Saturday, 30 May 2015

New beginning for an old Monster 900

Welcome to my latest blog and this one is a sentimental one for a number of reasons.
Ducati Monster is in my blood for 12 years now.
I have had 3 previously so this number 4.
I have had early model 1997 m900, 2003 s4 watercooled model and lightweight evolution 2009 model 1100s.
Now after some soul searching late last year when Ducati advertised their future launch of the Ducati Scrambler it put me in turmoil because I fell in love with the concept and sold my 1100s to a friend to get one as soon as they came out. Now the Scrambler is here and I love it,
I always promised to get a Monster back in my life and vowed it would be an early as possible one that i could afford but had to be original in spec.
That day happened by chance on Friday 29th May 2015 around 11.00 am when whilst browsing on Facebook at a friends Ducati workshop page I saw an advertisment for a m900  for sale spares or repairs for a staggering £500. I had no choice other than enquiring straight away and called the guy and Alec the garage owner to ask about the bike.
The basis is the bike developed a knocking noise and could be big end bearings and could need a complete engine overhaul etc costing anything around £1000, I immediately said "Yes " to the sale as others were sniffing around and it was literally 5 miles away  too and made plans to inspect that evening. I did tell Caroline before going ahead and that was fine.
On seeing the bike I have to admit being excited as was better than expected and a certain amount of sympathy was felt by me for the guy Lee for having to sell it as he could not afford to fix it and he needed a bike to ride. When I asked him to start the bike I have also to admit it didn't sound as bad as I was expecting so maybe this is not serious rebuild but I explained that I was buying the bike to fully restore and not for profiteering or selling on. This could cost me thousands to do and it will be done to my satisfaction as this bike is a real early Monster and is this model is now considered a "Classic".
So the deal was done and shaken on to return on the next day to hand over cash and trailer the bike home as the engines state was unknown.
Saturday arrived and had to work all day but got home for 5pm to pick bike up at 6pm so we drove to Grain with the trailer on tow. Lee was as you can imagine a bit quiet letting her go but all went well and we left as simply as possible to get the bike out of his way. It was now mine to throw a lot of love and care into and reinstate myself in my UKMOC forum as once again a Monster owner for the 4th time.
Now the bike is home it will be gradually looked at and stripped down once I have the room to do so and once also a verdict has been made on what is wrong with the engine and what work will be done to make sure its as good as new for its future life with me. It may need a crank regrind and new bearings and if thats the case everything will be stripped down and checked inc rings and bearings across the engine and new seals.
What's the verdict.
The verdict so far is the bike is worth every penny and far many more as it has a new looking ohlin rear shock on it worth upwards of £300 alone.The tank and front mudguard are pristine condition so no work there other than it could be doing with finding a rear solo seat cowl in red for it.
The frame is looking silver where it should be bronze and looks as if its been repainted at some time because the wheels and real suspension hoop are also silver too and cannot see frame decals where should be. The rear hoop will be painted the correct yellow and wheel rims will be satin black as correct asap.
The pair of front brake discs I noticed were odd and one is from a later model so presume one must have got warped and changed at some point without thought of correct year with the hole pattern. I will be making sure that is done.
The silencers could also be wrong as the 93' models had ones without chamfers  because they never realised they could touchdown on hard cornering on early design. To be honest I can live with these as they may be hard to find and these ones will be safer to use if ridden hard.
The seat is in fair order with some scratches an minor tears but will see first if it can be repaired properly if not only a good pattern one would be preferred.
The bike has heated grips which whilst ok I do not want and will change to original spec and sell these on as it has extra wiring to be removed too and that may also show up some dodgy connections later on.
The rear indicators are missing as is the correct tail light as was converted to a LED version with built in indicators which is ok if the rear is minimalist but these lights are technically illegal and will be sold on and correct replaced but possibly use LED bulbs in them.
The front forks look good apart from look like the gold anodizing has faded slightly over the 22 years but no corrosion which is the main thing and no fork seal leaks and I believe were changed.
On just looking at them I feel they may have been swapped out as do not look adjustable so may be m600 or 750 ones. They can be sorted too as completely salable.
Frame looks like its 3559 off the line but needs checking out.
All the fixings look original so will be salvaged for restoration and replated where possible and will be starting to coat every fixing with release agent to start to soak in to aid removal.

That's all for now but will keep any progress duly updated and as I said long term project.

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