LT's Motorcycling Endeavors

 

 

A Brief History of my Motorcycling
1986

Purchased First Bike - '82 Yamaha Seca 650 while attending Arizona State University Graduate School

Attended MSF Basic Course

1987

Trips to Yosemite, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon

Completed MBA

1988

Purchased Second Bike- '87 Kawasaki Concours

Sold '82 Yamaha Seca

1989

Trip to Wine Country and San Fran

1990

Sold '87 Kawasaki Concours to finance education

Moved to Florida

1991

Began Teaching at the University of West Florida

Commissioned a 2LT in the Army

1992

Purchased Third Bike- '82 Yamaha Seca 650 Turbo

Completed PhD.

1995

Purchased Fourth Bike- '89 Suzuki Katana 1100

Started the Floribama Riders Motorcycle Club

Sold '82 Yamaha Seca 650 Turbo

Promoted to 1LT in the Army

1996

Purchased Fifth Bike- '96 Ducati M900

Trips to the Ga Mountains, Bike Week and Biketoberfest

Married Suzi

Last time I ever had somebody else work on my motorcycles

Sold '88 Suzuki Katana 1100

1997

Purchased Sixth Bike - '92 Suzuki Katana 1100

Purchased Seventh Bike - '97 Yamaha YZF-1000R

Purchased Seventh Bike - '88 Honda Hawk GT

1998

Purchased Ninth Bike - '95 Ducati 916

Sold '92 Katana 1100

Sold '88 Honda Hawk

Sold '97 Yamaha YZF-1000R

Began Writing For MCN

Promoted to Captain in the Army

1999

Purchased Tenth Bike - '92 Ducati 900SS

Purchased Eleventh Bike - '92 Honda ST1100

Purchased Twelfth Bike - '86 Kawasaki Concours

Continued to write for MCN

Sold '86 Kawasaki Concours

Trip to Pennsylvania

2000

Purchased Thirteenth Bike - '74 Ducati 750GT

Sold '92 Honda ST1100

Sold '86 Kawasaki Concours

Wrote for Cycleshark

Continued to write for MCN

Became a ducati technician

Attended first track school

Trip to Laguna Seca (Bike Testing)

2001

Purchased Fourteenth Bike - '00 Ducati ST2

Purchased Fifteenth Bike - '00 Aprilia Mille-R

Wrote for Motorcycleworld

Continued to write for MCN

Trips to Pennsylvania, Laguna Seca (Bike Testing) & Las Vegas (First 1000 mile day)

2002

Started Desmo Times - Wrote 1st and 2nd editions of the Desmoquattro Maintenance Manual

Purchased Sixteenth Bike - '98 Ducati 748

Continued to write for MCN

Trips to Indianapolis (Product Testing), South Dakota (Second 1000 mile day), Pennsylvania, Laguna Seca (Bike Testing), and Milwaukee (Bike Testing)

2003

Wrote 1st edition of Desmodue Maintenance Manual

Fought a War in Iraq and spent 10 months away from home

Continued to write for MCN

Managed to keep Desmo Times afloat while away (thanks Suzi)

Trip to Laguna Seca (Bike Testing)

2004

Purchased Seventeenth Bike - '93 Ducati 888

Sold Fifteenth Bike - Aprilia Mille-R

Completed writing 3rd edition of Ducati Desmoquattro Maintenance and Modification Guide

Continued to write for MCN

Trips to North Georgia, New Hampshire (on ST2 - 3rd 1000 mile day) and Laguna Seca

Built Driveway for new workshop - Complete workshop to be moved to new location for 2005

Purchased Eighteenth Bike - '03 Ducati 999s

2005

Purchased Nineteenth Bike - '00 Cagiva Gran Canyon 900

Began offering products online - expanded product offering from 3 to 39

Renovated Garage and moved the workshop to new location on property

Completed 2nd Edition of 2V/3V Maintenance and Modification Guide

Continued to write for MCN

Trip to Ca (MotoGP) on Gran Canyon

Promoted to Major in the Army

2006

Purchased Twentieth Bike - '02 Ducati MH900e

Purchased Twenty-First Bike - '04 Ducati MTS1000

Continued to write for MCN

Continued to expand online product offerings from 39-120

Trip to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and California (MotoGP) on Gran Canyon - my 4th 1000 mile day on last day of return leg

