28 December 2009 – Book Draft Complete

I motivated this past weekend and churned out the rest of the draft of the 3rd edition. The Suspension chapter was a killer – over 40 pages. It looks like the book will be 58 pages of tech stuff longer than the last edition. I still have a boat-load of work to do on it, most related to taking pictures and then doing all the formatting changes. I’m on track to get it to my editors on time early next year. Whether I’ll have enough steam to continue on to rewrite the other book is another question.

It’s now calling for a 90% chance of rain on Wednesday. I’ve pulled the plug on participating in the Stagecoach run.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year. As usual, New Years Day will have our Annual Roll Call. Talk to you then.

25 December 2009 – A Christmas Question


Merry Christmas from one of your customers!

Looks like you have been working hard on your book and I am looking forward to
getting that one too.

Your desmo guide that i purchased in November has kept me company during my knee
surgery rehab where I have not been able to ride.

I have decided to perform my own service after going to Ducati Miami and them
wanting $1200.00 for what I think you quoted me 450.00 plus parts.

They refused to take the rockers out for inspection.  I will do this my self.

The ST4s is my first Ducati motorcycle and I absolutely fell in love with it. V-twin
superbike engine, carbon fiber pipes  vrooommmm. jeje I just love it

I am thinking about going back to school or maybe going to Italy and getting
certified as a Ducati Tech.

I am thinking of two approaches for the valve adjustment. Heads on or heads off.

I read about the MBP collets and how they can extend the valve adjustment past the
6k mark and for $325.00 sounds like a good deal. I wanted your opinion on this kind
of mod.

Also should I get the gauge or the frequency meter to adjust the belt? There is a
s4rs monster in the near future and all the tools I buy should be able to work on
the st4s and the monster.

The other biggies are the co analyzer and the software for the computer.

If you find time to answer I would appreciate it so much. I am so excited to start
my Ducati journey!!

Thank you for your email,

The MBP collets do extend valve adjustments, but you’ll find that once you do a valve adjustment, future shim changes are rare. I just don’t see the need for the MBP collets on non-race engines.

For tooling, you’ll want the harmonic tensioner. You can’t use the mechanical tensioner on the Testa motor.

Heads on is a better approach. The time you’ll save doing the valve adjustment with them off will be spent removing/installing the heads.  

Merry Christmas,


24 December 2009 – Merry Christmas

I met up with Gregg, Tyler, and Martin at the Quaker Steak and Lube tonight. There wasn’t much to see in terms of sportbikes other than Hayabusas with extended swingarms. The place is pretty neat though, so I enjoyed the visit.

The long-range forecast for the Annual Stagecoach ride on the 30th is looking iffy. Several people were planning on staying in Pcola at my place for the event, but things are weather dependent so we’ll see.

I finished the Valve Adjustment Chapter revisions today, so it’s onto Wheels and Suspension. I’m back on my timeline for the book. You can click on the Desmodue Edition 3.0 link at the top to see the progress thus far.

Editor Dave emailed me to revise my fitness article to go in the March issue of MCN, so I won’t be able to put it in the book. That’s okay, because the book is bulking up nicely.

Enjoy your weekend.

17 Dec 2009 – the RC8 and a book update

I chatted with Editor Dave last night. He has more injuries than originally thought. Add a torn up knee and 2 cracked ribs to the cracked upper arm and shoulder.  He provided details of the crash at Laguna. Scary stuff. The KTM RC8 doesn’t have a slipper clutch. Instead the ECU applies rpm during deceleration to prevent rear wheel hop during downshifts. Evidently, the rpm hung up so much that there was no engine braking. Combine that with the very touchy brakes compliments of the brembo monoblock, and you have a spill in the making. I doubt if the suspension was setup properly either. Still, no other journalist crashed, so he wonders if it was just him, the bike, or a combination of factors. It isn’t like he’s a bad rider. He’s more conservative than me, but less aggressive than Mark. After our crash discussion, we talked magazine stuff. He wants some more of my writing, so I’ll be gainfully employed writing after the book is finished.

The Fuel Injection chapter draft is complete. Brad Black has agreed to review that Chapter for me. For those of you that don’t know him, his work at Sigma Performance and his own shop have provided a great online resource for Ducatisti. If it’s engine/injection related. Brad has tinkered with it, dynoed it and written about it.  I only have 3 chapters remaining. I don’t know if I’ll make it by the end of the year, but I’m certainly in the home stretch on the writing.

Enjoy your weekend.

16 December 2009 – Nicky interview….and 1000s back in MotoGP

There is a very good interview with Nicky Hayden on Superbikeplanet. Also, news broke last weekend that MotoGP will return to 1000cc in 2012. I think that’s a good thing for the sport.

14 December 2009 – Blowed up real good….

The above picture is from a plastic-tanked owner’s bike that has experienced a severe case of blowed-up-tank. The culprit? I don’t know, but I’m guessing a blocked off vent line, combined with heated fuel on a parked bike and ethanol-based fuel – the issue isn’t cropping up overseas – they don’t use ethanol…. yet. I don’t know if owners who ditch the charcoal cannister are also experiencing the issue. Kinda looks like a custom bike, doesn’t it?

I’m still buried in the fuel-injection chapter, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel — probably a train coming at me. I should be through F/I by the middle of the week. I hope…. I have a feeling the reworked valve adjustment chapter will take just as long. Ho, ho, ho.

