My First Ride on The Ducati 999s

Richie53

Well-known member
Subscriber
I posted this piece over on DF back in the summer time. Following correspondence with various people I set about fixing and fettling things and it's my intention to post my progress/setbacks in due course. I'm just including this bit to give a bit of context for the next bit.

Well, not exactly the first, I took it around the block before buying it.
Since getting it back home, i'd taken the fairings, wheels, tank, and timing covers off for a check before taking the bike out for a shakedown ride. The brake and clutch fluid looked old so replaced it and bled the brakes and clutch. I bought some Iridium spark plugs but didn't install them until I'd been on the bike. Oil looke fresh and sufficient, brake pads looked ok as did the timing belts - service records said that they were changed in November '19 but..... you know ...

1607124457050.png


So yesterday late afternoon I took her out onto the country roads which I thought would be quiet, unfortunately, traffic was heavy and the police were out in force. Other traffic users were very courteous and almost all oncoming traffic duly notified me well in advance of local police presence. On reflection, the traffic volume, police presence and road conditions was a good test of how the bike would handle and respond to a variety of different circumstances.
So my observations;
1. The 999 is drop dead gorgeous from just about every angle.
2. It gets to a ton+ in absolutely no time whatsoever.
3. The front brakes are exceptional, the back brakes - well good to stop yawing I guess,
4. The cornering is phenomenal and sticks to a line as if it's on rails - a bit like a 911.
5. The heat on the inside of my thighs was significant at prolonged speeds of 30 -35 mph, but everything else was protected by the heat shield. Above 50 mph - no problems.
6. I did notice that the engine temp got up to 103 degrees C in town, is that normal? I had thought of changing the coolant prior to this run, but will definitely do it now.
7. I'm 6' 2" and 94 kg, and I think I need to back off the rear preload a little, front seemed ok however, I intend taking a more scientific approach to setting up the suspension in the future. Riding position was not too cramped but obviously not as comfortable as the KTM.
8. The gear change was smooth, too smooth really, as I like to feel a little mechanical engagement when changing gear. Whilst the clutch lever felt positive, the gear change was more than a little vague - a bit like stirring a rice pudding. Is that normal?
9. Trying to find neutral was like trying to find Atlantis.
10. I deliberately didn't wear earplugs as I wanted to hear the engine. I wasn't disappointed and I shan't wear them whilst riding the 999 in future.
11. I noticed when starting from a stop position that there was a whirring noise almost like a slipping fan belt but this was only in first gear and maybe I might have over revved and slipped the clutch a little longer than necessary. Any thoughts?
12. I accelerated past some slow traffic just outside a town and had to close the throttle a little sharpishly as I came up behind some more slow moving traffic when the engine cut out. I coasted to the side of the road, started the engine and resumed the journey without ny further recurrence. Any thoughts?

1607124524460.png


In conclusion I'd say that the bike is an engaging ride and requires plenty of focus from the rider. Some bikes can allow you to switch into almost auto mode but not this one. It's noisy, is not too happy when it's in town or in traffic but it deals with it grudgingly and with a few rider changes, a happy conclusion can be achieved. I have no benchmark comparison but for me, the handling at speed and in corners is nothing short of astounding. I will probably require pins in my wrists and skin grafts on the inside of my legs at some point but all of these "disadvantages" are far outweighed by the advantages. After getting home and parking up, I had a very clear mind and was totally relaxed and this brings me to my final point, riding the 999 is the perfect therapy for all the daily headfuckery that we experience - particularly of late. It's like an hour on a psychiatrists couch - only more expensive!

1607124618374.png
 

West Cork Paul

Elite Member
Subscriber
I posted this piece over on DF back in the summer time. Following correspondence with various people I set about fixing and fettling things and it's my intention to post my progress/setbacks in due course. I'm just including this bit to give a bit of context for the next bit.

Well, not exactly the first, I took it around the block before buying it.
Since getting it back home, i'd taken the fairings, wheels, tank, and timing covers off for a check before taking the bike out for a shakedown ride. The brake and clutch fluid looked old so replaced it and bled the brakes and clutch. I bought some Iridium spark plugs but didn't install them until I'd been on the bike. Oil looke fresh and sufficient, brake pads looked ok as did the timing belts - service records said that they were changed in November '19 but..... you know ...

