29 July 2009 – Have Hammer, will Repair

I had to break out my favorite tool in the workshop last night – the Hammer. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as laying into a Ducati with a hammer. Well, almost. I occasionally need a hammer and drift to tap stuck closer shims off of mushroomed valve stems, and Bryan’s 996 had a bunch of them. The good news is that I only had to replace one opener rocker. Strangely enough, his opener clearances were huge, but the closers weren’t that bad. Large closer clearances are what beats up rockers. Some of Bryan’s openers were set at .012″ – 3 times the setting I encourage. I finished putting his 996 back together last night and will fire it up tomorrow afternoon to perform the F/I work. After that, I’m done working on Ducatis for a long time.

My email of the day goes to a gentleman that wanted to know if my book covered cooling systems. He also wondered if I’d accept $10 less than the stated price for the book because he was low on funds. I should have replied that if he was low on funds, he might want to sell what is probably the most expensive brand to maintain.

I’m taking a break this weekend from the Pcola environs and am meeting with brother Scott for some fun. If I stayed here I’d just work the entire weekend anyway, so in order to relax I’ll remove myself from the temptations of work. In order to accomplish that, all I need is my truck, a motorcycle, a box full of gear and a weekend’s worth of clean clothes.

I made my changes to the first prototype of the belt eccentric holding tool and the 2nd one is on the way to me. I should be able to add the tool to the mix before I leave town. It was one of the few tools that I couldn’t provide do-it-yourselfers, so I’m one step closer to being a one-stop. There is still a long way to go though in that regard.

Enjoy your Wed.

21 July 2009 – The CrossPlane

Mike W sent me this post from a Kawasaki Website. I found it interesting. Just in case you thought Ducatis were the only brands to still have issues. Granted, this is but 1 data point, but it is interesting and should provide fodder for some discussion.

On Monday the 15th of June I bought a NEW 2009 Yamaha R1. On Saturday the 20th, I sold it to a used bike dealer.


All documented proof can be read on the R1 forum. They are not believing it over there. They cannot believe someone bought the bike and sold it 5 days later because they didn’t like it. Well, that’s what happened.  I knew there was a problem when I rode it off the dealers lot. NO POWER below 8000 RPM’s. I later that day learned that the default map position of STD was not the most intense. That was A mode. Put the bike in A mode, some better. One day later on Tuesday I bought Genuine Yamaha Racing Technology cans. Bike ran much better with the cans and A mode. Then I rode my ZX-10 & wondered what is wrong with the R1.  The R1 as it turns out in the US is limited below 8000 RPMs by the Fly By Wire throttle. It does not use seconday flies, but uses the fly by wire throttle instead.  Up to 6000 RPMs, you only get 60% throttle, even if you have the twistgrip 100% open.  From 6000-8000 you get 80% throttle. From 8000-12000 you get 100% throttle.  From 12000-redline at 13,750 you get 81.5% throttle.  So as you can see, the R1 only gives you 100% throttle from 8000-12000 RPM’s and explains why it is dead below 8000. If your out on the freeway doing say 85 MPH in 6th gear, an indicated 6000 RPM’s and you go to pass a tractor trailer you better shift down 2 gears as there is no roll on power in 6th. If you open the throttle in

