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Old 13th August 2021, 14:34   #1
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Default How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

How I found and saved India’s only 2014 Ducati 1199R – a story of unlikely rescue, revival and restoration

Physics was my most hated subject in school. I never understood the concepts, and as time went by, I pretty much flunked every exam. Never a science guy, I promptly switched to commerce and failed there too. Let’s say academics is not my forte. However one subject in Physics always fascinated me - Schrodinger's cat. For those who dread Physics, it was an experiment that established the duality of matter and that we can observe matter in only one state. Now let me present to you Schrodinger's motorbike; India's one and only 2014 Ducati 1199R. Why do I say this? Grab your popcorn for a story that can put a Bollywood thriller to shame. Now this is not a motorcycle review. I am not going to review the 1199R. Au contraire, my dear forum members, I am going to describe something that has been successfully done for the first and only time in India, and probably one of the few times in the world.

A chronological sequence of events.

Beginning of Jan 2021, the dealer from whom I got my MV F4, buzzed me online asking me about the F4. After a few pleasantries, he told me there is a 2014 Ducati 1199R for sale by an owner in Bangalore. Am I interested? I perked up. It is not often that you hear about Ducati 1199Rs being sold in India. Now what is so special about the R model.

1199R for sale

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A quick backstory on Ducati R spec models

When Ducati competed in the 1990s and 2000s for WSBK, as part of the race qualifying rules, it had to make a certain number of production models (called homologation models) designated as R. These R bikes had the same specs as the race bikes and were equipped with functional lights and mirrors. Essentially they are race bikes sold to the general public. The WSBK rule was that the bike manufacturer had to make and sell 1000 homologation pieces and then they can continue to use that frame in WSBK racing until the frame was retired (I am a bit fuzzy on the rules). Ducati produced the base model, the S version with upgraded suspension and fancy exhaust, and finally the ultra exclusive R version. Each R model had its build number etched on the clamp and you had to be very lucky, very rich and very well connected with Ducati to lay your hands on these. Ducati continued this production of race spec R models with the 996, 998, 999, 1098 and the 1198. With the launch of the 1199, they continued this tradition but stopped numbering the R models and introduced a higher spec limited model (500 units only) called the Superleggera (SL). The Superleggera and the R have the same engine, except for a few sand cast bits and more carbon fiber on the SL. While the 1199 and its successor the 1299 used engines that were 1198 and 1285 cc for the base and S versions, the 1199R and later the 1299R continued to use the 1198 cc engine to comply with WSBK rules.

Ducati 1199R with Termignoni exhaust

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Ducati 1199 Superleggera with Akra Titanium exhaust

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Ducati never released official figures for 1199R production but from the internet I found that roughly a total of 1000+ R models were produced from 2013 – 2015. They sold 125 of these in the first year and the rest over the next 2 years. One of these limited R models was in India, and that too at Bangalore. This is a 7 year old bike, but probably the rarest among the Panigale R models. A lot of the 1199R bikes have been tracked and already met their demise. I am sure in the next 5 years there will only be a few pristine 1199R models left. The market price was 1199R models has been steadily going up as collectors realize the potential of the bike. I told the dealer I am interested and asked him to send the pictures. Then I jumped online to search for the 1199R. But first, a few calls to Ducati Delhi. After 20 minutes I got off the phone puzzled. Ducati sold only one 1199S model in India. The base and the R version had no buyers. After the fiasco with Precision Motors, Ducati left India and then came back as a subsidiary of VAG. It announced the launch of the 1199 but ended up bringing only the 899. Barring the 1199S, there are no other 1199 models in India at all. So where did this 1199R come from?

Surprisingly the answer came from our very own Team-BHP site. The bike was imported to India from the US.

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/super...ale-1199r.html (India gets its 1st Ducati Panigale 1199R!)

The thread provided me the bike VIN number and its race story at Noida Buddh circuit where it unfortunately met with a low impact crash. Then the bike disappeared from public eye and was never seen again. It popped up a few times on some Instagram posts with the usual posers and was once put up for sale on FB classifieds in 2018 for Rs 29 lacs. Other than that no info, zip, nada.

2018 FB post for the sale of bike (subsequently sold to the second owner)

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-screenshot_20210816141550_facebook.jpg

A web of deceit

Armed with new found knowledge from Team-BHP, I told the dealer to initiate talks with the owner and to get the full service history of the bike as it was involved in a crash before. From the Team-BHP thread, I understood that the bike had lower fairing, exhaust, right handle bar and tank damage. Ducati 1199R bikes have a red and brushed aluminum gas tank while this bike had a red tank. Was the tank changed or simply repainted? I wanted to make sure tank structural integrity was not compromised as a Ducati 1199R gas tank is made of aluminum and quite pricey. Then things got weird. The dealer quoted an insane price. I told him his price made no sense as I can get a brand new V4S. He told me the bike was never crashed. Then the 1199R became a 1199S as the tank was red in color. Then he told me this is a base 1199 as India has many 1199 models (I was not sure whether he confused the 899 for the 1199. Most used dealers don't pay attention to the different model names). Finally he told me he cannot get hold of the owner. So that was that. It was a lot of half truths and beating around the bush for nothing. But this is India and this sort of storytelling is the norm. I had plenty of bogus leads from used dealers before so I let the matter rest and decided not to pursue anymore. My hands were tied with my other bikes, plus trying to run a company while WFH and a million other things. Meantime I followed other leads and went to see a red Ducati 1098, a white 848, a few R1s, and did solo rides as I enjoyed the winter weather. But deep down in my heart I knew the bait had been set and sooner or later I will be hearing about this bike. But who was the hunter and who was being hunted?

Things get interesting again

Mid Jan, the dead horse aka the 1199R got flogged again. This time one of my agents offered the bike for sale but the asking price was still high. I told him flatly that I had to see the bike in person or through a video call before I entertain any offers. He said other buyers were lined up to buy this bike. This is the standard sales pitch in India so I told my agent to get lost. Time to play hardball. What do you know! The agent actually called Ducati Bangalore and asked one of the service techs to meet the owner, took several videos and did a VC with me to show the bike truly existed and was not some imaginative concoction. I asked the agent to check the VIN number. I corroborated the bike VIN number against the one from Team-BHP. The numbers matched. Finally I had confirmation it was the same bike that was first featured on Team-BHP.

Bike VIN

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Now that I knew the history, it was time to call in some industry favors. Over the next few days I tracked down the entire service history of the bike, the ownership records, and the issues this bike had.

Ducati service records for the 1199R - as expected, nothing in the system since the bike was never serviced at any Ducati dealer

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The bike after its maiden track run at Buddh underwent a thorough Desmo service and the damaged parts were changed. The tank was repaired and repainted as the first owner did not import a new 1199R aluminum tank. The bike then changed hands and was now sitting idle in the second owner’s garage, because the bike had developed engine trouble.

The bike in previous owner's Bangalore garage. The drive chain has surface rust

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I wish the previous owners had taken good care of the bike and not abused it, but the past is past, and I saw this as a good opportunity to work on this bike. Engine trouble especially Ducati sends shivers down every owner’s spine, but I was quite confident, with a bit of TLC, I can fix it. As long as it’s not a blown motor its salvageable. I had my experience working with the MV F4RR so I thought this would be a trivial matter.

