker sprinkled with fortune.

At breakfast this morning with Dr Tom Westcott, a buddy and fellow faculty member, we talked about these issues, laced with motorcycle talk of course because he’s a rider too. Tom is a repository of psychology studies. He quoted the results of a survey of over 100,000 people over the age of 65. The survey asked 2 simple questions – which do you regret more, the things you did or things you failed to do? Overwhelmingly, older people said they regretted the things they didn’t do. I suppose that explains the recent boom in retiree vacations. I’ve always had that viewpoint. There’s a recent gal I met who I’d love to spirit off to trips with me when I head out of town for work/play, but her situation is complicated. Rather than be upset that she won’t join me, or try to explain that what we have is some once-in-a-lifetime thing (which it may be),  I’m not going to let it spoil my fun. The trips will still happen, and, while I regret that I can’t be with her, I’d rather not be one of those respondents in a survey who has to say I regretted the things I didn’t do. I can’t control her decisions, but I can control mine. Now if I can just stop looking into her eyes.

Now let me tie this in with motorcycling.. finally. Approximately 10 years ago I came across another local Ducati nut who loved his 888. He saved for it for years, purchased it, polished it and took impeccable care of it. He even had his enclosed motorcycle trailer painted red with a mural of an 888 on it. When he got too old to straddle the torture-rack 888, he approached me to purchase it. At the time, I wasn’t that thrilled with the 888, and was still living in the high of the 916-series. He sold the bike to somebody else at a bargain, and I went on about my business. I had a feeling that I’d regret my decision by passing on the deal. Sure enough, several years later I got a hankering for an 888 and ended up driving 1000 miles to purchase one that cost more and required more restoration.  The moral of the story?  Sometimes opportunities are truly once-in-a-lifetime, and when you see something that looks too good to be true it might be even better. I know that defies conventional wisdom, but sometimes you have to grab opportunities as they present themselves.  How is one to balance what we have now with the decision to go for the gusto? Hell if I know, but the older I get the more risk I seem to want to take. That also defies the conventional wisdom that we tend to get set in our ways as we get older. I still have my habits, but I’m more apt to take a gamble on some adventure now than I was 10 years ago. If it wasn’t for the crushing burden of my 3 self-imposed careers, I’d probably be more adventureous.

One more bit of psychology.. Tom is a counselor. When he councils students, he asks them 3 questions – What do they want? What are they doing now? and Is what they are doing now leading them to what they want? Those three basic questions are at the core of a lot of self-help books, not to mention religions. I observe that a lot of people do the things they HAVE to do so that they can do the things they WANT to do. For instance, my students attend my classes because they need to pass the class in order to get a degree and a better-paying job. Of course, knowing what you want to do it the toughest of the 3 questions. At this point in my life I know exactly what I want to do, and can tell you my concept of a happy life from here until the pearly gates. Am I doing things now that contribute towards that? Absolutely, with every action I take. Some actions are less fun than others, but I wouldn’t trade any of my issues for a chance to be in somebody else’s shoes. It’s good to be King.

Okay, enough of the philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Mark, your 999 is coming off the lift today to sit in the corner. I spent 4 hours last night trying to get on the vertical belt cover. I even tried pulling the clutch assembly and removing the entire clutch housing in an attempt to slide the cover up under the frame rails. No dice. I don’t see any way to get the cover back on in 1 piece. The only tech I know of who might know how to do it is away from the shop until Tuesday, so I’ll try to ask him. I even tried Googling the problem… and the first google hit was the Daily Desmo of 2 days ago when I posted this problem. There are some downsides to having a good rating with Google. I sourced my own issue as the solution to the problem, which is truly a circular argument. My recommendation is to let me slice the cover in a way that will unobtrusive and barely visible. Failing that, the bike will sit in the corner. I’m out of patience with the damn thing. I even put in a comedy – Knocked Up – on the TV to change my mood. No dice. I was swearing like a sailor at 2200 last night and called it quits. Everything else is done other than the F/I tuning. Oh, good thing I pulled your clutch pack. It’s shot, with very little friction material left on 1/2 of the friction plates. Gee, you can’t tell you’ve been hammering that thing.

