30 October 2009 – The 800 Hyper and the Milan Show

The baby hyper hasn’t been getting much interest at dealerships. Of course, it may be because sales are so abysmal, but it may also be because the price-point is wrong, or that people want the “real” Hyper – the 1100. Ducati had the same problem with the baby Multistrada. Soon, the testa-based Adventure-tourer will be revealed at the milan show. I’m looking forward to seeing that in the flesh. Motorcycledaily also has pictures of the new Moto Morini liter-class motard. Very tasty indeed. I’m amazed at the ability of the Italians to make cool-looking bikes.

I ran into an LTC at the office that has a 748L. He’s owned it for 6 years and only put 6500 miles on it. Geez, sounds like one of my bikes. He has one of my manuals, but never connected the dots on who I was so we chatted for awhile. He’s friends with COL Reap, so now there are 3 of us here at SOCOM that have Ducs.

I’m joining a crew of fellow SOCOMers and firefighters/police to run a relay next weekend from Duluth GA back here to Tampa – a 600 mile relay to benefit the wounded/fallen of wars since 9/11. The Wounded Warrior run is an annual event so maybe I can make it a tradition for me to participate. It’s no big deal fitness-wise. I just have to be able to run for one hour a day for 4 consecutive days. I’ve been running in the noon heat to prep me for it.

Enjoy your weekend.

25 October 2009 – Motoreva up and running

Andrew sent me an email to let me know the harmonic tensioners are on the way to me. I activated the order link for the product again.

The calendars went out today, so everyone should be pleased at what they find in their mailbox next week.

Not a good start for Haga’s hopes of securing the superbike title. He qualified on the 3rd row, a full second off Spies’ pace. Good luck Nori!

Enjoy your Sunday.

22 October 2009 – And now a word from Surflex

 

Me and the Hyper S at Deal’s Gap.  The same bike with a much better person in view is available as the February 2010 calendar shot from DucatiHOTTIE.us

I sent my monthly email to Surflex, this time asking where the promised clutches were. I got a simple reply that they’ll ship next week. Gee, where have I heard that one before.

A big thanks to Brad for pulling my stuck truck out of the mud at the house, and also for pulling the stuck lawnmower out after he freed the truck. My next truck HAS to be a 4WD.

21 October 2009 – Harmonic Tensioners

Andrew emailed me that shipments of harmonic tensioners will resume next week. When I have them in stock, I’ll reactivate the order link. Expect it to go live again on the 28th.  There are a bunch of products I’d like to come out with, but I can’t do a damn thing from here. It’s hard to field test products when you can’t get to your bikes. Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh…

20 October 2009 – Delay in Calendar Shipments

The 2010 DucatiHOTTIE Calendars were dropped off by the printer on Saturday. Unfortunately, they didn’t punch the hole for hanging it. They are being picked up today and I will have them back by the end of the week for shipment. Sorry for the delay. On the plus side, the calendars turned out GREAT!

NDC – Another Op-ed on the problems created by the bailout.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/19/news/economy/low_rates_savings.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2009102010

19.5 October 2009 – The Nobel, Obama and the State of the Industry

NDC, but it’s a good op-ed about Obama and the Nobel

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/opinion/11friedman.html?_r=1

The latest forecasts for the motorcycle industry show a contraction of 36% this year. That’s right, unit sales are expected to contract that much. This is on top of contractions the last 2 years. Expect more manufacturers to go under folks.  Ducati’s unit sales are expected to be off 41% this year according to DJ Brown forecasting. With that kind of performance, expect fewer new models and fewer bikes on the showroom floor… oh yeah, and fewer dealerships that will be around.

19 October 2009 – Another ST question

Q:

LT,

I just came across your web page; I have been looking for a ST Ducati ever since I rode my buddies ST3! I want to do some canyon runs, some 2up & maybe a little state to state runs.

