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.


The sound of a Ducati

I am the owner of some Gopro video cameras which work great on my last bike, a BMW K100RS, a very heavy solid bike. I have made many videos of the local area and put some very nice French folk music on them as the sound track. The first attempts at mounting one of the Gopros on the front of the ST did not give very good results due to vibration and flimsy mountings. Last week I drilled a hole through the rear passenger hand hold which is made from aluminium and used a bolt into a Gopro tripod mount. Today I had the chance to test it with a visiting biker from the UK. I happened to pick up the Gopro that had the skeleton case on it so that the internal microphone caught all the Ducati noises from the GPR exhausts. Here is the video – enjoy.


The GPR sound

As it was a nice day today, and I have just about finished all the work on the 125 monkey bike, I thought that I should get the Ducati out for a few photos, Here is one that I put onto Facebook:

sidesmallThis shows the GPR exhausts finally fitted with the panniers. There is no interference now that the right side link pipe is bent slightly and enough hangers are used to keep the cans low.

DCIM999GOPROA wide angle picture taken with the Gopro camera.

There are a few things in this video that may interest other ST riders. The voltmeter is an LCD display wired to be on with the ignition. The daytime running light at the front is also always on with the ignition. The side/parking light is an LED but looks better than the camera shows. The front indicators have had the orange screens removed and have 21 watt orange bulbs instead of 10 watt white ones. The rear indicators are LED and the rack is cut down to look smarter – that might be silver instead of gold by next week. The swinging arms is painted high gloss metallic silver to match the bike. The Optimate battery charger lead is permanently wired to the battery. I also have a lead ending in a USB socket that can be attached to this for charging GPS, tablets, Gopro cameras, or the Sena SMH10 bike to bike intercoms that we use.

The sound of the GPR is not as good on a youtube video as it is in real life, and for the price that this is in Europe, (see earlier thread for ebay seller) it is great. You may notice the small dent in the left link pipe where I had to bend it to get it to fit, but that does not worry me. I have not fitted the GPR stickers as I do not like colours all over my bike.



GPR exhausts – 2

Now that I have had time to ride around and play with the exhausts I have found just one flaw with the design. As most ST owners know, the swinging arm is wider on the left side of the bike than it is on the right side, this is to accommodate the chain and sprocket.

GPR have done a fantastic job on the fabrication and welding of the parts, but do not seem to have realised that the two link pipes need to be different profiles. The right side is fine, but the left needs to be put under stress to get it to fit and still clear the swinging arm. The measurements that I have made were done without the pannier racks fitted and they would make the situation worse as they lower the end cans and will cause the cans to foul the swinging arm.



Here is the link pipe fitted to the bike and attached with the spring to the bikes headers, as can be seen, there is only 1 cm clearance without the end can fitted.

secondThis shows the view from the back. The end can will reduce this clearance to nothing!

thirdAs can be seen in this picture.

The solution is to have a different link pipe on the left hand side to the one on the right. Rather than trying to make complex bends in that pipe, the solution is to add 25 mm of length to the link where it attached to the header. That would bring the whole assembly outwards by 25mm as shown in the next picture.

fourth GPR are made in Italy and I thought that I should bring this problem to their attention, but they do not publish an email address so I will have to use their contact form on their website and give them a link (pun) to this post. In the mean time I will attempt to get a 25 mm piece of stainless steel and make an extension myself, I might be able to get a local welder to attach it but I am not sure yet.

I will keep the blog posted on any response from GPR, but at this time I would not recommend a GPR system for a Ducati ST.