Enjoy your week.

Monday update – upon further investigation, the tank expansion thing is no laughing matter. Owners of Multistrada, Sport Classics and S2R800 should check their tanks. The culprit is ethanol, which separates from gas and reacts with the plastic of the tank causing it to expand. Forums are trying to capture the data on the numbers involved, but I”m guessing every tank is effected to some degree. When things go bad, the mounting points can swell so much that tank removal is made diffucult. The tank flange can also warp, thus causing fuel leaks. I’m writing it up in the book, and letting MCN know. That’s about the best I can do. I don’t think owner’s groups can effect a recall due to the low number of sales of Ducatis, but if they can determine it is a bonafide safety issue, NHTSA will respond. I’ve got 3 of the damn things. I’m going to reline the inside of my tanks when I get back… if it isn’t already too late.

Monday Update 2 – POR15 doesn’t have anything that will work on plastic fuel cells. Caswell does. They’ve already had quite a few calls from Ducati owners. No etching required. Their instructions were to wash out the fuel cell with warm water and some soap, using some nuts/bolts if the inner surface is smooth and shiny to roughen up things, allow to dry by blowing air into tank or using the prep liquid that dries out water. Reline and you’re ready to go. Their liner resists ethanol. $40 of their 2-part sealer is enough for several tanks. We’ll see how it works. I’ve used Kreem before to good effect. Just don’t get any of the stuff on the painted surfaces and you’ll be ok.

11 December 2009 – Fuel Injection

The Fuel Injection Chapter is the first one I’ve tackled where I had to just shred my old work. The 10 pages of crap I had in the last edition was nuked. Other than some of the pictures, the rest is all new. Page content has ballooned up to 20 pages thus far. The tough part is deciding how much detail is too much. You can get way out of hand describing injection specifics. I think I’ve chosen a good line of demarcation between what a novice and intermediate wrench would want. For the experts, I’ve included references for where they can get all the advanced details they could ever want. The F/I Chapter should be finished by Monday. Then it’s onto a new chapter on Heads next week. Mark, I forgot to call you last night. I got swallowed up by work on the computer. Brad, Carol said you’re doing a heck of a job being housekeeper while she recovers. Feel free to come over to my house. It needs a cleaning. 😉

Enjoy your weekend.

10 December 2009 – JOTD

From an Army buddy….


I recently asked my friend’s little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, “If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?”


She replied, “I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.”


Her parents beamed.


“Wow…what a worthy goal.” I told her, “But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I’ll pay you $50. Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.”


She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?”


I said, “Welcome to the Republican Party.”


Her parents still aren’t speaking to me.


8 December 2009 – Clutch Q’s


I’m getting ready to install the pro cutting basket I got from you recently on my 2004 ST4S. The Bike has 25,000 km and the clutch is all original. The springs have worn through on the outer edges of the pressure plate, about ¼” long in 4 of the 6 holes. Your maintenance guide said it is only necessary to replace the pressure plate if the holes are 25% of the perimeter. I just want to confirm before reassembling. Is there much difference in cost/durability between the OEM pressure plate and aftermarket billet?

I know this wear is common, but was wondering if the wear can be reduced by taking the sharp edge off the spring with a Dremel tool, or if aftermarket springs reduce wear at all.

I am also thinking I should have ordered the pushrod seal kit. I have o-rings for the slave end of the rod and replace them every couple of years, but this is the first time I have had the basket/hub out and didn’t think about the tranny seal. It seal looks OK, the face which is towards the clutch is a little rough, I did flip it around.

What about the o ring for the control pin and the clutch hub, should I replace them as well? Is that something you stock?

I plan on using the OEM aluminum basket I am taking out of the ST on my 96 900SS track bike. It looks like it has plenty of wear left. Is that a straight forward replacement or is there anything I need to consider?

Thanks for the help.


Dan, there is no real difference in performance between OEM and aftermarket pressure plates. Pressure plate changes are mostly an aesthetic upgrade. Even new OEM pressure plates have holes in the bottom of the wells. It’s part of the machining process. With that mileage, your OEM pressure plate is fine. The only real wearable item on the pressure plate is the center bearing. I used to think that the holes in the bottom of the wells was due to wear, but I’ve seen pressure plates with 50K on them and they look pretty much like they did when new. Other than the pushrod orings, tranny seal and pressure plate bearing, there are no other wearable bearings/orings you’ll need to worry about with that mileage (at least on the clutch side). Your clutch pack,basket, and hub are the pricey wear items.

You can swap that basket to your SS without difficulties. Just use my clutch chapter to help you do the swap. If you don’t have my book, my old article for MCN is an 80% solution.



7.5 December 2009 – Jonesing for an ST4S

I’ve been Jonesing for an ST4S since riding Mark’s bike the last time I did Blackwater with him. If anyone knows of an ’02 or ’03 for sale give me a shout. Gray/Black preferable. My plan is to swap over all the goodies from my ST2 and part out the rest of my ST2. 75 Horses is good, but 120 is so much better. I ain’t going to tour on the ST2 any more, so concern over rocker arm wear isn’t really an issue.  No thanks for any ST3 or post ’03 ST4S. The newer fairing is much more effective, but the looks don’t appeal to me. Needs to be located in the SE. My days of having the time to drive a thousand miles for a bike are gone.