Ducati 939 Supersport panniers.

The Supersport has now got nearly 4000 kms on it, and I have loved riding every one of them. One of the first things that I bought was a tank bag, a Givi magnetic one that holds 15 litres. It is the same as the one that can be bought at a Ducati dealer for this bike and fits very well. I have also fitted a USB socket to the front of the bike to plug the tank bag in.

As this bike is such a great all rounder it will benefit from more luggage space. The Ducati panniers that are a very expensive optional extra, just don’t seem as well made as I would expect them to be. 

They also sit very high and to the rear of the rear axle. I prefer weight to be low and as far forward as it can be. So I had some thoughts.

One thing that I did not really want was a set of pannier frames on the bike when I have not got any luggage fitted, it would ruin the looks of a very beautiful bike. So I took the ST2 panniers and frames and started to modify.

I have removed the rear footrests from my bike as I never carry passengers, that allows me to fit the panniers slightly further forward and use the footpeg mount as a pannier rack mount. After cutting the brackets off the standard Ducati ST Pannier mounts I made new brackets to suit the Supersport. There is a strong point at the forward end of the rear numberplate/light hanger that is attached with 8mm bolts, so I used that along with the rear footpeg mount, also 8mm.

The prototype fits very well and looks fine on the bike. The best bit is that it is very quick to attach and remove the mount. So I made a time lapse video to demonstrate.

If anyone wanted to replicate this mount but wants to keep the rear foot pegs, then that would not be a problem, but the bikes rear indicators would need to be move backwards somehow, and the front mount would need to be longer.

As with any panniers on a bike they should not be overloaded (max about 10kgs) and high speed should be avoided.

I will update when I have refined the mounting. The silver pannier inserts are removable and could be painted.

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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!

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.

 

Progress.

There will be two posts today, this is the first.

The Supersport is going strong, I am trying to take a decent length ride everyday and with new oil and more kilometers on the engine is feeling great. The fuel consumption is averaging between 4.2 and 4.3 litres per 100 kilometers, that works out at 24 kms per litre for those who measure in that way. The engine feels smoother and the torque from 3000 rpm can now really be appreciated. I have no major mirror vibration as some owners seem to have, but I blame that on sloppy running in procedure. Test bikes will probably never have been run in, and Ducati’s own recommendations can be improved upon. The manual tell you to keep the revs below 5500 rpm for the first 1000 kms and then 6000 rpm for the next 1000 kms. I have always prefered to build those revs up gradually and never exceeded 3000 during the first slow 150 kms. From there it was built up to 5000 rpm at the 1000 km point and now it will build up to the 2000 km point.

Some numpties on a Supersport forum took great pleasure in telling me how I was running my bike in the wrong way, but they are the ones complaining of vibrations. It is my bike and I will run it in the same way that I have run all of my other new bikes in.

Having said that there is little point in using much more than 5000 rpm as that is about 125 kmh in top and on the roads around here that is plenty.

I attached one of my Gopro cameras to a chest mount and made a little video yesterday, best viewed in HD on a TV.

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.

A non technical post for a change.

Since we first bought the ST2, the Ducati brand has impressed us with the precise handling and the wonderful sounds that the L twin engines produce. Both the ST2 and the 848 have aftermarket “loud” cans on them, not a problem in France where there are no MOTs (annual technical inspection) for bikes, and the police have got better things to do than be petty about a little noise.

Jude has been offered an upgrade to an ST3, but is very happy with the ST2 and does not seem to want to change it. My 848 is a very sporting bike, the handling is light and precise and the roadholding is fantastic. I can happily say that I have never ridden a bike that puts such a big smile on my face for so long. The downside to riding a bike that fits like a glove is the comfort levels. The wrists can get uncomfortable after a couple of hours and the neck a bit sore after a while but the enjoyment factor means that you don’t notice too much.

We were in our local town, Perigueux, the other day and decided to look in at the BMW dealer, there is no Ducati dealer there. I have owned BMWs since buying my first new one at the age of 18, but went off them when the bikes were getting taller and taller. What I did spot that caught my eye was something called an RnineT Racer. The RnineT is the standard 1200 boxer engine in a naked bike with some trick bits like upside down forks etc. The Racer has a small ’70s style fairing and is a single seater (we never carry passengers anyway) but has the cheaper option of normal forks.

I thought that the bike looked rather cute. The price tag is over €14,500.

That got us thinking that Ducati had just released the new Supersport and Supersport S. The Ducati is about the same price for a very well equipped bike. Off we went to Limoges, to the nearest Ducati dealer, and found a Supersport S in white standing outside in the rain. What a machine! It took Jude exactly 10 minutes to decide that she wanted one and not the red one, but this white one. She immediately took some pictures so that there was no chance that she would forget what it looks like!

I would say that for about the same money, the Ducati is much more of a bike.

I now have for sale my beautiful red 2010 Ducati 848 as seen in many of the posts in this blog. I will get a Supersport and so will Jude, it will take a little time, and I will probably get a red one, but we are having a pair!