Kawabillīs Ducati experience

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The FIRST time that I rode the Ducati for a little more than 20km I had the first experience!

My dad told me that this Ducati of mine helps to remind him of the fact that he has a 40-year old kid, which he knows he made but always wonders how on earth......

You know, "normal" motorcycles have a fuel tap, which during normal riding is "on" and in order to not have to walk too much you have to turn it to "reserve" when you have a couple of liters of fuel left. These motorcycles have carbs, Ducati would not be Ducati if they have it different. This is not bad if everything else works okay. The Ducati has fuel injection, and instead of a fuel tap that swithes to "reserve", they have an indicator light "fuel" that lights up on the dashboard.

Okay, now I went for a ride yesterday, the temperature was about 2°C, some wind, overcast sky and shattered snow showers around. But you  know, the 40-year old kid was very excited and wanted to play with its new toy. And indeed, the toy is fun - it rides completely different from the Kawa that I am so much used to, having both now only makes life more complete (for me I guess it is like having two children that complement each other but have very different characters).

Anyway, I put on my winter gear and set off for a nice ride. I only did half the distance that I wanted to, when I found out that the reserve fuel indicator light was not working, the hard way I guess . The machine started losing power and was making all kinds of weird non-motorcycle sounds and my thoughts were "ah sh*t, itīs true what they say about Italian motorcycles here I go. D*mn, I wish I would have taken the Kawasaki" and more grumble brumble like that.

It took me some time to figure out that the indicator light for the fuel didnīt work, as the fuel tank had a bottom of fuel in it but it was not enough to get to the point where it could be pumped into the injectors any more.

In short, the solution was that I gave my dad a ring, who drove about 15km to come to the rescue of his 40-year old kid. Nice dad I have for sure!


The SECOND time I enjoyed a very nice ride into the Voerstreek in Belgium, the picture at the beginning of this page was made during that ride.



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Coming back from a very nice ride through the small and remote roads in the Belgian Voerstreek I passed along Maastricht, and took the highway as it was after supper time and I wanted to get home a little faster. Accelarating from the last traffic light in Maastricht onto the A2 highway, I was first and fastest!! all of a sudden the engine stalled and the rpm gauge went down to zero.......

I thought "how the xxxx can that be, I'm still rolling", it took a while to figure out that the gauge was electronically driven and not mechanically. It didn't take much longer to figure out that the engine would not pick up either, so I steered the Duc to the side of the road.

Starting to get a bit grumpy, I phoned the Wegenwacht (AA) which told me they would be where I was in about an hour's time. So I just relaxed on the side of the highway, out in the bushes where no one could see me. Looking at the Duc, I indeed thought that it had great looks. Now I know that great looks do not always link with great reliability.......


Anyways, after the wait two mechanics came to help. Initially they were looking at the rpm-sensor and they thought they had found it and tried to repair it - without luck though.
After a long search, it was decided to look at the fuses, and indeed......it turned out that the main fuse to the engine management system had blown. We all cheered as the problem was found. The folks gave me four more fuses, which should get me home for sure.

Engine started, and off I went.....only to find that one hundred meters further down the highway I had the same experience as before - rev gauge down to zero and the engine stalled as a result from being fuelless....

I told the guys that 4 fuses wouldn't get me home and it could only cause more damage to the electric wiring of the bike. So......it was decided to hawl the bike back to Bree on top of a truck. And so it happened.

I got home after all, and the dealer picked up the bike the day after - it turned out that pump was damaged mechanically and it needed to rotate faster to get to sufficient pressure. This demanded more current than was allowed by the fuses - so after a few meters the fuse blew.


The THIRD time, it didn't stall but kept revving and I met a pretty Belgian lady biker....!

That evening the weather was just fine, and I decided to go for a little ride in the neighbourhood, taking the Duc and leaving the Kawa (which had ran for some 500km the weekend before). I enjoyed the ride, the weather was good and the roads were dry.

I was in Maasmechelen as the throttle showed some resitance, and the engine didn't rev all the way. I used a little force, and the block released. After a roundabout I accelerated to the next one, only to find that the revs kept going up and I had no more throttle response. I thought it better to unclutch the engine and kill it, while parking the bike on the side of the road.

I removed the fairing, and acted as if I knew what I was doing...... A couple of minutes later, a handsome lady in a Mercedes 4x4 stopped and offered to leave the bike at her place - as soon it would be getting dark - I was glad she offered it and took the bike to her house which was not so far away. I phoned a taxi to get me back to Bree and left the Duc in Opgrimbie, waiting for Ducati Zolder to pick it up and get repaired.

