Swagger's Ugly Duc

Discussion in 'Motorcycles' started by Swagger897, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. Swagger897

    Swagger897 Premium

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    2004 - Ducati 999 - Biposto - "The Ugly Duckling"

    (Currently WiP)
    Engine: 998cc Testastretta 90° "L" twin // 140hp @ 9750rpm // 80 ft-lb @ 8000 // 11,500 redline
    Tires: Michelin Road 5
    Mileage: 24,630 miles
    Purchased: November, 2019

    2007 - Yamaha YZF-R6

    [​IMG]
    Engine: 599cc parallel 4-cylinder // 124hp @ 14,500rpm // 50 ft-lb @ 11,000 // 16,500 redline
    Tires: Michelin Road 5
    Mileage: 23,427 - 26,400 miles
    Purchased: March, 2019
    Sold: Traded November, 2019
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
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  2. Swagger897

    Swagger897 Premium

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    August 2018 - I've never ridden a motorcycle, never sat on a motorcycle, and never thought I'd be where I am today. A few friends of mine in my AMT class ride old Honda and Yamaha 650's from the late 70s. Never was into the older generations of motorcycles but rather the current crop of 600cc supersport screamers of the mid-2000's. I had always watched motovloggers back when I was in high school and was just absolutely fascinated with the sound and looks of these bikes. Of course the one that stood out most above all was the Yamaha R6. Any model past 2006 I couldn't keep my eyes away from them and browsing craigslist just to look at what was around me happened all the time back then. Now, not so much. I kept it to myself mostly that I was interested in motorcycles, but never started a conversation about it. I couldn't point on a picture as to what a swingarm was either...

    Shortly after I began to know a few more people in my class, I asked one of them if I could sit on his R3. It was a 2017 model that he had just gotten a few weeks ago, and was considering taking it back to the dealer as he wasn't quite comfortable with it. Me being 5'6", with a 29" inseam made things a bit interesting when I found out the seat height on the R6 was going to be about 33"+, and the R3 was close at with a seat height of 30". I felt fine, although was not able to get the heels of my feet completely flat on the ground. Later, one of our pilot friends brought down his 2004 R6, which wasn't the model that I was looking at getting into but was still an R6. Seat height on these models are roughly 32" so I wanted to see how much of a difference it made. I could barely just get both feet on the ground where the balls of my feet could touch, if not slightly before. This made me really question if it was going to be possible to deal with 33", but after some reading and technique adjustments people offered, it seemed like it was totally doable.

    I had looked over the entire 300 vs 600 starter bike debate for so long that I'm pretty sure I watched about every youtube video out there, every reddit post, and every forum post that said "600s shouldn't be a first bike, but it is doable." I had pretty much set my eyes upon a 2006+ Yamaha R6 and it was going to take an immense amount of force to take my mind off of that decision.

    September - February - The look was on every day before class and between breaks on craigslist, cycle trader, and ebay to find a deal for an R6. I laid out a top end price of $4500 that I was willing to part ways with in total entry cost of purchasing a bike. That includes not only the bike, but insurance, registration, accessories, and other gear related costs. I was able to create a spreadsheet and budget just over $500 for total cost in gear, insurance was going to be just shy of $130/yr (liability only), and things like track stand, cleaning supplies, etc would be a remaining amount after registration was figured. Every. Single. Day. I searched. I looked at searchtempest every morning, night, just trying to see what it would take to find a decent example. My budget was leaving me with roughly $3800 but I was willing to look at some options that were above that cost and see if negotiations could occur. I pretty much found out that the end of the riding season costs were going between $4500-5300, well out of range. Later on however, costs during the non-riding season dropped down between $3800-4700, so there were some doable options at play. It was a matter of picking the one in best condition, with the best maintenance history to go along with it.

    Around the end of February I noticed an ad on craigslist that was actually in my hometown, where it was the cheapest one I had seen over the winter. It wasn't the Yamaha blue, but rather the candy red. It wasn't the older older gen either, it wasn't a track bike, it wasn't scam (god there were so many). It was an honest ad that said it had been dropped before, had new tires on it, and was ready for the year to start. I looked at the ad for a while and saved it for later.

