1997 Ducati 916
Scott Booth, Gloucester, United Kingdom
“I’ve always loved V-twins and had a 996 way back in the day, which I chopped in for an SP1. But I always loved that 916 shape, so when a good mate of mine told me he was selling the 916 he’d had since new, I took it off his hands for a stupidly low price. He still kicks himself about it. I took it down to the last nut and bolt and turned it from a mothballed bike into the one you see now.
“There’s nothing to be scared of when restoring a 916 or a 748, 996 or 998 – you just have to approach each part of the bike quite meticulously. The 996 I had blew its engine and I’ve owned others, but this is the only one I’ve had that hasn’t broken down. I’ve ridden it to Jerez and it didn’t miss a beat. They can be temperamental but just keep on top of it and make sure it’s serviced correctly. Do that and you won’t have many problems.
“There’s a guy called Tim Hyett at Moto-vation in Cheltenham who helps me with the engine – he’s a bit of a guru with these bikes and some of the work with the internals is slightly beyond me. But the trellis frame and Dzus fasteners make it really quick to strip.
“Everything’s accessible and easy to get to. Make sure you’ve got punches, a hydraulic bench and a good set of original tools and your life will be easier. Some of the screws need specific tools.
“If you’re looking for a rear subframe for a Biposta it’s OK, but the reality of finding parts if you want to do a really faithful restoration can be difficult. The tiny screws you need for holding the screen and fairings together are hard to get originals of – I saw some earlier on ebay going for £6 each. It’s gone nuts. A rear Monoposto subframe was £250 a year ago – now it’s £500.
“One of the biggest challenges to restoring these is getting a colour match for the bronze on the frame. Everyone on forums is always asking for colour matches for this and that. With my bike I actually put the frame back to a gloss finish, which I think brings it out quite nicely but still looks original.
“I’m 15-and-a-half stone and six feet tall and these bikes are small, but that doesn’t matter – the minute you roll it out of the garage, turn the key and hear that sound, you’ve got hours of fun ahead of you. Modern bikes hold no interest for me whatsoever – the 916 is raw and unrefined, and that’s the fun. I feel like I’m 18 again on it, not 42 – no bad thing.”
“It’s raw and unrefined, and that’s the fun. I feel like I’m 18 again, not 42. No bad thing”