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CrazyMotorcycleGuy
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998R_2002's Avatar
 
Posts: 74
Join Date: February 18, 2003
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
June 25, 2003, 09:05 AM

Ducati 998R (2002) 463/700
The "R" model comes with lighter 5 spoke wheels, deeper dished front discs (for better cooling), carbon fiber bodywork (except for the front fairing [which also comes with a blank to fill in the headlight cutouts] and tank), a 102db 50mm full Termi carbon fiber race system with ECU (which has to be fitted as the bike ships with aluminum cans mounted), a rear stand, a commerative plaque, and a Ducati fitted bike cover. Although it ships with the proper wiring harness, the bike arrives with no headlights, no tail light or cutouts in the tail piece for tail lights, no side stand, no left clip-on control module, and no turn signals. The frame has two stickers on the right hand side proclaiming that the bike doesn't comply with anything and is for "closed course competition use only". As modified, the bike weighs 421.9 lbs fully wet, stripped for the track.

Modifications
I am still in the process of modifying the 998R (a continual, ongoing project). The following improvements have/will be made, and where appropriate, their effect on the bike will be detailed below:

* Replaced the OEM Pirelli Super Corsas with Michelin Pilot Race S2 120/70 ZR17 front and M2 180/55 ZR17 rear. Note that the bike ships with a 190/50 ZR17 which technically is too wide for the 5.5" rear rim.

* Zero Gravity high rise clear windscreen

* DP carbon fiber "short" mirrors, painted red to match

* Front fairing white number plate painted to match rear tail piece

* Rear tail piece fitted with flush mount 6" x 1/4" LED brake light

* Brembo radial brake and clutch levers

* DP carbon fiber air runners

* Yoyodyne titanium front axle

* Yoyodyne clutch master slave cylinder

* DP rearsets with GP shift pattern and carbon fiber heel guards

* JHP quick shifter

* Cycle Cat fully open black aluminum clutch and sprocket covers

* Bucci WSB slipper clutch with carbon fiber clutch plates

* Ohlins racing shock with hydraulic preload, larger reservior, 9.5 spring

* Corsa magnesium swingarm complete with everything that attaches to it (monoblock rear caliper, corsa disc, carbon fiber chain guard, carbon fiber swingarm guard, corsa ride height adjuster, etc.)

* AFAM 520 conversion with quick change rear end, 15/38 gearing

* Marchesini forged magnesium triple tree mounted at the steeper steering angle

* Corsa underseat oil breather box with STM reed valve

* Pig Tails have been installed on the battery terminals so that a battery tender can be hooked up without removing the right side panel.

** In October, the bike will be modified by BCM. A 60mm Sil Motor full Ti system will be fitted with custom chip, and various minor motor mods will be done. BCM has done the same to three other 998Rs, all producing over 150 rwhp on pump gas (94 Octane) after the modifications.

Engine

The engine (999cc L-Twin) currently produces 130.2 rwhp and 71.5 ft/lbs of torque. The rev limiter kicks in at 11,500 rpm. The fuel injection mapping is as perfect as any bike I've ever ridden, and power delivery is linear throughout the rev range. I have had to adjust to riding the bike, as the motor sounds like it is loafing along until you realize that you are going very, very fast. Above 7,000 rpm, the pipes really begin to thump, causing those in front of you to turn as far away as 100 meters to see what is coming. The low frequency pulses will easily set off car alarms within 50 feet at 4,000 rpm. At the track, no other bike has outpulled the 998R out of any turn, regardless of displacement.

Drive Train
The Bucci slipper clutch is a marvelous piece of engineering. Its single disadvantage is a very limited engagement range when starting from a standing start in 1st gear. The clutch is basically "off", then "on" within a 1/4" of lever travel, requiring judicious throttle control so as not to either stall the motor or ground loop. The advantages are many. More power is transferred to the drive train, and the slipper mechanism comes into full play at the track, allowing effortless downshifts with maximum engine braking. At the track, the bike sounds like a semi using compression braking as it enters turns, and the bike is super stable regardless of lean angle or braking effort. First gear is very tall, but because of engine torque, I try to avoid using it when driving off of any turn for fear of high siding.