View attachment 5554

So yesterday late afternoon I took her out onto the country roads which I thought would be quiet, unfortunately, traffic was heavy and the police were out in force. Other traffic users were very courteous and almost all oncoming traffic duly notified me well in advance of local police presence. On reflection, the traffic volume, police presence and road conditions was a good test of how the bike would handle and respond to a variety of different circumstances.
So my observations;
1. The 999 is drop dead gorgeous from just about every angle.
2. It gets to a ton+ in absolutely no time whatsoever.
3. The front brakes are exceptional, the back brakes - well good to stop yawing I guess,
4. The cornering is phenomenal and sticks to a line as if it's on rails - a bit like a 911.
5. The heat on the inside of my thighs was significant at prolonged speeds of 30 -35 mph, but everything else was protected by the heat shield. Above 50 mph - no problems.
6. I did notice that the engine temp got up to 103 degrees C in town, is that normal? I had thought of changing the coolant prior to this run, but will definitely do it now.
7. I'm 6' 2" and 94 kg, and I think I need to back off the rear preload a little, front seemed ok however, I intend taking a more scientific approach to setting up the suspension in the future. Riding position was not too cramped but obviously not as comfortable as the KTM.
8. The gear change was smooth, too smooth really, as I like to feel a little mechanical engagement when changing gear. Whilst the clutch lever felt positive, the gear change was more than a little vague - a bit like stirring a rice pudding. Is that normal?
9. Trying to find neutral was like trying to find Atlantis.
10. I deliberately didn't wear earplugs as I wanted to hear the engine. I wasn't disappointed and I shan't wear them whilst riding the 999 in future.
11. I noticed when starting from a stop position that there was a whirring noise almost like a slipping fan belt but this was only in first gear and maybe I might have over revved and slipped the clutch a little longer than necessary. Any thoughts?
12. I accelerated past some slow traffic just outside a town and had to close the throttle a little sharpishly as I came up behind some more slow moving traffic when the engine cut out. I coasted to the side of the road, started the engine and resumed the journey without ny further recurrence. Any thoughts?

View attachment 5555

In conclusion I'd say that the bike is an engaging ride and requires plenty of focus from the rider. Some bikes can allow you to switch into almost auto mode but not this one. It's noisy, is not too happy when it's in town or in traffic but it deals with it grudgingly and with a few rider changes, a happy conclusion can be achieved. I have no benchmark comparison but for me, the handling at speed and in corners is nothing short of astounding. I will probably require pins in my wrists and skin grafts on the inside of my legs at some point but all of these "disadvantages" are far outweighed by the advantages. After getting home and parking up, I had a very clear mind and was totally relaxed and this brings me to my final point, riding the 999 is the perfect therapy for all the daily headfuckery that we experience - particularly of late. It's like an hour on a psychiatrists couch - only more expensive!

View attachment 5556
Some answers to questions

6. yes, iirc the fan cuts in around that temp.

7. check out Dave Moss on YT or @Andyb did a really good post on DF about setting up suspension, probably in the Suspension section over there.

8. sounds normal Compared with my bikes when on the move.

9. clutch drag. Strip & clean the clutch plates of all the crap that’ll be in there first of all and whilst stripped check everything is as it should be, including plate order and thicknesses, you’d be surprised what some people do.

10. Pardon ? 🤣 Seriously, it’s a personal choice but I’d recommend wearing them, it’s not the engine noise that deafens you gradually but the white noise from the air over your helmet.

11. impossible to tell without hearing it.

12. Were you very low on fuel? Could be a momentary surge of fuel forwards thus permitting air into the pump. Could be the throttle bodies need an overhaul and the TPS resetting, however, if it doesn’t do it again and it were my bike I’d not worry about it. If you can recreate it upon demand then I’d start investigating.
 

Richie53

Well-known member
Subscriber
Some answers to questions

6. yes, iirc the fan cuts in around that temp.

7. check out Dave Moss on YT or @Andyb did a really good post on DF about setting up suspension, probably in the Suspension section over there.

8. sounds normal Compared with my bikes when on the move.

9. clutch drag. Strip & clean the clutch plates of all the crap that’ll be in there first of all and whilst stripped check everything is as it should be, including plate order and thicknesses, you’d be surprised what some people do.

10. Pardon ? 🤣 Seriously, it’s a personal choice but I’d recommend wearing them, it’s not the engine noise that deafens you gradually but the white noise from the air over your helmet.

11. impossible to tell without hearing it.