    March - Two weeks later, and there were a few more bikes that had been added to my local craigslist. I had been watching one since January and noticing the price drop after every second repost. I was sure that I could grab it again in the next few days if the listing indeed dropped again, but sadly it never came back, and the listing had disappeared. The next morning while in class, I notice the same red bike come up and see the price is the same. Show my two friends my phone (which one of them sold their Honda CB and found his old Magna he used to have) and say that one is going to be mine. That weekend I go home with to talk with my parents, while one was displeased (take a guess), the other wanted to see it the next day as well (had previously owned a Honda VF500F, but many before). Tuesday during spring break the owner and I decided to meet at my old high school where I learned he graduated from just the year before. We go over the bike together while our fathers both discussed aviation related things and make a deal. Load it on the trailer and head back home. I never thought in the previous 5 years that I would've been able to purchase it but I give full thanks to those in my class who helped push me. I would say it's incredibly difficult to get into something new without knowing anybody who already is.

    Once we get it back to the house, the first thing I did was order all of the gear that I had listed out in my spreadsheet. It wasn't enough though to overcome wanting to take it out for a ride up and down the neighborhood. I thought it would've been smart to ride a bicycle, since the last time I did was probably over a year ago. But the saying "once you learn you never forget how" came up and ended up skipping that... I point it down the street, and start learning the clutch. Only driven a manual vehicle twice in my life but I understood the concept; fine tuning was all I was doing. Engagement zone seemed to be really far out on the lever, which for a new rider might not be so great, but then again I was starting on a 600 so I pretty much asked for it. The neighborhood eventually comes to a dead end so I make the widest turn possible in attempt to keep it upright on a relatively slick surface after the rain overnight. Pointed it back down the road and start to get a feel for the brakes. I get back to my house eventually and stop, hop off the bike and start to pull it back as my feet simply did not touch the ground at all but just for the tips of my shoes. Get back on, and start to feel for the bike a little more by weaving left and right around the center-line markers. Make the turn back and head for my house. Picked up the speed as well as braking force once or twice and then aim at the driveway in order to turn it around. At this point I felt like I was going to fast to make it and apply more and more front brake while turning left, and the sensory overload simply led me to forget about pulling the clutch in. I heard the engine lug, so I add more gas to keep it going, but pull more brake to slow down, and keep turning left... At that point the front was at full lock going about 10mph and I dumped the bike hard it felt like. I got up and ran to it after it slid about 10 feet and picked it back up. Looked over everything and noticed a few very light scratches across the mirrors, and the alternator. No fluids leaking, but a deep knock in my confidence. I had been wanting to install some frame sliders the minute I had it back home the night before but hadn't ordered them as I thought something like this was very likely to happen... Oh well, live and learn. I was fine and that's all that really mattered.

    The next week I looked into doing the MSF course. I knew I wanted to do this from the start of owning a bike but hadn't booked it until I had purchased one. I made the date for later in April and asked my friends if they were interested as well, since they only had their permits as the MSF course would be a free ticket to getting the license. Studied up on youtube about what the course would be like for the seemingly 5,000th time and passed it on Sunday with a near perfect score. I was much more confident getting to practice on someone else's bike (in this case Harley Davidson dealership sponsors the MSF with their small Street 500) and that gave me a big boost to want to get back on the R6. After that, with more and more riding it started to click. I understood engine braking, rev matching, highway riding etc... everything was much easier at this point and much less frightening. Would I say a 600cc is a good beginner bike? No, but like I read, certainly doable.
     
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  3. Swagger897

    Swagger897 Premium

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    R6 detailed overview will be made sometime in the future, with the 999's winter maintenance project following.
     
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  4. JohnBM01

    JohnBM01 Premium

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    That Yamaha R6 is sweet! I love the Ducati 999R since playing "Tourist Trophy." Take good care of these bikes.
     
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