6th gear, the bike starts to “judder” real bad and slowly accelerate. Completely unacceptable.  There is no power below 8000. If you compare it to a ZX10, the ZX10 stomps its ass anywhere in the power band.  Even full throttle power above 8000 is not that impressive.  Starting out in 1st gear requires a lot of throttle and clutch slipping or it “judders” so bad it will shake your fillings out.  The water temperature skyrockets so fast that 1 cycle of a traffic light has it puking coolant out the over flow.  The front brakes are marginal at best.  Sounds good though.  I took a real beating on the R1 forum for getting rid of it after only 5 days and 400 miles, but it is a over hyped, over weight, under-powered POS.  The front end is twice as wide as a 08 ZX10 with these HUGE pieces of plastic covering the ram air ducts. Kawi really got it right going thru the frame.  Even Ben Spies has said NUMEROUS times his success this years has been due to the R1 Chassis and NOT the motor. Bike handles great for the huge weight it carries. Rear shock is nice. The STD and B map modes are worthless.  People are funny in that they relate Kawasaki’s lack on ANY SUCCESS on the world wide racing scene as meaning Kawasaki street bikes must suck. Huge mistake on their part.  R1 does NOT compare to 08 ZX10 for a street bike.  I took a loss and sold the POS.  Before anyone makes the mistake of calling BS on my post, I got pics of it all and proof of it all.  Cross Plane crank, at least for a street bike is all HYPE!


My Comments:


1. Most owners probably won’t notice what this owner did.

2. Most owners won’t tweak a bike to suit their needs.

3. Never buy the first year of a new redesign.

4. Stubborn people like myself would have found a way of making the bike work… or waited until Yamaha sorted it out.

5. Impatience usually isn’t rewarded and is usually costly.  


19 July 2009 “Wet & Wild at the Sachsenring” billg

If you hadn’t already read about it, you’ll wish you had seen it! The qualifying for the German GP was something to behold. While some of the practice was in the dry, qualifying was wet, then wetter, then wild.

Lorenzo shows no signs of slowing up in his bid to be top dog. But try as he might, Rossi isn’t ready to lay down for no one. He put in a good half race during qualifying and also managed to push his name up to the top a few times.

Stoner did the usual. Not so many laps, but enough to take the air out of everyone’s balloon when they thought they had a shot. Even with qualifying starting wet, the rain got worse as the session ticked off the minutes. And even so, Stoner kept lowering his lap times. He did finally pull in with plenty of time left and made no attempt to keep up with Rossi and Lorenzo. Still feeling run down and bruised up, he felt safer to let it hang out in the race.

Rossi did his best to act the spoiler. Just when Lorenzo had put down a flyer and the clock was running out. On his last lap, Rossi put him in his place. I don’t know how he did it, but he managed to find an almost perfect lap in the rain soaked conditions. I lost count how many bikes went down, but turn 8 was treachorous to say the least. Two “soft” high sides left riders sliding in the kitty litter at a good clip while their bike harpooned the air fence in spectacular fashion.

Nicky Hayden may have ended his dry spell in the wet! Even so, while the FP sessions showed he had improved greatly, staying in the top 5 consistently. His qualifying shows that he can still run fast, wet or dry. Post qualifying showed he had gone out on bike 1 with a transmission problem, stuck in 2nd gear. But after remounting on bike 2, he once again climbed on top. Hopefully all this is not too premature. But this has the makings of a trend from the past GP. Unluckily on the closing laps, Hayden was trying to do something extra, but the only extra thing he gained was a visit to the turn 8 catapult. Coming on the inside of Niccolo Canepa of the Pramac Ducati team, he high sided and was tossed forward into Canepa. Nicky hit Canepa, Canepa fell off in front of his and Nicky’s bike. Post Qualifying had them all ok, but if it rains for the race, turn 8 will not be a very fun place to be a volunteer corner worker.

Final Qualifying Positions:

Rossi (151pts), Lorenzo (142 pts), Stoner (135pts), Hayden (38pts)

Live Race begins at 5am Eastern 125cc, 6:15am Eastern 250cc, 8:00am MotoGP

17.5 July 2009 – Local ride Sunday morning…

Meeting up at 0730 at the Whataburger on Stewart Street in Milton.  So far Brad, Michael, Philip and I are riding.  Cool 70 degrees Saturday night so should be quite nice.  Departing W-Burger at 0800.   Done by 1100.  Enjoy your weekends…


15.5 July 2009 – Farewell Shifty

As a longtime fan of the “Band of Brothers” series, I thought I’d forward an email I received from a fellow Army type. If you remember Shifty Powers, the keen-eyed sharpshooter from Easy Company, you’ll appreciate the following story.