12. Were you very low on fuel? Could be a momentary surge of fuel forwards thus permitting air into the pump. Could be the throttle bodies need an overhaul and the TPS resetting, however, if it doesn’t do it again and it were my bike I’d not worry about it. If you can recreate it upon demand then I’d start investigating.
I've sorted out these issues (and others) and will reveal how in the next bit
 

JAT

Elite Member
Subscriber
Enjoying this Richard, I never liked the 999 when it first came out but I seem to be warming to them now.
 

john

Active member
I posted this piece over on DF back in the summer time. Following correspondence with various people I set about fixing and fettling things and it's my intention to post my progress/setbacks in due course. I'm just including this bit to give a bit of context for the next bit.

Well, not exactly the first, I took it around the block before buying it.
Since getting it back home, i'd taken the fairings, wheels, tank, and timing covers off for a check before taking the bike out for a shakedown ride. The brake and clutch fluid looked old so replaced it and bled the brakes and clutch. I bought some Iridium spark plugs but didn't install them until I'd been on the bike. Oil looke fresh and sufficient, brake pads looked ok as did the timing belts - service records said that they were changed in November '19 but..... you know ...

View attachment 5554

So yesterday late afternoon I took her out onto the country roads which I thought would be quiet, unfortunately, traffic was heavy and the police were out in force. Other traffic users were very courteous and almost all oncoming traffic duly notified me well in advance of local police presence. On reflection, the traffic volume, police presence and road conditions was a good test of how the bike would handle and respond to a variety of different circumstances.
So my observations;
1. The 999 is drop dead gorgeous from just about every angle.
2. It gets to a ton+ in absolutely no time whatsoever.
3. The front brakes are exceptional, the back brakes - well good to stop yawing I guess,
4. The cornering is phenomenal and sticks to a line as if it's on rails - a bit like a 911.
5. The heat on the inside of my thighs was significant at prolonged speeds of 30 -35 mph, but everything else was protected by the heat shield. Above 50 mph - no problems.
6. I did notice that the engine temp got up to 103 degrees C in town, is that normal? I had thought of changing the coolant prior to this run, but will definitely do it now.
7. I'm 6' 2" and 94 kg, and I think I need to back off the rear preload a little, front seemed ok however, I intend taking a more scientific approach to setting up the suspension in the future. Riding position was not too cramped but obviously not as comfortable as the KTM.
8. The gear change was smooth, too smooth really, as I like to feel a little mechanical engagement when changing gear. Whilst the clutch lever felt positive, the gear change was more than a little vague - a bit like stirring a rice pudding. Is that normal?
9. Trying to find neutral was like trying to find Atlantis.
10. I deliberately didn't wear earplugs as I wanted to hear the engine. I wasn't disappointed and I shan't wear them whilst riding the 999 in future.
11. I noticed when starting from a stop position that there was a whirring noise almost like a slipping fan belt but this was only in first gear and maybe I might have over revved and slipped the clutch a little longer than necessary. Any thoughts?
12. I accelerated past some slow traffic just outside a town and had to close the throttle a little sharpishly as I came up behind some more slow moving traffic when the engine cut out. I coasted to the side of the road, started the engine and resumed the journey without ny further recurrence. Any thoughts?

View attachment 5555

In conclusion I'd say that the bike is an engaging ride and requires plenty of focus from the rider. Some bikes can allow you to switch into almost auto mode but not this one. It's noisy, is not too happy when it's in town or in traffic but it deals with it grudgingly and with a few rider changes, a happy conclusion can be achieved. I have no benchmark comparison but for me, the handling at speed and in corners is nothing short of astounding. I will probably require pins in my wrists and skin grafts on the inside of my legs at some point but all of these "disadvantages" are far outweighed by the advantages. After getting home and parking up, I had a very clear mind and was totally relaxed and this brings me to my final point, riding the 999 is the perfect therapy for all the daily headfuckery that we experience - particularly of late. It's like an hour on a psychiatrists couch - only more expensive!

View attachment 5556
Had mine 15 years since new. The cutting out thing happened a few times along with poor running . The servicing dealer was asked annually for a good few years to investigate and fix but never did. Eventually the problem became less rare and intermittent in fact permanent - no priming of fuel pump sound, zilch life. Getting it to a very experienced mechanic he identified the problem as a bad connection inside the fuel tank. All part of the can bus? system which delivers many clever aspects along with a few undesirables. Bad side stand switches can stop things, not so different to the Yamaha SRX 600 I had so it isn't just computer age bikes that suffer.

The bike has given me much pleasure over the years. I have sometimes wondered what I would move on for and never identified any machine but a Super Mono would do..
 

john

Active member
I posted this piece over on DF back in the summer time. Following correspondence with various people I set about fixing and fettling things and it's my intention to post my progress/setbacks in due course. I'm just including this bit to give a bit of context for the next bit.

