1) What path have you taken to end up where you are today, specialising in Ducati motorbikes?
I was originally a textile engineer, in the wool industry for 20 years. After travelling the world with my job, including spending time in the Czech Republic and England, I decided to change careers. Having always been interested in motorbikes, in 2002 I started at Tafe, doing a motorcycle mechanic’s course by day and auto-electrical course by night. I also took a journeyman’s course in fitting and machining as well. I accumulated experience working at other workshops, and got the Desmo Clinic started in 2009.
2) Can you explain the term ‘desmodromic’?
It’s the way the valves work on these bikes, Valves are opened by a rocker, then closed by a rocker, as opposed to having a spring do the closing. The top rocker arm opens the valve, the bottom rocker arm closes it. Advantage of this is, no valve float at high RPM, because there are no valves springs in this system.
3) What do you prefer to work on – older bikes or newer bikes?
Both types of bikes have their challenges, for older bikes there is a bit more hands on type work, with measuring and shimming involved. For newer bikes, I am getting into engine management, working with cam timing, ignition timing, fuel setup, all through the engine ECU.
4) Do you prefer to ride newer or older bikes?
No preference, they’re all good.
5) What’s the most memorable bike you have laid spanners on?
Greenframe roundcase Ducati, without a doubt. I have been lucky and worked on a few in my time as a mechanic.
6) Is belt drive an improvement over bevel drive?
Both drives have their good points. In terms of efficiency and manufacturing costs, belt drive is in front. However, with a belt drive, you will find the cam timing is not as accurate as a well set bevel drive.
7) If someone is looking to buy a Ducati, new or old, what advice would you give them?
Make sure there is a service history, and spend the money on a pre-purchase inspection before committing to anything. I have seen too many Ebay bargains turn into nightmares.
Many thanks to Michael from the Desmo Clinic at Ryde,for taking the time out to answer my questions.