Moto Maintenance: Ducati 696

One of the downsides of putting nearly 10,000 miles on a motorcycle in 6 weeks is that the maintenance requirements stack up pretty fast. A front tire might make it that long, rear tires definitely won’t. My bike was due for a valve adjustment and oil change at 7500 miles, but we put those off until we got home, with over 10,000 on the odometer. Oh well.

This weekend, we (ok, mostly Kevin) finally found the time and energy to look after my bike. Surprisingly, we’ve both wanted to go riding since we’ve been back from our epic trip, but haven’t wanted to risk putting any more miles on the bikes before actually doing the maintenance. Although I did help a little bit, I am once again appreciating the wisdom of marrying my motorcycle mechanic.

First up, and the most difficult and time consuming, is a valve adjustment. Given that the valves had not been checked on this bike since it was assembled at the factory, I was a little concerned about out of spec clearances from break in and occasional high revving while passing would reduce the life my my brand new motor. No worries though, it turns out that only 2 of 8 possible adjustments were out of spec, and even then just barely. Buying the shim kit ahead time, while more expensive, is my preferred approach, as it saves a bunch of time. Instead of ordering the required shims after taking the bike apart, and waiting for them to come in, we just pulled the shims we wanted out of the kit, and had the whole job done in a little over half a day.

Like our motorcycle stand?

Desmo valves mean twice the valve adjustment fun!

Do you see the large silver box with the brake lines coming from it (behind the air intakes) in the picture below? That’s the ABS control unit. It has a little processor, motor, and pump to control the anti-lock brakes. I specifically paid extra for this feature, which comes with the added cost of reduced fuel capacity. Motorcycles have difficult enough packaging problems (trying to find places to put all the things required for the bike to work on the actual bike) without the additional challenge of hiding components on an un-faired bike like the Monster (fairing = plastic or fiberglass body panels). The Monster is known as a particularly good looking motorcycle, in part because the designers did a fabulous job of hiding the bikes guts. Finding somewhere to add the ABS unit resulted in taking yet more room from the fuel tank.

Seriously, look at that thing. The non-ABS version of this bike has an additional quart of fuel capacity.

Doesn’t adjusting the exhaust valve on the horizontal cylinder look fun?

The pic below is the bike with the fuel tank back in place. That ABS unit robs a LOT of space.

Next up, an oil change. This might be the easiest vehicle to change the oil on ever. We make up for that by using some of the most expensive oil on the planet (Amsoil synthetic motorcycle specific oil). Such is the price for performance (and a wet clutch).

And finally, Kevin adjusted the chain for me. It had just been adjusted 1000 miles ago on the way home, and oddly needed to be adjusted again. I am not impressed, it should not be wearing out that fast. (Contrast to my last bike, where I needed to adjust the chain exactly once in 23000 miles).

Just these tasks pretty much used up a Sunday, and we’re not even done. Its time to bleed the rear brake, and I have a new front tire that still needs to go on. At least the bike is back in riding condition. Hopefully we can carve out a little more time and finish this up, after which my bike should be good to go for a little while.

This entry was posted in 2012 Ducati Monster 696, Motorcycles. Bookmark the permalink.

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