Boy, was I ever so overconfident and so wrong.

I was armed and prepped with the knowledge that the bike likely has engine issues. What sort of issues; no one knew, because no one actually examined the engine. The engine ran rough and sounded hoarse. Not a whole lot to work with. Now everyone on this forum would have said “walk away”. Some would scream “run, don’t walk”. But when it comes to bikes, logic takes a back step. We buy motorbikes not as a rational purchase but as an emotional tool. Greed, desire and vanity are in full control of the rider while rationale, logic and sanity goes for a toss. My situation was the same. Here was the one and only Ducati 1199R that was imported to India, and with a bit of wrenching, can be brought back to shape. My brain didn’t have enough blood, my ego was on full swing so I told the agent, let’s bring her to Delhi.

But before forum members blast me, I told the owner and agent that I will proceed only on certain terms.

1. Bike will be shipped to my FNG who will inspect and check for issues.

2. All the issues will be noted and full check list sent to owner.

3. If engine problem can be fixed I will deduct the repair cost from final price.

4. I will pay an initial deposit. Once the bike is in Delhi, I will put the remainder of the sum in an escrow account which will be cleared once the FNG gives the green light. That way both buyer and seller are protected.

5. If the bike cannot be fixed, I will return to the owner and get back my full amount minus part of the shipping costs.

Well as expected, the owner initially refused to my terms. He said someone else put a deposit on the bike and was finalizing loan terms. I laughed at his ludicrous statement and told him to stop playing games. No NBFI or bank in their right mind is going to provide loan on a bike that is not sold in India. If he wants to deal these are my terms. Take it or leave it. I knew the dance that was going on and was confident the owner would come to my terms sooner or later. A week later my agent called me again. He told me the owner had a change of heart and agreed to my terms.

The game is afoot.

End Jan my agent had some work to attend in Bangalore so he flew down and personally inspected the bike. From the pictures and videos he sent, I saw the bike had some dings and scratches, engine sounded hoarse, the chain was rusting, and the bike was not kept in a good condition. The engine oil was not changed and the bike barely moved from its parking spot in over 2 years. But the 1199R is a sexy machine dripping with some jaw dropping goodies, including the electronic adjustable Ohlins shocks and all the glorious carbon fiber. The bike has more carbon fiber than the new V4R. The front and rear tire guards, exhaust heat shield, exhaust tips, suspension covers, single side swing arm cover, key ignition cover and the inner side panels are all carbon fiber. That is some serious bling. They were covered in a layer of dirt and needed to be cleaned and lightly polished. Ducati put a lot of effort in the 1199R before they diluted the R nomenclature in 2018. Now the new V4 generation has R, Speciale, SP and Superleggera. After seeing all the pictures, I realized that I had seen bikes in much worse condition and knowing what work was cut out for me, I agreed to buy the bike. With the agreement in place, we sourced a shipper. The bike was wrapped up, shipping insurance tacked on, and took 6 days to reach Delhi. I told the truck driver to drive at a sedate 60 kmph and not rush. The bike is too valuable to meet with any shipping accident.

Bike inspection pictures

Front of the bike. The windshield is scratched and dirty. I ordered a replacement

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Rear profile of the bike. Factory rear fender and turn signals were kept unattached. I will re-install them and get a fender eliminator. I got the original Ducati factory mirrors. They fold and I will install them

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Bike mirrors - dusty but in good condition

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Carbon fiber exhaust and rear wheel guards

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Ohlins electronic rear suspension

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Instrument panel and odometer reading. Note that when the bike was sold in 2018, the FB ad claimed mileage was 5,300 km. Current odo is 5,800. Second owner rode the bike for only 500 km. The low miles corroborated with my fact finding that bike was sitting in garage for 2 years and not ridden much

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Rear seat panel has some marks and scuffs. Paint peeled out near the seat. All those to be fixed

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The repainted gas tank. The paint needs to be stripped and redone in original factory finish

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Ohlins forks and carbon fiber front guard

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Carbon fiber clutch cover

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Akrapovic full system race exhaust with carbon fiber tips. These babies were ordered originally with the bike as additional accessory. The same ones are installed on the Superleggera. I kept them rather than the Termis as my V4S has Akra. Plus I like their look and sound

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Akra full system titanium exhaust. Needs some TLC for the lettering to be more prominent

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Bike ready for its move from Bangalore to Delhi

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Bike loaded on truck

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Disaster strikes

One week later, the bike reached Delhi. My FNG called me to come down and do the usual oil, filter and coolant change before it’s ready to be ridden home. I was elated and got the service parts ready.

Then all hell broke loose.

After my FNG started up the bike and examined it, we noticed that the bike was losing compression power. The engine was not revving at the levels it should. It felt very off. We removed the fairings and started to investigate. Once the engine oil cap was loosened, out poured engine oil that was white chocolate. On top the the coolant box was half empty. Feast your eyes folks on what Jeremy Clarkson calls a massive c##k up.

Distilled water had mixed with engine oil. Let me repeat that; distilled water had mixed with engine oil.

All the choco milk removed

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Inspection of bike continues after the debacle is found

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Why is this very serious?

Water has a nasty habit of corroding metal. Distilled water sitting in an engine will induce corrosion in the inner engine body, cylinders, piston heads, and cam shaft. Due to corrosion parts break when the engine tries to turn over and then you have to source a new engine altogether.

So why is this a Schrodinger’s cat type of bike?

Because the engine inside may be damaged due to water corrosion, anytime the bike is turned on, its probably the last time the engine will work. To know for certain means to dismantle the entire engine, which no one has done. And to the best of my knowledge, no one knows how to work on a Ducati 1199R in India. The bike was never sold in India in the first place. Even service techs in western countries do not dismantle and rebuild these engines as the cost is prohibitively high and it is a very technically challenging job. They source a new engine and plonk it on the bike. One gentleman in California rebuilt a 1199R for 20k USD after it caught fire at the track. He rebuilt the bike only, not the engine as it was in working condition. Original price of the 1199R was 30k USD. The math doesn’t make sense to rebuild.

The bike partly stripped

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One of the technicians took a video of the bike revs when we first started the checks to see if there are other issues



How and why did this happen and what are the repercussions?

Let me revisit this later. Only when we opened the engine and started work, did we understand what truly happened. I have covered this in greater detail in the rebuild section.

My first reaction was to return the bike, walk away with my cash and call it a day. I think anyone else would have done the same. I asked my FNG, what will happen to the bike if I return it. He said there will be someone else who will buy the bike, see the engine issues, keep quiet about it, and then pass it on or return the bike to the owner. The bike will keep changing hands until one day the engine will seize or the owner throws it out as scrap. Then it will be consigned to the pages of history. No one is going to fix the engine because no one has the skills to do it. So after inspecting the bike, I sat down and thought long and hard for two days. It was probably the most thinking I ever did. I made several calls to local and international dealers, bike experts, consulted Ducati forums, posted on Facebook group pages and watched Youtube videos. I got a wide range of advice, which I summarized into 4 action plans. It was something like this.

