Something new

My wife and I went for a drive today and ordered a new bike to add to the stable. A black 2018 model Ducati Monster 821. We will keep the ST2 for now as it is comfortable with the Supersport, the 250 single and the BMW K100RS in the garage.

The new 821 comes with some interesting updates, the same 110 bhp engine, but things like colour TFT screen and riding modes similar to the Supersport, improve the bike. She is having the higher “comfort” seat fitted due to having long legs.

When Judes niece comes to visit on her red version of the same bike, it will make interesting outings.

Some of the things planned at the moment are: A noisier lighter exhaust which might include elimination of the catalytic converter, perhaps flatter bars to alter the riding position, a small screen to improve the looks of the bike, exhaust flapper valve removal, and other things.

Watch this space.


R&G heated grips

This was intended to be a post about fitting aftermarket grips, complete with pictures and wiring routes.

R&G is a UK company that supplies many aftermarket parts for Ducatis and other bikes. I looked at their stand at the recent Motorcycle show at the NEC, and saw the many products that they sell.

I bought the R&G grips because they had a good write up in Ride magazines tests, but I would not recommend them myself. After very careful fitting I found that the left grip was noticeably cooler than the right grip. I removed all the connectors and refitted them only to find that it made no difference.

I phoned R&G in the UK, but there is no one to answer the phones, All options end up with an answering machine. No problems, I sent them an email asking if there was anything that I should check to see if I had a faulty grip. Ten days later I am still waiting for an answer.

Conclusion: Steer clear of R&G products as there is no after sales support.


I managed to contact someone on their Facebook page. It seems that the left grip being cooler than the right is quite normal as the left is fitted to the metal clip on, whereas the right is fitted to the insulated plastic twistgrip. This means that when initially switched on the left will be cooler until the metal underneath warms, and then after a while they will both end up being the same.

I will sort the photos and post another thread with the fitment instructions at a later date.

My niece has just ordered a Ducati Monster 821 from Ducati Winchester. She also ordered the R&G tail tidy to be fitted on delivery. When her bike arrives and I have looked that the tail tidy, I might order one for the Supersport too and will do a post about fitment.

Thank you R&G.


Ducati Supersport horn

When I bought my first new bike back in 1977 at the age of 18, I had my fathers words in my mind, “Make sure that every bike that you own has good lights and a good horn”. That BMW R75/7 had both.

Here we are 40 years later and I have just bought the new Ducati Supersport 939. This bike comes with some decent lighting as standard and has the LED strip for daytime conspicuity, nothing needed there then. The horn on the other hand was like Mickey Mouse farting! It could not be heard over the sound of the engine on tickover. Bikers who have visited this area will know that there is one huge danger on the roads in this part of France – Belgian car drivers. A good horn stops them in their tracks.

The horn of choice was the DENALI Soundbomb Split. I went for the split as there is not much room on the Supersport and with the split I could use both sides of the bike. Here is the kit:

The part on the left is the dual tone air trumpet, the fitted aluminium bracket is my construction – more of that later, centre is the compressor and on the right is the air hose to connect the two. The kit also came with a relay which I threw away and fitted a better quality one.

The trumpet was fitted under the left fairing fillet panel with the home made bracket.

These are the two bolts that hold the fillet panel on, remove them and pull the panel rearwards and it comes off.

The following two pictures show the bracket that I made from aluminium to hold the trumpet. This is bolted with a rubber packer so that it is insulated for vibration from the bracket.

The bracket holds the trumpet out of sight below the fillet panel, and attaches to the top radiator mount and the bolt that holds the existing horn in place. Here it is in position.

The trumpet must have some clearance around it so that it when it is in operation it is not able to touch anything. The original horn is left in place and left connected, it can be seen in front (right in picture) of the bracket leg.

The compressor was fitted on the other side of the bike, also on a bracket bolted to the top radiator mount. The radiator expansion tank hose is a hindrance to using an allen key on this bolt, so a hex head bolt was fitted.

The relay was operated by piggyback wires from the original horn. The reason for keeping that horn is that the electrical system will not operate the Soundbomb alone as it draws too much power and the bike thinks that there is something wrong. The compressor is wired to the battery through the relay and a 25 amp fuse. Note the carbon fibre mounting bracket on this side. I have to thank my aircraft career for the ability to make brackets!

The horn button on the bike is now a thing to be wary of, I would not use it to say hello to someone on the side of the road as the ground shakes when it is pressed. Watch out Belgian drivers!


A small experiment

I say experiment because I have known of these items for years and at last decided to try them. They are Grip Puppies. These things fit over the standard grips in a bike and do a number of things, they make the grips thicker and more comfortable and they add padding so that vibrations are damped when wearing thin summer gloves.

I bought them from ebay LINK, and they were here within a few days. They take 10 minutes to fit over the existing grips with a little soap and water and then are left to dry.

I went out for a ride with them fitted and was instantly impressed with the feel of them.