Rides this weekend –  0845 departure from my place tomorrow for a breakfast ride to the Oasis. Sunday meet at 0800 in Pace at the Whataburger on Woodbine rd. If nobody expresses interest in riding on Sunday, I may bail again. Often I’m not in the mood to ride alone. So, don’t wait until Sat night to express an interest to ride on sunday. The Sat ride is on with or without anybody else. Keith, I’ll be out of pocket 0845-1400 tomorrow. If you plan on dropping off your bike then just hide the keys somewhere. Otherwise, come early and ride to breakfast with us. I have your order boxed up to go with you.

That’s enough. 

Enjoy your Fr.

23 April 2009 – If Ducatis were ICBMs

Fresh off another marathon day, I’m up at 0400 to start another one. All of the orders from the past 4 days are boxed up and ready to head out this morning. That’s a good thing.

I spent yesterday morning with Faye and then had lunch with her and LuAnn in Foley. Then it was back to campus for office hours and a night class, followed by a trip home to pack all the boxes. I’m still waiting on the clamptite tools, which should be here today.. I hope. I haven’t had time to fit the new wheels to the Super ST or Bob’s 1000ss. I won’t try to do that until I get Mark’s 999 off the lift. I ran into a snag getting the vertical belt cover on, and can’t seem to figure out a way of getting it past the frame rails. I got it off. so it should go back on… I hope.

I had a voicemail from my Ducati Pusher, saying he heard I was looking for a Desmosedici. No, no, no. First, I’m not about to drain my assets by purchasing another high-priced toy I don’t need. Second, the IRS drained me dry last week for quarterly’s and taxes for 2008. Third, if it doesn’t fit my business model, I don’t purchase it, and the Desmosedici isn’t of use for my maintenance manuals. I’m not trained in doing a service, and there aren’t enough produced for me to want to include it for study. Sure, I’d love to have one sitting in my living room (with a Supermodel of course), but there are other priorities.

I decide in 2 weeks whether I want to mobilize for a year of Active Duty training. The decision has been weighing on my mind for the past 2 months, and I’m still undecided. I’ll break the news either way in Mid-May. From a fitness standpoint, I’m right where I need to be. I’ll take another diagnostic PT test this weekend, and hopefully my run time will be down near 15 min. I’m tired of doing wind-sprints. The bigger picture is that I’m not going to sit around and watch the Taliban get a hold of Nukes in Pakistan or the Iranians have nuclear capabilities. If Ducatis were ICBMs, I’d be launching my fleet of bikes at TRPs in the Southwest Asia.

Enjoy your Wed.

22 April 2009 – Tuesdays and Wednesdays Suck

Fresh off a 12 hour day at school yesterday is a 14 hour day today. Work out at 0600, head over to the Wibels in Elberta at 0800 to troubleshoot Faye’s computer, then lunch with Faye and LuAnn, then back for office hours and to teach a night class tonight. Good thing I love my careers.

No desmo news today. I’m behind getting orders out for the past 3 days, so I’ll be tackling them when I get home tonight at 2000. The only real holdup has been getting my shipment of clamptite tools. They’re my worst vendor – they rarely return phone calls and never return emails.

Nothing else pithy to report. I’m too tired. Time to inhale my breakfast and head out the door to start my day.

DD Readership hit another all-time high the last 7 days.

There will be no shipments between 9 May and 23 May due to military obligations. Yup, it’s that time of the year again.

Enjoy your Wed.

21 April 2009 – The Experiment Worked

Mark and I were chatting last week about the fact that I can do all sorts of technical write-ups on the blog and get very little response. His theory was that few DD readers can relate to the technical writeups, even though I don’t get into the nitty-gritty of technical mumbo jumbo on the blog. Mark said that “sex sells”, which I agreed with. Yesterday’s blog post was an attempt to mix motorcycling with sex, and, as evidenced by the number of comments, the hypothesis was proven. Actually, you can’t prove a hypothesis, you only get to not disprove it, but I digress… again. One more thing on the subject – yesterday’s DD had the highest readership of any daily post EVER.

I spend the better part of yesterday finishing the valves on Mark’s 999 and buttoned up the valvetrain. I then spent an hour trying to reinstall the vertical cam belt cover. What a PITA. I finally just called Mark and had him post a query to Ducati.ms. I’ll give it another go tomorrow, but the belt covers on the 2005+ 999 are thicker and installation is harder on the vertical cylinder. All that’s left is to change out the fuel filter and do the fuel-injection work.

