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Thread: Bitza Racing of early 90's

  1. #11
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    Baba-

    Very cool-- I bet you have one happy friend.

    A number of interesting older race bikes are coming out of storage these days. They show that race bikes never remained static and were “improved” throughout their race carrier. I have seen four or five, which looked similar to this great example.

    From your pictures-this has a mixture of ’90-’93 parts/updates- but I feel that it is a ’91 Customer Racing that had updates through it time on the track.

    Many well-campaigned bikes I have seen (including my ’91 when I bought it) were updated cosmetically to look like the 888- could be because after a crash the newer parts were more available. To do this the bike had to accommodate the bale latch for the gas tank as well as a rear pivot on the front of the rear sub frame---Also a new flat hoop for the rear seat had to be added. On this bike someone who could weld performed these modifications on the frame. The cut and bolt on sub-frame mods must have been performed by another person who could not weld aluminum. I have seen many with bolt on fabricated bits to make all this work.

    Although this frame was modified to accept the 888 Corse fuel tank it has that GaCaMoto tank which looks and mounts like the 851 tank—the welder must have assumed there was going to be an 888 bale latch tank in the future.

    I agree with you- that frame does look like Corse frame—even the small things like the machined down spools on the front of the headstock-meaningless to make those modifications after the fact. The fork stop plate is on the bottom of the heads thin enough to be Corse rather then SP. Are there any signs that the street stops were cut or ground off?

    To me the biggest clue is that the Corse gussets look very stock "Customer Corse" in the fact they are overly thick wire welds- not TIG. Even if the welder used a wire weld why would he bother to make such thick and heat distorting welds. The battery box tab is in the correct Corse location- but a good welder could make that look stock. The odd ball is the tab that was added to use that large flat radiator- but that would not have been on an SP anyway.


    Why do you think it is an R’92 frame rather then an R’91 frame—the frame number or what else?

    As far as functional changes -updating the foot peg brackets to the 888 style was popular – just one low side on the early frame and you would bend or even tear out the welds on the foot peg brackets. I am surprised it still has the three-piece air box after going through the trouble to add the removable top brace since the three pieces is a bit of a pain to use.

    The front forks look like FG9030’s as used in ’91. The axle castings are reversed from the 9050 and spacers added to get the correct offset. When you pull it apart you should find aluminum cartridges and progressive springs rather then the steel cartridges and straight rate springs found in the 9050. These may have the straight rates because many teams installed the straight rate springs from the FG9050’s because of how the progressives reacted under hard braking into the turns.

    The magnesium trees are the early style—probably ’92 Customer but my bike has them and it also is a '91. I have a feeling certain teams could "customize" their orders.


    The pistons do look a bit lower in compression then the 339 Omega’s used in these motors. I had a set of the pistons very similar to the ones you are showing in my first ’89 track bike but I sold them to a forum member a few years back so I cannot confirm the casting number. I would say mine were probably SP2 or SP3 pistons.

    The motor updates such has the cut down (trimmed) cam bearing carriers, the rocker pin plates, and the cut away magnesium clutch side cover to me are all updates unless it was a factory motor. It is easy to machine these down from the stock aluminum parts.

    Nothing about these bikes is set in concrete--------- but this is what I have seen in period pictures and on original bikes. The ‘91 Customer Racing still had aluminum cam bearing holders and rocker pin covers as well as an aluminum full side cover—all looking very much like the street parts. In ’92 these parts were offered in magnesium but they looked like the stock aluminum parts in that they were not as cut away/trimmed like the Factory Works version. At this time, the water pump cover, all of the cam covers as well as the tacho drive (if the customer did not go to the new electric tacho) were offered in magnesium. The fully trimmed down magnesium parts were offered on the ’93 motors- but I am not counting out late ’92 Customer motors having them.. The magnesium cam bearing holders were pretty fragile (person experience) and I believe many teams changed to cut down aluminum cam bearing carriers because the magnesium would break off at the Large C clip groove. I have a few in my collection that are split—on the track I now use Aluminum ones I cut down from street versions.