My wife likes them too so another set will be ordered for her ST2.


Day 8 with the Supersport

Today is the 8th day of ownership. As the first few days were so wet that they could be described as tropical, it has taken me till today to clock the magic 1000kms. I had to go out for a quick 70km thrash this morning to get there so that I could do the first oil change. The dealer would normally do this, but as he is a 280 km round trip away, and I prefer to do things myself rather than let some apprentice mess with my bike. I had bought the necessary Hiflo HF163 filter and the 10w50 synthetic oil last week.

This shows the mileage at 1022 kms with the service indicator on. The right window is showing the average fuel consumption over the last 130kms or so, in litres per 100kms, this has improved over the 3 or 4 tanks of fuel as the engine gets looser.

Because the oil filter and the drain plugs are very accessible there is no need to take any of the fairings off to do the oil change, having the bike on a hydraulic life makes it even easier.

I did take the fairing off though, just to check everything underneath them. I also needed to take a power lead from the battery to feed a relay for the new horn that will be the subject of a future post. While I was on the right side I also retrieved the flying lead that Ducati fitted to power a GPS. It was tucked under the frame just to the rear of the steering head.

I also took the time to fit some red reflective rim tape to the wheels while the bike was on the lift. I am not a fan of black wheels on a bike, and since the 848 had rim tape fitted which made it look better, I splashed out 99 pence on an ebay kit.

The rim tape just adds something to those very black wheels.

According to Ducati I can now take the engine to 6000 rpm,  bt the bike has so much torque from low revs that I will not be in a rush to get there. The handbook tell me that I should use less than 5,500 rpm for the first 1000kms, but I did the same as I have with every other new bike and car that I have owned, I started low and built the revs up over the miles. It has only been the last 100kms that It has got anywhere near 5000 rpm. I was lambasted by a couple of ‘know it alls’ on the 939 forum, but it seems that I have the last laugh as my mirrors don’t vibrate like others seem to.

I have bought many new bikes in my time, some sporty ones but mostly big tourers, I can easily say that this bike is the nicest all round “Sports Tourer” that I have ever ridden.


The first pictures.

Today is Sunday. I collected the bike on Thursday in the rain and it has rained since apart from a brief spell yesterday afternoon. My wife and I pulled the Supersport out of the garage to clean it and take some pictures. While it has been in the garage I have spent some time going through the various settings and modes on the bikes electronics and display, and have removed the rear footrests as they will only be needed when a certain person visits from the UK. I have also cut down the large rear number plate hanger that is too big for our French number plates.

Here are the pictures:

The front of the bike looks quite pretty while at rest, I thought that the 848 was a piece of art, but this one is too.Then when the ignition is turned on the daytime running light illuminates. It is an array of LEDs and makes the bike look more aggressive.

These two side views show the lines of the bike, note that without the black rear footrests and their hangers above the exhausts, the lines are a bit cleaner.

It looks like it should be quite an aggressive (uncomfortable) riding position from this angle, but that is not the case, it is very comfortable. The long part that holds the rear number plate will be changed for a shorted on in due course.

The business end. This instrument has a wealth of information. The two boxes on the bottom left and right can be scrolled though to show average speeds, fuel consumption, distance left on fuel in the tank and much much more.

The selectable riding modes, “Sport”, “Touring” and “Urban” are also selectable and programmable to give various throttle responses, engine power settings, traction control and ABS settings. If it sounds complicated then it is not too bad once you have read the huge instruction manual.

More to come.


The next Generation

So far this blog has covered three Ducati models, the ST2, 848 and the 250 mk3. There is another blog out there in the ether about the restoration of my 1991 BMW K100RS 16v.

Times are changing though, the 848 will be going. We still have the other bikes and have no intention of selling them at the moment, but it is time for a change. We have ordered a new 2017 Ducati Supersport 939.

The 848 has been one of the nicest bikes to ride that I have ever owned, and I started in 1975 with a Honda 250K4, a Honda CJ360T, a Suzuki T500 and a brand new BMW R75/7 shortly afterwards, and I had all of those bikes together too. Everything that I have owned has been a tourer or an all rounder bike and the closest thing to a sports bike was the BMW R1100S, we had two, one for me and one for my wife. I bought the 848 just for a bit of fun and what a bike. Not too comfortable – my wife only tried it once, but a delight to drive as long as it was not in town. Smiles per mile were ample, screaming around country roads with the loud exhaust was a real hoot, but things have to change sooner or later.

I have some plans for the Supersport, but I will not go into them yet and will drip feed them as posts with plenty of pictures and videos as I usually do.

I have not ordered the S version of the bike as I cannot see that I need any of the toys that it has fitted. The quick shifter on the S might be fun, but is not needed for my sort of riding, the expensive suspension might be something to brag about, but I don’t need to brag and I have no intention of going on a track, so the non S is what I chose. If my wife also likes riding it then she will have one too, but she will have the S because she wants the white paintwork that is only available on that version.