Well, not exactly the first, I took it around the block before buying it.
Since getting it back home, i'd taken the fairings, wheels, tank, and timing covers off for a check before taking the bike out for a shakedown ride. The brake and clutch fluid looked old so replaced it and bled the brakes and clutch. I bought some Iridium spark plugs but didn't install them until I'd been on the bike. Oil looke fresh and sufficient, brake pads looked ok as did the timing belts - service records said that they were changed in November '19 but..... you know ...

View attachment 5554

So yesterday late afternoon I took her out onto the country roads which I thought would be quiet, unfortunately, traffic was heavy and the police were out in force. Other traffic users were very courteous and almost all oncoming traffic duly notified me well in advance of local police presence. On reflection, the traffic volume, police presence and road conditions was a good test of how the bike would handle and respond to a variety of different circumstances.
So my observations;
1. The 999 is drop dead gorgeous from just about every angle.
2. It gets to a ton+ in absolutely no time whatsoever.
3. The front brakes are exceptional, the back brakes - well good to stop yawing I guess,
4. The cornering is phenomenal and sticks to a line as if it's on rails - a bit like a 911.
5. The heat on the inside of my thighs was significant at prolonged speeds of 30 -35 mph, but everything else was protected by the heat shield. Above 50 mph - no problems.
6. I did notice that the engine temp got up to 103 degrees C in town, is that normal? I had thought of changing the coolant prior to this run, but will definitely do it now.
7. I'm 6' 2" and 94 kg, and I think I need to back off the rear preload a little, front seemed ok however, I intend taking a more scientific approach to setting up the suspension in the future. Riding position was not too cramped but obviously not as comfortable as the KTM.
8. The gear change was smooth, too smooth really, as I like to feel a little mechanical engagement when changing gear. Whilst the clutch lever felt positive, the gear change was more than a little vague - a bit like stirring a rice pudding. Is that normal?
9. Trying to find neutral was like trying to find Atlantis.
10. I deliberately didn't wear earplugs as I wanted to hear the engine. I wasn't disappointed and I shan't wear them whilst riding the 999 in future.
11. I noticed when starting from a stop position that there was a whirring noise almost like a slipping fan belt but this was only in first gear and maybe I might have over revved and slipped the clutch a little longer than necessary. Any thoughts?
12. I accelerated past some slow traffic just outside a town and had to close the throttle a little sharpishly as I came up behind some more slow moving traffic when the engine cut out. I coasted to the side of the road, started the engine and resumed the journey without ny further recurrence. Any thoughts?

View attachment 5555

In conclusion I'd say that the bike is an engaging ride and requires plenty of focus from the rider. Some bikes can allow you to switch into almost auto mode but not this one. It's noisy, is not too happy when it's in town or in traffic but it deals with it grudgingly and with a few rider changes, a happy conclusion can be achieved. I have no benchmark comparison but for me, the handling at speed and in corners is nothing short of astounding. I will probably require pins in my wrists and skin grafts on the inside of my legs at some point but all of these "disadvantages" are far outweighed by the advantages. After getting home and parking up, I had a very clear mind and was totally relaxed and this brings me to my final point, riding the 999 is the perfect therapy for all the daily headfuckery that we experience - particularly of late. It's like an hour on a psychiatrists couch - only more expensive!

View attachment 5556
Nice reading. I have one too bought new in 2005. There was one problem that took some time to sort out but it came down to a bad connection inside the fuel tank! The symptoms were similar to if you forgot to re-attach the black earth wire down in the left hand front near battery. Love the bike and it is still the most successful Racer for the company.
 

Richie53

Well-known member
Subscriber
Had mine 15 years since new. The cutting out thing happened a few times along with poor running . The servicing dealer was asked annually for a good few years to investigate and fix but never did. Eventually the problem became less rare and intermittent in fact permanent - no priming of fuel pump sound, zilch life. Getting it to a very experienced mechanic he identified the problem as a bad connection inside the fuel tank. All part of the can bus? system which delivers many clever aspects along with a few undesirables. Bad side stand switches can stop things, not so different to the Yamaha SRX 600 I had so it isn't just computer age bikes that suffer.

The bike has given me much pleasure over the years. I have sometimes wondered what I would move on for and never identified any machine but a Super Mono would do..
Nice reading. I have one too bought new in 2005. There was one problem that took some time to sort out but it came down to a bad connection inside the fuel tank! The symptoms were similar to if you forgot to re-attach the black earth wire down in the left hand front near battery. Love the bike and it is still the most successful Racer for the company
TPS reset fixed it
 
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