    The belt adjustment wheel locator bracket could also be an update but as far as I know the ’91-’92 Customer Racing motors were provided with thick spacers or a simple single oval two hole spacer plate to eliminate the back plate found on the street bikes-I do not think the triangular brackets that relocate the adjustment pulley closer to the cam was used on the Customer Racing until ’93.

    But as I said above-- if the Factory bikes were using updated parts I believe that certain teams could buy these parts so this muddies the "what is original" debate.

    The radiator is a puzzle—I have only seen the 19 row flat style Lucchinelli that mount like a street bike- never a flat 22 row that mounts like a curved radiator. Interesting piece. Do you think it could be an aftermarket--- why else did someone weld on the extra tab for the support rod to the bottom of the radiator?




    I feel that more and more of these great older race bikes will start coming out of storage—the two major questions for the new owners will be—restore it or just clean it up--- and---- keep it as it was last raced or remove the modifications and put back to
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  2. #12
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    Hi Mark,

    For the frame, I'm 100% sure that it is an R92 frame even without reading the frame number.
    R92 frame is almost identical to the 91 frame, but it is the only one frame which had the second battery bracket (between the main one and the radiator spacer bracket) which is used normally with the road battery support. R90, R91, R93, R94 don't have it.
    And it is not a modified SP3 frame (with their original gussets) or another modified road frame, because of many details we only have on Racing frame (you know how racing frames are specifics on the engine mounts).

    On the left front side, and we can see it on your picture attached of your '91 frame, two holes are drilled like road bike for the street identification on R91. It disapeared on '92 racing bike as it is on this frame.

    And we have the confirmation after, when my friend removed the painting. I am sure you know the frame numbers of the two Factory 92 which are in the Museum ? This one have a number in the same area just after the Factory bikes.

    The specificity of this one is that the modifications of the frame were done in 1991 if we trust the ducati dealer. With the removable bar and the footpegs brackets, and you're right, I forget to mention the front bracket for 888 tank fuel.

    My friend have a 93 one piece airbox too. He put it on the bike, but he had to cut the upper front corners, due to the front square for fuel tank rubber. Maybe the reason why they still use the three parts carbon air box.

    For the forks, it is written on it : FG9050
    And the 9030 is machined to have always 16mm of thickness for the caliper bracket even with the spacer.
    These spacers are in aluminium, here the spacers are rusty, so they are not in aluminium.
    But maybe inside it 's a complete 9030 mounting ??
    But as I said, without to be sure, I think the first origin of the bike is an R90. If it is, it is simply the original fork.

    I agree with you for the camshaft bearing holder and rockers pins covers. They were not cut originally and were still in aluminium, and many were modified after like Factory bike. It is the reason why I have cut mine for my bike. It has a better looking (Racing)

    For the belt adjustment spacers, I don't know if they were changed. It could be because as I found when I removed it, it is better/easier for the maintenance with the engine still in the frame...
    I have a pic of Mertens bike in 1991 which had already these triangular version (and not anodized). But it is a Factory engine.
    (Because of their presence on Factory bike in '91, and because of easier maintenance, I did them for my bike even I already have made the custormer oval version)
    As this bike came from Giocamoto (apparently) and because of proximity with the Factory, it could be an original mounting ?? (If he could find pics of the bike when it came to Swiss, it will be great...)

    The radiator is an original version made by Toyo as the version of other Racing (and road bike too I think).
    I thought first about Supermono version as it looks like that and as they raced one but I think it has 19 rows like a 888 road version without fan...
    When I saw the ex Hubin bike here which is clearly a R90, I tought it was the same radiator, but I haven't see the left side, so I'm not sure 100%.

    Mag triple clamp exist before 1991. I 'm agree with you, it depends on the team they were.
    Some should probably have better parts.