2007

Purchased Twenty-Second Bike - '07 Ducati 1098S

Purchased Twenty-Third Bike - '06 Ducati Sport Classic 1000

Began new building and renovations to property

Continued to Write for MCN

Trip to Laguna Seca (fly) to test bikes for MCN

Participated in 2 trackdays

Purchased Twenty-Third Bike - '07 MV Agusta F4-1000R

Expanded Product offerings from 120-200

2008

Completed new building/property improvements

Continued to Write for MCN

Trip to Salt Lake City/California to attend WSB races

Expanded Product offerings from 200-240

Completed Phase I of Command & General Staff College for Army

Started Phase II of Command & General Staff College for Army

2009

Continued to Write for MCN

Trip to CA to test bikes for MCN

6 Months on Active duty for Army

Completed Command & General Staff College for Army

Purchased Twenty-Fourth Bike - '08 Hypermotard S

Purchased Twenty-Fifth Bike - '09 Monster 1100 S

 

2010

Continued to Write for MCN

Trip to CA to test bikes for MCN

Completed 3rd Edition of Desmodue Maintenance Manual

Sold 2000 Ducati ST2

 

Welcome to the web page chronicling my career in motorcycling. Below you will find some descriptions of the bikes that I have ridden over the course of the last 22 years. Enjoy!

My first bike was purchased in the summer of '86. I couldn't afford a car while attending graduate school at Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!), so I bought a new 82' Yamaha Seca and put a streetfighter windscreen on it. It was a good first bike, complete with shaft drive. I learned how to ride on this bike, compliments of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. The Seca was a pig in turns, but my skills weren't sharp enough to notice the difference. I laid her down several times while parking her, but this was a good bike on which to do that sort of thing. I purchased case guards for her early in life to protect the engine casing. She sat out in the elements for most of the time that I had her, but I did keep her clean and gave her lots of TLC. She was stolen from outside my apartment in the summer of 1987. The police found her four months later, located about 1 mile away from where I lived. She sat in a junkyard waiting to be demolished. It seems that the thief ran out of gas and because he couldn't get into the locked gas cap, he parked the bike on the side of the road. The police found it, impounded it and waited three months before telling me that they had found her. At the end of those 3 months, she was badly rusted and dirty. I restored her and replaced the gas cap lock and the ignition lock, and continued to ride her every day. After all, it was my ONLY transportation.

I rode the Seca for three years until she developed habitual problems with the carburetor fouling. I then discovered that the inside of the gas tank was corroding. The bike never was the same after these troubles, which developed after a marathon ride to Yosemite National Park. At the time, I was ignorant of the ways of the wrench. If it broke I couldn't fix it. I couldn't afford to keep putting her in the shop, and after being left stranded on the side of the highway several times, I traded her in on a '87 Kawasaki Concours. I traded the bike in 1988 for what I purchased it for, $2000. Wouldn't it be nice to see those prices again? The mid to late 80s were a great time to pick up new bikes, complete in their crates, years after they were introduced. Oversupply was finally worked out in the industry by the late 80s, much to my chagrin.

When I began to ride the Kawasaki Concours in 1988, I instantly knew that this was the bike for me. In the short two years that I had it I saw all of Arizona, and most of California and Nevada. Unfortunately, I was forced to sell it in 1990 because of financial difficulties. (Damned college costs). This bike had it all for me at the time; shaft drive, a large fairing, a comfortable seat, a big gas tank and saddlebags. The liter engine purred and delivered smooth power with great gas mileage. The only two drawbacks were the amount of heat that built up behind the fairing, and the weight. Any owner of a Concours can attest to these issues. The bike is much better in cool climates than hot ones. The liquid cooling did little to dissipate heat build-up from around the fairing. The bike weighed in around 600 pounds, but was top-heavy due to the huge gas tank atop the engine. The folks at Honda learned from this and made their ST1100 with a much lower center of gravity. In my opinion though, the "Connie" has more of a personality. The fit and finish aren't quite up to par with the Honda, but for the money a Concours can't be beat. Even today, you can't get a better deal for your money than a Concours... New or used! And they last forever....