Now with a 2, 3 or 4 to choose from, it is hard to pick. I noticed your Super ST for sale. I have heard for the Ducati dealers in CA, that you want to stay away from the ST2 & ST4s. They both have electrical problems and are hard to keep in line for the cash outlay.

The bike of choice for them is the ST3, something with 10k on it.

But when I see your Super ST, make me want to consider a ST 2! I guess you have everything to get a 1998 to 2003 ST2 in top shape. Also what would it cost me to buy all the tools to work on my own Duc. The only way I am going to be able to keep a Duc is wrench myself. Also I only can purchase one bike, so do I buy the ST3 because the guys in CA say so? If I do my own wrenching, the back valve is tough to work on. The ST 2 is an easy bike to keep, but to replace the battery, rectifier & stator. St3 the updated ST2? ST4 more valves to adjust? The 4 “S” model a lot more service to do on.

In CA I am seeing a lot of ST2, but they are the early years 98 & 99, bad electrics? They also so want $5k for a bike with 40k on the clock. Not many ST3, but a lot of ST4 & “S” models.

Why do you love the ST2 over the ST3 & ST4?

What type of live can I expect before major motor work?

Thanks for your help.

 

A:

When it comes to any advice, remember that opinions are like assholes – and everybody has one. Use any Ducati ST opinion as a single data point. I’ve ridden and wrenched on all 4 variants – ST2, ST3, ST4, and ST4S. First, to burst a few of the myths you’ve heard:

 

“…you want to stay away from the ST2 & ST4s. They both have electrical problems and are hard to keep in line for the cash outlay.”

– The ST2 is the cheapest to maintain. Valve adjustments are a breeze. Electrical gremlins existed on the ’98, but if the service bulletin work was done, they’re as reliable as any other ST. The ST4S is the best performing, but has the rocker issue and ECU gremlins. I’d still own either. I’m guessing the opinions you heard from “dealers” was because some of the leftover ST3 models are still hanging around, and they want to sell them. The ST3 had a few issues as well, so it’s not like it’s the perfect bike. In fact, EVERY bike has design flaws. The ST3 is a mid-ground between the ease of maintenance of the ST2 and the performance of the ST4S.

If you are a knee-dragger and a power junkie, you’ll want the ST4S. If you want ease of maintenance, go with the ST2. The electrics are fine. If you want to listen to “experts” then follow their advice and stay away.

Major engine work on any of the variants isn’t until well after you’ll be selling the bike. ST2s have been known to turn over the odometer at 100K without any lower end work being done.

Grab one of my books to see what service items you want to do before plunking money down for the tools.

Good luck with your search.

 

 

16 October 2009 – RIP Buell

H-D announced that is killing off the Buell brand and divesting MV Agusta. I’m sorry to see Buell go. Now there really is no sporting hope for H-D. The only upside is they won’t be able to pollute MV Agusta.

14 October 2009 – VDSTS Questions

Q:

Hi Lt, hi guys.I just got my VDST (thanks LT, got it in 2.5 weeks from USA Pensacola to Pretoria, South Africa), hooked it up, and checked out the functions.

What i notice is that the User ‘Manual’ was not included, so i downloaded it from the net. But, it is basically useless, and does not give you a step by step procedure for the software you get. Where can i get a proper manual, or is there somewhere on the INTERNET where it is covered.

Basically it is ‘shoot and hope’ at the moment!

I got the unit for two main reasons:
Firstly because i needed to reset my service reminder (done it with VDST, and re-setted the TPS while in there).
Secondly: I bought my 1098 on a USA auction, crashed. I bought and fitted a brand new dash. I had the key of the bike, but the new dash is set to 00000 (override code) and now i had to keep on punching in the code to ride the thing!

Can the VDST help me to sort this?

Also, i have a dyno, so next week we will play on it a bit. Can anyone recommend – trim settings – Injection timing – Spark Adjustment – for wide open ARATA 70mm canisters? And any other tips? Problem is, i am not sure what the tool can do due to the lack of a good Manual.

