The Superbike 848, to give it its full name, is a full on sports bike that would be better suited to the track than the road. That poses a slight problem for me in that I am 6 foot tall with short legs fitted leaving me at only about 5 foot 9 and a half inches tall. The seat height of the 848 is 830mm which is quite tall, so I decided to lower the rear end of the bike. The 1098 version of this bike and my ST2 have got an adjustable bar in the rear suspension (known in my past life in aircraft engineering as a “turnbuckle”), but the 848 has a fixed bar, item 4 below.
A new turnbuckle was ordered from ebay here for the sum of £22 and took 17 days to arrive. The item is shown below:
Note that there are four alloy packers that fit into the bearings at the ends, I was not too happy with these in an area that can suffer impact, alloy is perhaps not the best material. Looking at the top picture there are also packers (marked with green) on the original rod, so these will be examined.
This shows the standard rod in position, note that the hugger has been removed for access. The top bolt goes in from the left (port) side and the bottom bolt from the right (starboard) side. They are 8mm allen keys and are quite accessible.
The bike was put onto a paddock stand, but the rod cannot be removed while on this as the bike still has its weight on the rear wheel, We cannot remove suspension components without unloading that suspension.
While the suspension is loaded it is time to take a reference measurement. I stick a bit of tape on the bike with a cross drawn on it and measure to the top of the axle nut. It does not matter where you stick the tape as this measurement is just for comparison to the same measurement that you will take again later.
We then need to unload the suspension. There is a convenient hole through the Ducati frame which is just the correct size for a steel bar that I happen to have. I have cut two wooden fence posts to the correct length to support the bike on this bar. The front wheel is locked into a front chock stand so that it can’t move.
Before removing the paddock stand I insert a bit of wood under the rear tyre about 20 cms. I will be able to use this to load/unload the rear suspension to make it easier to remove and fit bolts, by lifting this end of the wood. What’s in that red box?
Once the link is removed I adjusted the new turnbuckle so that it is the same length as the tie rod. The first thing that I did was to remove both eye ends from the turnbuckle (one is left and one is right threaded), so that I made sure that they were both inserted equally with the same amount of thread. The mounting bolts make sure that everything is lined up. I know that they look a bit like a pair of bananas but the camera did that and they are, in fact, both straight. I found that the spacers, marked in green on the top picture, are made from steel on the original Ducati tie rod, so they were used on the turnbuckle. There is that red box again.
The bike was put back on the paddock stand and the measurement was taken to verify the distance from the axle nut to the cross on the tape was the same as it was it was before. I then loosened the lock nuts and turned the black part of the turnbuckle until the rear was 20 mm lower than it was before, then locked everything back up.
Lowering the rear of the bike will make a slight difference in the rake of the front forks and could affect the handling slightly, but if I can feel any difference I will lower the front by the same amount and bring it back to the same rake that it was before.
You may notice that I have fitted my new Metzler M7RR tyres yesterday, I went out for a 30 km ride this morning and am impressed with them.
Oh yes, what was in that red box?