After a 2 year dry spell I purchased another '82 Seca in 1992, this time a turbo model with a full fairing. As you can see from the first picture, it needed a bit of work. It seems the previous owner had treated it more like a child's bicycle ---- you lay it on its side when your through using it. It had been down many-many times. I decided to rebuild it. After body putty and a new paint job I moved onto a rebuilt turbo unit, new turn signal lenses, a windshield replacement, rebuilt carburators, new seat upholstery, tires, battery, fork seals, and countless other little things. I really enjoyed the bike, but it never replaced the Concours. The suspension was awful, and the carburation was a pain in the neck. It was a good straight-up bike, but God help you if you made the mistake of letting the revs get up high while leaning into a turn. Once the turbo kicked in, the bike stands straight up and goes like a rocket. To this day, I've been on few bikes that had that kind of kick like my Seca did under full turbo boost. I sold it in early December 1995 so that I could concentrate on another addition to the garage.... a '89 Suzuki Katana 1100.


Early in the summer of 1995 I picked up the '89 Katana 1100. The Katana was a dream to ride in my early riding days in Florida. The Kat was the second bike I purchased after moving to Florida. It had the appeal of a liter bike, and a riding position that was comfortable for a few hundred miles a day. The windshield was a bit too low for tall riders like myself, but I found an aftermarket shield and made some difference. I poured so much money into her, that it was rather foolish to sell it. I put 11000 miles on her between July 1995 and October 1996, including three months of down time for restoring the engine and other stuff. As you can see, for some reason I decided to paint her bahama blue. I traded her in October 1996 for a Ducati Monster. It was very hard to part with the Kat, since I spent so much time and effort restoring her, but continued problems made me decide to just walk away. I also found that my Bahama Blue paint job wasn't appropriate for a skinny white guy. At least, that's what folks told me. Go figure.

The Katana was my first venture into chain driven bikes, and I liked it. The acceleration had a more solid feel and the maintenance was virtually trouble free. I put a high end o-ring chain and smaller sprocket to lower the RPMs. At 70MPH I she only pulled 4200 RPMs. Try that with a 600cc class bike without killing your torque! The Katana engine can be referred to as a tractor. It will run all day long at 100mph and not bat an eye. The inline four was designed to heavy duty abuse. Unfortunately, the weight of the Kat was still in the upper 500 pound range, and I found the suspension lacking for aggressive riding.

I liked my 89 Kat so much that I decided to look for a '93 (last year of production) model in mint condition. In the fall of 1995 I found one 9 hours away with only 3K on it and at a good price. It became the "baby'" of my collection, seen on sunny days only!!! She was all stock, except for a V&H SS2R exhaust system and a Stage 1 jet kit. A lot of people asked me why I had two of the same bikes, to which I replied "why not?". The Kat's dominant position in the garage lasted one year. As you'll see below, I moved onto different things.



My next project was an '86 Concours, which I bought in January of '96 from a salvage yard. I always wanted to get another Connie, and thought I'd keep it for a long time. Unfortunately, after countless hours restoring her, I let her sit in the garage. Riding her in the summer was too hot, and she weighed too much to want to haul around town. I had the satisfaction of restoring her and rescuing her from the salvage yard. In all, I spent some 100 hours scraping dirt and grime from her, and restoring her to new condtion. The speedo cable was busted, so I never did know her real mileage. But by the sounds of the engine, it was FAR above the mileage indicated on the odometer. I'll let someone else enjoy her. I sold her in late September of '96, and even managed to turn a few bucks on the deal. Notice the before and after effect.

It didn't seem to make much sense having two Katana 1100s after all, hence my decision to drive down to Orlando for Biketoberfest in 1996 and look for something new. I wanted something decidedly different than my Katana. My short list was a new GSX-R750, a Buell S1, A Ducati 900SS-CR and a Ducati Monster. I wandered into the Longwood Suzuki-Ducati and saw her. A '96 Monster with 2K in after-market goodies, like a carbon fiber rear fender, license plate carbon fiber relocation, tachometer (not standard on a Monster), Carbon-fiber Pipes, and a few other goodies, such as full floating rotors. She sounded incredible and insisted on doing wheelies out of 1st gear. As far as the maintenance goes, all I can say is that I grew to love doing all the maintenance myself, which is important if you own a Ducati. I would never trust a shop to adjust clearances requiring precision to .002". I've added a gob of other goodies including more carbon fiber bits, and a set of clip-ons to lower the reach to the bars. She has spent most of her time in the garage, but I exercise her regularly among my other Ducatis. In the fall of 2001, I tore her down to the frame to begin a build-it-from-the-ground-up project, which I finished in the summer of 2002. In late 2005 the Monster was again torn down for another makeover. This time I fitted Superbike forks, magnesium wheels, Cyclecat clip-ons rearsets to replace the Pro-Italia/DP setup I had been running since 1997, and 41mm Keihin Flatslides. In late 2007 and 2008 I performed more major modifications -- billet triples, superbike forks and Marchesini magnesium 5 spoke rims.


