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Thread: The Elephant that was a Duck

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Mexico
    --
    8,955

    The Elephant that was a Duck


    If you know your Ducati/Cagiva history you understand the title.

    I drove up to Canada to pick this up. I could have just bought one in Texas (that was clean!) and saved myself a bunch on gas, but this particular Duck has a special place in my heart and a bunch of mods I have neither the time, nor money to repeat on another bike. I was not expecting it to be quite so dirty, but I know exactly what’s under all the dust and rust, so I sucked it up and didn’t try to negotiate the already great price.


    My buddy bought this bike new in 1992 and drove down to the USA to pick it up in the crate. He let me drive it while still on break-in and after almost flipping it over at the first intersection (first time with a hydraulic clutch) I immediately fell in love with the mechanical mayhem that is the air cooled Desmodromic engine when coupled to an open dry clutch and full floating brakes. Ya gotta love it when you pull into a coffee shop parking lot and every wannabe mechanic within earshot comes running up to try and diagnose what’s wrong with your bike because it sounds like a hand full of bolts in a washing machine next to a ringing rotary phone… because it’s running perfectly!

    Early in its life there were some electrical issues that were addressed and then with about 19,000 miles on the ticker the stator exploded sending shrapnel everywhere. Rather than just rebuild it the owner backed a truckload of money up to it and hit the dump button. The result is one of the sweetest street legal bikes I’ve ever ridden.

    To kick off the build he bought a lightened Falicon crankshaft and Carrillo rods, then the entire engine and every nut and bolt in it was sent to Sub-Zero for cryogenic treatment. Next the heads and shortened intake runners went to Extrude Hone for pressurized abrasive paste porting. The cylinders were punched out to 944cc and 12.5 to 1 pistons were installed. All moving engine parts were coated with moly ceramic before reassembly and a set of 41mm Keihin flat slides were stuffed into the frame rails. The final bolt on was a full D&D exhaust system with carbon fiber cans. Today it has just over 21,000 miles on the clock and not a single engine bearing has over 3,000 miles on it.

    The bike has been dyno tested twice since the mods. The result of the last dyno pull was a tick under 92hp and 80 pounds of torque at the rear wheel. That may not sound like much to today’s liter bike crowd, but to put it into perspective this engine came out of the factory with only 65hp and 53 pounds of torque at the wheel. Not bad for a 24 year old, carbureted, 2 valve, air cooled, twin with vintage status.

    With the engine done he went to work on some other items with handling and weight loss being the goals. An 851 battery box was modified to fit and many other subtle changes were made to accommodate the intake, air filter, brake and suspension changes. Carbon fiber and aluminum trinkets replaced steel and plastic parts on the engine and chassis. An RC30 front brake master, Kevlar lines and full floating cast iron Brembos discs, a Corbin seat, an Ohlin shock and re-sprung forks with a Gold valve kit replaced stock parts. It total over 37 pounds was shaved off the stock bike bringing the curb weight down to 403 pounds and I intend to take another 5 pounds off with a lithium ion battery.

    I’m told that the only other mods that can be done to one of these are TI con rods, full race cams, a lightened stator and welding the exhaust ports solid and machining them at a straighter angle, all of which would render the bike to a track only toy, so in other words there is nothing left for me to screw with and that’s not a bad thing given all the other unfinished projects I have.

    He parked the bike in 2006, coated everything in grease and oil and left it sit... without a cover as you can see Fast forward 8 years and I plan to rebuild the carbs, change the timing belts and tires, replace the now deteriorated Kevlar lines with braided stainless, check the valves (after I learn how to do it) and install an Antigravity lithium battery. The cast iron discs will need a bead blasting before they are matched up to new pads as well.

    I should mention that I crashed the bike right after the mods were done in the late 90’s?  The good news is the guy in the van that turned in front of me and fled the scene was found 100% responsible, so his insurance covered the extensive repairs and as (almost) always yours truly walked away without a scratch. I rarely crash anything twice, so this is the perfect bike for me as the calcium starts to leach out of my aging bones.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    House Springs MO
    --
    5,497
    Totally cool story and congrats on the purchase. I haven't heard the term "extrude honing" since my 5.0 Mustang days. This was the hot ticket to the long runner EFI intakes the 5.0's had.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Leander TX
    --
    2,219
    Wow - a lot of hidden $$$ in that bike. An excellent project.

    I have limited Ducati experience but I get the Duck/Elephant thing.

    My dad bought an 888 SPO new and spent a lot of time with it on the track. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend with it on the big track at Willow Springs and a few laps around Daytona with it as well as a few weekend tours around CA.

    Funny you mention the master cylinder. What was it with Ducatis of that era? The 888 master sucked, too. The cast iron rotors have great feel and power with the right pads and a better master. As I recall, we used one of a ZX7 or such.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
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    2,974
    Glad you know what you're looking at, I wouldn't have given that a second glance in it's "apparent" current condition. Good luck with the resurrection!
    Trikes
    1970/71 US 90 (Aquarius Blue)
    1970/71 US 90 (Future Project)
    1972/73 US 90 Camo Project (110 Big Bore)
    1972/73 US 90 Green
    1977 ATC 90 w/83 110 motor (Fugly)
    1982 ATC 70
    1983 ATC 70 (Ladybug)
    1973 ATC 70

    1965 Marketeer 3 Wheel Golf Cart with 1986 Honda 250 drivetrain

    TF 2015

    Other
    1983 Honda Z50
    1978 Honda XL75

    Feedback http://www.3wheelerworld.com/showthr...ck-for-coopool
    http://www.3wheelerworld.com/showthr...k-for-coolpool

