We always write in Ducati belt covers so we know for a fact when we last saw the bike; this 11,000 mile 1997 916 last passed through our workshop doors back in 2006, when it had its belts changed. This is a tidy, low mileage bike and the engine itself will go on to do a ton of miles, but the actual age of some of the components mean that remedial and preventative work should be undertaken in the near future.
Firstly, the composite cylinder head gaskets need swapping for steel, as the back one will go so it makes sense to do the pair. The fuel pump on this bike was removed and was absolutely hanging with fuel residue, as well as its filter which was full of rubbish and while it’s ok at the moment, the small white header tank by the headstock will split because the plastic’s hardened so wants replacing before it goes. The clutch plates were worn badly and we recommended replacing them with the later aluminium pack which are much quieter, and while around that area the seal in the clutch slave cylinder will fail in time, so needed swapping for a new one. The airbox on this bike is split, like many are, because there’s no ‘give’ in the mount and over time the vibration and heat cycles it goes through perishes the plastic around the bolts.
If you’re keeping a Ducati 916 longterm these small jobs are really worth doing; they take time, which costs money but preventative maintenance is much better than dealing with a breakdown.