hawk1.jpg 19.1 K


For more pics of my Hawk click below

In December 1996 I picked up a '88 Honda Hawk GT. The pic above is what she looked like in early December 1996. As you can see it already had some mods to it. The full fairing is not standard on a Hawk. It is considered a "naked" bike. The fairing kit comes compliments of Two Brothers Racing. She also had a Kerker exhaust system on her. I did a lot of cosmetic things. First I had her repainted a proper Ducati yellow and eliminated the worthless mirrors in exchange for handlebar mirrors. Homemade fork spring spacers boosted the front end and cartridge emulators by Race Tech further beefed up the feel of the front end. Lower clip-ons were needed so that lock-to-lock travel of the forks didn't crush your hand against the top of the top fairing cut-out. The clip-on position placed the rider in a severe stretch position, but I didn't notice it when I was in the twisties. When I bought the bike I soon noticed that the Kerker exhaust system on her was more restrictive than the stock system. A competition baffle and a rejetting straightened that out, but I still didn't like the sound. So more $$$ later I had Two-Brothers Carbon Fiber Oval canister on her. The sound was mucho betta'. The rest of the stuff was standard on a rebuild: Calipers, steel-braided lines, polished frame, triple clamp and a few other improvs. Carbon Fiber Lockhart markers replaced the lights that came on her, and a new clutch gave her bite through the gears. I initially had put a CBR900RR rear shock (the stock hawk rear shock is wimpy!) on her, but still didn't like the feel. Again, more $$$ and I put a Fox shock on her. That settled the back end down. The stock rear seat section went next. I replaced that with a matching RC31 solo section. As you can see, she has a lot in common with the Monster, particularly with regards to the narrow profile. They both love to eat up twisties. I also added a 700cc kit and a host of other small things, like a through-the-swingarm rear brake line, to make her a true custom job. I sold the Hawk in early 1998 to pare down my garage to three bikes.

After some of the above ventures, I decided that I had been selfish. All these bikes came and went through my garage doors and Suzi, my wife, didn't have anything. In December 1996 I got Suzi her first bike -- a Ninja 250. It was the right size for her and a great first bike for anyone. I jetted it and added a Muzzy full system on her. The exhaust note was much better and the jet kit corrected a hopelessly lean idle and off idle set-up. The jetting and pipe made such a difference that you could snatch the front end on any gear shift above 11000 RPMs. With an insane redline of 14000, it was like night and day riding her compared to my liter bikes, which generated all its pull below 5000 RPMs. The little Ninja was a fun bike, and Suzi rode it for two full seasons of riding. I sold it when she outgrew the bike. The little Ninja had to work too hard at highway speeds, revving at 8000 rpms at 70 mph.


After a trip to the twisties of Georgia in July 1997 on the Katana 1100 (The Hawk was still being fitted with new pistons), I decided that the Kat wasn't sporty enough. It was a great touring bike, but the handling of the bike left something to be desired. After much deliberation, I decided to trade the Kat in on a YZF1000. The YZF made the short list of potential bikes along with the CBR900RR and the ZX-9. All 3 bikes were good, but I chose the YZF based on Motorcycle On-line's recommendation, a Motorcyclist magazine review, and also the fact that nobody else I knew had one. The red and white colors were striking and the lines of the bike are menacing, particularly the front snout. I only put 3500 miles on her. I was mifffed by the fact that the bike was available for only 1 year, and then the R1 replaced it. My reason for selling the YZF? -- Cramped leg seating gave me pains after only 100 miles in the saddle. She was a full 70 pounds lighter than the Kat 1100 (506 pounds wet compared to 575 for the Kat), but still a full 60 pounds heavier than the R1. The seating position was radical, but not as bad as the FZR-1000. The only thing I did to her was to add a D&D slip-on, a second look seat skin, a second look tank bra, and some minor Carbon Fiber goodies. A minor re-jetting was needed to correct some lean idle conditions, but other than that she was basically stock. At 130 RWHP she put out more than enough ponies for me. I was fortunate enough to get top dollar for the YZF just as the first R1 models were hitting the showroom floor.


