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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve been on the market for a new bike, and one has popped up. A 1995 Ducati Monster M900. Asking price is $2000, but here’s the kicker: I have spoken with the seller on the phone and he is willing to take a lower cash amount, and the rest in trade for some used bicycles. Without getting into it too much, let’s just say I have a lot of used bicycles that are not free to me, but damn near (think like $30/bike). So potentially, we’re talking $800 plus six bicycles, or maybe even less cash, more bicycles, but it’s all up to me to decide that.
Here’s the seller’s description of the Duc:
Clean title in hand and key. New battery. Everything turns on and turns over and will start if you put gas in carbs. Been sitting for years. Tires are in excellent condition. Dry clutch. Custom clip ons. Titanium high mount mufflers in mint condition. Tank has some rust and needs a gas cap. Last year hand made in italy. Unknown mileage because giges are not original.
And here’s the pictures:
52194

52195

There’s more pictures in the ad, you can see them here: 1995 Ducati monster M900 - motorcycles/scooters - by owner - vehicle...

Now there’s some very obvious pros and cons here. I feel like I probably don’t need to get into that too much, you all know what’s up. But I’m wondering what you all think, should I pursue it and make a deal, or be patient and wait for the next one? Currently I don’t have a bike, but I want to ride, so a runner would be better. But at my price range there just aren’t that many runners available near me. It seems like no matter what I get I’m gonna have to do some work to it, and if that’s the case, it might as well be a classic Ducati right? I feel pretty confident that I can service anything, with the right manuals, and support of great forums like this one (I know a couple of you can do desmo valve adjustments). But am I looking at a summer of wrenching and heartache, instead of twisties and wheelies?
 

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Ducatis have thier appeal, but the maintenance cost to me compared to a Japanese bike is just such a big delta, especially if you don't have the knowledge or skill to do it yourself.

Sometimes the cheapest Ducatis end up being the most expensive.

I never thought bicycles could be used as a form of currency!
 

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Ducatis have thier appeal, but the maintenance cost to me compared to a Japanese bike is just such a big delta, especially if you don't have the knowledge or skill to do it yourself.

Sometimes the cheapest Ducatis end up being the most expensive.

I never thought bicycles could be used as a form of currency!
That applies to all motorcycles. My cheapest bikes have been so for a reason. :)

Are you looking for a Ducati specifically, or did you stumble on this bike by chance? Specifically on this bike. Mileage unknown....a potential timebomb for any engine. And the bike will not run with fuel from the tank, so carb rebuild time straight out of the gate.

Desmo valves are a little trickier, but become easier with practice. Belts are the big yuk for me on Ducat's. They are an expensive and require service effort whether you ride the bike or not. Needing to do them on my 996 in the very near future....
 

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Go to Lowes and buy a shovel. Dig a pit and start tossing money into it. Old EX500s are bad enough.
 
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I had one of those only the 600. got it from a guy at work. "it only needed the carbs cleaning and new battery" oh and lights fixing. and a new belt and possibly some new plugs. after 18 months of throwing money at it. I got it running good enough to pass on to someone else. for roughly the price I paid for it so lost a small fortune.
there is a phrase. Caveat Emptor look it up.
 

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"custom clip-ons" , unknown mileage due to replacement gauges....reeks of a front end repair being done at one time....likely been down, necessitating those replacements.

"Been sitting for years" yet claims "tires in excellent condition".....a blatant contradiction....something doesn't add up. Did seller replace tires in hopes of getting it road worthy after "sitting for years" then after tire replacement... upon a discovery...opted to stop the resto process and sell? Or is he referring to how the tires "look"...disregarding their date of manufacture. Something is stinky, in either case.

"Tank has some rust and needs fuel cap" ......but all needed to run is addition of fuel?....doubtful. If so as claimed ...why wouldn't the owner ADD the fuel and sell as a runner? Tank rust could be critical....the lowest, (at the rear tail) portions of that era of Ducati tanks have been known to rust/hole/leak. I would suggest a very close look. the fuel pump and filter are inside. His admission of rust (obviously he can't hide it so is forced to be up front about it) obligates a very close look inside that tank. That carb schmuck guy on the forum here can refurb those carbs (has kits in stock).