Action plan 1 (easy): Return bike back to seller, call it a day. Bike ends up with kabbadiwala’s collection.

Action plan 2 (normal): Fix water pump, fill up coolant, flush engine with oil a few times, say copious prayers to all gods / goddesses across all religions and hope the bike lives. Ride bike a few kms a year and become an Instagram poser.

Action plan 3 (hard): Import a used 1199R engine to India, hook it to bike and enjoy.

Action plan 4 (impossible): Strip bike and engine, inspect thoroughly, replace damaged parts, rebuild engine, run compression tests, flush engine oil several times to wash out any traces of water.

Roll out the heavy artillery – time to go to war

I told my agent before I decide to return the bike to owner, I will figure out the issues, see if it's salvageable and then got to work. I checked with my customs and clearing guy about importing an engine to India. He said it’s very difficult but doable, however the chai-pani will be a lot. Then I called Ducati. Their answer was “bad news, we do not have any 1199R engines in stock”. I asked how about the 1299 engine? “Sorry, no more. We have phased out the L twin engines. Now its V4 only.” So I looked for used 1199 engines. The ones I found didn’t inspire confidence. There was one that could do the job, but the engine price + import duty + chai pani added up to 15 lacs. Not worth it.

How about rebuilding the engine? In theory, if you are a gear head, yes you can. However you need several specialized tools, full fledged service bay, tons of replacement parts and some very qualified mechanics for assistance. Then there was the cost. Engine rebuild quote was Rs 10 lacs, as per Delhi Ducati since they need assistance from Ducati Italy. That won’t fly as the seller will refuse to give up majority of his asking price for the repair costs.

So I was stuck before I even got into 1st gear. The war looked like it was already over.

An ally steps in

As many of you know, from my previous MV F4 review, I have an older brother who is a bit of a motorcycle geek and understands machines very well. I explained to him the situation and the massive headache. This is a war that seems unlikely to be won. He studied the 1199R engine, talked to some bike folks he knew and then had a conversation with me that went like this:

My brother: So, the peeps I spoke with mentioned that quite a few owners damaged their 1199 engine by revving too hard or just wringing the life out of it. This happened a lot for the 2012-13 built models. Youtuber 650ib is one of the culprits. His 1199 engine blew up 3 times and he replaced it with the 1299. Ducati took the feedback and made the 2014 engine better. Turns out the 2014 engine was the best build in the 1199 series. They used the same engine for the 1299R.

Me: Ok, so this is the 2014 model. Go on.

My brother: The first clue will be in the engine headers. Those are magnesium. The connecting rods are titanium, so should be sturdy. Lift the headers and see if they are ok. If you don’t see any corrosion on the headers, it’s safe to assume rest of the engine won’t be affected. The engine is one sealed unit, so as long as the bike has not been submerged in water, the engine should be ok. Does it start?

Me: Yes, it starts, revs, blows flames through the exhaust.

My brother: Take a step back and apply Occam’s razor; the simplest answer is the best answer.

Me: Say what? Simplest answer is send back bike?

My brother: No, simplest answer is the engine fires up. Means the engine components are still functioning. If it was the base or an older model, its likely that the engine would blow up, but the R engine has higher end spec components that won’t corrode easily so it can be repaired. If we act fast and act now, we can fix the bike. The engine needs to be disassembled, cleaned out, and put back together with new headers, gaskets, screws, spacers and sealants. Then the engine needs a compression test. The bike will be alive again.

Me: Schrodinger will disagree. We are testing the duality of matter and we can only observe one state.

My brother: Big words from someone who gave up on high school Physics. Fix the bike.

Me: Ok, that’s fine in theory, where do we get parts from and who in India can even do all this heavy lifting. Remember, the bike was never sold in India.

My brother: Not one person. We need a team. An A team, or motorcycle equivalent of Avengers – Movengers

Me: You kidding right?

My brother: I never kid when it comes to motorbikes.

Well, we put our heads together and really assembled a team. We decided to do the rebuild ourselves with the help of my FNG, and the head of Ducati Hyderabad service

For parts, we contacted and sourced them from Ducati Italy, Ducati Thailand, Ducati Ahmedabad, Ducati Mumbai, Ducati Delhi, Ducati Bangalore, and Ducati Hyderabad. We left out Kolkata. (It’s like Deadpool, he never was part of the Avengers).

For technical services, coordination, consumables and final check – my Delhi FNG for the frontal assault with me as the wingman.

For the real tear down and build back – the head of Ducati service at Hyderabad. We tracked him down through a chain of referrals and my FNG guidance. Out of a population of 1.4 billion Indians, he is the only one who is qualified and certified by Ducati to work on and repair the 1199 and 1299 series. Let me repeat that – just one person out of 1.4 billion people. Ducati sold only six of the 1299 bikes in India, so they just trained one guy for the servicing. A lot hinged on him, especially during Covid. This was the hail Mary of all hail Marys.

For compression testing – Ducati Hyderabad is the only dealer in India with a compression testing machine. We have to physically ship the bike to Hyderabad to get the tear down and compression testing done. The bike traveled from Bangalore to Delhi, Delhi to Hyderabad, and back from Hyderabad to Delhi. All on the back of tow trucks. If anyone wants a travelogue of traveling on the back of a tow truck pan India, that can be my next thread

Finally, there was the cost to be dealt with. After some serious haggling and pleading and in the name of motorcycling love and the uniqueness of our project, Ducati dealers all agreed to charge us their cost price or with a small markup for the parts and services. I have good relations with most of these dealers, through my line of work, so I used those favors gratuitously. An initial estimate for the entire service was drawn up. Tentative cost was Rs 3.5 lacs - parts were Rs 2 lacs, labor was the remaining Rs 1.5 lacs. I let my agent know about the final service cost, deducted that amount from the escrow account, and paid off the balance to the owner. The bike was ours. It was a very bold call to buy something, that may well turn out to be India’s most expensive paperweight. I had a good mind just to overcharge on the repairs and make the owner pay as punishment, but I believe in karma. He may or may not have known about the issue and kept quiet about it, but I also knew what I was getting into. Live and let live, as Gandhi preached.

Action stations everyone, we are now ready to rock and roll

We spent the rest of Feb 21, meticulously following an entire check list of parts that were needed, who was shipping it, where it was coming from, and the part to be returned if not needed. All the parts were OEM and sourced through the Ducati dealer network and forwarded to Ducati Hyderabad. At the same time, we were racing towards a new Covid wave. Judging by the numbers, we knew another lockdown was inevitable. We managed to find a transporter who agreed to ship the bike from Delhi to Hyderabad. It took him 5 days to reach.

Bike gets towed from Delhi to Hyderabad

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210405wa0017.jpg

Another shot of the bike on the tow truck

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A sliver of good news came out from Hyderabad. The Ducati service tech performed the first tear down. He lifted the headers, saw they were in good shape, and then proceeded to slowly take apart the engine. There was no corrosion. Hallelujah. But the game has just started.

