I think it might have been, 'cause the older I get, the less I like riding in the cold. Today was fun though..... I was testing a customer's Ducati 900SS/SP that had been in for some set-up and fine-tuning on the Keihin FCRs, a lightweight flywheel and a Yoyodyne lightweight clutch. I was reluctant to hit the open roads and big speeds 'cause the temperature was maybe 10 degrees Celsius (really friggin' cold in imperial units), so I found myself on a four-lane industrial boulevard trying to split lanes and work my way to the front of the pack at every red light. And there was this 40-odd year old woman in a Lexus, who just kept dragging me off the lights - but I couldn’t get a clear road 'cause of the traffic density. Finally, I split the lanes to the front of the traffic at a major intersection and pulled up beside her (which put me in a bicycle lane). As I sat there waiting for the light to change, I alternated my attention between looking around for cops, warming my frozen hands and stealing glances over at her. She was staring straight ahead, both hands on the wheel and - I swear - her teeth were clenched in fierce determination... Had I wronged her in a past life? As the intersection light turned yellow, I stole a few more furtive glances around for the heat and was delighted to see open road ahead of me. I pulled the trigger hard when the light turned green (so did she) and went WFO to about 8 grand (front wheel a few inches off the pavement). When I shifted into 2nd, I was well across the intersection, clear of the mad woman in the Lexus, and WFO again as the front wheel simply lofted and stayed up 'till 3rd. I laughed out loud for the first time all week. I consider this to be appropriate and responsible road test behavior.
This is about the 4th or 5th 900 (...and the Caddy has this set-up) I've ridden with this combination and every time I experience it on a new bike, I tell myself that I should write about it. As the season closes and you ponder the upgrades for your 2-valve Ducati 900, I implore you (for your own mental health and entertainment) to consider the lightweight flywheel/clutch/FCR combination. What it does to a stock 900 is simply amazing. Wicked throttle response is an understatement. You're not necessarily increasing power and torque by a significant amount with these mods, but you're putting what you end up with at your immediate disposal. And it's addictive.
It’s pretty simple work if you're halfway mechanically inclined, although you'll need access to an impact wrench with a 30mm socket and might have to make (or borrow) a clutch holding tool. Keihin FCRs are available from a number of sources, but I think Chris Kelly (California Cycle Works) is the best bet as he ships a complete kit (with the carbs nicely baselined). Go for the long manifold 41mm pairs if you're looking for a relatively turn-key experience, or the short manifold split singles if you want a few more ponies at the expense of a few hours of tuning. I use the Yoyodyne lightweight clutch and flywheel 'cause I sell 'em (click on the loudbikeStore link and follow the bouncing ball) and they work well, but you can get lightweight clutches and flywheels from a variety of quality manufacturers and suppliers in North America.
The gentleman who bought the Caddy wrote me today to say that he couldn't come and get the bike 'till spring, so I'll have to drain the oil and fluids to get it set for winter storage... which means I'll have to warm the oil up first... They're forecasting a balmy 9 degrees Celsius and sunny for Saturday - maybe one more short ride....