Keith, if you’re reading this, I’ll be ready for your ST4S this weekend.

I chatted with Donnie Searle yesterday. He was in Dallas doing his lawyer thing. We’re trying to set up this year’s motorcycle comparison ride in California. It looks like the flavor of the test will be exotic nakeds. Be still my beating heart. Candidate bikes are the Benelli Tre, MV Brutale, Ducati Monster 1100s, and the Aprilia Tuono-R. The only problem is finding a time that fits all 3 of our schedules, and with the amount of time I’ll be away this Summer, that ain’t easy. I’m excited to test nakeds in the California Sierras though. Spectacular riding and stunning scenery abound, which is typical of riding in California.

My shipment of Carrozzeria wheels came in yesterday – one set for the Super ST, and the other for Patrick’s 996. The wheels look fantastic. I’ve installed my share of aftermarket wheels, and the Carrozzeria’s are top shelf. The only odd thing, which Patrick noticed, is that Carrozzeria has a different spoke count on their rear wheels compared to the front wheels. You have to look hard to notice and actually sit there and count the spokes, but depending on the fitment, there are spoke count differences. Once the rotors are bolted on, it will be hard to notice. I’ll have the wheels on the Super ST by the end of the week, shoot the pics this weekend, and it will be on the website for sale next week. Price is a whopping $8500, but if you look at the mods, you’ll see why I consider it a bargain:

  1. 23000 miles on ’98 ST2 – 0 Miles on Fresh service with new belts, fuel filter, oil filter and oil, coolant, spark plugs, New Chain and Tires, valves adjusted and fuel injection adjusted. – a $600 service
  2. Galfer Kevlar Clutch/Brake Lines – $200
  3. Evo Rear Fender Eliminator – $75
  4. Carbon Rear Hugger – $250
  5. DT Rear Axle Plates – $75
  6. DT High Output fan with remote switch – $100
  7. Custom 2 tone paint – Silver and Metallic Black – $500
  8. DT Countershaft Sprocket Cover – $40
  9. Cyclecat bar risers (unobtanium part – vendor out of business) – $550
  10. Dr. Desmo 1″ tall handlebar spacers – $105
  11. EK 525 Gold Chain – $145
  12. Throttlemeister with Crampbuster – $165
  13. Carozzeria Lightweight Aluminum Wheels with steel rear sprocket – $1800
  14. Galfer Wave Rotors – $650
  15. Galfer Brake Pads – $120
  16. Galindo Grips – $15
  17. Sargent Seat – $350
  18. DP Carbon Cans – $800
  19. BMC Performance Air Filter – $70
  20. CRG Billet Levers – $220
  21. FIM High-Performance Chip – $225
  22. Tank Pad – $10
  23. Vented Clutch Housing with New Barnett Basket/Clutch Pack – $550
  24. Slingshot Clutch Pressure Plate with Stainless Springs – $150
  25. Madduc Clutch Cover – $89
  26. Ducati Designs Headlight – $550
  27. DT Peg Lowering Plates – $75
  28. Vented Belt Covers – $125
  29. Maintenance-Free Battery Upgrade/Modification – $150
  30. DT Voltage Regulator plate and relocated regulator – $70
  31. Upgraded Stator/Stator bushing – $300
  32. Upgraded Countershaft sprocket retention clip
  33. DP Comfort Fairing (no longer available from Ducati) – $500
  34. New Continental Road Attack Tires – $350

How’s that for a laundry list?

Oh, I almost forgot, your sexual content of the day relates to riding 2-up. Have you ever revved a Duc a little more with somebody on the back because you heard that the vibrations thrill? I didn’t think so.

Enjoy your Tue.

20 April 2009 – The Desmosedici and the Supermodel

I remember writing in a few articles for MCN that it’s often better to want a motorcycle than actually owning it. The exhiliration of knowing that you can have any bike you want can be intoxicating. All too often, buyer’s remorse sets in after a purchase is made due to the realization of the hole in one’s wallet. The sudden recognition that the realm of possibilities for the other bikes has evaporated contribute to deflating the high of shopping for a bike. Of course, even when looking a bike, there are those motorcycles outside our boundaries of possibilities due to our income level. I love the looks of a Desmosedici, but plunking down $70K for a motorcycle requires A LOT of disposable income, and I’m the kind of person to extend myself beyond my financial means.

