Back in August I had the pleasure of going to the Moto GP at Indianapolis and was quite impressed with several older Ducatis that had been given an carbon fiber treatment. "If I ever had the time and money to do it, I'd love to do that to my 899", I thought. Already having purchased a few Ducati Performance carbon pieces for my 899, I knew that it was a fairly expensive endeavor to do a carbon build on the bike...and Ducati didn't even make all the components in carbon. I did some quick research and found that there are a few manufacturers that make replacement carbon parts for all the body panels, and only 2 or 3 manufacturers that make a carbon fiber fuel tank, but even those tanks were for the 1199 (which I already know has a fundamentally different rear clamp design). I quickly talked myself out of doing any more research as the costs would simply be too high for my comfort level. As luck would have it, I made out like a bandit the very next month on an anniversary trip to Las Vegas so I decided to get started on the build.
I love the look of the Tricolore 1199, the Tricolore Nero designs, and was inspired by Carbonvani's version of the tricolore.
The following is my attempt at attaining a similar look with my 899. I decided to go 2x2 twill carbon weave to mix up the look a bit from the Ducati Performance 1x1 carbon weave, but this meant replacing the parts I already had in carbon fiber. Sometimes the glossy carbon can get a little over done, so to attempt to combat this effect on my bike, anything that was a glossy panel from the factory, I ordered the carbon part in gloss. Anything that was matte plastic or otherwise matte from the factory, I ordered it in matte carbon. I could come to regret this, but so far I really like the look. I ordered nearly all the carbon parts from MotoComposites.com, rather than Carbonvani because MotoComposites allowed me to choose from several different weights of carbon, I could specify the 2x2 twill weave on every piece, as well as choose the finish (gloss / matte).
Front Mud Guard
Front Fairing Stay
Side Upper Fairings
Side Lower Fairings
Air Duct Covers
Gen 2 Exhaust Shield
Rear Mud Guard
Brake and Cluch Reservoir Brackets
1299 Tail Fairings
1299 Tail Winglets
1299 Seat Cowl
1199 Fuel Tank - CDT / Fullsix (OppRacing.com)
1199 Rear Subframe
1199 LED Headlight
Competition Werkes LTD Fender Eliminator
Competition Werkes Integrated Tail Light
Rizoma Brake and Clutch Reservoirs
Evotech Radiator Guard
CTEK battery tender pigtail
Ducabike Clear Clutch Cover
Telferizer Ball RAM Mount
Ducati Magnesium Engine Casing
Ducati 848 Red Anodized Clutch Spring Caps
Ducati Rear Spools
The carbon fiber parts arrived in November and were all very impressive quality. The CDT carbon fuel tank was particularly impressive. The tank is a single molded piece with brass fittings for the breather lines, fuel pump, and tank mounts. I'm not sure that these pictures truly do it justice. The tank itself was drastically lighter than the stock tank. While I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of "BRUH" faces for not weighing everything for the weight savings, I'm really doing this for the look. Wheels and exhaust aren't being changed and those are two pretty big areas to save weight. I will weigh the bike when the project is done to give you a final weight, but CDT does state that the steel 899 tank weigh around five times more than the one piece carbon tank, and I can believe it. You can pick up the carbon tank by one of the brass fittings with your pinky. The weave and finish are flawless, which made me feel better about buying the tank, considering its rather high price.
The fuel tank itself was the most daunting task as I wasn't sure exactly how much would be involved in removing the rear subframe and how much would line up. I had read Jarelj's build which involved switching to an 1199 aluminum tank, but he had mentioned modifying a racing rear subframe to work on the 899, so it had me worried that it may not be straight forward with street parts. When I questioned a Ducati dealership about the install they thought it would work with some welding, which scared the crap out of me if we're talking about a carbon tank. I was already pot committed though, so the project started.
We first needed to get the fairings off, stock fuel tank removed, and the rear subframe removed so that the 1199 aluminum subframe could go on, as well as installing the carbon exhaust cover. I'll warn that if you attempt to do this, be prepared to grind / drill out several hex screws that round out. We were using fairly new hex keys and some of them still rounded out the black soft metal screws.
