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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone done any performance engine work for their 696? The Duc dealer in town offers an upgrade package consisting of larger bore and high-compression cylinders. If so, pros/cons?

It is staying air-cooled.

I really love my 696 and would rather invest more into better performance than upgrade to a larger bike.

Thanks!
 

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Sounds like a lot of money for very little return in HP. I'd like to see the $$$ per pony return on that one.

I would assume the parts are around $1,000+ and the labor will match. So you have a base 696 and invest another $2,000 to make it a possible time bomb of mechanical troubles, assuming the shop tech puts it together perfectly, for more money than it would cost to upgrade to a nice 796.

Trust me, I'm all for upgrading and making something go faster. I've built a couple hundred engines over the years (most were Vespa so they don't count, lol), I kind of have a foot in this thread. It can be very difficult to build an engine with the quality control that a factory has using all new clean parts. Mixing new and used parts together can work, and can provide more headache than it's worth. I've built some amazing P200 and T5 Vespa "race" engines, but those were from the ground up, not using a used lower with all new upper assemblies. Many of those engines had their own running problems. The other thing to remember is that when you do something like this, the obvious trade off is reliability. If you are ok going in knowing that you increase the chances for oil leaks, valve train issues, and possible piston seizures, then I say go ahead. If you want more power with reliability, it's time to upgrade to the 796. If something catastrophic happened to your engine, say a belt snapped or skipped a tooth and you needed the heads rebuilt or a cylinder replaced, that's the time to do your engine upgrading.

Just some thoughts from a former shade tree mechanic that still builds his own engine, go Aprilia RS142!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the heads up! I shall move forward with extreme caution...

Not sure if this changes anything, but the bike is at 4400 right now and the Duc dealer stated it’d be best to do the work during its first 7500 mx interval. You’re on par with the price - right around $2k.

I don’t recall if he had stated if the job would be warrantied and if so, for how long. Thus far they’ve been pretty confident in promoting a product and backing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will say this, nose to nose my 2012 696 outperformed the 2017 (or 16) 796 going up through the gears. Not sure if they’ve retarded output or maybe the bike was locked in “demo mode” or something.

Don’t get me wrong the 79er is a nice one. I just prefer the look/colors/overall size of the 69er (being a bit shorter and all).
 

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I fully understand wanting to keep yours, or liking something about it more. You can't preach enough to a fat guy that rides little tiny illegal 125cc race only bikes on the local roads and freeways.

I think it would be a lot more fun to put $2,000 towards tires, suspension, or brakes than engine parts and possible issues later on. The whole, "ride a slow bike fast" mantra. Get really really good at riding what you have and make it fit you better to do so. I love watching the RS125 youtube videos of guys on bikes like an R6 thinking they are track gods just get schooled by a guy on a tiny little 2 stroke smoking them through the corners and finally getting far enough ahead the R6 will never catch up to them as there isn't enough straight sections and they can't hustle through the corners.

$2,000 for another 100 or so cc's probably won't even give you much "my built in ass gauge" performance boost bragging rights. You might only see a 2 or 3 horsepower return. Did they give you any information at all? Dyno runs from previous builds? Are these super high compression pistons? Higher compression will make it more fun but then you need to bre really careful assembling it. Do you already have the $2,000 full flow exhaust you'll need?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As explained just now, they’re sending the stock heads out to be bored and plated. New high compression pistons to be used.

Long story short, they’ll be turning it into an 800 cc engine, plus a valve job, new belt etc. I’m headed there later today to get some more specifics.

Suspension, brakes and tires all sound like good projects too. Any suspension replacements you know of that work well on a 696? Does Brembo offer upgraded brakes from the stock setup? Honestly I’ve never had any issues with the current setup. The P. Angels on it seem to do a good job thus far for back and forth travel.

The bike is used primarily as a spring/summer/fall commuter back and forth to work. With a bit of pep of course :p
 

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I would advise against this, especially if you're going to be using this bike as normal dependable transportation.
It's a great bike as is; just ride it a lot and enjoy it.
This sounds to me like a *lot* of money for a small upside, and a potentially huge downside.

PhilB
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I appreciate all the advice guys. It sounds like there’s more cons than pros, so I’ll avoid the displacement upgrade and focus on ridability. I wonder how noticeable a 20lb shed will be...
 

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One of the techs at the local shop knows a bit about the RS125 and I had asked him if he had any suggestions I might not have tried on mine, the asshat looked up and said, "yeah man, lose 20 pounds". Dick move.


But, I took him up on his challenge. I dropped from 242 to 191 in about 6 weeks and went from 96mph top speed to 102mph. I hate him. lol.

Good luck with that.


You really are stuck in the middle of the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" saying. If you really had reason to boost the engine, I'd absolutely say do it. I'm thinking you want a dependable daily rider and once you break those seals, it would be very difficult to guarantee it after that. Reminds me of my 2013 Ford E350 work van I got brand new from the dealer. At almost exactly 36,000 miles it blew the clutches out of the automatic transmission. Ford had an issue with those transmissions and replaced it for free at the dealership. They did not rebuild it. Being a company vehicle I got to drive it another 70,000 miles before it was replaced. The replacement transmission was fine. What drove me nuts was mystery engine lights and flashing codes that would start and vanish, or dump me into limp mode. The van would go in to the dealership again, a quick reset and off I would go. At first there were a couple, "oh this came loose or this popped off, this needed an adjustment, the computer didn't recognize, you need to just get out on the highway and put 50 miles on it to get it to learn, etc", then mystery codes started. There were just little troubles associated with the transmission swap that wouldn't inspire confidence.
 

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The 796 is just a stroked 696.The engine difference (66mm stroke vs 57.2) is basically just the crankshaft and pistons. That should give you another 8 HP or about 10% more power through the whole power band but especially the bottom end.

You can get a 796 crankshaft with pistons on eBay for less than $200 USD but you need to disassemble the entire engine and separate the crank case halves to change it out. The injectors are the same Siemens Deka 42lbs/hr so you just need a 796 fuel map. You can also get an entire 796 engine for about $1,500, swap that in and install the 696 throttle bodies and airbox on top but once again you'd still need the 796 ECU tuning or the entire 796 dash and ECU.
 

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When I bought my bike the first thing I did was rip off all the emissions components. I replaced it with a full Termignoni system: complete exhaust, camshafts, ECU, open air box. It completely changed my bike. It was the best thing I could have done.
 

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Thanks Tex. I didn't know Termignoni made cams for the 696. I'll keep an eye out for a pair.
Cans or cams? Termi doesn't make cams, though some DP Termi bundles have included cams in the past, mostly for superbikes.
 

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I put the Termi Kit on my bike in 2005. It came with everything. If Termi quit make camshafts it was after I bought my kit.
 

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I put the Termi Kit on my bike in 2005. It came with everything. If Termi quit make camshafts it was after I bought my kit.
The cams came in a Ducati Performance kit (if yours is a MY2005 S4R, PN 96445304B) that included full system/bracket, intake and exhaust cams (not made by Termi), air filter (also not made by Termi) and ECU module (ditto). Termignoni only made the exhaust. Wouldn't surprise me if the cams were from a 99X superbike or one of the DP (non-Corse) variants.
 
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