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.


Exhaust valve.

It seems that many new bikes are fitted with a flapper valve in the exhaust these days, Ducati being one. If you look back through the posts you will find that I took the exhaust valve motor out of my 848 and fitted a little box to fool the ECU into thinking that it was still fitted. Well I have another little box the same.

This picture shows the oil filter from a previous post but the exhaust valve gubbins is in the same area. The valve itself is under the triangular cover to the rear of the green circle, it is held on with three bolts. Just under the front of the green circle, the cable that runs to the motor, which is in the lower front of the fairing. is just showing, 

First thing that I did was to take a short video of the motor with the bike running to see when it was closing the valve.

This actually proves nothing apart from the fact that it is working. In my  view anything that is making a restriction in an exhaust system for no known reason is a waste of time, and does nothing for efficiency.

The motor and cable has been totally removed along with the brackets. This saves a bit of weight, not that I’ll ever notice while riding, and gets rid of that ugly cable hanging down. The valve itself is still in the exhaust but is wirelocked in the open position.

Time will tell if the modification has any effect on the way the bike runs, or on economy. It is very easy to reinstall everything if needed.

All that I need now is a spare exhaust box to see how easy it will be to cut open, remove the catalytic converter, and weld closed again. That is one modification that I know from experience makes the machine more economical and boosts mid range torque.


An 848 update

Folks will remember that I fitted the Lithium battery, not to save weight, but to see if they were all that they are cracked up to be. I still can’t feel the 3 kgs weight loss when riding the bike, but the battery is performing well. It cranks the engine quicker than the old battery did and has not needed any charging while the bike is idle in the garage.

The Worx exhaust is also working fine, it is a very pretty exhaust with little cut outs in the ends of the db killers. You will need to go back to that post to see the pictures. The exhaust is LOUD, but is a very pleasant sound. I fitted discs (old pennies beaten down to 30mm diameter) into the db killers to see if anything changed, it made no difference at all. With the Worx fitted the bike pulls a little stronger from lower revs, perhaps that is due to the lack of catalytic converters. The Worx is also quite a bit lighter than the original silencers.

There is also a post earlier about the exhaust valve motor eliminator. That is still fitted with no problems and I could not even say if that makes much difference any more, I have forgotten how it felt with the valve motor.

The headlight is fine as it is with the bi-xenon projector and HID in the right side and a H11 LED in a fixed Ducati projector (dip only) in the left. In normal daytime riding it looks like both lights are on and they look the same, but in the dark the LED adds nothing to the illumination of the road ahead. The next generation headlight with two HID bi-xenon’s is being built at the moment, but this one is going to be fitted with a relay and switch so that the headlights do not need to be on during the day and a pair of angel eyes will be fitted for daytime riding.

The Metzeler M7RR tyres are great and give confidence over every road surface, but the bike is such a peach to ride that I never expect it to frighten me. A great combination of tyre and bike then!

The back of the bike has the TST tail light and the LED indicators with LED brake light fitted to them. Everything is working fine with it as it is. I have not had time to fit the flash rate controller that I bought from ebay to see if it slows the indicator flash, but will do that over the next few weeks.

I have yet another video camera to add to the Gopros that I own, this one is called a Polaroid Cube Plus, and unlike the Gopros has built in image stabilisation produces better videos. The mounting options are also better. The cube also does time lapse so I made a little video of the bike on a windy day to test that function. Here it is:

Starter motor blues

The Ducati ST2 has been a strange starter since the day that I bought it. When the starter button was pressed there was a 1 to 2 second delay before anything happened at the starter motor. I had changed the battery on the bike from the almost new lead acid to a gel for other reasons and that had made no difference. I fitted a voltmeter to the bike to make sure that it was charging at all times and it was. The thing was that I did not trust it!

My wifes BMW F800ST was also playing up in that it was very sluggish to start despite a newish battery, and that would sometimes not start at all. Because of this she had started using the ST2 and found that she preferred it to the BMW. So the F800ST will be put up for sale.

While I had the BMW up on the ramp I removed the starter motor from the front of the engine, just two bolts and a power lead. On stripping it I found that the surface of the commutator (the copper bit where the brushes touch) was a bit black rather than copper coloured. A quick rub over with some very fine wet and dry, then a wipe with acetone to clean it had it looking like copper again. After refitting it (5 minute job) the bike sprang into life with a weak battery. It would probably now start on a watch battery!

That got me thinking about the ST2. The only problem is that the lower fairings have to come off, the left hand engine casing has to be removed and the flywheel has to come off just to remove the starter! Someone at Ducati needs a new job. I found that instead of all that work, I could get to the back of the starter from the right side of the bike and with the use of some bent 8mm spanners, I could remove the rear plate with the brushes on it. The commutator stays hanging on the bike, but there is enough room to clean it up in the same away as I had the BMW. It took quite a while to refit everything as it was not designed to come apart like that.

The ST2 was on the ramp, but I pressed the button anyway, I would not normally start a bike that is over a meter of the ground on a ramp, but it was just pure music. A mere touch of the button had the motor burbling away through the sweet sounding GPR exhausts. 30 seconds later my wife was at the garage door with a cup of tea for me and a huge smile at the sound of what has become her bike.

More on the exhaust.

1st December turned out to be a nice warm sunny day here in the south of France, so time to take the 848 out and see what difference the new exhaust makes.

I know that the new cans are lighter than the old ones as I could feel the difference when fitting them, but out on the road it would take a much better rider than me to feel that difference. Even if 2 kgs was saved, that would only be about 1% of the weight of the bike without the rider, and I challenge anyone to feel what is about 3 litres of fuel!

The noise is much nicer, a deeper tone than the standard cans and a little louder. It is not intrusive for the rider, I use a Schubert C3 pro helmet. Town riding is not as loud as I expected because the bike now trundles at slow speed with more bottom end torque. Whereas I would have to cruise at about 4000 rpm before, it will now pull from 3500 rpm, so less noise.

I have no idea if the bike is more powerful at the top end, and to be honest I would not know if there was 5 bhp more or less than it was before.

My wife was following on the ST2 and commented that it sounds lovely when she stopped behind me, but could not hear the 848 above the ST2 GPR cans when on the move. I am very happy with these cans and consider them money well spent.

A new set of exhaust cans

I know that I have not written anything for a while, but my excuse is that I have been riding the bike. We have had quite a few biker visitors and they are a great excuse to get out. The battery has failed on my wifes BMW F800ST (Hawker Odyssey lasted 18 months!) so she has been riding the Ducati ST2 and loves it – especially the sound from the GPR exhausts. It all made the 848 sound a bit quiet so on Tuesday I phoned the company who make the Werx end cans in the UK. ( On Thursday afternoon the package arrived – now that is what I call service!

inbox1s Inbox2

Nice shiny stainless steel things in boxes get me excited and so did the free tee shirt in the box (My wife told me to get an XL which is far too big!).  After a thorough examination we decided that they are great quality items and have been very well made. Jude got hold of one and looked through it, always looking for a photograph she took these.

Tube2 tube1 The pictures are taken looking towards the outlet, the X cut into the back of the db killers lets the light in to show the perforations in the inner tube.

It took about 10 minutes to remove the old cans and fit the new ones. I used the straps off the old Ducati cans rather than the Werx supplied ones as I thought that they looked better.hanger3

And then I set up the Gopro on a tripod to hear what the difference in sound is like.

I have not had time to go out for a spin due to the muddy roads at the moment, but from just running the engine as seen in the video I can feel that the bike revs much quicker and smoother. I suspect that the elimination of the catalytic converter is partly the reason for that, and I should also get better economy for the same reason.