    I have Racing pistons for R91/92 customer bike, they are the same as for SP5 but for 20 mm Pankl.
    made by Mondial Piston too (093650).

    I also have another version of "special" pistons.
    They are made from SP5, with the same designation 09 3839, for 21 mm conrods
    But with a 3 mm height dome (instead of 2 mm on SP5).

    I tought it was a mistake, that they forgot to machine 1 mm, but I saw them recently sold for R93 engine (mine were mislabeled by Ducati with the R91 reference and I didn't ask the axle diameter... reason why I also have them)

    I think omega were the Factory bike pistons, but customer always have Mondial Pistons (the ones for the bike which interest us here are from the same firm).
    Last edited by BABA; 01-01-2015 at 02:25 PM.

  3. #13
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    I also have another version of "special" pistons.
    They are made from SP5, with the same designation 09 3839, for 21 mm conrods
    But with a 3 mm height dome (instead of 2 mm on SP5).



    Hi, same piston I have in my "corsa" engine. I have it from one germany owner corsa 888. And info from him about this piston. - used on 888 racing 1993 with compresion 12,5:1 and valves 36/31.

  4. #14
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    the same red ...
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  5. #15
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    Hi Mark,

    For the frame, I'm 100% sure that it is an R92 frame even without reading the frame number.
    R92 frame is almost identical to the 91 frame, but it is the only one frame which had the second battery bracket (between the main one and the radiator spacer bracket) which is used normally with the road battery support. R90, R91, R93, R94 don't have it.
    And it is not a modified SP3 frame (with their original gussets) or another modified road frame, because of many details we only have on Racing frame (you know how racing frames are specifics on the engine mounts).

    On the left front side, and we can see it on your picture attached of your '91 frame, two holes are drilled like road bike for the street identification on R91. It disapeared on '92 racing bike as it is on this frame.

    And we have the confirmation after, when my friend removed the painting. I am sure you know the frame numbers of the two Factory 92 which are in the Museum ? This one have a number in the same area just after the Factory bikes.


    Great to know - I never had a '92 frame so the extra bracket and lack of the two holes never occurred to me-- I should look harder at the many pictures I have of '92 bikes.

    I agree- even without the headstock number being close to the museum bike frame numbers I felt it has enough "Corse" features like the front spools-- and now the motor mount machined spacers which I did not see in your pictures but you have now mentioned -to tilt the frame to being Corse rather then a modified SP. I am sure your friend is pleased that you know about Corse frames




    My friend have a 93 one piece airbox too. He put it on the bike, but he had to cut the upper front corners, due to the front square for fuel tank rubber. Maybe the reason why they still use the three parts carbon air box.

    good point-- I think at one time I tried to fit a single piece airbox on an early frame and it was a pain to fit without trimming a good bit off. I am getting forgetful in my old age.



    For the forks, it is written on it : FG9050
    And the 9030 is machined to have always 16mm of thickness for the caliper bracket even with the spacer.
    These spacers are in aluminium, here the spacers are rusty, so they are not in aluminium.
    But maybe inside it 's a complete 9030 mounting ??
    But as I said, without to be sure, I think the first origin of the bike is an R90. If it is, it is simply the original fork.


    So the team switched around the fork legs and made steel spacer to match the offset of the AP brakes-- I thought that may be the case since there was no Ohlins label but forgot to mention it in my overly lengthy text about the bike. The FG9051 forks also had steel cartridges but a different shim stack. I doubt if the owner installed the FG9030 cartridges -they are nice but a bit more weight on the front end of these bikes is a good thing.


    As this bike came from Giocamoto (apparently) and because of proximity with the Factory, it could be an original mounting ?? (If he could find pics of the bike when it came to Swiss, it will be great...)

    Anything and everything is possible with these bikes.


    The radiator is an original version made by Toyo as the version of other Racing (and road bike too I think).
    I thought first about Supermono version as it looks like that and as they raced one but I think it has 19 rows like a 888 road version without fan...
    When I saw the ex Hubin bike here which is clearly a R90, I tought it was the same radiator, but I haven't see the left side, so I'm not sure 100%.

