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Discussion Starter #1
Hello to all.
I bought my first bike (2006 Ducati Monster 620 Dark) a few years ago and it has come time to make a tough decision; sell it and buy a brand new bike, or truly make it "MINE".... I moved from NJ to FL about a month ago and I can enjoy riding here all year long while in NJ only a few months.
My Monster runs great, has new tires, battery, brakes, chain & sprocket, and is in general good condition. Main issue is, it's reaching its 12K mile service and it's a bit costly.
I have never worked on anything mechanical, though my best friend is a mechanical engineer and can help greatly.
I've read enough posts on here to know what to expect out of your responses (the unexpected), but I'm ready for it.... I want to learn anything I can with yours and my buddy's help.
I know looks of the bike should not be the main thing, but mine already runs great; so looks, and attitude are next while staying within the limits of respecting the art which you guys love...


Help me learn.
 

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buy a manual for this bike if you dont have it, do the maintainance...
look for a site that's specific for your bike ( if there is one!???).
look for books written on your bike in particular,, see what others have done ..
right now its funtional, so dont f' it up to build it as the latest fashion as it may not be rideable for a while (if ever :rolleyes:).. you need to ride it with each improvement.. you moved south to ride more!!!

do your first upgrades with the maintanance components as they are replaced, such as any needed tires and brakes ..

to a degree, higher performance bits could be bought such as mufflers and air filters..
know that as you change anything, you may have to re-adjust the various ride settings of the suspension and with engine performance mods ,fuel mixtures... members here can steer you to specifics on that bike ..
 

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Baines Racing is still going, but they stopped making the 900ss kits some time ago.
 

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If you think you can change the belts or adjust the Desmo valve gear yourself, well you can't. Get a pro to do it.

Just maintaining a bike like your Ducati is often enough of a challenge, the " making it mine " stuff needs to be done after that.

Danger, is my business."
 

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Anything is doable if your wallet is big enough:

Red Max Speed Shop Ducati Monster | Bike EXIF



There was a company some years back that made a kit with a frame and all the fairing bits to replicate the 900ss Bevel but I don't think they're around anymore.
Love the color.

20150129_131402.jpg

I like the model of bike you have and there's nothing wrong with making it your own. In fact........most of the advice here is:

"Get a bike, ride it for awhile, do the maintenance on it and learn........then do the things to improve it and make it your own"

Looks like you've made the correct initial choices...........just don't jack up your bikes performance for the sake of fashion. With your friends help and your attendance at YTU and GU (youtube university and Google university) and folks here......you be fine.
 

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I have never worked on anything mechanical, though my best friend is a mechanical engineer and can help greatly.
Speaking as someone who has an engineering degree and has worked with a lot engineers over the past 25+ years; the fact your buddy has a degree in mechanical engineering doesn't mean jack when it comes to knowing how to work on bikes. The emphasis within my degree was internal combustion engines. I learned nothing about being a mechanic from any of the classes I took to get my degree. That's not directed at your buddy specifically, he may be a mechanical genuis, I dunno. But one of the biggest hacks of a mechanic I ever met was a mechanical engineer who even worked in development engineering. COMPLETE hack. Amazingly bad. Any mechanical intuition/skills I have stem from being raised by a motorhead. The mechanical interest/experience led to the engineering degree, not the other way around.

As for your Monster... you're thinking the 12k mile service is costly but want to improve it's looks and give it "attitude"? Well... it's a 620. The smallest Monster ever sold in the US. Attitude costs money and your Monster will end up being the chihuahua with the spiked collar in a land of big dogs who think it's cute. There's nothing wrong with that, hell, I have a Ducati with single digit horsepower for cripesakes, I'm just saying. The pictures people have posted are pipe dreams to someone who's concerned about the cost of a 12,000 mile service. You can buy a brand new Ducati for what those would cost a newbie to build/have built.

As others have already said, learn to maintain what you already have and go from there. You already have a shop manual for it, right? If not, that's your next purchase. If you don't really want to spend the money on one, and would rather buy a vented clutch cover like the other cool kids... you're in trouble. And not just because the 620 has a wet clutch.

I hope I don't sound like I'm ripping on your 620, I'm not trying too. It's a great bike to learn on, but you should be realistic about what it is/can be. I have no idea how much mechanical intuiton you or your buddy have so it's hard to comment on what you can and can't do, but Whit is probably right about belts and valves. It's not hard if you have a good understanding of how things work, but if you don't understand the relationship between the crank and the cams and the valves and the pistons, etc... changing a belt can be nerve wracking (and damaging if you screw it up).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm not sure which one of you to quote on my reply, you've all been of great help and I'll follow all your advice. I'll keep reading and learning and keep making short projects with minor things without altering the ultimate goal, to KEEP RIDIN' !!
I'll spend the money on the 12K mile service and keep up with the maintenance.
I REALLY APPRECIATE ALL YOUR ADVICE!!!
You guys are awesome and I look forward to keep on learning from you.

