1997 Du­cati 916

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Restoration Revealed -

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”

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