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Discussion Starter #1
Dudes, new to the forum. Long time Ducati-curious man of moderate riding ability with lengthy background in off-road & MTB enduro disciplnes seeking Monster S4 of the Rt/ RS variety. I have lusted for the S4R since they first came out. I was a burned out catering manager sitting in a medical program in an attempt to reinvent myself. I sat & day dreamed over the desirable things during breaks or after finals.

Looking for a backroad funday bike for day trips, group rides, & something to haul up to the mountains with my CRF450X for dirt/ pavement combo weekends. Trackdays may be in the future, but are not a priority for now. Located in Houston, TX, so any S4Rt/ RS owners in Texas willing to discuss more in person & allow me to evaluate the ergos would be reiumbursed in beverages or tacos of choice.

I have done a decent amount of searching & research here, but please forgive any questions found in the FAQs. Serious questions are:
- Rt vs. RS motor: thinking full pipe, ECU, airbox stuff should get any Rt/ RS motor to a more than happy place for me. Thoughts?
- wheels: Rt wheels look the same as RS, but info says they ARE different/ lighter on the RS?
- belts: is the hard rule still replace them every 2 years regardless of miles? A few used ones boast less than 1000 miles since belts were done 4 years ago. Not afraid of doing it, but I could certainly use that info in negotiations
- belt swap: I can change a moto clutch, so I'm guessing it can be done in my garage?
- ergos & comfort: relatively speaking, of course. I'm not looking to do Iron Butt miles. 5' 8" tall & wasn't in love with the 1200S I rode last week fit wise. Seems like the S bikes fit better for shorter riders?
- tank stripes: these are decals, right? I've seen a few bubbling up near the filler opening
- long term reliability: loaded question for sure, just curious about the motors moving into 30K mileage marks
- I keep the Rt on the radar, because I found a 3K miles stocker in FL for similar RS money.

A good bud rides a 1200R & was leaning me towards a lower miles 2016 1200S here in HTX. I rode it, & was blown away by that steamy motor & cool display. I was less impressed in person by the W I D E feel of the bike & homely looking front end. I mean no offense, but that bike looks like the lead designer grabbed his stuff & went home early Friday leaving it up to the interns. "Ok, guys, I gotta go pickup dinner for my wife. Y'all finish up the front end & get it over to production by 5." And then he came in Monday to find that abomination of a headlight & flyscreen. I'm being funny, I guess, but it amazes me that they could not do a modern headlight/ fairing that evoked the original's timeless looks a little better. The 1200 WOWED my ass off, until I got off it & looked at it. Or maybe I just want that bitchin S4 I spent countless school hours staring at it. Thanks, dudes!
 

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I have an S2R1000 but I can still answer some of your questions since my bike is like the little brother to the S4.

- belts: is the hard rule still replace them every 2 years regardless of miles? A few used ones boast less than 1000 miles since belts were done 4 years ago. Not afraid of doing it, but I could certainly use that info in negotiations
- belt swap: I can change a moto clutch, so I'm guessing it can be done in my garage?
Yeah every 2 years is still a good rule I believe. It's not particularly difficult to change them. My first time took me about two hours going slow. I have no doubt I could knock it out in half the time now. CA-Cycleworks sells excellent belts that are about half the price of OEM.


- ergos & comfort: relatively speaking, of course. I'm not looking to do Iron Butt miles. 5' 8" tall & wasn't in love with the 1200S I rode last week fit wise. Seems like the S bikes fit better for shorter riders?
I'm 5'6" and, I don't know what it is about this bike or my body proportions, but it's been the most difficult one I've owned to get the ergos dialed in. I've owned a Ninja250R, SV650, and VFR800 and didn't have to do much to any of those bikes to feel comfortable enough to ride for hours. The OEM bars are low and don't have a lot of sweep so it's the most "leaned forward" bike I've owned out of the above. I think the tank is a little longer than most naked bikes. The top triple also doesn't come up very high in relation to the tank and seat plus the OEM bar clamps are really low. I'm on my 6th bar/riser combination and have finally settled. I'm using 1.5" tall bar mounts with a Triumph Tiger handlebar which has about 3" of rise and 4" of pullback. These bikes look great with clip-ons but I don't know how anyone rides for more than an hour with them. I'm not exactly old or out of shape either.