Headers coated with the oil coolant mix but no signs of corrosion

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He told me that while the parts looked ok, water sat inside the engine, so he needed to tear down and rebuild the engine, check parts, replace a bunch of gaskets, adjust timing chain, make sure the valves work in sync, undo the mess the previous mechanic created, replace the water pump and do a full engine tune up until it returns to the factory specs. By his estimates, a minimum of 1 month is needed. I told him, no sweat, let’s work slowly and carefully.

The oil coolant mixture that is inside the engine. It has turned to sludge

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Oil coolant mixture inside the horizontal engine head

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Last edited by no_fear : 6th September 2021 at 22:31.
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Old 17th August 2021, 09:07   #2
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Default re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Bike rebuild commences

Each week was a gruelling and slow exercise. I was in Delhi, my brother in Singapore, the service guy in Hyderabad. I let him work at his own pace and asked him for weekly updates. We made glacial progress. Most of the waiting was for minor parts like washers, bolts, gaskets, or spacers. Parts requested through the pan India dealer network were either the wrong spec, incorrect part, or unavailable. I will spare you the heated discussions and expletive strewn dialogues I had on receiving the wrong parts. It was an exercise in trial and error. Ultimately we had to order a lot of the R spec parts from Italy as Ducati did not have them in India or Thailand. On average parts took anywhere from 45 to 60 days to reach India.

Then Covid struck. When lockdown was announced in Delhi mid April, we had already sourced 70% of the parts. Unfortunately lockdown hit us with full speed. We can look back at this tumultuous period of time and commiserate on how we collectively failed as a nation. Every day was just gloom. Deaths of friends and relatives turned into daily affairs. Work was equally tiring and demoralizing. But I was not alone. A lot of us were in the same boat. We could do nothing but ride out this pain. Covid meant Ducati Hyderabad also closed shop. Everything came to a standstill. I spent a fair bit of time looking for a Ducati V4S and then by sheer luck found one but it remained with my FNG. You can read in the V4S thread (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/super...-bad-bone.html (My Ducati Panigale V4S - Bad to the bone)).

Finally as lockdown eased we got hold of all the parts and then started the rebuild process. I took time off from work and flew down to Hyderabad for supervision. During the rebuild we understood what had happened with the engine.

Remember the 2014 Buddh incident when the bike had a crash? Before the race the owner had correctly drained out coolant and filled distilled water. After the crash the water pump took the brunt and the gear assembly failed. Or the water pump was over stressed and it failed. We do not know what was the exact cause but the effect had huge repercussions. When the bike was sent for its post-race Desmo service, the mechanic changed the water pump, but did not replace the pump gear assembly or remove the distilled water and add back the coolant. No biggie as distilled water is ok. However the mechanic was not from the Ducati Bangalore service center but a local shop and had some working knowledge of Ducati engines, but not the 1199R. He serviced the bike without the proper tools. The R engine has titanium screws which are electronically torqued in. He used a manual torque tool, replaced the titanium screws with cheap steel screws and bolts, and packed the engine without checking the correct torque. Also the water pump is threaded to a metal casing which holds the assembly in place and is bolted by titanium screws and sealant. He didn't thread the assembly, bolt the screws properly or use sealant. As a result all the screws lost their threading, the water pump didn't work properly, and along with the horrendously poor overall assembly, the engine lost compression power. That was the “engine trouble” that was referred to when I negotiated the purchase of the bike. All in all stupendously shoddy work done on a Rs 60+ lac bike. And why did all this happen; because the first owner took the bike to Ducati Bangalore and was not happy with the service time and the higher repair price quoted, so he went shopping for the cheapest available option and even after knowing the risks involved, chose an unqualified technician to save a few thousand rupees.

But that didn’t answer the water oil mix snafu. How did that happen? This is actually a very complex question. So I will move back and forth a bit to answer this (aka Tenet style).

When the bike engine was finally rebuilt, we did the initial compression tests. The first few times we hit 98% compression. For the R engine 100% is essential, no less. 98% means there is a leak. We took apart the engine and re-bolted and re-torqued 2 times to check for any leaks. Then we tested again and finally achieved 100% compression. We were satisfied with our engine build.

Examination of the bike engine to find out why compression did not hit 100%

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0006.jpg

The engine was now leak proof, so we started our investigation on potential causes of the oil coolant mix. We traced the oil and coolant flow schematics to see the spots where they are likely to mix. None of the hoses had any leaks, so where did it originate? We speculated the cause to be an engine gasket or seal. So we rummaged through all the old parts we discarded. We found one gasket that was blown and realized there was something odd about it. The gasket had traces of silver paint! What on earth? We were very puzzled. How does a Ducati gasket have silver paint?

In the meantime, we discovered something unique. We installed a new 1199 water pump, even though the old one was working fine (replaced like for like after we removed the old pump and ordered the same model just to be cautious). But the service tech, while going though the coolant schematics, discovered that the 1199R has a higher spec pump motor. So when the crash happened, the first technician removed the 1199R water pump and wrongly installed the pump meant for the 1199 base model. We did not realize that the two pumps have different power outputs. Once we caught this error, we then ordered the 1199R water pump from Italy and installed it. Now the collective light bulbs in our heads flashed.

The original water pump installed after 2014 crash and the one we installed, both from 1199. We took out the 1199 and installed the 1199R pump

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0005.jpg

So what actually happened

The coolant for the 1199R engine circulates through a heat exchanger where it passes the heat to the engine oil to keep it warm. This ensures the engine runs smoothly. All the new generation Panigales have heat exchangers. The incorrect water pump plus the broken pump gears meant that the coolant did not circulate properly due to lower pump pressure and the heat transfer to the engine oil was hampered. Basically the engine did not cool and lube properly. As a result the engine would overheat.

The heat exchanger with the water pump gears - heat exchanger is in good condition

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0011.jpg

Damaged water pump gears. The original water pump was changed but the gears were not. The water pump never worked properly and failed to circulate the coolant

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0016.jpg

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0015.jpg

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0014.jpg

The bike then changed hands with the 2nd owner who was just as clueless. He took it to the track and also raced the bike on public roads (saw his Insta posts). The engine was already in poor form and not cooling properly. Due to all the action it over heated and blew a gasket. The gasket costs Rs 15,000. Instead of replacing the gasket, the owner asked his local service guy to repaint the gasket in silver color and reuse it. Words fail me at this idiocy. I don’t know why someone would do something so asinine. When a gasket blows, it gets bent, so the tolerances are off by a few mms. Painting the gasket adds back the depth and makes the gasket thicker but its a horrible Indian jugaad, as at high heat the paint will melt and the gasket will revert to its original dimensions. And that is exactly what happened. The silver paint melted from the heat and flowed back into the engine covering everything with a slimy oxidized green color. My technician spent hours scrubbing off the paint using extremely delicate tools and dipping the engine parts in petrol. Luckily the engine was not impacted, but for good caution we changed everything inside. We were initially puzzled about the slimy green color and chalked it to metal corrosion. You can see traces of the green color on the water pump gear teeth. Once the gasket was blown, oil would leak and mix with the coolant. The problem did not end there. The silver paint blown gasket was still inside and unchanged until we replaced it. So for two years, whenever the second owner turned on the bike, oil would leak from the gasket and mix with the coolant. I am speculating that the second owner saw the engine oil turn white and unable to analyze the issue, put the bike up for sale. His loss, my gain.