PS. I was actually expecting some harsh responses based on other posts I've read here.
 

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I hope I don't sound like I'm ripping on your 620, I'm not trying too. It's a great bike to learn on, but you should be realistic about what it is/can be.
No offense taken at all. I understand what I have and I've noticed the limits it may have.
I'll try to use my Associate's Degree from YTU and my Master's from GU and get some more ideas of what can reasonably be done within my limits.
The Manual is definitely my next purchase.
Thank you!
 

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Speaking as someone who has an engineering degree and has worked with a lot engineers over the past 25+ years; the fact your buddy has a degree in mechanical engineering doesn't mean jack when it comes to knowing how to work on bikes. The emphasis within my degree was internal combustion engines. I learned nothing about being a mechanic from any of the classes I took to get my degree. That's not directed at your buddy specifically, he may be a mechanical genuis, I dunno. But one of the biggest hacks of a mechanic I ever met was a mechanical engineer who even worked in development engineering. COMPLETE hack. Amazingly bad. Any mechanical intuition/skills I have stem from being raised by a motorhead. The mechanical interest/experience led to the engineering degree, not the other way around.

As for your Monster... you're thinking the 12k mile service is costly but want to improve it's looks and give it "attitude"? Well... it's a 620. The smallest Monster ever sold in the US. Attitude costs money and your Monster will end up being the chihuahua with the spiked collar in a land of big dogs who think it's cute. There's nothing wrong with that, hell, I have a Ducati with single digit horsepower for cripesakes, I'm just saying. The pictures people have posted are pipe dreams to someone who's concerned about the cost of a 12,000 mile service. You can buy a brand new Ducati for what those would cost a newbie to build/have built.

As others have already said, learn to maintain what you already have and go from there. You already have a shop manual for it, right? If not, that's your next purchase. If you don't really want to spend the money on one, and would rather buy a vented clutch cover like the other cool kids... you're in trouble. And not just because the 620 has a wet clutch.

I hope I don't sound like I'm ripping on your 620, I'm not trying too. It's a great bike to learn on, but you should be realistic about what it is/can be. I have no idea how much mechanical intuiton you or your buddy have so it's hard to comment on what you can and can't do, but Whit is probably right about belts and valves. It's not hard if you have a good understanding of how things work, but if you don't understand the relationship between the crank and the cams and the valves and the pistons, etc... changing a belt can be nerve wracking (and damaging if you screw it up).
Very well said. I spent three decades working with those engineering types. Some were absolutely brilliant and some not so much. I may have crossed paths with that hack you are referring to. He sounds vaigly familiar. Generally speaking, once they were outside their area of expertise, they were just as dumb as everyone else... and I don't mean that in a bad way. I found that an engineering degree or any degree for that matter, wasn't always an indicator of higher intelligence, but then WTF do I know because I dropped out of high school. You are lucky you were raised by a motorhead. I was raised by a PhD in microbiology and a RN who were both ex military, so all I got was a phobia about microbes and some sort of psychological disorder from being toilet trained at gunpoint.
 

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I would not get a book larning guy to put a screw into drywall.

Let alone anywhere near a complex bike like a Ducati.

I don't know anyone with a degree who really knows their ass from their elbow when it comes to anything mechanical.

Military guys may be dumb as hammers, but at least they know how to read a manual, and do exactly what it recommends. The Big Brain Brothers read the book, and then often make it up as they go along.

Danger, is my business."
 

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You are lucky you were raised by a motorhead.
Even better, he was a motorhead shop teacher. He had summer's off and a boatload of tools that were at my disposal. At 17 I wanted to buy a car that was in boxes, including the Lotus engine that powered it. He told me it wasn't a good idea and then convinced the credit union to give me a loan for it. "Don't tell them it's in boxes" he told me. I brought it home and he looked it over but didn't say much. Eventually I'd find him in the garage working on it when I'd get home from work. The first day we had it back together we were out on a test run, he's driving, we're stopped at a light. Some guy pulls up next to us and my dad looks at me and says "He doesnt really think he's going to pass us, does he?" He didn't...

Not long after I got my license and bought my first car, my mom and dad happened to be sitting at a light when I raced a guy. I didn't see them.. when I got home my dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper (remember those?) Anywhos, my mom came out and started to lecture me about how she didn't think I should have a car at my age, yadda yadda yadda. Dad just sits there behind the paper. I finally said "Dad had a car at my age!". Mom said "But he didn't race it!" Paper doesn't move. Turning to him she said "You didn't race it, did you?" He lowered the paper and with a big grin on his face said "Only when they thought they could beat me", then raised the paper.

Conversation over, never heard another word about it again.

God damn I miss that guy...
 

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I find it amusing that guys are impressed by cobbled together, discordant, designs like the Red Max Ducati.

Brook Henry built far better things decades ago. :

Brook Henry Alchemy.jpg

alchemy_LHS.jpg

Danger, is my business."
 
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