Customization is part of the illusion that we are somewhat different than other people. When a hundred thousand cars or motorcycles are produced, then it is hard to truly be unique, but that is the disillusionment created with digital world awareness. Fortunately, I love my motorcycle and customize it just because I feel like it. I am always keen to see what other Monster owners have done to tweak their bikes, and I enjoy doing the grease work myself.
This afternoon was spent replacing the rear fender on the 696 with a beautiful carbon fiber piece done by carbon world.de, but sold to me by MonsterParts.com. Given the size of the fender the price of around $200 seemed more than reasonable, and though time consuming the removal was not difficult. Installation was a breeze except for the fact that the end screw needed to be replaced with a longer one so that threading was possible. The carbon is less flexible than the moulded plastic, but this was neither a problem nor a visual distraction. If anything I prefer replacing the Ducati screws with better quality ones whenever I can.
Next up was the timing belt covers. A lot trickier. The main cover (shown above) was easy to remove, but then a spring/wire clip popped out from nowhere as I took the plastic part out of the frame. I hate springs. I never know where they are supposed to hook up to, and often they seem stupid, but are important to keep a meltdown from occurring. Needless to say that this ended the fun, the camera went away, and then I focused more intently on what I was doing.
The smaller cover was awful to remove. One side of the tank panel had to be removed and then the piece had to be jimmied out of the frame. I hate work like that because belts go off track and then you are in bad areas. I took a bit of a break, then began the re-install. Again, not an easy process; maybe worse than the removal. The smaller piece took a long time to squeeze back into the tight space. Carbon is not truly flexible (thank goodness I did not buy the Rizoma steel option), and getting it in was an act of penitent patience. Once in the screw was, again, too short, so I switched out screws until the threading took. The larger piece was easy. Overall, you need patience, good hex keys, blue loc-tite and some knowledge of basic tool use to do this work. The overall visual results are beautiful to my eyes, and the bike is beginning to look darker in a sexy way.
If anyone out there knows where this spring/wire holder goes, then shout out so I can re-install it. I feel like it is meant to keep wires from pressing against the exhaust pipe, but I do not know. I tried to do a bit of wheel pin striping, but felt it looked cheap and did not go with my style on the bike, so that was scrapped.
Next for Monster upgrades? I have been humming and hawing about either getting a colour change (Pro Italia has a great sale on right now) or going full carbon fiber and creating a much darker ride compared to the red. The carbon just feels stronger and of higher quality than the plastic, and it might be worth the effort.