|2002 DUCATI 998
"The Saga Continues"
|FOR THE DO-IT-YOURSELF DUCATI OWNER
|Well, I have some sad news to report. The 998 is no longer with me. Some of you may
have heard about oil issues that some Testastrettas were experiencing. My bike was
unfortunately affected. After experiencing the problem, I spoke with DNA many times
and even met with engineers from Bologna that came to dyno test the bike and others that
had the problem. They are focusing on regional factors such as fuel and oil additives as
the cause. After waiting on official word, the 998 was paid off by Ducati, and I instead
decided to take a short hiatus from the 4v engine family. I decided on a MH900e, and
recently picked that up from Ducati Seattle. It was a sad day when I had to make that
decision to get rid of the 998, but I figured it was best to give Ducati time to remedy the
problem. Down the road I will of course be in the market for a 998, but until then I can
yet again only dream ;)
In the meantime, Ducati suggests that 998 owners not run any fuel or oil additives, only
run synthetic or semi-synthetic oils, and to run the oil level at the lower tickmark, but not
below (this is checked with the bike upright and motor off). It will require more frequent
checking, but it may stop the bike from experieincing the oil blowby.
|Why did I choose the 998 originally?
The 998 is the pinnacle of sport bike handling and performance, and there
will never be another bike like the 998. Ducati knows how to build true
world class motorcycles; you can't argue with 9 World Superbike titles, can
|With the new 999 coming out, I figured it was now or never to own my
dreambike, so I went for it. Don't get me wrong, the 999 is a great bike,
but I prefer the 998's timeless beauty even if it is more uncomfortable, or
|1% less slick in the wind tunnel. Small concessions for such a wonderful bike. I got an excellent deal, but I had to
work for it. The first step was insurance. Who wants to insure a 23 year old with a careless driving ticket? Nobody
is the correct answer. I called my agent for a quote, and got the typical "$2,000" response. Not what I was looking
for. I called all over and got pretty much the same quotes or a referral to another company. Then someone
suggested Country Insurance and that worked well.
|Then came actually ordering the bike. I put in the order on
October 31, 2002 and was expecting a bike within a week. Well,
November 15 rolled aorund and I was getting a little impatient.
Turns out that Ducati said they sent a bike they never had in
stock, so I was out of luck if I wanted a crated Monoposto. So,
They ordered me up a Biposto and a seat conversion for free, so
I can now switch between the two. The bike finally arrived the
20th of November, and I took it home the 21st. Awesome. In
addition to the seat, I also got the crate to put in my garage and
a free set of SBK pipes to core for a future mod.
|I only got 120 miles before it wouldn't start anymore, and FINALLY,
after 7 1/2 weeks in the shop I got it back. The ECU was bad, and
Ducati had it backordered but I finally had my dealer locate one in
Texas. So, all is well so far and I have racked up 650 miles since.
After the service I removed the restrictors installed a Power
Commander, but never had the chance to really tune it (although it
immediately cleared up my dying problem).
|I can say one thing for sure though, nothing prepares you for a
bout of riding the 998 in traffic. It is quite an experience. Very
fatiguing, it's no wonder Motorcyclist said you need to have
asbestos pants and a wrist of steel if you are going to do it. I won't
lie, the bike is extremely uncomfortable from stoplight to
stoplight, but once on the open road without the braking forces
transmitted to my wrists it feels fine. I don't notice any
inconvenience except when holding the clutch in at a light. Back
and leg pain (as some complain about) isn't there for me, and I am
a tall guy. The position feels so natural to me.
|Then I get back on the Monster, and it feels like an old man's
cruiser! It felt so wierd, but has a completely different
character that makes it fun no matter where you ride it. So
much more laid back. But, they're both great bikes and I
couldn't live without either.
|...why the 998? I chose the 998 over all other sport
bikes, including the 916/996, because it is the
ultimate incarnation of the Ducati Racing spirit (I
don't think I need to explain why Ducati race bikes
are superior to all other marques). All of the
research and development of the Ducati race bikes
over the past 50 years is embodied in the 998. And
why not the 999? The 999 just doesn?t do it for me.
It?s supposedly more comfortable and has tons of
new features, but I feel the 998 is the better bike.
|I prefer the ass-high riding position; I actually fit it like a glove. It?s as if I am part of the design of the bike when I
am curled up on it. And, same as the Monster, I absolutely, positively love this bike. Just looking at this bike
evokes feelings of bliss, and don?t even get me started on riding it. Being able to tell somebody that you own your
dream bike is a beautiful feeling. For more info on the 998 than you can shake a stick at, check out these links:
What does the 998 need to make it perfect? A lot of people start with engine work, but I feel the engine is just fine
the way it is. I even like the stock sprocket, and don?t feel that the gearing is too tall. On my Monster, it is kind of
annoying having to shift so much to get up to cruising speed. On the 998, it is an effortless launch, and a single gear
up to cruise. But, there are some issues that need addressing:
--A sidestand interlock bypass. Not necessary, but I like being able to idle with the stand down. I installed
Evoluzione?s kit effortlessly.
--A fan switch kit from Evoluzione. The bike runs very hot, especially in traffic. It only takes about 30 seconds to be
up to 210 degrees. Evoluzione?s kit makes the second fan come on at 180 instead of 210 degrees.
--A tank, front cowl and oil cooler/radiator protector. Screen works well to protect the coolers, and I had luck
installing some clear cling-on vinyl on the cowl. You can hardly tell it is there. For the tank, I need to get a big
sheet or a tank bra, because it gets rubbed pretty good.
--A good tune from the shop, or a Power Commander. The bike runs very lean from the factory. Although the shop
adjusted the mixture a little richer, it still pops and dies when cold. I got a Power Commander III to fine tune the
mixture. I didn?t want to get it for more power, but it will come in handy if I do decide to upgrade.
--An oil cooler thermostat- not necessary, but this is a good mod. I hope to get one for both my Monster and 998.
Evoluzione sells a great kit for this, and it will help prevent damage from running with cold oil, especially on the
Monster with the naked engine.
--I removed the emissions. The absence of all the hoses and boxes will simplify maintenance, make it look cleaner,
and help airflow around the engine. The restrictors in the airbox (designed to lower noise emissions) came out when I
got the Power Commander (they have a map for stock exhaust and removed restrictors).
--And finally, I have a spare set of pipes that I want to uncork. No full core, just removal of one of the baffles for
sound. The stock engine, even though it is a Ducati, sounds like a Gold Wing to me. My Monster blows it away in
the sound department.
I remember telling everyone I wouldn?t need to change a thing because it is perfect already. That was essentially
true. Had they designed it the way I wanted it, I wouldn?t need to change it! These mods are just to contribute to
smooth running and reliability, the way it should have came from the factory. Although I have heard great things
about the Cycle Cat bar riser systems- not only do they raise the clip on, but they add adjustability of angle to them.
I heard they help immensely, although I didn't have a big problem except in traffic.
|Here's the plate relocator I whipped up- it's
a simple flat piece of sheetmetal bent in an
L and cut to clear the pipes, and it mounts
with the three bolts that hold the old one
one. The lights are held on by a tab that
was cut out of the plate holder and bent at
a 90 degree angle. Very simple, and very
cheap. Cost about $7 to make.
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