Let's shift the timeframe to mid November 1997... I'm itching again... Itching so bad that I decide to surf the net and head to Chicago with a trailer in tow to pick up .... a '95 Ducati 916 with 1500 miles on it... The 916 became king of the garage, and was ridden when I could fit her in then four-bike rotation. I bought her bone stock, and after minor dilemnas with a faulty rear eccentric assembly and electrical gremlins (3 voltage regulators in 10 years, she has been running strong. GioCaMoto Carbon Fiber Sip-ons adorn her backside, and the carbon fiber and custom bits are everywhere. The only problem with the 916 is its singular focus. She runs hot, very hot... enough to bake your legs on a summer day. As a result, she has sat in my garage for most of the year, acruing only 500 miles each year. The bike you see below is the "after" effect of about 100 modifications. The "SP" style paint job wasn't added until I had owned her over three years. I also added Dymag magnesium rims and a host of other cosmetic changes. In early 2006 I outfitted her with a setup I had been planning for 5 years - a CF front fairing, airbox and tail from Casoli Moto and DP CF lowers. Enough already....

 

1998 went no slower in terms of my penchant to travel great distances to purchase bikes. In March I travelled 1200 miles one-way to Nebraska to purchase a '92 900SS with 11000 miles on it. The '92 SS was the last of the white frame Ducatis. It was a whirlwind road trip through some nasty weather, including snow. I quickly learned that the Ducati suffered the abuse of inactivity. Gas had congealed in her fuel tank and carburetors and the jetting was all wrong for her. With a relatively large investment she has been my main all-around bike of until I restored her from the ground up from the winter of 2000 to the fall of 2001. The list of upgrades that I've completed is too much to list here, but suffice it to say that between 1998 and 2001 she was restored twice. My latest incarnation involved tearing her down to the frame, repainting her Duck yellow, Switching to a Cafe Racer fairing, freshening and lightening the motor (after 27000 miles), and putting her together with mostly new parts. Notice the three iterations of the same bike below.

900SS On the Blue Ridge Parkway

After putting 8000 miles on my SS in the first 6 months of ownership, I decided to once again enter the foray of touring bikes. I had considered purchasing a Pacific Coast for its wind protection and ample storage capacity. In the end, I bought a ST1100 from a fellow club member. The ST had been our club for three years, and I kept it for an additional two years. She looked a lot better than the salvage yard Concours that I bought in 1998, and with a little TLC she was looking and running great. I painted her a deep gold metallic to make her unique, and added a Corbin seat, Givi rack and top box, and a taller rifle fairing. I sold her in the fall of 2000 to bring my collection back to 4. The ST is a great touring bike, but lacked the personality I demand from my motorcycles. I don't want my bikes to be like my car. The ST1100 was to be the last inline-four motor I would purchase until my MV Agusta in 2007

In the fall of 1999 I got the urge to do a complete restoration of a classic Ducati. The late sixties and early seventies were a bad time for Ducati financially, but a boon for the company in terms of the image they created for the company. The legendary 750SS and the "round case" bevel-drive engine design became synonymous with Ducati. One of these variants was a 750 Sport. I lusted after one of these, but decided to purchase a rust-bucket of a 750GT -- the touring variant of the Sport. Besides different bodywork, the frame also had different dimensions, particularly with regard to the width of the rear subframe. I chose a friend Jim Gilbert to do most of the restoration due to his knowledge of bevel-drive Ducatis. Notice the before and after. needless to say, it is the eye-catcher in the garage, and seems to collect dust more than anything else. She now adorns the corner of my sunroom in the house as a piece of art.