When swapping to the CDT carbon tank, I had to drain the stock tank, then remove the fuel pump. Be prepared, it has a tight seal. I could have simply bought a new fuel pump and seals, but a quick search of Ducati Omaha's OEM parts catalog revealed that a new fuel pump is about $1120. I ordered a new gasket and o-rings which comes as a convenient kit.
With the fuel pump removed, it was time to transfer the pump, the plastic fitting on the bottom, and the cap to the carbon tank. One thing to be sure of is to remove all styrofoam inserts from the brass fittings. I ran into a small problem with putting the fuel pump into the new tank in that the 6 stock fuel pump screws were too long for the depth of the brass fittings.
After a quick email to CDT, they recommended the use of two washers between the fuel pump and the screws to help seat the fuel pump fully to the tank. This solved the problem immediately and I felt much better now that I could move forward. However, I couldn't move forward on the tank or the rear subframe because I realized that the 899 rear subframe uses shorter bolts for the two lower mounts of the subframe. While I was waiting on those longer bolts to arrive from Ducati Omaha's awesome parts department, I decided it was a good time to install the Rizoma rearsets. The process is pretty easy on the shifter side, with a small note that Loctite blue should be used on nearly all threads for the rearsets. The quick shifter was kinda tight getting a key in there to connect it to the rearsets, but with a bit of alignment and adjustment its workable without removing anything more. The brake side is a little tricky. The sensor needs to be installed before putting the rearsets on the bike, and there is a set screw that needs to be removed from the stock rearset. One last note is that the spring that previously surrounded the pin that goes into the Brembo rear brake pump will NOT be needed with the Rizoma rearsets.
After the rearsets were on, it was a good time to start tearing down the headlight fairing so I could replace the magnesium fairing stay with the carbon fiber fairing stay. The carbon fairing stay is incredibly light; a little over half the weight of the magnesium fairing stay it was replacing. The magnesium fairing stay was already very light (34% lighter than the stock aluminum fairing stay) so I'm not sure there was real cause for concern to swap it out, but I'm going for the look here, and the goldish hue of magnesium would stand out to me like a sore thumb every time I rode the bike.
If I had one component that gave me more grief than any other component, it was definitely the carbon fairing stay. The fairing stay mounts via two screws and a larger through bolt at the bottom. If I threaded the bottom bolt first, the top screws simply would not align with the holes on the front of the air box. I had to loosely mount the top two screws then had to apply a huge load of force to get the bottom through bolt to find its socket. There was quite a few strains and squeaks and pops that the carbon fiber made to make this bolt go in that didn't make me feel great about it, but after it was installed, it was very rigid. The posts that are meant to slide through the sides of the headlight and rubber grommets are perfectly cylindrical on the aluminum and magnesium fairing stays I've had. On the carbon fairing stay, those posts are tapered, preventing them from going all the way through the rubber grommets. This leaves very little room for the bolts to thread into the speed clips that are on either sides of the inside of the headlight fairing. To resolve this issue, I bought two longer bolts from my local hardware store, careful to ensure they had the same thread pattern that worked on the speed clips. If I had this part to do over and all the time in the world, I'd have sent the headlight fairing stay back to see if they could get a better fit for these posts and the sleeve for the bottom mount.
The headlight fairing itself required a little bit of sanding and grinding to fit the small speed clips along the bottom. This was rather quick work with a dremel, and didn't make me nervous at all, seeing how strong the carbon was and how built up the carbon was in these areas. The large speed clips on the headlight fairing kept moving slightly out of alignment of the tab while putting the headlight fairing on. The issue is that the headlight fairing is VERY rigid and the speed clips only barely clear the sides of the headlight, so the fairing must be slightly stretched to not bump these speed clips while attempting to fit the fairing into place. After nearly 10 tries of taking the carbon headlight fairing on and off, I decided to use non-expanding Gorilla Glue to help hold the two large speed clips in place. This did the trick and the longer bolts sinched right up. I swear to you, this was several hours worth of frustration finally solved, so this was a big moment once we finally got it.