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ducati 916

Our shed: Ducati 916 take 2

(by Guy 'Guido' Allen, September 2023)

It's two steps forward and one giant pirouette backwards as we try to get our Ducati 916 on the road

There's another 916 in the shed. You see I owned one up to a couple of years ago and then, in a moment of weakness, sold it to young Mr Harris.

It seemed to make him happy, so that's a good result.

While I was still trying to work out why in hell I sold the first, inevitably another popped up for sale and drained the contents of my bank account and whatever pathetic hopes my children may have entertained for an inheritance.

Among the attractions, it is relatively standard, with Termignoni mufflers and after market footpegs/controls as the stand-out differences.

What really got my attention however was the relatively early build. It's a Varese-assembled machine from 1994 and sold in 1995. The short version of the story is a fire in the Bologna paint shop forced Ducati to move production of the early customer 916s to the Cagiva-owned MV Agusta facility in Varese, and this is one of the machines out of that batch.

ducati 916 and Mv agusta f4 1000 nero

Is it any better because of that? No, but I like the story. And it has a little extra appeal since I recently added an MV Agusta F4 Nero to the fleet of money pits in an effort to make up our own pair of Tamburini-designed toys.

ducati 916

Back to the Ducati. It was bought through Brad's Vintage Cycle Sales and the boss there was good deal with. The motorcycle was as described and the exchange of prisoners (my wallet for his bike) went pretty much as planned.

It arrived with fresh cam belts, oil and rubber. That was a few boxes ticked for getting it, a fairly low-miler at under 14,000km (8700 miles), on the road.

ducati 916

A little aside here: It had a couple of visual give-aways as an early monoposto, including the rear subframe in aluminium (soon replaced with steel across the Stradas to accommodate the biposto variant) and the giant P8 ECU under the tail. The latter was also used by the likes of Fiat and was soon replaced with a more compact system.

Slipping the Termi mufflers that came with the bike through a roadworthy has become increasingly difficult over time, though you can buy bolt-in DB-killers for a lot of the company's pipes. However the mission with this bike was to get it as close as reasonably possible to stock – there are better options in the shed if I want more power and speed.

ducati 916 mufflers

So in a complete reversal of what everyone did when these were new, I was carefully putting aside the aftermarket Termignonis for the next owner and replacing them with stock mufflers.

New sets can be found at around Au$1200 (US$760, GB£630) via Ebay, which seems fairly reasonable – just beware they come in different header sizes. I've had a very brief ride since they were installed and have to admit they're good. There's a whole lot less aural theatre going on, which is disappointing until you're trying to slip unnoticed past a cop. It still performs nicely.

And here's the catch: The sodding mounting brackets for the Termis were too big for the stock mufflers. Stock parts can be found, and the source we used was bike-parts-ducati.com. Like a lot of these details, buying cheap and nasty replicas off Ebay doesn't really work.

ducati 916 muffler

The pipes are a big part of the 'look' of the 916 and it's critical they're sitting right. To achieve that, you need two things: The right bits and someone on the spanners who gets the whole idea. See above, there is a host of hardware involved.

As for who was on the spanners, this and the MV went through the hands of the good folk at Gassit Motorcycles, just up the road from me. They were going to do the roadworthy check anyway, so it made sense to get them to fine-tune things. So far they've proved to be remarkably tolerant of my tendency to swear fluently when it's announced that yet another bloody part (supplied by muggins) doesn't fit.

Let's talk through that, shall we? I have to admit to being surprised (and should know better) when young Simon from Gassit rang to say the Duke wasn't going to get through a roadworthy. The issue was the aftermarket rider footpegs which, unlike the originals, are fixed and don't swivel.

Subsequent investigation suggests there is no rule against fixed footpegs (see the VicRoads guidelines). No matter, I wanted to refit the original pattern gear, anyway.

aftermarket 916

Another little aside: Why would someone change over the footpegs? A crash is one explanation. Though possible, the bike isn't showing that sort of trauma. And these aren't rearsets, as the locations are very close to stock. The answer I suspect is in the gearshift, which is a very different design to and has a lot more leverage than the stocker. It's a nice set-up and I can see why you'd have it.

Another theory is these offer more grip than the stock pegs.

Anyway, let's go and get a replacement set of pegs and foot controls, shall we? Holy snapping duckshit, Batman, you're talking something over Au$1100 (US$700, GB£580) for a new kit. Stuff that!

ebay ducati parts

We tracked down a clean-looking used set on Ebay for two-thirds of that price, so happy days, yes? Err...no.

ducati pegs

They were unquestionably Ducati parts, but not for a 916. I've just opened up a return request with the seller, and there's supposed to be a replacement set on its way.


In the meantime, I've gone full-bore ordering the (hopefully) originals through the new parts mob. My previous experience was pretty straight-forward and there is an Australian rep for the service.

Somewhat optimistically, or foolishly, I expected to be out and about enjoying the 916 by now. However delays in getting bits, plus time lost with mechanics and workshops hitting the rev-limiter all adds up. That's just how it is and we'll get there one day, soon. It's just that when you have a near-ready 916 sitting in the driveway, patience seems over-rated...

ducati 916

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