I think back to 2006 when I was looking for a bike to buy. I was weighing up the different models and looking for a mid size commuter. Also a weekend motor cycle for the weekend. I then thought about buying a Yamaha Fazer 600 which would tick all the boxes for getting to and from work.
For some reason I did not buy a Fazer fzs 600 in the end, I started to look and weighed up the cost difference also wondering if it was right to go with my head in a logical way or with my heart, a race machine like the Ducati 916 bp.
As you can see in the blog the heart won, logic went out the window. Although I say this, I do not know what sort of running I would have had with the fazer. I have owned the Ducati 916bp since 2006 and have never regretted buying it. It has always put a smile on my face and I have had many admiring glances, comments asking about the bike, its reliability, running and shock when I say that it has done over 49000 reliable miles. My review could be a little more detailed as to the time I have owned the bike and the amount of things that I have found out about it.
I did a quick search on the net at the time and found lots of articles praising the 916 for its handling. Wiki, Mcn, Visordown, classic motorcycles, kevin Ash, I have found a great community for the bike and one of the forums http://www.ducatisti.com which has gone now. Many times forum members helped me with how to fix, what it could be or even lending tools. There is also a love for the design of the bike and how it looks. Kevin Ash talks about the designer Massimo Tamburini and how he came to alter its design after the Honda NR 750 came out.
When I went to see the bike there was two things which sold me on the bike and it has many more features. The sound of the termignoni exhausts when the owner started it up and the owner showed how the fairing could be taken off in such a quick time with the ten zeus clips removed. it was a race bike with lights.
Some of the other great features that I have written in my blog about are the seat that can be removed with no tools, it is held in place by a couple of plastic clips.
The battery positive terminal is visible and the bike can easily be jump started if the battery is flat without lifting the seat or taking off any fairing parts.
The mirrors which have brass bolts that shear if the bike is dropped or the mirrors are hit.
A single sided swinging arm so that the rear tyre can be taken off with a single nut.
Kamikaze side stand that swings up as soon as you are level on the bike. I have read a few reviews that others are not happy about this.
The seat and handle bar position are of a race type bike and not liked by all. I have travelled From Lake Garda in Italy to the UK (Roughly 1200 miles) in over a day and not complained about the seat or had any aches or pains due to the bike. I would have liked more padding on the seat but think that if you get the right stance when sitting on a bike. There are no complaints about the wrists or neck. The bike is very good when compared to other race bikes.
If you get good tyres and set the suspension up. It must be one of the lightest bikes that you can throw about, it is light to handle and quick on response of the throttle. I love the engine and the way it will start to pick up strongly from around 4k on the tacho all the way to just after 10k. I have gone around corners and thought I was too fast only to carry on, the bike continues and sticks to the road.
I bought the bike with around 11k on the speedo and today have just over 49000 miles that I have covered on the bike. In that time I can think of a couple of issues with reliability. The battery failed, I cant blame the bike for this. The clutch centre nut came loose, I can blame the person for not doing it up tight enough (me) and one time the tyre was flat from picking up a screw. I did upgrade the charging system with a mosfat regulator rectifier. This improved the battery life and condition of the yellow charge wires which was a fault in build design.
In the time of ownership I have rode in rain that was a few inches deep, the water parted as high as the bike and it kept going along the motorway, I was soaked when I arrived home though. I have travelled to Italy and back with no worries on the reliability of the bike starting and performing.
Value and running costs on the bike could have been high if I had Ducati dealers service the bike but I carried out all servicing with help from my mechanic friends. I found cheaper alternatives to the Gates timing belts that need replacing every two years.
Service parts such as oil filters from mann were used. The service parts were the same as other bikes.
The bike has on average given about 45 mpg and I was amazed when touring on the motorway that it returned around 70 mpg from constant cruising across Europe. Access to the service items is quicker on the 916 than many other bikes due to the simple way the fairings and body parts are connected on the bike. Only access to the shims is difficult although this does not have to be carried out often.
I have kept the bike standard apart from the termignonis, a Ventura rack, then fitted a kreiga bag which carried my laptop to work. I also found that keeping on top of tyre pressures is one of the best ways to keep the handling as it should be. As the pressures drop a few pounds then going into corners can be noticed that the front drops away. I never used the low fuel warning light as I reset the trip speedo and worked on a full tank of petrol would give me around 150 miles between top ups. I kept the battery on a trickle charger and even though the bike was outside all the time. It helped the life of a battery as the alarm would drain if left with no use. I have wrote many articles on the bike and some of the fixs that I have carried out. Have a look in my previous posts. I also have done some reviews and one is below that I added to Visordown a while ago. I hope you enjoy reading the blog and are tempted to buy one.
about the Ducati 916 and its history.
I bought the Ducati 916 biposto and have a blog detailing the time I have owned the bike. I always get so many comments ..It always draws attention and admiring looks and I feel it still can hold its head up with new models. I like the look of the front, the fairing and its twin lights. The sound of the termis and its handling. It helps to have so much race history and to see so much success on the track. Carl fogarty found fame from this bike with some trick pieces and a tuned engine.
On the road it picks up so quickly and is light and slim. When driving in traffic it is easy to fit between cars. I have not hit the mirrors of cars compared to some bikes I have owned. I recently checked the mpg and achieved 142 miles with 13 litres of petrol. 49mpg.
My first job was cleaning bikes at 15 and when I left school started life as a motorcycle mechanic. My bikes over 30 years have all been Japanese bikes until this Ducati. From hearing so many bad things about Italian bikes give me some time…
The electrics are crap:
Ducati have Japanese designed electrics and my bike has only let me down once, a flat yuasa battery caused by the regulator rectifier failing. I replaced it with a friends Suzuki tl1000 regulator rectifier and it has been starting every day since. 32,500 miles so far.
It lives outside and starts each time with a push on the button.
Maintenance and servicing parts are high:
I have carried out all my own servicing so cant agree. Parts are reasonable with other manufactures. Air filters are foam and just need cleaning. Oil filter is easily accessible and changed. Only two Plugs to change. The petrol tank is only held by one screw and disconnected with push on petrol pipes and a breather. Cam belts could be expensive but with so many sites and forums, this can be carried out. So much information out there on how to fix.
It will always break down:
I have used it in all weathers and have notched up over 23,000 trouble free miles in three years. I did have to stop in Clapham once when the clutch stopped working, as a dry clutch I was able to remove the allen screws holding the cover, tighten up the nut on the basket that had come loose and carry on the journey.
Some features I did not know:
with adverse weather and high winds, a gust of wind lifted the cover like a parachute pulling the bike opposite to the side stand, smashing to the ground. The fairing scratched and the mirror flew off. The bolt that holds the mirrors is a brass shape with a thin necked head. This is made this way so when there is pressure on the bolt the head sheers keeping the mirrors in one piece. I don’t know of any other bike that has that.
If you need to jump-start the bike. It happened to me and as the positive lead of the battery is visible from the fairing, it is so easily connected to jump leads.
Removing parts is quick.
Single sided swing arm and a wheel that can be removed with one nut. Front mudguard is held on with only 4 bolts to plastic clips.
it takes only 10 zuess clips to remove the fairings. Both sides can be removed. The front fairing is held on with only 4 screws.
to remove the rear seat there are two rubber clips and one light connector to remove the seat.
It still makes me smile when I go out for a ride and having read most reviews think the most relevant comment is
“its a race bike with lights”.
What more can I say.
Greenwich Mean Time
Below is one of my videos showing the starting of the bike. They are also known for noisy dry clutches and the termignoni exhausts.