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    --
    6,088
    Nothing like a "desmo duck". What a neat find and a great story. I remember years ago there were carbon fiber parts available for them, not sure about now. What a neat ride those machines are. When you arrive on a Duck, they rarely fail to draw lookers. Best of luck with it and look forward to follow ups.
    Nicholson 500x (Project)
    Nicholson 185s
    Nicholson 110 (That takes an atc70 tank)
    Ascott 500 head/350x (Project)
    Homebuilt Racer Chromoly Suspension 110 (Ragin Runt)
    PK Racing Suspension 70
    A+ Inc Suspension 70
    AWS Aluminum 90 frame
    Hi Performance ATC Suspension frame rd350
    Hi Performance ATC Suspension frame 90

  6. #6
    stoshu is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerFirst time rider
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    winnipeg
    --
    242
    Looks like you pulled that from West Kildonan.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    chicago il
    --
    505
    sweet bike EL. Cant wait to see pics with a good spit shine. the fact you have known the bike since new makes it super cool

    I must be getting old if something from 1992 has vintage status. I was 6.

    to me vintage things are things you have no chance of catching up to in age. LOL

    recently raced a Bentley continental GT on my 82 Yamaha 750 SECA. Was not expecting it so he got the jump and I didn't win but didn't get spanked. I was telling my buddy about it and how I would love to be there when the guy was bragging to his friends, to tell him it was a 32 year old bike.
    Trikes: All Honda: 84 250r, 85 86 and 87 250sx, 84 and 85 125m, 79 82 84 and 85 110's, 73 us 90 and 77 atc90, 75 atc70
    Cycles: Honda: 71 cb100, 78 cb750 coming soon cb750 trike. Yamaha: 67 yds 3 (250cc, 2cyl, 2 stroke), 82 750 SECA
    Other toys: Chenoweth VW sandrail dune buggy, old race go kart, racing mower, 76 Arctic Cat Pantera 440 snowmobile

    KEEP IT ON ALL 3 OR AT LEAST 2 AT A TIME

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    NEPA
    --
    7,045
    Lovin it! Congratulations bud. What a truly cool story. Thanx for sharing
    Please help those who cannot help themselves.

    ALWAYS buying Museum quality machines,3 and 4 wheels. And any and ALL ,NOS parts,EVERY brand.

    I am turning my PM's Off,my Email is billsracing@hotmail.com,put 3WW in the subject. Thanx!

    Gun laws do not stop criminals. BULLETS do.

  9. #9
    Husky250 is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    NE Ohio
    --
    264
    Nice find, will be sweet to get riding. Along the same lines we had an '86 Merlin 350. I managed to cartwheel it down a hill under full load. It bent the pin that holds the shifting shaft/wheel thingy..... Anyway, the gas tank said Merlin, the case said Cagiva (elephant and everything), but it was made by italiajet, and the part I bent we had to get from Harley Davidson>>>> That was an experience!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Mexico
    --
    8,955
    Quote Originally Posted by stoshu View Post
    Looks like you pulled that from West Kildonan.
    You're on the right side of the river, but about 3 miles off

    FYI, my Dad knows your Dad and they did play ball together and my Mom confirmed that her and I were at your Grandmothers retirement party in 71, or 72, she says it was a real big deal. It turns out I may have even been in your house and met you when you were still a rug rat. How crazy is that? What a small world. Great meeting you the other day (again?), hope to do it again soon!
    Last edited by El Camexican; 09-13-2014 at 12:31 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Mexico
    --
    8,955
    Here’s one more set of “before” photos:






    Chased through the parts today: Bags of fork shims, an Ohlins spring, stock shock, one stock fork spring, carbs and all air box related parts, set of aluminum belt drives, 3 rear sprockets 41T, 39T, 37T, stock carbs, inner and outer clutch tools, a set of heavy duty engine mount bolts, a dozen muffler mounts, 2 full exhaust systems and three sets of canisters, solo seat, a new Corbin seat (and there is one on the bike), numerous handmade billet peg hangers, stock brake discs, stock wing screen, brake levers and shifters, jetting kits, a large clutch slave (said to reduce pull force), two stock connecting rods, a set of fairings and a few other items that seem to be related to the stock fuel system. I put the full fairings on for the ride home as they are a little big to put in the cab and are less likely to get scuffed while mounted. I’ll start working on it in a few weeks, looks like it will clean up well.
    Last edited by El Camexican; 09-13-2014 at 12:40 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Wherever I May Roam
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    3,757
    Wow!! Way to go man, she's a real beauty!! Cant wait to see the dream continue!!

    And I must say, a FINE trailer to haul her home in style

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Leander TX
    --
    2,219
    Looks like the trailer was made just for it

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Wherever I May Roam
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    3,757
    Is there any way we could get a paper napkin blueprint for the build plan?

  15. #15
    stoshu is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerFirst time rider
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    winnipeg
    --
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by El Camexican View Post
    You're on the right side of the river, but about 3 miles off

    FYI, my Dad knows your Dad and they did play ball together and my Mom confirmed that her and I were at your Grandmothers retirement party in 71, or 72, she says it was a real big deal. It turns out I may have even been in your house and met you when you were still a rug rat. How crazy is that? What a small world. Great meeting you the other day (again?), hope to do it again soon!
    Give me a shout later when your done your stuff. Gonna be at a party on the corner of 9 and 27. You should know people there. I think you're staying across the street.

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