Chopping the Monster’s Tail: Stage Two of Ducati Monster 696 Modifications

I am back in Toronto. Air Canada lost my luggage and cancelled my flight yesterday, but I still made it home. Bleary-eyed and sore from sleeping on a strange bed, I woke up to two little doggies wanting to eat breakfast. I began looking over the horrible schematic diagrams included by Rizoma for the upgrades I ordered for the Ducati, and decided to go take the rear end off and do most of the work in the condo. I baked a Kraft Pizza mix to feed my mechanical mind and drank some Coke to get going; I was channeling my inner mechanic.

All bad repairs begin with taking apart things that already work. In this particular case, I was taking apart the rear end of my Ducati Monster 696+, and that meant the process could go very badly very quickly. Fortunately, I have learned over the years to take mechanical work slowly; never go faster than your mind can absorb the logical order of the machine.

Above you can see the stock rear fender; it is a giant hunk of weathered plastic that hung off the back of the Monster like an afterthought. The reason for the replacement had to happen, because I had shattered the connection between the tail indicator light and the fender. Crazy Glue worked for a year, but I was pressing my luck. Also above, the new Rizoma Elisse mirrors are replacing the stock mirrors which kept breaking at the connector point. Their profile is much smaller and they are fully made of metal, unlike the stock chunks of plastic.

The mirrors took about an hour to install. What I really like about this set is that the glass is is tinted and hydrophobic, so it should make for much better summer riding should I get caught in a lightning storm. The Rizoma rear end is far shorter, made of machined aluminium and fits the Monster perfectly. It was not an easy install, however. It took me the better part of a day to slowly remove the OEM parts from the old fender and apply them to the new frame. The installation of the frame spacers was also a little tricky, but eventually I found a way to do the adjustment quickly.

The image on the right shows the final install of the tail chop. It is neat and beautiful, and I am quite happy with how it turned out. It was not cheap and it did take a few weeks to arrive from Motovation USA in Texas, but I do think it is the most professional looking install. On the negative side…what about those lights? I had to walk away from installing the Rizoma Avio 21 lights today. There were too many things that could go wrong since the connectors (bullet type) do not match the Ducati harness connectors (square), and there are resistors that need to go between the harness and the LEDs. I am going to leave the lights for another day or I might have a shop install them for me in August. The worst thing that could have happened would be for me to have cut some wires and shut the bike down for the next few weeks.  Fortunately, the stock lights were not actually broken (I was never sure of this, but ordered the replacements in case they had been too damaged to reinstall).

So there we are…done for the day. The motorcycle has received a lot of work this summer, but it really does look good; the ride brings me unspeakable joy and takes away some of the stress that comes from pushing so hard in life. Maybe I see the bike as a symbol of the freedom to hit the road and be my own person, but it undoubtedly has more to do with the superhero I imagine myself to be when life’s conservative naysayers insist that I grow up.

On the conservative side, I did have to find a new insurance company for the next year, as CAA’s insurer doubled my premiums due to a random reclassification of all Ducati bikes. Fortunately, it was probably a good thing as I found a better policy at a great rate with TD Meloche. The rest of my conservative energies will be spent working on a new Hemingway unit for school. I will also need to edit the Courtney Hogan series on my studio computer system. V. comes back to town on Thursday, which will be great, but we will be quite busy getting some errands [maybe a visit to the Cuban Consulate for visas] done for her exciting next two years in Hamilton for McMaster’s Occupational Therapy Masters.

After an IB Workshop on English I, it is on to Berlin, Munich, Florence and Rome for me.  My summer will end with a trip for V and me to Havana, Cuba. It is shaping up to be a crazy summer, but it should all be extraordinary and the light will be good.

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