Carb clean (all new consumables), tank rust repair, fuel pump and filter, timing belts, valve clearance check...these are automatics. Brakes, chain, tires demand closer attention. And you still haven't even heard the engine run yet.

The sellers claims and reality are not adding up...I'd approach with great skepticism.
 

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"custom clip-ons" , unknown mileage due to replacement gauges....reeks of a front end repair being done at one time....likely been down, necessitating those replacements.

"Been sitting for years" yet claims "tires in excellent condition".....a blatant contradiction....something doesn't add up. Did seller replace tires in hopes of getting it road worthy after "sitting for years" then after tire replacement... upon a discovery...opted to stop the resto process and sell? Or is he referring to how the tires "look"...disregarding their date of manufacture. Something is stinky, in either case.

"Tank has some rust and needs fuel cap" ......but all needed to run is addition of fuel?....doubtful. If so as claimed ...why wouldn't the owner ADD the fuel and sell as a runner? Tank rust could be critical....the lowest, (at the rear tail) portions of that era of Ducati tanks have been known to rust/hole/leak. I would suggest a very close look. the fuel pump and filter are inside. His admission of rust (obviously he can't hide it so is forced to be up front about it) obligates a very close look inside that tank. That carb schmuck guy on the forum here can refurb those carbs (has kits in stock).

Carb clean (all new consumables), tank rust repair, fuel pump and filter, timing belts, valve clearance check...these are automatics. Brakes, chain, tires demand closer attention. And you still haven't even heard the engine run yet.

The sellers claims and reality are not adding up...I'd approach with great skepticism.
The seller was at least honest in admitting that it will only run if you feed fuel directly into the carbs. Likely an issue with fuel pump..??

"Everything turns on and turns over and will start if you put gas in carbs."
 

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I misinterpreted run with "gas in carbs". Failed pump a by-product from intense rust/corrosion in tank?

@ZeroFret would need an instant $$$ investment and labor. Entirely his option, but I'd still advise him to pass on this thing. Sounds like something made the owner give up and opt to flip rather than repair. But what was that deciding, root issue? I'll submit very likely the difficulty and extreme cost of tank replacement...the cap area rotted beyond repair could be the culprit, rendering the tank to junk.
 

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The cheapest Ducatis end up being the most expensive.
There. Fixed it for you. 😂
Go to Lowes and buy a shovel. Dig a pit and start tossing money into it. Old EX500s are bad enough.
Agreed, to a point anyway. Really depends on the Ducati in question and its relative value to the buyer.

Some bikes just have the cache that a prospective buyer HAS to have. In which case everything aside from the price of admission is secondary. See my thread on the PSS for reference.
Failed pump a by-product from intense rust/corrosion in tank?
That would be my guess. Given its low price and location in the North West its almost certainly the case.

Just based on what I read, I’d advise skipping on this one. I’m certain it will need belts and valves done along with an oil change and in tank fuel pump, sock and filter replacement/inspection.

Right off the top that’s a good $300-$400 IF you do all the work AND you don’t have to buy shins and the tools needed to do the job.
 

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If this was your dad's bike and he passed away, or if it was your old bike or or or...otherwise from the info given, it sounds thrashed and does not run. You could part it out of it's not bent into a pretzel.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all. Lots of sound advice in there. I have some thoughts about it all, but it’s late, and I need to get to bed.

But I will leave you all with this: I got to see the bike in person today. I did not buy it. More on that soon.
 

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Good. They'll be other, better candidates. The seller alluded to a cap problem and tank rust, forced to putting fuel "in carbs" rather than tank. ....Ducati cap surround/install area clearances can not deal with rust/corrosion, couple that with his inability to use the tank at all indicates its likely a rusted leaker.
Thinking it over, I'd believe THAT is likely the deciding factor for him to cease the project as his own and sell. And the deciding factor for you to pass on it!

Looking forward to your report.
 
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Glad to hear you didn't buy it. I was going to say "Steer Clear" until I read your last post.