The blown gasket that was painted silver and put back on. I cannot fathom how someone thinks repainting a blown gasket is a solution. Words escape me on this bizarre stupidity

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0007.jpg

So let me summarize the evolution of this massive clusterfunk.

Bike crashes in 2014. Water pump goes kaput. Technician replaces with incorrect water pump, doesn't change the failed water pump gear assembly and improperly torques engine bolts. Bike loses compression power. Bike changes hands. Bike is raced, overheats, blows gasket. Gasket is painted silver (WTH!!) and reused. Paint liquifies in high heat, gasket blows again, engine leaks, oil mixes with coolant, bike goes into limp mode until rescued.

Whew, it took us 3 months to figure out and fix everything. So what did we repair:

1. Synchronized timing chain. After replacing the engine components, we synced the timing chain first. We needed a degree plate to do the job and then realized we didn't have one. So had to ship one from Ducati Koch

Tolerance measurement of the chain. The black screws for the cam shaft (below next picture - yet to be screwed in)

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0013.jpg

2. Changed and re-torqued all the original titanium screws for the engine (spent Rs 25,000 on 40 titanium screws, each one retails for Rs 650. I had written a separate post that I spent Rs 20k+ on 100 screws. That was incorrect. We had ordered titanium screws but received 100 regular OEM steel screws from Ducati Ahmedabad. Returned those and got the titanium ones from Ducati Italy. The steel screws retail for Rs 350)

You can see the new titanium screws along the edges of the engine block and on the sides

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0012.jpg

3. Replaced both the L twin horizontal and vertical headers, gaskets, piston rings, bearings, gears and drive sets. During rebuild work, we covered one header with plastic cling wrap to prevent dust or any particles from getting in. Quite a crude improvisation but it worked wonders

All the gears and drives replaced

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0008.jpg

Each of the black cam shaft screws has its own predefined torque and depth. They are screwed electronically during assembly at the Ducati factory. We had to manually screw each one to the correct tolerance and torque. Too many turns pushes the screws deeper into the camshaft inside which messes up engine geometry

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210814wa0010.jpg

4. Replaced correct 1199R water pump and gear assembly

5. Replaced all the coolant hoses

6. Changed front fork oil

7. Changed brake and clutch fluids and coolant

8. Replaced front and rear brake pads

9. The ABS module started misbehaving during the rebuild and the front brake felt spongy. Ran DDS to figure out any errors. Turns out it was a poorly connected wire. Fixed it, cleared the error and all is good

10. Replaced battery. I wanted to install a lithium ion battery but they are unavailable. Added Yuasa YT 07

11. Carried out compression tests to achieve 100% compression power

12. Fixed the original Termignoni cans that got damaged in the crash - used pliers, hammer and arm strength to straighten out the damaged fixtures and bend into shape the brackets. There are still some scratches, but can be buffed / polished and the ends repainted. I won't use these cans so they will be a decoration piece at my house

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210602wa0020.jpg

13. The original fairings are in good shape. They need a healthy coat of buff, wax and polish. The extra race fairings are with me but I will either dispose of them or donate it. The right side race fairing is damaged. All the extra parts I got when I shipped the bike from Bangalore. There is an extra rear seat cowl but I will keep the bike monoposto

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210218wa0038.jpg

14. Changed the coolant reservoir. The old one started to show cracks. While I was changing it, was reminded of BHPian krishnaprasadgg's epic meme

After months of tweaks, we achieved in the words of Borat “great success”. The bike was fixed and packed. The engine was completely restored and now factory fresh. Now that the rebuild was over, it was time to test our work. We cranked up the engine and let it run for a while. We noticed there was a small oil leak and the throttle bodies were not synced. The oil leak was traced to a gasket which we changed again. Then we worked on the throttle body to get them synced. We then ran the engine again. No faults detected. But we did not say "mission accomplished". We kept running the engine everyday to see how it is holding up. Once we were satisfied with our work, it was time to do road tests. The bike was test ridden on the streets of Hyderabad for one week. The first run was 10 kms, then 15km, then 20km, and finally ending at 40 km. At the 40 km mark, we noticed coolant mixing with engine oil. Argh!!!!!!!

A massive setback, panic attack, and a mystery to crack

After all the months of hard work, we were back to square one. Coolant was mixing with the oil. How is that possible? We rebuilt the engine completely. Is the bike cursed? Are we doomed? The Ducati service techs were all stumped. We analyzed both the coolant reservoir and the engine oil sump. The oil sump and coolant reservoir were both clean and not contaminated. We realized that coolant was mixing with the oil, not oil with the coolant. A very important distinction here. That means there is a pressure differential which is forcing the coolant to mix with the oil somewhere in the engine casing. But we had changed everything. So now back to the drawing board. My brother, my FNG, the Ducati service person and I regrouped over several video calls to figure out the culprits.

1. The heat exchanger - we suspected the heat exchanger was kaput. Maybe a gasket inside has blown or the exchanger itself has hairline cracks inside. We borrowed a heat exchanger from a Ducati 899 and attached it to the 1199. We rode the bike a few times. When the engine is idling, the coolant does not mix with the oil. But when the bike is ridden for 40 - 50 kms, then this mixing happens. We were onto something. When the engine revs, the pressure inside builds up and that causes the coolant to mix with the oil. We took out the heat exchanger and checked it. There was no leak. We re-attached the old 1199 exchanger and ran it. Again, no issues. The heat exchanger was working perfectly. Suspect 1 was scratched off the list. For good measure, we ordered a new heat exchanger out of caution.

2. The water pump assembly - brand new and rechecked. There were no leaks. Suspect 2 was let go.

That left only 2 more suspects - a) the crankcase that held the heat exchanger and the water pump and b) the pipes for the coolant and oil. The pipes were brand new and did not have leaks. So the pipes were scratched off the list.

We turned our attention to the crank case. The 1199R crank case is made of magnesium and the outer wall holds the heat exchanger and the water pump assembly on the right side of the bike. When the original water pump assembly was screwed on the magnesium crank case, the previous mechanic used incorrect screws and torque. Due to the wrong torque force, the screw holes became bigger in diameter. We used TIG weld and filler to reduce the screw holes. We guessed that the crank case wall is not holding against the pressure and fluid is leaking out. To check the crank case material, we need to do a ultrasonic crack detection. If we found cracks or any damage, then we would have to either re-weld them or replace the crank case. And now the fun started.

Ducati crank cases come in pairs. The pair retails for Rs 5 lacs if shipped to India. But none of the Ducati dealers had this part. This is not an item a dealer keeps in stock. We were so close yet so far. We asked Ducati India HQ if they can assist us. Well Ducati being Ducati, they quoted us an insane figure. I was quite angry at the figure quoted and decided to source for a used crank case. The problem is used crank cases don't often come separate. They are sold as part of the engine. So we have to buy the engine and the case. Umm!! Not ideal. So we waited to see what we can do with the current crank case.

