BUY­ING WIS­DOM: DU­CATI 851

Classic Bike (UK) - - THE ROAD BIKES -

Ex­pe­ri­enced mo­tor­cy­cle dealer Ciarán Per­rin of Ex­treme Trad­ing Ltd, Nor­folk, who are sell­ing both bikes says: “Du­cati body­work is ac­tu­ally very good and many 851s have stood the test of time pretty well, but the paint on frames can craze, so check that if it both­ers you. Don’t rely too much on ser­vice his­tory – a bike may have all the stamps in its book, but that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean the ser­vices have been done prop­erly. If in doubt, get an ex­pe­ri­enced Du­cati me­chanic to check a bike over be­fore you buy. Al­ways use gen­uine Du­cati cam­belts.

“Me­chan­i­cally, 851s don’t give a lot of trou­ble if they’ve been looked af­ter. Most me­chan­i­cal parts are still avail­able, but parts like air­box hoses and body panels in good con­di­tion are get­ting hard to find. Sus­pen­sion on 1989-on bikes is by Showa and, I think, bet­ter than the early bikes’ Marzocchi kit; the 1990 SP2 uses su­pe­rior-spec Öh­lins kit. The 1989-on bikes with 17in front wheels han­dle bet­ter than the orig­i­nal 1988 Stradas with a 16in front.”

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