Modern Ducati motorcycles are hard to beat. Designed with gorgeous lines and outstanding performance, they are really in a league of their own. Ducati has taken what they have learned over the years and created some of the best motorcycles on the sport and racing market. Many of our modern Ducati customers also have an interest in those classic Ducati models that created the lineage and created a completely new class of motorcycle.
If you’re one of those classic motorcycle fans, we’ve put together a list of tips for restoring an old Ducati or other classic motorcycle.
Start With a Big Bucket of Patience
Don’t be rushed! That’s our biggest tip before you decide to restore a classic motorcycle. Spend time planning out your restoration to be sure you can find all the parts you need. In general, we suggest you follow these steps:
Photograph, document and catalog everything. Before you start disassembling your motorcycle, take pictures from every angle and go for detailed photos of the engine, suspension and other assemblies. Make notes of parts that need to be replaced or repaired and try to purchase them so they’re ready when you need them. There is nothing more frustrating than grinding to a halt during your restoration because you can’t find a specific hard-to-find piece.
Get to know your local machine shops. Depending on the age and condition of your classic motorcycle, you may find that there are certain parts you simply can’t find anymore. In that case, coming up with an alternative or having pieces manufactured from scratch may be necessary. Visit motorcycle shows and flea markets and keep your eyes peeled for the parts you need.
Give yourself the space you need. Trying to restore a motorcycle in a full, packed garage gets frustrating quickly. You’ll be mixing up parts and may not have the space to work. Clear a large space and dedicate it to your restoration. Include a large work bench and organize all the tools you will need. Make sure you have several containers available to keep parts you disassemble grouped together.
Consider taking apart your engine while it’s still on the bike. It can be difficult to secure an engine once it’s out of your frame for disassembling some components. Remove as much as you can while the engine is still installed. If the engine is out on the floor or a bench, it can be hard when you need to apply a lot of force to undo tight nuts and bolts, especially if they’re rusted in place.
Learn From the Experts
When you attack a classic Ducati restoration, you are going to run into some difficulties. No restoration is perfectly straightforward. Don’t panic if you get to a stage where you’re not sure what to do or if you feel stuck. Get to know some experts in classic motorcycle restoration and ask them for tips. You can find local clubs, garages or join an online group or forum. They will have handy tips for your motorcycle restoration, such as:
If you have small metallic parts to store until you start reassembling, spray them with a little WD-40 and place them in a plastic bag. This will keep all related parts together and avoid rusting.
For extremely rusty nuts and bolts that won’t come off even with a lubricant, try heating and then applying wax. The wax will be drawn into the threads and can make removal easier.
Save everything you take off. Even parts that are broken that can’t be used again should be kept until your motorcycle is reassembled. You never know when you’ll need a template or reference.
At Design Corse, we have a lot of respect for those who keep these old Ducati motorcycle legends on the road and give them a second lease on life. These pieces of history have helped make the brand what it is today.
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