After a recent visit to the Portland Ducati dealership, Motocorsa, I was cautioned not to even start the Ducati until I had replaced the belts. This is because they are rated at only 2 years, 12k miles, and I had no evidence that the belts were within those parameters. If the belts were to break, the cost of the head rebuilds would easily exceed the value of the bike. After some quick math, I took their advice and waited to tickle the 750 until today, when Paul replaced the belts. And we’ve had some damn nice weather here in Western Oregon that has been making me absolutely stir crazy for a ride on the bike!!!
Luckily I was able to satisfy my fix in a couple of ways. 1st was to turn my garage into a ghetto studio by gathering what I had in the house to make a backdrop and some strong overhead lighting to take some dramatic photographs. I ended up with this:
(Click above image for link to full size wallpaper!)
This was the result of a relative photography amateur taking about 4 hours of trial and error shots, and some moderate Photoshop work. For a first effort, I’m thrilled. Here’s the original. If you’re a Photoshop wizard, or just want to take a crack, give the original the business and post a link of your interpretation. Or email me.
Update 3.12.08 – Here’s our first submission from Eric:
A few weeks after that photo was taken, Paul and his wife met at our house for an evening of dinner and drinks, arriving separately. When they left the next morning, they took their car home and Paul left his bike in the garage. For nearly 2 weeks 😀 Naturally I made the most of it. Nearly every sunny late afternoon was spent on the VFR. (Paul, you are the man. Thank you so much!) While it sucked to leave the Duc in the garage on such perfect days, the VFR was a total blast! I mean:
- It has a choke and starts on the first try.
- It has fantastic creature comforts and modern conveniences like a full fairing, high mounted rear-view mirrors, comfortable seat, and even heated grips (!)
- A clock and temperature gauge. And even a fuel gauge! You mean you can ride between tanks knowing how much fuel you have? Stupore!
- It’s Red. bello!
- It has a motor that is a relative of the RC45, and sounds totally fantastic with the Two Brothers carbon fiber exhaust.
- And it was in my garage with a ‘ride anytime’ ticket provided by Paul.
Hell Ya, I rode her as much as I could! Here’s a short clip of my blipping the throttle before a ride:
Now I know what you’re thinking, “I hate YouTube bike exhaust clips that don’t rev the bike up that much!” To that I say: This bike is on loan from a close friend. A friend I respect. Naturally I waited to rev the piss out of her until the camera was off 😉 And she’s a screamer for sure. Once the needle swings past 8k RPM, hold on! She’ll walk the 750SS like it’s only running on one cylinder! Thanks for holding the needle for me when I needed my fix Paul!
Which brings us to today, when Paul came over to put the new belts on. I set him up with a Pepsi and a chocolate donut, and he dove right in. I had the nearly useless Ducati Factory manual open, and also the procedure on DucatiSuite for changing Ducati Timing Belts. He ended up referencing the latter more often than the manual, and had the whole job done in less than hour. With hours of sunlight left, we had to go for a quick ride of course to make sure the job was successful. And it was. I had a serious perma-grin on my first Ducati ride of 2008. We took a nice scenic tour of the Willamette Valley by taking highway 99N to Airlie Road, to Kings Valley, and back to Corvallis. You can check out the pics here, and here’s a wallpaper sized image that I photoshopped (too much):
Many, MANY thanks to Paul for getting the Ducati safe enough to start AND ride for ’08!