The ultrasonic detection showed that the casing wall where the heat exchanger sits against the crank case is not smooth but has cracked and warped a bit due to the crash. Due to the crack, the exchanger does not sit flush against the case and under high pressure, the coolant from the exchanger drips out through the gap and mixes with the oil.

So we finally figured out the leak. But now the question remained - do we get a replacement crank case, or do we re-weld and smooth out the cracks on the current crank case.

We decided to do both.

First we re-welded and smoothed out the current crank case. We re-attached it to the engine and ran our road tests again. The crank case was holding against the internal engine pressure. Finally, the 1199R passed all the tests with flying colors. We were ecstatic. The Ducati 1199R is back in business after 7 long years. We did not have many of the tools that are used by the Ducati factory when they assemble the bike engines. Too bad, else it would have shaved off weeks / months on this rebuild process. We had to painstakingly use manual labor to put back the bike engine together.

But it does not mean this is the end. We will continue to monitor the engine oil. If coolant again mixes with oil, then we will simply replace the crank case. But that is a bridge that we will cross for later. We did find a replacement crank case for a reasonable price and now we are discussing if we should keep it as a spare.

Spare Ducati 1199S crank case we are contemplating to keep as a spare

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210920wa0010.jpg

Funny enough, when we almost completed the rebuild process, I heard from Ducati that they have the original mold for the 1199R. If I am interested, they can make a custom 1199R engine for me, at a cost of Rs 30 lacs. Lol, that is a lot of moolah for a brand new custom built engine. I had to say thanks but non merci.

The 1199R takes shape. New magnesium headers installed on the vertical engine casing. New water pump gear sit above the black heat exchanger on the lower right side of the bike, just in front of the clutch gears

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210821wa0000.jpg

A junior technician checks his laptop for build schematics while the service head continues packing the bike. New coolant hoses attached. Both brake and clutch fluid reservoirs are new and empty

How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project-img20210821wa0001.jpg

An epic milestone reached. The Ducati 1199R engine cranks and starts over. The smoke is the grease and lubrication burning



Next steps

Now that the bike has been revived, I need to get the fairings polished, change the wind shield and repaint the tank to its original color. Ducati doesn't provide its custom red paint to anyone in India. So I contacted an overseas vendor who has the same paint available from Jaguar Land Rover. I sourced a can of the paint and then sent the tank along with its paint schematics to a local Delhi work shop that is renowned for doing detail work. The tank will be scrubbed down to its aluminum base and then repainted back to the factory specs.

Was this whole drama preventable

Absolutely. The culprit was the first Desmo service done after the crash and then the blown gasket. Out of the two, the blown gasket was the bigger one. If the gasket was replaced, oil would not leak and mix with the coolant. Even if the bike was put for sale, it could have been easily fixed. The water pump assembly needed to be re-threaded and all the titanium screws replaced. Maximum a week's job. Instead, one blown gasket spiraled into a calamity that escalated the repair process by months and the cost into the lacs. Talk about being penny wise pound foolish. To reduce the repair bill of Rs 1.2 lacs (Rs 70k for Ducati certified Desmo service and Rs 50k for new water pump + gears), the first owner chose someone to do a very shoddy engine job. If the owner skipped the post race Desmo service and just changed the water pump and gears, he would saved all the collective heartache. No point crying over spilt milk. Well the good thing is I learned an encyclopedia's knowledge worth of engines and motorbikes.

Why put myself through this torture

Why indeed? I do not have a good answer for this. Maybe it is ego, maybe hunger, or maybe pride. But deep down, it is just rage. I love motorcycles. Bikes bring out deep primal feelings in us, the sense of unbridled joy, adventure and freedom. It is the purest form of motion; 2 wheels, an engine and open roads. Biking is a quasi-religion and a motorbike is the conduit to our inner faith. Now I am venturing into philosophy but when I am on a bike, nothing else matters. I am complete.

It pains and angers me that people abuse and neglect motorbikes. Ever since I have taken up biking, I come across neglected bikes every day. When I grew up, the idea of owning a Ducati, Suzuki or Kawasaki superbike was an outlandish dream. My father rode on a Bajaj Chetak to work because he could not afford anything else. We are now blessed to own many brands in India that were fantasies 20 years ago. Yet, people seem to take all this for granted. We can afford to buy a 60 lacs bike, so we feel that we can misuse it and get another one, simply because we can.

There is something seriously wrong with our collective psyche when it comes to maintaining or paying to care for things. It shows in our public and private transport, infrastructure and commercial and residential buildings. New trains come out, and people pelt stones at the windows. Airports get built, and people steal the luggage trolleys, vandalize the art installations, and spit everywhere. People buy new cars, they get keyed and scratched. Government and residential buildings are never cleaned, owners never pay for the maintenance costs and just hope someone else will take care of the problem.

Well, no more.

I cannot change peoples' mindset, but I have the determination, so I will fix things I like and care for. If that means doing the impossible, so be it. But I will get it done.

Was the 1199R worth saving?

In my book, any bike that can be saved, must be saved. My brother jokes that I run a bike orphanage. It does feel like that sometimes. But the 1199R is worth saving, because yes, it’s an ICBM on two wheels. The bike is a mad bull. It is pure rage and testosterone. To ride it means you pray to a whole pantheon of gods and hope that the 1199R grants you mercy. My V4S is docile. It packs 229 hp but lets you use it in increments. The 1199R is binary. You turn it off and there is no power. You turn it on and 210 hp washes over you like a tsunami. We saved the best for the last. When the bike was launched, it produced 195 hp at the crank. With the race ECU, custom remap, Akra full system exhaust and a complete engine rebuild, we cranked up the power to 210. And it is ungodly. This bike can tear through the space time fabric and create its own wormhole. It is ferocious and not to be trifled with. No wonder a lot of moto journalists hated the bike, and complained about its crazy power delivery. I love it!!

When I started to explore the rebuild, I faced a lot of online criticism from folks overseas. Disparaging comments like "India! You have Ducatis there? I thought you don't have roads" or "Everything in India is broken. The bike is broken, nothing new. Sell it for scrap" were the norm. Encouragement was scarce. There was a lot of sarcasm and schadenfreude for this Indian dude trying to fix a broken bike. Restoring the 1199R, one of the rarest bikes in India, is my way to channel my anger and proclaim that we as Indians can outcompete and outmatch others on a global scale. I am very proud to have restored this bike. It is a feat that no one undertook before in India, and very few have done it globally. To add icing to the proverbial cake, this was a job that was done with the bike built in Hyderabad, supervised by me in Delhi and by my brother in Singapore. A remote rebuild. I am certain this has been done the first time for a 1199R. All through phone calls and video conferences. This is proof that you do not need to be at "work" to work. Work from home works just as well.

But I didn’t do it on my own. I took the help of some incredible and caring people who work at the Ducati dealerships. They share my passion and they supported in whatever way possible to revive the 1199R. A big shout out to Ducati Ahmedabad for helping with all the parts. Huge thanks to Ducati Hyderabad for allowing us to use their service area for the 1199 build. Heartfelt appreciation to the head of Ducati Hyderabad service. A truly talented individual. Without him we would be doomed. And finally, I want to thank the owners and moderators of this awesome forum. Without the knowledge and the posts on Team-BHP, I would have never known about the 1199R and its colorful history.

