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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm a new member here and not currently a Ducati owner. I've been owning and riding motorcycles since I bought my first one in 1979. So that, of course, dates me pretty well as an old fart.

That being what it is, I'm still an enthusiast and currently have 5 bikes squeezed into my garage. But there's always room for another and I have my eye on a 2003 999 that is advertised not far away from me. I'm considering going to look at it and am wondering what I should be checking for on this model. So any tips are greatly appreciated.

I've never owned a Ducati but have appreciated them for years.
 

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Welcome to the forums!

The 999 is actually pretty good bike, though the later years 05/06 999S and 999R's are MUCH better models then the first generation base 999 with the cast swing arm. However, if you can get an 03' for peanuts (Sub 6k) then why not. Since they aren't a highly sought after machine to begin with, it shouldn't be too big of a deal to get one cheap.

Since you're a motorcycle guy and have explained that, there is no reason to rant about sport bikes being uncomfortable… so I don't need to. The Ducati superbikes are a lot of fun and I think you'll have a blast riding it being a motorcycle enthusiast. Just remember, Ducati has been very good at making mechanics out of racers and riders since they opened up for business in the 50's. So be prepared to do your own service and maintenance. :)

Don't forget to post a few pix when ya get her and good luck! ;)
 

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Hi, and welcome.
I am reasonable new myself.
I had a 03 999S, and loved it. Really upset when I had to sell it.
The worm turned and I able to get 04 999R, with 05 heads and all the goodies.
Like you I am an oldie but the love of bike remains strong, nothing including my other bikes beats the 999.
My garage has some nice kit in it, so choosing the 999 everytime says everything.
I hope you end up with one, and enjoy it.
Cheers
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm trying to hook up with the seller this week. From what he tells me, he's the 2nd owner, it has 17K miles, has been properly serviced since it was new. Claims to have all the paperwork about service.

It looks flawless from the photos and we're in the ballpark on price.

If all goes well I may have it in my sweaty hands before the end of the week.
 

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This begs the question… How much?
 

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New Owner 2003 999S also

When I decided to buy a 999S I was only looking at 2005-2006 models because I hear about the first gen not being that great.

The only reason I have an 2003 is because I got it for $6500 with 7900mi on the odo and Termi exhaust with bar risers.

The owner claimed to have just service the belts etc and I took him at his word. He had pics of the service not receipts.

I have had it about 3 months now and no issues other than the tachometer lens cracked for no apparent reason. Also replaced front brake rotors and pads due to the PO have used too aggressive a pad on the bike.

So as tuner says, if you can get a sub $7000 deal on a clean, verifiable serviced 999S, then you should be good. But if not hold out for a 2005-2006. If you can be patient and don't mind traveling to get one, they come up pretty regularly for sale..

GOOD LUCK
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I went over the bike very closely and literally there is only a scratch on it. There is about a 2' log scratch on the bottom of the LH body panel about 1" from the midline. It's been touched up but it is hardly noticeable. The deal, however, came with a band-new in the box replacement body panel. I can't imagine this is going to cause me any heartache as you have to crawl on the ground and get in close to even see it.

There are carbon fiber bits all over this thing, I can't imagine what all that cost. Accident damage replacements? Nope, all the OEM bits are in a box also. I filled up my Chevy Trailblazer with boxes of stuff that went with this bike!

I have some service records from Ducati dealer in TX that did the first belt change and valve check. They did not adjust as all were in spec and they noted the clearances in the paperwork.

The PO, who is 2nd owner, has had the bike serviced at Indy Ducati, so I'll be checking with them on their history of the bike. I'm pretty sure it's due to camshaft belts again now but the PO believes the local shop checked the valve clearance recently and found them to still be in-spec.

Worst case? It needs belts and valve adjustments. Won't be an issue in my opinion.

I'm told that autograph on the tank is Nicky Hayden and was obtained at the Indy MotoGP. I'm not autograph expert but it looks like it could be. Not a big deal for me either way.

I got 3 keys, 2 blacks and one red as well as the little ID tag. So that's good. Also have Owners Manual, parts manual, and Shop Manual.

Tons of spare parts also, a tank bag, OEM seat, original yellow turn signals, more CF bits that were never installed, it's going to take me a month just to figure out what all the parts are.

Oh, it also came with a rear shock. It says Showa and I assume it's the OEM shock. In the papers there is a "Ohlin's Shock Owners Manual" so it appears this has an upgraded shock installed. Not sure how much those are but I believe they're pricey!
 

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Nice

Looks like you did well. Seems that with the PO having the OEM parts. keys, etc that bike has been taken care of. Thats a good sign. Enjoy:yo:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
a lot of the same extras as mine.... Good Taste I like that sticker under the 999 on the fairing. Any idea where to get that?
Must be a feature of the yellow ones. I hear they are faster! ;)

Seriously, I'm not sure. I never noticed it until you pointed it out. I assumed it was that way from the factory.
 

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Cheap enough! Congrats on the purchase, hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think of it compared to your other bikes. It's such a different animal you should have some interesting comments. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Cheap enough! Congrats on the purchase, hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think of it compared to your other bikes. It's such a different animal you should have some interesting comments. ;)
I didn't get home until after dark last evening but even though it was a bit chilly, I bundled up and took her for a short ride. My first impression was "I like this, a LOT!"