We’re hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services.

I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell “Shifty” Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the “Screaming Eagle”, the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he’d been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said “Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . ” at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said “I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?” At this point my heart stopped.

I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said “I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem.” I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said “Yes. And it’s real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can’t make the trip.” My heart was in my throat and I didn’t know w hat to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I’d take his in coach.

He said “No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy.” His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center.

No wall to wall back to back 24×7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

And that’s not right.

Let’s give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

13.5 July 2009- Italian/Import/Meet & eat Tuesday…

1830 at the NY Deli on Cervantes Street.  Ride if you can; drive if you can’t.  Seez yooz guyz there.  Your chix welcome and even highly encouraged.

Mark 😉

Good time last night.  I showed along with Steve (Papa), Patrick, Michael, Mike and his son Patrick.  Good food and a bit of bike lookin’.

11 July 2009-Local ride Sunday morning…

0730 meet up at the Whataburger on Stewart Street in Milton.  Depart at 0800.  Brad and I (Mark) riding.  Taking advantage of the nice mornings.

5 July 2009 – “Rode 10 Hours for a little Trim” billg

No this is not a sex-capade, sorry Mark! If you’ve been following the BB’s, many F1098 owners have been dealing with the standard Ducati “lean machine”. I myself have been trying to tweak into the solution by running two o2 Manipulators. With limited success, a few F1098 owners have also been trying this. Last week a mutiny of sorts took place where many of the owners wanted some sort of answer to come from Ducati and hence an email/phone call campaign was implemented worldwide. Maybe that’s a bit strong worded, but owners in other countries were experiencing the same issue.

The some bikes refused to behave while “attempting” to drive at city speeds from 25mph – 35mph. If you took a slow speed turn, and were not careful on the throttle, that monstrous slug of alloy between your thighs would bark to life rather promptly. I guess you could imagine the power coming on like a spontaneous sneeze. You get the tickle and before you can say “That’s a spicy meatball”, ACHOO!, the ponies kick in.

While other Ducs have suffered the same sort of demise, the F1098 owners were a bit more concerned with having the beast sneeze out of a corner, lifting womens’ skirts, causing children to shudder, and weak men relieve themselves upon hearing the boom from the twin cans. Ok, maybe that’s a little too much, but I can always dream for such things!

It did not take long for DNA and Ducati, Bologna, to think about this a bit. It is a first year bike. Maybe they went to lean. Maybe it is important to be able to ride a “cafe racer” of alien origin at city speeds. I myself don’t want to have to change gearing. I’m content with a strong first and second gear in relation to the sprockets. It pulls like one bad moth..(shut you mouth)… But also at highway speeds, if you let the revs ease down to 4k land, the motor feels like it is off power. Ride it in the 5k range, and it sings a very nice tune. As a rider, I would like to be able to ride it at 4k rpm. Very stealthy, conserves gas. If you need to pass, just drop it down a gear and the license to thrill is there for the taking. I passed a few people on my trip to Athens and I’m totally satisfied with the power curve and more so on how elegant or rather refined the bike acts as you push the bar to pull into the passing lane, squirt pass the offending semi truck, and push again to float right back in place ahead of him. Since the power is somewhat constant, you only notice when you look down that you went from 60mph to 90-ish in no time. Things happen faster and the more seat time, the better so you can match your input into what the bike can do. I certainly don’t mind putting in all this “hard work”.

Meanwhile back to the “fix”… So Ducati made available to dealers an adjusted map for the Street Fighter. And I guess if it isn’t mandatory (some owners never had an issue), you would either know about it or not, but most likely all yet to be sold bikes would get the updated mapping. In my case, there was an issue with the download at NPR, so it didn’t happen yesterday. When I got home I saw some postings that a fellow in the UK had his done, along with a few stateside. Results are that the flatspot was gone and all the townfolk put away their pitch forks and torches for another day of revolt.