    I have never seen the extra tab welded on the right side for the support for the radiator on any other bike-- just seems like it was a team decision to run this radiator-- perhaps it was much less money then the Factory curved radiator at the time.

    Please keep the pictures coming as you disassemble the bike.

    Has your friend decided how he is going to approach the rebuild-- clean it up and leave as raced or something else?



    I think omega were the Factory bike pistons, but customer always have Mondial Pistons (the ones for the bike which interest us here are from the same firm).

    Interesting- I have always found Omeg pistons in the early race motors I have taken apart. Do you know the difference in weight and ring thickness between the two?



    Great thread-- I learn something new each time a new old race bike is uncovered and photographed.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkT View Post
    I have never seen the extra tab welded on the right side for the support for the radiator on any other bike-- just seems like it was a team decision to run this radiator-- perhaps it was much less money then the Factory curved radiator at the time.
    What do you mean by extra tablwelded on the right side ?

    If you speak on the frame, where the radiator is hanged, it 's the second support for battery tray I spoke above. It is the bracket difference between the R91 and R92 on the frame.
    But normally the radiator is hanged on the spacer just in front as all other racers and road bikes.

    If you speak on the radiator, I don't see what you mean. I don't have seen difference.

    I found other Racing radiator with left lower pipe similar to road bike. But those (on '91 Roche and Polen's bikes) were modified with an inside thermostat


    Quote Originally Posted by MarkT View Post
    Do you know the difference in weight and ring thickness between the two?
    The Racing 91/92 are quiet heavy. Same weight as 888 road piston : around 534g each and complete (with segments, rings, and pin).
    Here with 36/31 titanium valves




    They are the same pistons as the ex 8h of Suzuka refresh in Japan if you have seen it.




    The R93 is a little bit lighter : around 510 g each and complete.



    I have Giocamoto piston kit on my strada, very much lighter : 470 g each and complete.





    But I'm so stupid that I didn't check and compare the reference when I received my right R91-92 pistons.
    I just noticed it when I searched pics to insert them here...
    It is the same version he have on the Black Racing (Mp 093650), but the dome is not identical (ajcorse said me that it was R89-90 pistons).
    I will check the weight when we are going to open the engine to see if they are different too.

    For the ring thickness I didn't notice something different than on road pistons. I think they are the same.
    For example, the rings for Giocamoto pistons are different, they don't have the little hook like road and race Mp pistons.

    For the refreshing (not a complete restoring), we will see how pretty are the different parts.
    I think probably the engine just have to be cleaned.

    The frame need to be repainted. And as he had many coats of painting (three), it will be sand to remove all of them and will be bronze repainted as it is now.

    As the rear subframe is quite botched he will put an 888 SP aluminium subframe he had in stock and keep the big oil breath carbon box.
    He has the full ram air and carbon airbox of '93 version and will use it, it will be better than white plastic plates...

    If he found another fuel tank in the future, he will change it, but for the moment he keeps this one.
    He thinks also about wheels as he had the rear marchesini he bought to the same ducati dealer.
    For the moment the wheel is on his bitza 92 strada/SP/Racing with another road version of mag marchesini in front.
    As he had some nice R93 engine parts, may be he will use them when we are going to rebuild the engine, and keep the rest for another replica racing project
    But the bike will be quite the same as you have here.
    And as he (glassmann) posted above, the bike will recover its red color (but original ducati color and stickers I think)

  7. #17
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    Baba-

    I looked a bit closer at my pictures of '92 frames and for the first time I see the extra tab you talk about. Yes- it is the one on your friend's bike that he uses for the support bracket for the larger radiator. I also have a few pictures of that radiator but silver in color-
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  8. #18
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    more pictures
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  9. #19
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    Futur montage?😜
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  10. #20
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    Very nice-- rare parts. So it had a starter motor---

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