In 1999 I began my motojournalism career (which started by writing newsletters for my motorcycle club) with Motorcycle Consumer News. Since that time, I have written for MCN, Cycleshark (defunct), Motorcycleworld.com and American Iron. In December 1999. I got the go-ahead to write a story about how to import a bike from Canada. I chose a new bike for Suzi, a 2000 Suzuki SV650S - the "S" standing for the then-non-US-import half-faired bike. At only 360 pounds dry, she was the lightest v-twin 4 stroke sport bike out there. Unfortunately, Suzi didn't really like to ride the bike. Her short legs combined with a tall seat height made maneuvering the bike difficult. From January 2000 to October 2001, she only put 1600 miles on the SV. It left the garage to make way for Suzi's first Ducati, a '97 M750.

 

Throughout 2000 I continued to write for MCN and Cycleshark, and in the beginning of 2001 did a project for MCN on how to buy a bike sight unseen. It involved doing an internet search for a bike, buying it without seeing it, and restoring it to good riding condition. Notice the evolution of pictures below from the scrap heap to the showroom floor for a 2000 model year Ducati ST2 with 3700 miles. By buying used parts and doing most of the work myself, I got it in shape for thousands less than a new one would cost. The middle picture is a shot of the bike at Atlanta's GMD computrack, where I had the frame straightened. By the end of 2005, I had put 23000 miles on the ST2, and retired it from touring duties in favor of Adventure Tourers. I later sold the ST2 to a Canadian customer in the Fall of 2010

 

In the fall of 2001, I made another impulse purchase. Our local Honda-Kawasaki-Aprilia dealership had a leftover 2000 Aprilia Mille-R sitting on the showroom. The "R" model Aprilia had top of the line upgrades to it's typical sibling the Mille. A full ohlins suspension and other carbon fiber upgrades pushed the selling price up to $17000. Unfortunately for Aprilia, they had a hard time moving these more expensive bikes. I purchased the R for $12,500 in September 2000. The addition of a set of high slip-ons made the Rotax motor sound wonderful. The Mille was my all-arounder, and proved to be both dependable and fun to ride. I sold her in early 2004 after purchasing ... you guessed it ... another Ducati.

 

In the early fall of 2001 I came across a used Ducati M750, owned by fellow FBR member Greg Calhoun. I had Greg bring it with him when he brought his bike over for servicing and had Suzi sit on it to see if it was something she would like. Two weeks later the SV650S was sold and Suzi was riding the Monster everywhere. Who would have thought she too would be a Ducati owner.

 

 

In January of 2002 I traveled to Miami to purchase a bike for track use. I also wanted to write an article on how to build a track bike. As you can see, the bike started out looking quite rough, but that was the reason I purchased her. The 748 had minor engine damage to the water pump, and had no bodywork whatsoever. Once I performed some basic Desmo repairs and added bodywork, she was good to go. I've used her reliably on the track for the 2002-2006 seasons, and she is a blast to ride. Now gone are the stock 3-spoke boat anchor Brembo wheels. First, I replaced them with 5 spoke aluminum Marchesinis, then 5 spoke magnesium Marchesinis. I then added Galfer Tsunami wave rotors. Other than that, the bike is a stripped-down track tool. No frills, no bling-bling stuff. In the Spring of 2010 I retired the 748 from track duty, installed an 853 kit in her and converted her back to street trim in the Fall of 2010.

 

 

In the fall of 2002 I received word that I was to be mobilized into the Army and sent overseas. I set up the garage for a lengthy departure, but worried that Suzi wouldn't ride her Duck. I was the only one who knew how to keep it running (Mikuni Carbs are temperamental if they sit for a period of time). For a Christmas present I traded her '97 M750 for an '02 M750s fuel-injected model. Suzi loved it more than the '97 model and promised to ride it in my absence. She did ... twice while I was gone. Oh well, at least it was an excuse to upgrade the collection.

 

2003 was a lost year for me due to the war in Iraq. I spent over 10 months away from home, missing the little things in life -- like toilet paper and a real bed. Through it all, I managed to keep my motojournalist career alive by writing wherever I had an electrical connection. I even managed to write another maintenance manual for Desmo Times.