I would only buy a bike like that if I already had one to ride and I wanted a project. In all honesty you could probably buy a running version for a couple of hundred more. If you're limited on budget this bike looks like it would give you a lot of heartache a long time before you could ever ride it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
To try to make the story short, here’s what happened.

I had tried to wrangle one of my friends into driving down to the seller (about 20 miles) to see the bike there. I don’t have a car of my own, and he knows motorcycles better than any of my other friends. He wasn’t available.

So I shot the seller an offer. $600 plus some used bicycles, he had to drive it to me, and if it was too much of a project I would resell it myself. To my surprise he said ok.

I waited around at my work for a while, and he finally shows up. At first sight, from twenty feet away, the bike is making my heart race. Ducati really nailed the looks on that bike. But I get up close and I’m crushed. It’s trashed. Imagine a filthy neglected bike, and then add what looks like either a brake fluid spill all over the engine, or a leaky gas tank, that sat for so long you can see a “splash” of orange rust. It was a very distinct outline of color, I’d never seen anything like it. I could distinctly see that it had seeped down into the dry clutch, so my immediate thought right there was “full engine rebuild.”

Nonetheless, I made the offer and intended to keep it. I knew I’d just be selling it or parting it out, but I didn’t want to be an *******. I’m getting ready to check the VIN, when the seller says he forgot to bring something: the kickstand. Of course in many cases that wouldn’t be a big deal. But in my shop I had cleared some floor space for it and there was no where else to put it. I racked my brain to try and figure out a solution, but it just wasn’t gonna happen. My shop shares the space with another company, so I have to be a good neighbor, and bringing a motorcycle in there at all was probably pushing it. So I couldn’t just lean it up against a wall somewhere. If this thing couldn’t stand up on it’s own, it was gonna have to be laid on it’s side, and I did not want to do that.

I expressed these concerns with the seller, and things might have gone differently if he had actually acted like a grown-up, used his big boy words and tried to help me think of a solution. But mostly all I got was silence, until he finally said “so I guess I’m driving home?” And at that point I was just relieved. I felt like kind of an ******* offering a deal, he drove up, and then it didn’t happen. But he also neglected to tell me that the bike didn’t have a kickstand attached, ffs.

For the most part I have had good dealings via CL, and this was not one of them. Starts to make you understand why people buy bikes new from a dealer. But I guess I have to just be patient, maybe save a little more money, and eventually a good deal will come along. It probably won’t be a Ducati M900, but there’s plenty of other good bikes out there.
 

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The old axiom applies. There are no cheap Ducatis.

A bike in that kinda shape is far more than you would want to take on. Good that you were able to walk away from it without committing any money.....
 

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Thanks for the follow-up story, it's always nice to hear details about why something did or din't work out. You're right about CL, some genuinely good stuff and some horror stories. Photos can be very misleading; an image can make a bike look good, but in real life it looks terrible.

I have a few simple rules when searching for stuff on CL. Depending on how life the price is, if the bike doesn't meet or exceed my expectations in their photos I know it will disappoint in real life. I can't stand awful quality photos....lazy.

Mentality of the seller is important. Obvious spelling mistakes and slang....next bike. Claims of speed and power....next bike. Scant details....next bike. I'm looking for someone thoughtful enough to explain what I'm potentially going to view/buy. If someone can't make that effort when selling, then who knows what kind of maintenance it did or didn't get. Sure, I might pass over a diamond in the rough now and again, but when I go and view a bike I rarely am surprised.
 

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If you really want a monster 900, I've seen some on the cheap side with miles. That's the route I would go. Being ridden/maintained regardless of mileage >>>>> sitting and rotting imo.

Guy named PhilB on ducati forum made it to like 200k miles with just routine maintenance basically. They're capable machines

I've also seen a couple that were lightly crashed, just a scuffed tank and bent bars going for pretty cheap too.
 

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Wait for one being sold by a mature person who has a garage full of bikes (i.e. toys) and no time to ride them all. When I bought big red, the fellow was older than I, had 18 bikes, an RV and an airplane. Trash talkin' dude that emulates Eminem is a 51 star caution flag.
 
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