Lessons learned:

Buying a used motorbike has massive pitfalls. You cannot trust anyone. The 1199R was checked by Ducati Bangalore service tech and an independent agent before I bought it. Yet no one caught the inside issues. The service records showed a changed water pump but it did not mention the “jugaad” the previous service tech did with the water pump assembly and the engine.

Lack of maintenance

In a weird way, I feel that the 1199R chose me to be its savior, and found the right home to spend the rest of its life. I am one of the few individuals in India who has the resources and the connections to get the needed parts and service expertise. On top, I consider myself very lucky that the 1199R engine has titanium con rods and better pistons. Due the higher quality materials used, the rods or pistons were not bent even if the engine had overheated previously. That allowed me to work on the engine and not source a new one.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the resources that I do. If this bike was sold to some unsuspecting buyer, I doubt it can be repaired to the full factory setting in the way I documented above. This is why it's critical you do your checks when you are buying a used bike. Bikes are relatively easy to maintain. They are just engines on 2 wheels. A few quarts of oils, a filter change, a bit of lube and general upkeep. How hard can it be? But it’s a Herculean task to find bikes in decent shape. And the more expensive the bike, the more it's thrashed. This is my biggest gripe. American, British, German, Italian or Japanese, you name it, for every 1 clean bike, you will see 50 examples of rust buckets. When you look to purchase used bikes, look throug the maintenance records. Forget the accessories, the PPE coating, or the mileage. Question the owner, the dealer, ask everyone, use your networks and be prepared to walk away if you think something is too good to be true. After you buy the bike, get a thorough check and service done. Do not rely on the previous owner's words or service records.

Do not buy a bike on emotion. I let my ego and pride take advantage of me. I have learned from my mistake, but don't be the next sucker. The folks on this forum are awesome people who will provide much needed valuable intel. Utilize their expert advice and market knowledge. A lot of owners, however rich they are, do not want to spend a single paisa on maintenance. For the 1199R, both the previous owners are fabulously wealthy and flash their riches and status on social media. But none spent wisely or judiciously on preventive maintenance. Both took severe short cuts to save pittances, compared to the original price of the bike. This sort of myopic thinking and lack of care for bikes is very common.

Ducati service and Desmo costs

Ah, the elephant in the room! Ducati service costs are a thorn to Indian customers. But what is the truth? Is the exorbitant cost justified? I wanted to discuss this topic in greater detail. Let me break it down. I got the numbers through my collaboration with 5 Ducati dealerships for the engine rebuild. A dealer breaks even through bike sales. Most do not turn a profit. Selling motorcycles is a capital intensive business. Parts and service is where dealers make the most profits and can stay afloat. Ducati dealers are no different. Labor cost at Ducati dealerships is anywhere from Rs 1500 - 2000 per hour. A minor service like oil change costs Rs 10,000. Breakdown is the following

Labor charge - Rs 2,000
4 quarts of oil + filter - Rs 6,000
18% GST - Rs 1,500

I am being generous with the numbers. Actual cost of the entire oil change is about Rs 5,000 including labor. The dealer adds anywhere from 50 - 100% markup on the items. Is this fair? I guess not. On the flip side, Ducati is a premium product with lower volumes, so dealers have to charge more to stay in business. Now let's take the dreaded Desmo service. The Desmo service is just a valve check and clearance service done every 24,000 kms for Ducati bikes. You do it for any motorbike. Ducati calls it Desmo as the valves are named Desmodromic. So how much does Desmo service actually cost? The breakdown is the following, using labor as Rs 2,000 per hour

For faired bikes, labor is 6 hours - Rs 12,000
For ADV and naked bikes, labor is 4 hours - Rs 8,000

Let us take the average, which is Rs 10,000. Add in consumables like spacers, shims, spark plugs, chain lube, dielectric grease, some cleaning products, and a bike wash. The maximum cost is Rs 10,000. So the total is Rs 20,000. Add 18% GST. Net total is Rs 24,000. Now let us look at the Desmo service cost quoted in the metros. It ranges from a minimum of Rs 50k - 75k. That is a full 100 - 200% mark up. Clearly not fair. What gives? How can Ducati dealerships charge so much?

The answer is simple and not so simple. First, there is no competition in the market. Customers cannot take a Ducati to a local garage as the mechanic has no knowledge and does not have the tools to service the bikes. This is a captive market for the dealer. Customers either swallow the bitter pill and give in to the costs or use the bike until it hits the Desmo mileage and then sell the bike. Let it be the next buyer's headache. It is a sad situation because Ducati makes lovely bikes. We do not have enough independent service centers that can compete with the dealers. I believe things will change as Ducati expands its presence in India, but it will take time.

Now, the not so simple part. A lot of Ducati parts require specialized tools that are not available to qualified service folks. The prices for these tools are insanely expensive. The nut for the single sided swing arm needs a special wrench. The basic tool kit to service a Ducati bike is about USD 500. It is made by Hdesa. I have a few of the tools needed for the job and I shudder at the costs. A Ducati dealer in India has to cough up a massive investment cost to run Ducati service operations. You need really deep pockets. And that amps up the cost downstream, to the end consumer.

My advice, do not fear Ducati service costs. If you buy a Duc, find a reputable garage that is qualified to service the bike. Alternatively, work with the dealer on the service costs. Dealers understand that repeat customers mean more business, so if the dealer is smart, they will lower the costs or agree to something that works in favor for both parties. But, and there is a but, no point to compare Ducati service costs to Japanese bikes. They are worlds apart. What Suzuki sells in one month, Ducati manages in 1 year. A Suzuki dealer can survive on volumes alone. Ducati cannot. The price gap will always stay.

Tracking a bike

The 1199R landed in trouble as the first owner, to save costs, fixed the bike at an unqualified local service shop instead of a Ducati certified technician after tracking the bike. With the shoddy work done, it was a sequence of disasters. The next owner displayed a serious lack of judgement and more tomfoolery to save Rs 15,000. Both took the bike to the track. If a rider wants to track a bike, keep ample budget to account for track crashes, malfunctioning parts and post-race maintenance. Post race troubles will crop up. A lot of things can and will fail. A track bike spends 90% of its life being worked on and 10% on the track. I have had multiple debates with forum members on tracking, and I have seen plenty of bikes that have been tracked and are in poor condition, simply because the owner doesn’t have funds. I do not discourage tracking but it is an expensive hobby and if a rider wants to indulge in it, he / she should do it with a healthy bank balance. Get the bike serviced yourself or at the dealer or a genuine service shop after a track season. I will say this and may get flak, but tracking is not for everyone, especially in India. It is the cost that kills you. Will I take the 1199R to the track? Absolutely not. I have spent a significant amount of money to save this bike. It is meant for the track. But it's better off being ridden on the roads. You may curse me, but I alone know the trials and tribulations I faced in fixing this bike. And I do not want to relive it all over again. Once bitten, twice shy - a good adage for this experience.

I hope you enjoyed this build thread. I will continue to update the thread as I revitalize the 1199R. Despite the massive challenges, I actually enjoyed this experience. It has given me an idea to start a bike rebuild series. Let's see what the future holds in store.