As a present to myself for being gone I decided to build the collection at the end of 2003. I have a tendency to look for bikes after the Christmas holiday. After the 2003 holiday season, I began looking for a Ducati 888 -- the Daddy of the 916, and granddad of the 999. After a few short weeks, I located one in Arizona. Within a week of finding her I trucked across country, picked her up and dropped her off in my shop for a full restoration. The bike was in pretty good shape, but it wasn't up to my standards of perfection. By mid-2004 I had her looking like new. The 888 replaced my beautiful Aprilia Mille-R.

 

 

Midway through 2004 I became enamored with the Ducati 999. Unfortunately, I hate the look in stock trim. The exhaust looks like a vacuum cleaner and the so-so base-model spec suspension, while capable, seemed beneath what the bike should offer. What I wanted was a used 999s with a nice full Termignoni system and few carbon bits thrown in. Viola, one now sits in the garage, compliments of a gentleman who had already performed the modifications I was interested in and who needed $$$. I really needed her for picture taking and tearing apart for my new manual, so I used that as my defense for purchasing another of Terblanche's designs. The picture below was taken after I performed a few other choice functional modifications.

 

 

 

Towards the end of 2004 I began getting enamored with the Adventurer tourer concept. Having tested numerous adventure tourers for MCN, I decided to have the best of both worlds - a desmo twin in an adventure tourer package. In Feb 2005 I picked up a cherry 2000 Cagiva Gran Canyon 900. After doing her first service and my typical mods she is the latest tourer to enter the stable. The advantage of the Gran Canyon is that it houses the venerable Ducati 900ss engine, fuel injection, light weight (only 500 pounds wet as it now sits), good range, excellent ergonomics and wind protection, and, when the top box is mounted, enough storage room for an intercontental trip. The Gran Canyon was my stepping stone to a Multistrada, but the Gran Canyon was a whole lot cheaper. Since purchasing the GC, I've made two cross-country trips on the bike. It's the best touring bike I've owned.

 

 

After outfitting the Gran Canyon with Motobags panniers and some electronics I set off on a cross-country trip from Florida to Monterey CA to catch the MotoGP races. The picture above right is the GC along a highway in Utah in 2005. Since that time, I repainted the bike a satin black, and have racked up 20K miles on this wonderful touring bike. Long live the Gran Canyon.

For Christmas 2005 I decided to upgrade Suzi's Monster to an S2R. I purchased the bike in August 2005 and upgraded it prior to giving it to her for Christmas. Its a fabulous bike, and befitting of the Monster label. Click on the picture of the S2R for more pictures of her bike. Most of the changes I did to it were cosmetic - open belt covers, tank pad, chin fairing, front fender and hugger and a tail chop for the CF shorty tail. The only performance upgrades I made were a full Arrow exhaust system and wave rotors and upgraded front calipers. In 2008 I added Dyman Magnesium/Carbon wheels.

 

I entered a new realm of motorcycle collecting in early 2006. I had purchased a set of black 5 spoke Marchesini magnesium rims off of ebay that I was going to put on my track bike. Then I saw a full carbon fiber bodywork set on ebay for a Ducati MH900e. I wasn't a big fan of the MHe. I first saw one when I went to DRA in 2001, and when it rode by it sounded like a vacuum cleaner. Nevertheless, I began toying with purchasing an MHe and upgrading the bodywork/wheels and doing my usual customizations. I found a few MH900s on ebay and on cycle trader, but they were either overpriced, didn't have the mods I wanted, or were sold before I could get to them. When a good candidate came up on ebay in Mid March 2006, I put in my bid... and won. The only problem was that the bike was in California - 2100 miles away. Not a problem. I loaded up the Avalanche, put in 4-1000 mile days and voila, a MHe now sits in my showroom. The good news is that the donor bike already had a full Termi system on it, and about $2000 in other upgrades. Still, she didn't look as I had envisioned, so I tore the bike apart and recreated it as I wanted it to be.

Above: What she looked like when I picked her up

Above: What she looked like a week later.