Just an FYI, the Fogarty models use the top mount clip-ons from the ST touring bikes although they can be adapted to be used with other Monster models.

Then there's the footpeg position. The stock position keeps my hamstrings constantly engaged and tires them out. I used variable footpegs for awhile which worked ok but weren't ideal. I've recently swapped over rearsets from the older Hypermotard/Multistrada 1000DS models. It brings the pegs forward a few inches and down a little bit. It's been too cold to ride but it feels really comfortable sitting on the bike in the garage.

- tank stripes: these are decals, right? I've seen a few bubbling up near the filler opening
Yes but they're painted over with clearcoat. I don't remember off hand if all of the S4 models use the plastic tanks or if some of the trims got metal tanks but bubbles in the stripes could be indicative of tank swelling. I have a spare S2R tank that swelled up and caused the stripe to bubble.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, Jon. I did sit on an S21000 the other day & I didn't find it any worse than the 1200S I rode that same day. I guess I'll search up the tank swelling issue & do some more research. The gray S4Rt I'm looking at has a quarter sized bubble 2-3" from the filler opening.
 

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The owner isn’t going to love me, but you will probably end up replacing the tank so factor in a very hefty price for that when negotiating. It’s going to be $1000-3000 for a new tank.
Some tanks swell but don’t blister. Once they start blistering I believe it may be a spot where fuel is permeating the plastic and lifting the paint. At any rate, a new tank will be the only cure. I certainly wouldn’t trust the tank enough to have it repainted.
It’s something you have to take into consideration. There is no factory fix. There is no factory replacement that doesn’t swell.
These were very expensive bikes. They are very nice bikes. Current owners don’t want to discount them because of the tank, but prospective buyers don’t want to shell out the money for a new tank. Even if you can think you can live with it, that doesn’t mean it won’t get worse and require replacement from a safety standpoint. Running only ethanol free fuel is really the only thing that works. The bubbles won’t go away.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The owner isn’t going to love me, but you will probably end up replacing the tank so factor in a very hefty price for that when negotiating. It’s going to be $1000-3000 for a new tank.
Some tanks swell but don’t blister. Once they start blistering I believe it may be a spot where fuel is permeating the plastic and lifting the paint. At any rate, a new tank will be the only cure. I certainly wouldn’t trust the tank enough to have it repainted.
It’s something you have to take into consideration. There is no factory fix. There is no factory replacement that doesn’t swell.
These were very expensive bikes. They are very nice bikes. Current owners don’t want to discount them because of the tank, but prospective buyers don’t want to shell out the money for a new tank. Even if you can think you can live with it, that doesn’t mean it won’t get worse and require replacement from a safety standpoint. Running only ethanol free fuel is really the only thing that works. The bubbles won’t go away.
Thanks, for the honesty man. I am moving a different direction on a black S4RS with 5500 miles, and it is believed the late owner had the tank treated. There is no paint bubbling under the stripes or anywhere else visible. Let's say it was not treated or coated, but there are no visible paint bubbles anywhere. Can it be assumed it is a tank that did not have issue or do all S-era tanks have this issue?
 

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All plastic tank Ducatis have the issue. I believe Ascerbis is the only supplier. If you buy the bike and the tank isn’t coated, then do it, by all means. I used a whole quart of tank sealer, and I don’t feel I did a really good job. Some will tell you to rough up the interior of the tank first. Good luck with that. I used a pound of sheet metal screws and shook the tank till my arms fell off. It did nothing. Just make sure it’s really clean first.
The owner of my S4RS claimed he only used non ethanol, and the tank was perfect. Sooner or later you will be forced to use ethanol, just don’t leave it sitting around full of that stuff or you’ll have problems. I leave mine as low as possible, not hard with the fuel mileage it gets.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Duly noted. In my boat I did the opposite. The idea was to keep the aluminum tank filled to allow little room for any condensation to build up in the void space. That & fuel treatment seemed to work, but it was also a DFI 2T Mercury, which ran on anything. With the Duc, I will hopefully keep it empty from extended use, & my bud's weekend ride usually ends with a stop by an E-free gas station. I will have a look through the extensive records the seller claims the original owner kept when I go pick it up. And I will most likely grab an extra tank once I see a used one come up. Does the same tank works over the entire S2/S4 line or is strictly an S4RS only thing? I say that because I was thinking of a custom paint job down the road once I get the savings replenished. I'd like to be able to grab a clean one if the opportunity comes up.
 