My only other experience on a Ducati was a Monster 696 that I considered a couple of years ago. The price was excellent and the bike was in mint shape but it was just so cramped that I couldn't sit on it for one minute without pain! This 999 is comfy! I'm 6'2" tall with 34" inseam and I found the seating position to be very comfortable.

My second impression was how much like my '02 Moto Guzzi V11 LeMans it runs, rides, and sounds. I'm sure a lot of that is due to the common 90 degree V-twins in them. The MG is rough at idle but smooths out as you rev it up. But as I recall the redline is 6K on that engine. The Duc is a lot smoother at idle. Not sure why, they must do a better job of counterbalancing. But the higher top-end on the 999 sure lets you feel it as the power comes on. I was just taking it easy and probably didn't go past 5K rpm but it felt great!

The exhaust sounds great without being overly loud, which is a good thing in my view. Some exhausts are so loud my ears ring even with earplugs in. I had my doubts about that tiny headlight hole but somehow they get tons of light out of that thing!

My other bike in the sport-bike class is an '08 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14. Obviously a completely different approach to sport bike design here, so it's hard to compare. The Ninja is actually one of the most well-behaved bikes I've ever ridden, unless you are stupid with the RH wrist and then you get what you ask for. That's good or bad depending on what you are expecting! As an aside, if you've never ridden a ZX-14, be sure to put in on your list of things to do before you're too old to do it.

Bottom line is that I think I'm going to like this thing a LOT. What caught me was the looks, I know some hate it, but for whatever reason I think it's a design masterpiece. It's amazingly light and so far, feels great from a handling perspective. No serious twisties here in Central Indiana but they aren't too far away.

I'm sure I'll have more information to share and also more questions.
 

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Terblanche got a lot of shit for his design, I personally love it. It's the most unique of the entire superbike lineup. The 05/06 749R/999R were stellar machines, with a few tweaks to the geometry and some lightening mods, they're AMAZING machines. It's the little things people don't notice like the super thin tank, flat seat, the long reach from the seat to bars AND most importantly the seat to peg position. These were all inspired from the MotoGP prototype which Terblance designed as well. The 848/1098/1198 went backwards, to the 916 design instead of keeping trend with the narrower/longer frame of the 749/999.

Had Ducati spend a tiny bit more money lightening up the 749/999 and getting the geometry closer to where it needed to be, I think it would have been a lot more successful even with the diesel train engine headlight assembly. However, the reviewers panned the 749/999 because at the time, the competition was getting lighter and Ducati was getting heavier. The mediocre track performance caused by shitty OEM tires and poor geometry/suspension settings stock, was the icing on the cake. It's VERY unfortunate the series only lasted 4 years and the replacement (1098/1198) was so much better technically. However, "technical" stuff can be fixed, in my eyes, it's far better to have a bike your comfortable with riding chassis wise, rather then something that's technically a marvel, but doesn't fit you very well. I never got along with my 848 comfort wise, it was an entirely different experience and in my view A HUGE step backwards. The Panigale is better, but nowhere near the comfort of the 749/999.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Had a chance to go visit the local Ducati dealer, seemed like nice folks. The bike had been there for service in the past year, routine stuff, fluids, battery, and the like but no belt or valve service. I do know both were done @ 6500 miles but there is no evidence that either has been done again. I bought it assuming that both needed to be done. The dealer quoted me 10 hours labor + parts at $1300 to do a "major" which included oil, coolant, brake and clutch fluids, fork oil, chain lube, belt replacement, and valve check and adjust.

Seems a bit pricey to me. I just ordered some belts, and will probably at least check the valves at that time. Looks to be pretty straightforward to check and adjust. Maybe I'm missing something but this engine is a LOT simpler than a 16-valve Japanese inline 4 valve adjust!

I took the side panels off to get a look inside, amazing how simple they are to take off. Didn't take but 2 or 3 minutes. Looks clean under the hood. I took the covers off to see the timing belts and they look OK but I'm sure they are at least 2 years old. The PO had the bike for almost 2 years and did not have the belts done.

I did find several resources on Ducati 4V valve check and adjust and I don't see anything that I don't think I can do. Should be fun, for some reason I find working on stuff relaxing...
 

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Yea, way easier then Jap bikes! Dealers are a rip-off, it still amazes me they can charge so much for a job which takes them about 2hrs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yea, way easier then Jap bikes! Dealers are a rip-off, it still amazes me they can charge so much for a job which takes them about 2hrs.
It really chaps me when they pull out the "standard labor hours" book and add up the times. He said 10 hours labor. I'll have to keep track of my time doing the same work but I'll bet it won't be 10 hours. Perhaps 10 hours for a flunky mechanic, but the one that justifies the $90/hour labor rate? My guess is he can do all the work in 2-3 hours but they still charge the standard hours. Not unique to Ducati, auto shops do the same thing.

Oh well, the adventure begins! :)

A couple of years ago a bearing went out in the manual transmission on my 03 Mini. Dealer wanted $7K to replace the transmission. The entire car wasn't worth $7K. Local indy shop wanted a more reasonable $3500 to put in a reman unit. I decided to just give it a try myself. Pulled the transmission (easier than expected), tore it down (much easier than expected), replaced the bearing that had failed ($25), put it all back together, 25K miles later still going strong. My total outlay was about $500, most of which was tools that I didn't already have. But in this case I get to keep the tools for the next project!

I figure it took me a total of about 10 hours of labor spread out over 3 weekends. The dealer quoted me 20 hours to R/R the transmission. Sheesh!
 
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