The want of a motorcycle is always there for a rider, as are other wants in life. We always seem to want nicer things – a house, a car, a significant other, or, for those more hedonistic, a nicer face or body. Sometimes it’s best not to tempt ourselves by considering those things outside our reach. But the human condition seems inexorably tied to wanting things we cannot or should not have. Now that I’ve been thrust upon the dating scene, I’m discovering the rules I apply to motorcycles apply to dating as well. You can’t watch television without seeing countless images of beautiful women. But while it would be nice to date a Supermodel, the cost of upkeep would probably far surpass the cost of any motorcycle I could purchase.

So where should we set our sights? Should we lower our expectations and only look for bikes that fit our wallet, or should we consider the Supermodel, and go for the gusto? I know many people that put up pretty screensavers on their computer of things far beyond their reach, teasing themselves every time they look at the monitor. I used to think that it was better not to tempt oneself, and would quickly turn away when I saw a bike that I wanted, but shouldn’t have. Of course, with all the purchases I’ve made in the last few years, obviously there isn’t much that makes me turn my head away.

In our continued quest for the “perfect” motorcycle, or in many of our cases, the perfect motorcycle stable, we often realize that sometimes being satisfied with what we have creates more harmony than the discord wrought by wanting things we cannot or should not have. While this sounds all well and good, I prefer to live under the adage that nothing ventured is nothing gained. I’d much rather try to find a way of rearranging my assets to afford a $70K Desmosedici, or at least consider it within the realm of possibilities. Likewise, I’d rather at least get shot down asking a Supermodel out for a date. After all, maybe she’s dating somebody who doesn’t dream about his realm of possibilites, and who wants to date somebody that isn’t willing to take things to a higher plateau?

In my perfect little world, I’d possess the Desmosedici AND the Supermodel. That way if she left me, I could always stare at the motorcycle, and smile to myself in the knowledge that in 20 years the Desmosedici will look just as good as it does now. My shallowness knows no bounds.

Enjoy your Mon.

20 April 2009 – Just an ST

When the ST2 was first released in 1998 I hated it. At the time, I was not a Pierre Terblanche fan, I hated the styling and I disliked just about everything the ST had to offer. Within 3 years of its introduction, I had changed my tune. At present, it’s one of my all-time favorite Ducati designs. Of course, not willing to leave good enough alone, my ST, like most owner’s STs, is heavily modified. It would take a blog entry to catalog all the upgrades, but BST Carbon wheels with Braketech Axis Stainless rotors, Wilbers/Traxxon suspension, DD Headlight, Cyclecat bar risers and the DP Comfort fairing are the biggies. What the ST lacks in power, it makes up for in cornering ability and ease of maintenance (once the fairing is off). On a very recent joust in Blackwater, I was amazed at how stable the ST was in the corners, how fast it transitions, and how comfortably it rides 2-up. A properly set up ST2 will cruise 80-90 mph all day 1 or 2 up, and not require much in terms of speed reductions to carve corners. As stated elsewhere, the only thing the ST lacks is power. To compensate, a rider must carry a high corner speed and sustain it through to the next corner. In return, it offers plenty of storage, good wind protection, a good fuel range, and dependability. Put your favorite gal on the back, and you’ll both be smiling ear to ear when you get off. None of this is any surprise to me, for I’ve owned my ST for 7 years and over 30000 miles.

I was trying to explain to a close friend the other day that I don’t ride bikes for relaxation. While I do get a lot of release out of it, I use it to channel some of my energy. I suppose there are worse ways to channel energy than corner carving. If fact, it’s good clean fun provided it be done safely and in a manner so as to not endanger anyone other than the rider. After most rides, I’m comfortably numb – relaxed, at peace with the world, and in a more-than-typical good mood. Still, I view it as a hobby and a sport that, while on surface all-consuming, doesn’t define me. There are few venues outside of this forum where I discuss anything motorcycle-related. I rarely mention it in the classroom and most friends who don’t ride never hear me utter a word about motorcycles. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about them, it just means if you want to fit in, you have to have other interests. Lets see, most of my friends ride, other than motorcycling I don’t have much time for anything other than fitness, and unless it’s a motorcycle race, I rarely watch TV. Perhaps I’m not as well-rounded as I purport.

Enjoy your Sunday