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There is a long tank thread here. More information about possible alternative tanks than I’ve seen in one place before. Read the whole thing and be as informed as anyone is. Custom paint on a tank that may swell or bubble, that makes no sense to me. Especially if you have to save up ??
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Will do, thanks! (edit, just read the the E-fuel tank post) Let me ask this: will painting be successful on a spare tank if it was Caswell coated prior to paint? I could then drop the original tank on the shelf for storage with no fear of hurting the value.
 

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I personally wouldn’t risk it because from what I’ve read those tanks can continue to bubble even after being coated . If you were determined to do it you’d want to strip it completely and have the painter use a paint designed to flex, like they use to paint Corvettes or plastic bumpers. Also maybe double coat the inside. Either that, or a metal tank. I’m basically not a fan of custom paint jobs because it usually makes the bike harder to sell. You have to find someone that has the same taste you do. If you put something personal on it then you’ve totally ruined the resale value.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, i definitely do not want to paint the factory tank. But if I were to find a used one for the right money, it might be worth a shot. Do you have any frst hand experience with the Caswell's stuff? Some other thread they were praising it as the cure. Does anyone have any pics of the swelling/ blistering? I'd really like to know what to be on the lookout for...
 

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I have used Caswells, and other brands as well. There is very little difference in appearance or application between brands, though many people have reported the Caswells works best. I have also read reports of it being applied by professionals and failing. I actually ran out with a full quart of it in my S4RS tank , not coating the whole interior as well as I would have liked. I rolled it around continuously until there was nothing left to flow. Whatever brand you use, make sure it is rated for use with ethanol blend fuel. There may be some older formulas out there that would not handle ethanol.
 

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I read the tanks shrink back when not filled for a while. So I have a few, and swap once a season or so. I leave the others empty to shrink back to size. Haven’t had any warping or lifting issues with any of them.
 

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Mine swelled rather quickly, 1-2 weeks with ethanol fuel in it. It then took a couple of months to shrink back, with pure gasoline in it.
 

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I believe my 2004 S4R is the last year to have a steel tank. If I'm wrong I'm sure I'll get corrected quickly.
Suffice to say, I'm not sad that I have a steel tank!
 

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I personally like the looks of the 1200, but you know if it’s just the headlight and fly screen that’s an easy swap to make it look traditional .
I read a post by someone on the wheel differences. He claimed that though the S4RS was supposed to have lighter wheels, they actually ended up with the same as the S4R and RT. I have no way to verify that, but being an S4RS owner I was disappointed that the factory changed them. I still would have bought the bike, but everyone says lighter wheels are the cats ass, so I wanted them.😤
 

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The only difference between the Rt and Rs is that the Rs comes with Ohlins rear shock and forks and a bunch of CF parts like timing belt covers, radiator side covers, front fender, etc. The Rs also has a gauge cluster that says Rs. And the two have different color options. Engine, wheels, brakes, power, etc is all the same otherwise. Both are great bikes.

The expanding tank issue is a huge deal. So many used bikes out there have expanded or bubbling tanks. When searching for my bike I was happy to have found one that had a brand new tank on it. The previous owner had a brand new one sitting in its box in storage. He put it on when he decided to sell the bike. To keep it nice I luckily have a couple of non-ethanol gas stations local to me and 99% of the time use them only.

My Rt:
 

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I personally like the looks of the 1200, but you know if it’s just the headlight and fly screen that’s an easy swap to make it look traditional .
I read a post by someone on the wheel differences. He claimed that though the S4RS was supposed to have lighter wheels, they actually ended up with the same as the S4R and RT. I have no way to verify that, but being an S4RS owner I was disappointed that the factory changed them. I still would have bought the bike, but everyone says lighter wheels are the cats ass, so I wanted them.😤
While the wheels on the Rs and Rt are the same, they are lighter than the older 5-spoke S4R wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Gorgeous bike man! I looked at a grey & red Rt in FL, but it had "bubbles" under the stripe on the tank. I wasn't into black, but I have since changed my mind.
 
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