Suspension and Brakes
The 998R comes with Ohlins R&T forks, an Ohlins steering damper, and an Ohlins rear shock. I replaced the rear shock with a racing item with hydraulic preload (so I don't have to attempt to use spanners to adjust it), and high and low speed compression damping, as well as rebound damping. The Marchesini forged triple tree is massive, providing lower weight and more support for the forks. Using the steeper steering angle in conjunction with the Corsa magnesium swingarm (which is 25mm longer) effectively moves the rider position more towards the front of the bike, loading the front more, while the longer swingarm provides more stability at high speed. These two modifications (in addition to switching to the 180/55 ZR17 rear) completely transformed the turn-in characteristics of the bike. Before, the bike needed some effort to begin the turn-in process, and then was super stable after being leaned over. Now, the bike turns-in more like my ZX-6R, is super stable throughout the turn, and rock steady fast in a straight line. The bridged 4 pad Brembo front calipers have too much initial bite for the street, and require (IMHO) too much attention at the track to avoid locking the front under extreme conditions. Once applied, I can't imagine anything being able to brake any better. The preferred solution to the initial bite problem is to replace the OEM pads with something with less initial bite and more progression (BCM will substitute Dunlop pads in October). The Corsa single piston monoblock rear brake is best used for settling the front and backing the bike in, as it is weak (by design). The rear disc is tiny (3.5mm thick) and of much smaller diameter than OEM. The pads are removed by pinching the open end of a "U" bracket together, swinging the bracket down (it is hinged at the bend), and the pads drop into the palm of your hand. Very trick. The radial brake and clutch levers provide (IMHO) about 25% better feel than OEM, and are infinately adjustable with a thumb screw with click stops.

Comfort
The 998R is uncomfortable on the street and perfect at the track. Unless you are in a full tuck, the aggressive riding position places too much weight on your wrists, which are bent at an awkward angle. Additionally, at speeds below 70 mph on the street, the temperature guage will gradually climb (if the ambient temperature is 75 degrees or greater) until the second fan kicks in. When the steering is set at the steeper angle, you lose your ability to lock the bars and the turning radius on the street (for "U" turns) approaches that of a fully laden oil tanker. This all changes at the track since you are constantly moving around on the bike and only sitting up under braking. The track position is perfect, as is the steering. Make no mistake...this bike was bred for the track first, with street riding being an afterthought. The stock windscreen provides little or no wind protection, hence high rise screens are fitted in almost all racing applications to reduce helmet buffeting when tucked in at high speed.

Fit and Finish
The fit and finish is superb. The Dzus fasteners allow the side panels and belly pan to be removed in less than a minute. The front fairing can be removed in about two minutes. The headlights can be removed in less than a minute, and the stock tail lights can be removed in less than 30 seconds. Every DP or Corsa part that I have installed has been a "bolt-on", and all the after market parts have installed without incident. When the larger exhaust system is installed, the right footpeg will be relocated 10mm further out so that the pipes will clear...and my leg won't get cooked.

Service
Although I have less than 6,000 miles on the bike (so that service has yet to be performed), I have had no complaints about the bike to date. I did discover that the oil filter, in the Italian way, is a non-standard size so that to remove it, you either need to get a Ducati oil filter wrench, or use a trusty screw driver to loosen it. Draining the coolant and oil is a simple, straight forward process. The real wheel nuts are humongous, and the FG rear wheel stand with breaker bar is recommended so that you can fix the rear wheel while you attempt to apply enough torque to break the right side wheel nut free.

Reliability
I have had absolutely no problems to date, to include over 300 miles of flat out track adventures. Oil consumption has been minimal. No leaks, no lost parts...nothing.

Common Problems
There appear to be some issues with rocker arm flaking, and more recently, fuel injector problems. I have experienced none of these (that I know of!)

Replacement and Aftermarket Parts
If you want it, you can get it...provided you have a bucket-full of money and patience. DNA is working hard to correct the current "can't get parts" issue, and I expect a slow and gradual improvement. The price of some parts, particularly true Corsa parts, is astronomical...but then again few other manufacturers allow you to purchase what they actually race.

Why I decided on this bike...
I originally thought that if I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase an "R" model, I would be saving money because it would have all the "good" stuff on it. I was mistaken. Stock, the "R" bikes are good...better than standard...but I quickly found out that (as with any bike) in order to develop the bike to its true potential, you need to equip it with better equipment. To that end, I have tried (and am trying) to fit anything that will lighten, improve, or make the bike quicker...short of making it unrideable on the street. After the motor mods are done, I may try to lighten the bike some more, perhaps with a goal of losing 10 to 15 more pounds...but I will have to weigh the tremendous cost to do that with the benefits derived.

[Edited on 25/6/2003 by 998R_2002]

[Edited on 25/6/2003 by 998R_2002]

[Edited on 25/6/2003 by 998R_2002]
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