This time it turned out to be the throttle cable that got stuck......


The FOURTH time, the Duc really couldn't be blamed. I took her out on the Zolder race track.

Zolder

 She was running perfect: the engine was running great, the bike was really super and I started to get used to riding the 2 cylinder V-engine.

I got so enthousiastic that from my little toe way down under, there came a drop of childhood blood - with those "I can conquer the world" genes in it - that got stuck in a little corner of a vain and all of a sudden I thought I was Capirossi and I could hit the brake later and later and........ Ooops, the Duc started to creep sideways and I didn't dare to get into the gravel that way, so the impuls was to pull the bike upright and just let it go straight into the little stones at around 180 km/h. So for those who know the track I didn't come competely through the first left corner after the straight.

In the gravel, I closed the throttle, and the front wheel dug in pretty deep. As I slowed down the steering started slapping too hard for me to hold, and I just jumped of the bike. She landed on her right side.

Damage;
- ruptured lamp holder
- broken mirror support
- right front indicator
- scratches on all fairing parts and tank on the right side
- black spot on my pride


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Okay, well the Ducati is a really nice machine to ride on. I have repaired it in such a way that I can ride her again. I am still lacking the right side mirror support (as you can see to the right), also the right bottom side fairing is showing considerable scratching from the crash.

Even with this it is still fun to ride the Duc. It took me a while to get a little confidence in taking curves, but so far I'm doing just fine.

Only......during a night ride a couple of weeks ago I found out that when I switch the ligth to "high beam" the fuse blows and all of my front light is gone. I still need to get this fixed.

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Allright, the short circuit in the lights has been fixed and this morning (09.10.2005) I took the Duc for a little ride around Holland and Belgium. I took her from Bree to Maastricht, then on to Sippenaeken, Henri-Chapelle, Eupen, Moresnet, Aachen and from there back to Bree.
It was wonderful weather, spring colours everywhere and she just loved the ride judging her good behaviour - very reliable in the curves and she didn't make me walk.....


Hmmmm.......Had you told me, I would have never believed you.

Here's the story about:

The FIFTH time

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I didn't tell you yet, but the Ducati made me walk another time last Sunday, 13.11.2005.

I was out biking with a group of Belgian fellow bikers, and already at the rendez vous point the Duc didn't want to start electrically - not so bad yet as I pushed started her.

Rendez vous Maasmechelen


We rode for a couple of kilometers, and of course after being an hour underway we stopped to have a drink on a terras in Maaseik. Those are the scary moments for Ducati drivers I know now, because once the machine is running you should not stop until you are home.

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Anyway, the weather was good, as well as the coffee and the company I was with. But ater the coffee was all drunk, we wanted to drive again. Duc did't start electrically, so we pushed here again and she started, but was running as if the ignition timing was way off. Top speed about 30km/h....... I said to the rest of the folks to just head on and do the tour as I could make it back home to Bree in about 40 minutes at that speed.

So they did, I drove for two kilometers when the Ducati refused completely. Well, to cut a long story short, my good old dad had to come to the rescue of his sun again, and he told me that since I had the Ducati, he put a lot more milage on his car than before......... After the coffee stop it took me about 3 hours to get the bike back to Bree.

So, I'll be bringing the Duc to the dealer and see whether he can get it repaired - I still have warranty on it, so he shouldn't be too happy about me buying this bike either.



I lost count........

Well, after  having brought the bike to the dealer he kept it there for a bit to have a look at it. When I rang to find out how the bike was doing (some three weeks later - I was travelling abroad) I learned that a crankshaft bearing was severely damaged. The dealer proposed I bought a new 749, for a good price mind you. However, I failed the money and I just like the 748 model. So he offered to repair the bearing under warranty, which he did and for which I am very grateful.




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The moment of truth had arrived. I would be taking the Duc into France to enjoy a well earned holiday. The bike was running really swell, but....... after it ran hot it wouldn't start anymore, the fuel pump just didn't want to kick in.

I called my dealer's mechanic to discuss what could be wrong with it, and whether he had ideas. We went over the list of switches that activated the pump, and after a day's search (IN MY HOLIDAY) I found the relay had a bad contact, hindering it from switching. So I cleaned it, and I enjoyed a couple of nice rides more in jolie Auvergne!

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The hate love relation continues, and when we love we have fun!
Duc and me on the Folembray racetrack, Northern France.



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