As for putting in two 4 hour stints on the bike. It’s not that bad. It’s actually important for me, that before you throw money at something. You really need to put in the time to see if it really is the bike or you. If your wrists hurt, it maybe be you’re a lazy basterd (guilty at times) and need to work on posture and technique. In town, it is easy for the F1098 to get at your wrists. Stop and starts do it for me every time. I need to pinch the tank more as I come into a stop. Distance riding can be the same issue. With me, I tend to get lazy about not moving my hands and elbow. Even if you don’t put abuse into a joint or muscle, by not moving them for any period of time you get a sort of atrophy. As long as I remember to keep doing little adjustments, I’m fine. On the way back, I was tired and started slacking, which made it worse and caused me to have to stop more often. I find it cummulative, where once you start letting the things get sore (my bad left elbow and throttle hand), it’s important to try to get back the motion and relieve the tension. For me it can all be avoided by remembering to not be like a freaken brick on a bike, be the spaghetti!

Thankfully this ride I avoided all highways. I went US19 north; to US80 east; to US129 north, right to Athens. Only shitty part was cutting through Macon… Must try to route above it and skip that crap. Roads were all in good shape even though US19 is under a lot of construction, it’s sort of cool when they put everyone over on one side into one lane and you have to negotiate a chicane as you thread your way over. Above Americus Ga, the roads begin to flow with elevation changes and gentle sweeps. Morning temps were 67 degrees, upon arrival it was 91. Going home, 91 to start and only as I neared home did the temps drop back down.

The tank on the F1098 has plenty of range, about 140 miles. I’m only shooting for 75-80 mile stints. It is nice to have that extra range, in case you planned on a gas stop that just happens to be not there. Dealing with the wind is another matter. I’m perfectly ok with the buffeting. Now behind a truck, it is how you say… like being bitch slapped by Anemoi (greek wind gods). You either hang back far enough or get the hell past the truck. Noise-wise, with stock pipes, if you put in ear plugs, you tend to get that cut off from the world feeling. No wind, hardly any motor noise. I would like an ear plug to eliminate the wind, but not cut the sound. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

The only real issue I think relates to my fitment is the seat is not perfect for me. I’m sort of up on the tank since I’m not that tall. I could probably ride two up on the stock seat, although the first stop would render me scrambled eggs. I’ll probably look into another seat that offers a little more near the tank. If you are a 32 inseam, be prepared to use your toes. The bike does sit up. It’s not objectionable once you are rolling, but something you have to be aware of if you have to stop on any off camber areas.

Traction control has netted me at least three saves. While it’s hard to say, well maybe if you didn’t have it nothing would have happened. Yesterday I give it two saves. One in a gravel parking lot. While pulling out, just a touch of throttle, the tire broke lose. Dash goes off like I won at the $10 slots, the lights immediately showing full on DTC. I kept the throttle position, and the bike backed off until it had grip and moved forward in sort of a chuncky way, but totally comfortable. Mind you this was as I was transitioning from the gravel to roadway. So the bike was stopped in gravel and needed to move a bike length before hooking into pavement. It was very cool to witness this thing work. And finally on my last fillup, I was leaving the gas station with a little gusto, and the rear tire caught a road reflector. As soon as it clipped it, the tire broke lose, but the ghost of Christmas past came back again as the dash lit up. I felt the tire slide off the reflector, but the DTC had already cut power so it was just the inertia of the bike. Once off the reflector, it hooked up and no one had any idea what had happened. Nothing going on here! I’m sure it be there for me for many a time. And maybe it’s not something every bike needs. But with the nature of this beast always with the desire to claw the tarmac, it’s nice to know it there. All in all, coming up on 1200 miles on her in just the two weeks since getting her/it. I question it being a female, this thing has balls. Big ones. The only feminine thing about “it” would be the top down look of how the tanks sculpts into the seat and then further back into that nice tail booty. Ottenere Alcuni !!