The last time Guy Martin (www.mbpducati.ca) and I sat down to spec out a fire-breathing Ducati motor was eight years ago. Last week we did it again – this time with a view to building a fire-breathing, bullet-proof unit for the F1.
Time passes, but little changes.
True, we both know each other much better than last time we did this and frankly, we’re both a lot smarter. But the bottom line has always been that Guy will go for the whole enchilada whenever he can, so when it came to a discussion on pistons I knew I was beaten before I even suggested something other than the 944 kit. Why do I even bother? I should just dump the pail of money on the bench and let him loose.
Once the piston issue was put to bed, he produced a 748 crank from under the press, and then a set of 996 rods and we began measuring and discussing the approach to the new powerplant. The details are in a new Photo Album called F1 S Engine Rebuild so I’ll skip the technical stuff and summarize by stating that in the tradition of the original Loud Bike, it’s a fairly trick and robust package that should stand up to many years of racing and track days.
Still, it was a tough day fraught with vain attempts at prudence and fiscal restraint. Take the crank for example. We’d already discussed shaving the ignition flywheel down to practically nothing and using the F1 alternator in the interest of saving weight and preserving my investment in rare 5-pin regulators. Then he proclaims that the crank will be cut down to Corsa size, knife-edged and polished. Overkill! I want some flywheel effect – it suits my riding style. But Guy – no way. He likes a motor that hits the rev limiter (not that I have one) when you blip the throttle. Sigh… He conceded by stating that we could leave the external flywheel stock and that after all, I have a stock clutch basket, etc.- when the garage door opened and in walked George to pick up a fresh batch of cranks to machine. He thrust my 748 crank into George’s hands and simply said “full race”. You see? I get no respect..
Then we stripped the heads. I figured that we were going full zoot with Guy's Testarosso Heads , but didn’t expect to hear about filling and reshaping the combustion chambers. Perfect. Oh, and valves. “Valves?” I asked (knowing full well what lay ahead). He winked at me - and when Guy winks, I twitch involuntarily. “Oui. Big ones”. Yes indeed, they’ll be big (38 and 45m respectively if memory serves).
I won one small battle that day. Cams. We sat down at his PC so I could grab some images of last season’s MBP Cdn Thunder bike, Bob Berger’s motor and a few other technical shots and he started talking about 900SS cams in a manner that made me nervous. Graphs and specs were produced and irrefutable evidence of the ST2 cams’ superiority over the F1’s, but I held fast to my position on keeping the cams that currently call my heads home. We went back and forth for a while and when I thought that I had held my ground fairly well, he went for the kill: “But Steve, chicks love that “ “Nope” I interrupted, “It’s gotta have that F1 sound – I’ll trade 5 to 10 HP for the right sound. After all – I’m going to be over the Canadian Thunder HP limit even with the stock F1 cams.” “OK” he conceded, “a small block Chevy V8 it is”. How can you not love this guy?
My best wishes to all for the holiday season.