Last edited by Aditya : 25th September 2021 at 09:39. Reason: As requested
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Old 24th September 2021, 05:47   #3
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Default re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage today

Last edited by GTO : 24th September 2021 at 07:17.
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Old 24th September 2021, 07:21   #4
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

In the end this boiled down to "Labour of Love"

What can i say? This is magnificent. Pure joy! I hope you get to enjoy this lovely motorcycle for many many years. You absolutely deserve her/he and she/he you

Ride Safe!!
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Old 24th September 2021, 08:18   #5
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Firstly: (and firstly so belongs to you and only you), what an absolutely stunning labour of love and commitment. Hats off to going about this rebuild in the manner that you did. I have honestly had to speed read only through a lot of this and have a dreadful work day but this is right up there for a very detailed re-read over the weekend.

The lengths to which you have gone (using goodwill, inherent connections and what not) is truly commendable. I would love to catch up with you in person some day when travel allows me to come back to NCR for work.

Secondly, you have rightly brought out many important aspects of what goes into basic service costs and the underpinning economics for Ducati dealers. This will also inform newbie used bike buyers of what questions to ask and what to look out for.

Thirdly, this thread is a stark reminder of just how many Squids are infesting the biking world. Far too many riders who want to play well above their budgets leading up to badly abused and undermaintained bikes floating in the used markets. Poor practices amongst dealers that allow multiple change of hands of these bikes without paper change (I think you’ve commented elsewhere on the whole used bike dealers / markets situation).
It amazes me (when I read the ad up top) that someone is selling a bike of that price / with that topped up custom duty because he is in “urgent need of funds”. Either he’s lying (quite possible) or playing well beyond his price league - a trend not uncommon in the Superbike world.

But enough negativity on that third point. This thread should be about celebration - celebration of a true biker, true biking passion and a project that’s a market of technical and personal commitment.

A hat tip to you mate!! Safe riding.

Last edited by Axe77 : 24th September 2021 at 08:19.
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Old 24th September 2021, 08:25   #6
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Ah, so after months and months of pestering Arya for updates on this build over Whatsapp and Tbhp, finally he broke down and made the thread.

Jokes aside, What a killer thread mate. Just can get enough of the Ducatis no matter how many photos I have seen and add to that the rebuild process documentation is just the cherry on top for me.

Whenever I see worn-out gears from the engine internal components I always get overlays of people pinning the throttle at standstill just to grab some attention to themselves, what manner of torture these beautiful pieces of engineering marvel have to go through. I know it's weird to sympathize for an inanimate object, but I just can't stand it. There is this one particular Instagram post, let me try to find it, it's of a mechanic who is rebuilding an engine and he shows a similar worn-out plastic gear and the sound effect he makes is what makes it gold, the video is in some other language, but his frustration transcends the language barrier so effortlessly.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CSXg0...dium=copy_link


Anyways, let me end my rant here, and once again, Arya, you knocked it out of the park with yet another Italian beauty's thread and a rebuild thread at that!

Cheers
Krishna

Last edited by krishnaprasadgg : 24th September 2021 at 08:28.
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Old 24th September 2021, 08:43   #7
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Wonderful thread. Enjoyed reading. You sir are really passionate about bikes!

PS: It's a sacrilege to rebuild the engine so well and not let us hear it at WOT.
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Old 24th September 2021, 09:08   #8
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Quote:
Originally Posted by no_fear View Post
Bike rebuild commences....I hope you enjoyed this build thread.
Mann! I don't know even the S of superbikes, but what an interesting read it was, a proper love story which contains PPP (Patience, Passion, and Pain) . Every time there was a roadblock, I was thinking "ab kya hoga?" and then kept on reading!

If your heart says it's worth your time, then it is - simple! Owning the motorcycle that is 'only one in India' in itself is something that invokes a lot of pride and passion. Congrats and wishing you many happy miles!
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Old 24th September 2021, 09:44   #9
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

no_fear, a few things in this world can make me go weak in the knees.

1. A McLaren F1
2. A Ferrari F40 & F50.
3. A Buggati.
4. The rear & 3/4 view of a Ducati 1199/1299 & V4's.

and you, with this insane story, have managed to keep one of the rarest bikes in India running and going. Thank you for sharing your story with us, it's great to see someone who actually cares for their machine with such passion. As VKumar rightly mentioned, this is a love story of passion, patience and pain.

Congratulations on owning this beautiful machine! Might be one hell of an experience for all that has gone into it.
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Old 24th September 2021, 09:46   #10
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

My god what a post! Don't normally read 'rebuild' posts but this one was gripping! Hats off to your patience, perseverance, skills and descriptions!

"So why is this a Schrodinger’s cat type of bike?

Because the engine inside may be damaged due to water corrosion, anytime the bike is turned on, its probably the last time the engine will work.
"

- This was the best part, what a parallel and it works so well!

"I cannot fathom how someone thinks repainting a blown gasket is a solution. Words escape me on this bizarre stupidity"

- Ah jugaad. Unfortunately, as a concept it's now become accepted and even feted. Far beyond what it was originally meant to cover. And that is what holds us back from true excellence.

"This bike can tear through the space time fabric and create its own wormhole."

- I hope you get to savor this feeling for many thousands of safe and exciting kilometers to come. You completely deserve it!

Last edited by am1m : 24th September 2021 at 09:47.
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Old 24th September 2021, 10:22   #11
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

This is what I call a rebirth.

Kudos to your never say die attitude, and wish you many many joy filled kms on the red phoenix.

Brilliantly written post.
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Old 24th September 2021, 10:35   #12
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Super happy to read your story. Albeit, it was narrated in person to me by the Ducati technician himself when he had come over to meet me. I just had to connect the dots and it is indeed your bike! I was so happy when he told me it was fixed and running like a dream! Obviously, he didn't reveal your ID so I wasn't sure who it was.

You sure do have a lot of patience, something a lot of people lack!

Cheers buddy! Happy riding!
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Old 24th September 2021, 10:55   #13
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

I enjoyed reading every sentence of this rebuild story. As you rightly mentioned at the start felt like a Bollywood movie.

Appreciate the hardwork and effort you put in to save this bike. This bike was destined to scrapyard if another poser would have picked this for insta likes. Hat tip to the engineers and mechanics who worked on the bike and brought it back to life.

This story reinforced my belief that maintaining a SBK is 100% effort from the owner and the mechanics. Just dropping off the bike for service doesn't work. Dare I say it needs more commitment than a marriage!!

Hope the previous owners read this thread and realize how foolish they have been and correct their ways.
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Old 24th September 2021, 11:24   #14
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Hats off on your commitment. Reading through the pages was like watching a documentary series it was so surreal. I wish you happy miles on the machine you have fixed with your blood and sweat and a LOT of moolah.
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Old 24th September 2021, 11:26   #15
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Default Re: How I saved India’s only Ducati 1199R | An unlikely find, revival and restoration project

Hats off to you sir for successfully pulling off a rebuild which very few would dare to venture into! What an absolute labour of love and such a gripping read!

Wish you many many happy motorcycling hours on this wonderful machine. God knows you deserve it!
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