10 February 2011

M900 V v. W

It has been sometime since I have updated this blog. The projects in the garage have progressed, and I've added a second 1999 M900 to the garage. This bike has the "W" stamped heads rather than the "V" stamped heads among several other odd features, and will be referred to as the M900W (where the "W" stands for the heads it is equipped with, or 'wife', take your pick).

This bike is for my wife to learn to ride on and for me to piddle about in comfort (as it has been setup with comfort in mind). The bike came from a gent in Northern Arkansas who did horrendous and unthinkable things to the bike, the least of which was spraypainting the already red-powdercoated frame a dingy black color. (The true frame color, under the red powdercoat is the antique gold, like my original 1999 M900V).

Beyond the frame paint, which my wife has since resolved, the bike was not properly running. The fuel lines, fuel vacuum petcock, fuel pump, and carburettors were in disarray. The fuel filter looked dark through the white plastic exterior. The swingarm had been chewed through by a malfunction cush drive lug on the rear wheel.

The bright: A quick perusal of eBay got me a black powdercoated swingarm in good condition, and a clean cush drive. These things went in straightaway, as well as a new sprocket set: 14/39T ratio, 520 pitch. The front wheel turns out to have been bent - back to eBay and that problem is also resolved.

Perusing the Ducati Monster Forum, eBay, Ducati.MS and other classifieds, I was able to locate a carbon fiber oil-catching bellypan, carbon underseat sidepanels, carbon rear hugger, and other bits and pieces of carbon. My M900 recently received a second set of IMA SrL Triple clamps with superbike fork diameter boring, along with a BST front wheel, TPO lightweight front axle, and 996 era forks with Ohlins internals (more about that in a later post).  That meant that the IMA triples that were on my bike, along with the forks with upgraded RaceTech internals were free to use on the M900W.

What's great about the IMA triples for the Ducati Monster is that they are true in shape and bolt location to the original Ducati triples, meaning that one can still mount a bar with riser to the top triple, and more excitingly, the original 'old-school' 1998-99 style front fairing. (This was not true of the CycleCat triples for that era bike).  As luck would have it, the previous owner had the original fairing brackets and fairing (and I still had the front fairing from the M900V as well), so I was able to mount that up along with the upgraded forks and triples.

More good: I still had a sidemount Ohlins steering damper from my M900V that was on the shelf unused (I preferred the under-triple location of the Motowheels kit with 68mm damper). So on it went with no issues. The front end was not only functional, but now substantially upgraded from stock (More for me to enjoy than for the wife to learn on).

The bad: I sat on the bike with the new front end to feel the balance and was horrified. The back end sank down like an overloaded pickup truck. Enter Motowheels and an Ohlins rear shock with remote reservoir, and billet reservoir mount! This has just arrived and will be installed shortly to complete the suspension upgrades on this bike. All three components of a suspension system have been upgraded now: The forks, the shock, and a steering damper. The chassis has been upgraded in the front with new triples, and the only missing element to upgrade would be a billet rear hoop. Turns out, Style & Performance still has these in stock in Europe, and Anthony @ Desmoworks was able to order one up. When this gets in, the bike will essentially have all the great upgrades one could look for in a chassis/suspension for this era Monster. (The only two possible other upgrades is a braced swingarm from Metmachex/JMC and Superbike forks with good internals).