A Racer's 748
Where to begin...
I've known Cody for many years now and when he informed me he wanted to race a 748, I thought that was really cool. Eventually he retired from racing, and like most racers he had all these parts left over. So when he came in one day and said that he wanted to put his old race bike back on the street to ride, I thought that was really cool, too.
We talked about some of the things he wanted to do and would I be interested in making it happen.
Of course I said yes. All I had to do was drive over and pick up the bike and some parts, right?
Wrong. There were many boxes, a couple of engines and a frame. I had to make 2 trips to pick up everything.
Ok, this is a project.
My only mistake was not taking a picture of everything just to show people I wasn't kidding. Oh well.
Cody's 748 S
I sent the frame out to be bead blasted before sending it over to the paint shop. The colour scheme that Cody wanted was a Ducati Red frame and the body pieces were to be done in the Senna colours with a matte finish.
The swing arm, clutch housing, alternator cover, triple clamps, side stand and bracket were to be painted gloss black. The swing arm was beat up a bit from all the racing but we bead blasted it, I filed off all the casting marks and masked off the areas that I didn't want painted such as the bearing areas. The same was done to all the other pieces.
All the bolt holes were plugged off before sending everything over to the painters. And yes, we chose to paint not powder coat. If it's good enough for the factory it's... I think powder coating is great, just not on a motorcycle.
When everything came back, we just had to pull off all the masking tape and remove all the bolts protecting the threads.
Of course, with Cody being a racer he wanted to try and keep the bike as light as possible.
Installing a carbon fibre head light bucket will definitely help. The heat sheild above the mufflers attached to the sub frame is carbon fibre, also.
I have the original front brake and clutch master cylinders on there for now but eventually they were upgraded.
The motor is back in but not before we did a little more work to it. I split the cases and changed out all the bearings. I installed an RS crank which is a lot lighter than stock, Carrillo rods and bigger pistons. Before installing these parts into the cases, everything was sent out to be dynamically balanced... Translation: one very happy motor.
When installing different rods and pistons on a crank, it may throw a crank out of balance. So, I boxed everything up and sent it out to a shop in Florida that specializes in balancing cranks. Once the crank came back, I shim it and the tranny to the new bearings in the crank cases.
I bolted the top end together to check the piston to head clearance and the valve to piston clearance. Once that wass done, I torqued everything together.
Now it's time to attach the swing arm to the frame and slide in the motor so that everthing can be connected and torqued.
I included this photo to show what a lighened flywheel looks like, and where it is mounted. It's the gold piece of aluminum on the crank right behind the rotor.
Depending on which brand of lightened flywheel you are using, you can remove about 5 lbs. off the end of the crank.
Look closer and you'll notice that it's not an ordinary carbon fibre heat shield attached to the sub frame.
Connecting some hoses from the crank case to the two boxes on the heat shield increase the crank case volume, and lets the engine run a little easier resulting in a couple of extra HP.
Oh, I forgot to memtion that I had the cam belt covers painted gloss black, as well.
Cody also wanted a slipper clutch installed. You know racers, they want it all! His version and my version were a little diffferent but in the end he liked how it looked and performed.
I waited until we were almost finished before I put the gloss black upper triple clamp on. Didn't want to take a chance that I might scratch it or something.
The clip-ons are Ducati Performace and we also have the upgraded Brembos master cylinders on. It took some fiddling to get the reservoirs to clear the fairing, I had to keep shortening the brackets, until there was almost nothing left.
The Ohlins steering dampener gives a finished look of a race bike and gives it a better feel when riding. The original 748S does not come with an Ohlins steering dampener.
For wheels, we chose OZ Wheels, they're forged and we stayed with the original sizing.
The quick change rear sprocket is another racing touch and it comes as a kit from Sprocket Specialist.
The plate that holds the sprocket in place is made by Ducabike.
All the axle nuts were anodized aluminum.
The rearsets are Ducabike.
The OZ wheels suit the look of the bike.
The toe guard that covers the slipper clutch and actually works is by STM.
Here's another project where we chose to use Brake Tech rotors front and rear. Plus, I'm using the 749/999 brake calipers. Can't say enough good things about those calipers.
I also installed an Ohlins shock on the rear.
With the bigger displacement and the 52mm full exhaust system, we thought we would play some more and added duel throttle bodies and an ECU off of a 996.
Here's one project where the Power Commander 3 really helped in sorting out the fueling.
It's getting a little harder to find new full exhaust systems for the older bikes. The good new is, Sil Moto has stepped up and is now making exhaust mufflers and full systems for many of the older Ducatis.
Yes, I know there is an Arrow full system on this bike but Arrow no longer makes that system. We just got lucky and found this sytem through one of our distributors.
For those of you that don't know, mufflers from a 998 don't work on a 748/996. The left hand side seems to work ok but the right hand side does not.
So I took the bike and mufflers down to Derek at Trillion Industries and he put this cool bend into the pipe so it would fit.
Now it fits the curve of the seat perfectly.
The 748S in this picture is just about complete. I was waiting for the carbon fibre rear hugger to come in and a Ducabike rear ride height adjuster. Plus, I did have to take it for a ride or two.
The first time Cody rode his new bike was after work one evening. When he came in he seemed to be in a bit of a hurry. He pulled on his jacket, stuffed his head into the helmet and grabed his gloves. As he was walking out of the shop he said he would be back in about 15 or 20 minutes. About 90 minutes later he's back, almost jumping off his bike, handing me his gear. As he's runnig towards his truck, he's telling me that today is their anniversay, he's late but the bike runs great.