Click on the image for pictures of the Mh900e

 

In mid-2006, I began searching for a donor Multistrada. While I was not a fan of the MTS when it first came out in 2003, I was by 2006. I can remember being at the unveiling of the MTS and Pierre Terblanche asking me what I thought of the bike. My only comment was "interesting". Three years later I've come to appreciate the MTS for what it offers -- a sporty ride in comfort. The look is an acquired taste, but then most of Terblanche's efforts are. I purchased the '05 MTS in Austin Texas. The first owner did a bunch of mods I was looking for - DP Windscreen, touring seat, Termignoni Slip-ons and ECU, and saddlebags. I kept the aftermarket ECU, but installed a full Zard system, my usual clutch upgrades, a quick change carrier, some carbon and new handlebars. I think the bike is cool. The DS1000 motor has issues with exhaust valve guides, but I'm used to far worse from Ducati. The intent was to use the MTS for touring duties, but I gave up long-distance touring in 2008. Instead I fitted her with a set of sticky tires and use the bike for 2-up twisty carving.

 

Above: What she looked like sitting on the dealership floor

Above: What she looked like a month later.

Click on the image for pictures of the MTS1000

In late 2006 Ducati announced the successor to the 999. For Ducatisti, it has been the most eagerly announced bike since the 999 showed up. When the 1098 broke cover, it was clear that Ducati listened to its fans. Back were the single-sided swingarm, side-by-side headlights, underseat dual-canisters, and sleek lines. My decision wasn't whether I wanted one, but whether I wanted the S model or the Tri-Colore Model. In the end, I decided against the Tri-Colore. I love to modify the bodywork, and didn't want to be hemmed in by the flashy paintjob. Besides, the Tri-Colore doesn't have engine or suspension mods compared to the S model. I slapped down a deposit the second week of Nov 2006, and picked it up in March 2007. Because I purchased it from a dealer 1500 miles away, I towed an enclosed trailer to pick it up. In order to balance the load on the trailer, I came up with an easy solution -- purchase another bike. I purchased a leftover 2006 Sport Classic in black. Once I had the bikes home, I performed a lot of mods before I rode either bike. This bike-buying rampage ended just as I started pouring $$$ into my new showroom and office.

Above: A look of my 1098s after owning it for 24 hours. Before I even rode it, I replaced the stock exhaust and clutch

 

Above: My sport classic 1000. The Zard exhaust is a killer, and my other right-side mods make the bike look both modern and classic.

 

In late 2007 I began toying with the idea of purchasing the first non-Ducati I wanted in 7 years. My last non-Ducati purchase was a 2000.5 Aprilia Mille-R. This time I began eyeing a bike I had drooled over for 8 years, ever since I first laid eyes on an MV Agusta F4. I began hunting through used ones on eBay, and reseached the brand for design problems. I knew I wanted to get a 1000cc version. The older 750s were too high strung - you had to rev the hell out of them to get them to move. I found a 2007 F41000R on eBay, but the owner was asking more than I wanted. Then I saw a new one listed by a dealer in Florida with an amazing price. I didn't bid on it, but instead checked the dealership's webpage. I couldn't believe it when I saw the bike listed $1000 cheaper on their website. I phoned in my deposit that same day. The 1000R models of 2007 went for a song at the end of the year to make way to the 2008-spec machines (the 312RR), which MV planned on racing in WSB and needed to homologate. Before I even rode the bike, I tore it apart and changed out a lot -- exhaust, cooling fans, rearsets, seat, clip-ons, etc. The MV only gets ridden on winter mornings. It gives out so much heat that it needs cool temps to keep the engine and rider from overheating.

In 2008 and 2009 I added two more bikes - A 2008 Hypermotard S and a 2009 Monster 1100S to my collection. Both bikes were purchased from BCM Motorsports shortly before the shop closed. I'll miss BCM, and so will a lot of other customers. Purchasing two more non water-cooled Desmos made sense to me. First, having air/oil cooled bikes just makes a whole lot more sense in Florida and second, I needed the 1100 to see how different the heads were. I mistakenly purchased the Hypermotard S thinking it had Siemens injection, and later found out this was only on the Monster 1100. My bad, so I'm "stuck" with the Hyper, which is a fantastic twisty bike by the way. :)

 

In 2010 I concentrated on adding products to the lineup and finishing the 3rd edition of my desmodue maintenance book. I also contemplated stepping off the freight train of buying new Ducatis. The collection was getting out of hand, hence my decision to sell some of them. I parted with the 2000 ST2 in the Fall of 2010 and put most of the collection up for sale in the hopes of selling a few.