Also, what extra can be done with the Pro version?

This will NEVER see the inside of a local Ducati butcher shop, so i need to get things sorted myself.

A:

No, the VDSTS manual isn’t very helpful, but it isn’t that difficult to figure out. There aren’t that many screens of data. You can reset the service light, but it sounds like you have a mismatched ignition unit. The new immobilizer setup combines the signal from the ignition module with the dash unit. The older setup had the ECU in the loop as well. Unless you get a new ignition unit as well, you’ll have to keep messing with the key card. I don’t know of a workaround. As far as trim settings, you can only do that if you have an DP/Termi ecu. You tune it by getting a CO reading at the end can and adjusting the trim from there. If you have a stock ecu, then you need the fatduc 02 manipulator and keep the 02 sensor. My book discusses the vdsts but it isn’t meant to be a step by step how to. Hmm, maybe something to work on with the next edition. The Vdsts can reset the service light, set the trim, do tests of the injection system and read error codes. Other than that it just gives active readouts. The pro version can be used with any Ducati ECU (except the Siemens ecu in the RR and the new monsters), while the one I sell is for a single ECU. I’d check with ARATA for their recommended mapping for their system. I don’t purchase exhausts unless the vendor has workarounds for lean issues. I learned that the hard way on my Sport Classic with the Zard system.

13 October 2009 – As The Seasons Turn (Ken)

As I checked the weather report yesterday morning it really set in that summer is finally over: parts of the United States not in the mountains were getting snow. No thanks, I’m not ready for that yet.

The jacket looks much better in red, but either way it works.

Thankfully, I’ve recently invested in Firstgear’s TPG Rainier Jacket and Escape Pants which keep me toasty warm even when the temperature is approaching dangerous riding conditions (think ice on the roads). I have removed the standard jacket liner, which would be overkill for anything above freezing in addition to the  Gerbings heated jacket that I now use as the liner. Rest assured, when the snow flies I will get a chance to try this gear out on my Ural Patrol; however, that is hopefully several months away.

The Pinlock system: the psychedelic colors seem a bit much, but it works.

Another recent widget that I’ve tried out, with great success so far, is the Pinlock fog insert for my Shoei X-Eleven helmet. These things have been out for a couple of years; however, there were a bit expensive when they first came out and while I won’t hesitate to drop a mint on a bike, I will go with “good enough” on low-dollar items if they’re doing a passable job until prices drop on new items (and the bugs get worked out by others). My results so far: the shields work great. Where before I would have been concerned about keeping a helmet shield warm during a dinner stop for fear of it being a foggy mess when starting out again, now that’s not nearly the concern that it once was. Additionally, it has allowed me to keep from carrying two different face shields while riding, as the Pinlock inserts lay flat when not installed, and it’s simple to switch out the dark for the clear or back even with the helmet on (I’ve become adept at removing and installing the shield while wearing the helmet). The only true negatives I’ll throw at these is that the dark insert is no replacement for a dark shield if you’re going to be riding in full sunlight, as the perimeter of the shield uncovered by the insert does let some light in (due to the different sizes of helmet shields versus the single size of Pinlock inserts), and the company specifically states that the shield is not to be kept open when riding (concerns that it will be caught by the wind, although you’d have to really be going fast to pull this thing loose from the shield – possibly just the lawyers covering the company).

A Ural playing in the snow: It seems these bikes just bring out the kid in people.

The big thing for me, and there are some of you who live in areas where this isn’t an issue, is the upcoming deep freeze that will take hold of this area (Michigan has what seems six months of Winter). This will be especially difficult for me to manage given that it will be my first real winter in over twelve years (living in Georgia, Kentucky, and California definitely spoiled me). The Ural will help, as I’ll be able to putt around no matter the weather, but unless I plan on putting one of the bikes in the back of my truck and heading South, there won’t be that real “lean and mean” riding experience like I’ve been used to for so long.

Ride safe,

Ken