~ Bevel "Hell" ~
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I see pictures of broken valves & pistons, stories of unbelievable encounters and journey, all BAD THINGS BEVEL (can there really be such a thing?) and funny stories as well.... eMail me your stories, pictures or??? and I will post. Anything but the truly morbid will see the page.

Here's some photos taken Sunday 6/13/2010 in front of my house when she caught fire. I even included a youtube link. The hydraulic clutch line burst and spilled the fluid on the crankcase which caught fire just below the fuel line on the left side. There was nothing I could do. It only took 3 minutes to burn to the ground right in front of me. Put that on Bevel Hell............  Steve Etcheverry
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct6QSoejOuc     [email protected]

Steve, a Bevelhell report...not as nasty as a burned GT carcass...but scary non the less.
  I was blasting through the Santa Cruz mountains on my '72 750GT blissfully enjoying the great curves on Bonny Doon road, when a terrible mechanical crunching noise had me quickly pull in the clutch, reach down and turn off the ignition. I coasted over the the Bonny Doon Winery parking lot, jumped off to check it out.  It took me awhile to figure out what was going on, but after a careful visual inspection, I noticed that the front bevel tube had a series of worm-like bulges running about half way down the tube. 
   I called my buddy with a trailer, and went in the winery to buy him a bottle and indulged in some intensive wine tasting.   Next day, I popped off the front cover and tach drive to see what had happened.  It appeared that the small split shaft had sheared off the tab at the cam end and it dropped into the bearing at the top of the shaft.  The bearing cage came apart and balls dropped out and started to push there way down between the tube and the shaft, forming a worm like track in the tube.  Fortunately I shut everything down before anything dropped into the engine sump.

  With a new bearing, bearing holder,  tube and engine flush everything seemed right again, but I still wondered what had caused the failure.   After more analysis, I figured out that my tach drive (early single style brass) had significant binding and caused substantial wear on the split shaft.  The new  split shaft I put in, started to show signs of wear almost immediately.  Once I fixed the the tach drive the wear problem disappeared.
  I've never heard of this happening to anyone else....but something to check!  It could have been alot worse.
Barry Ferris    [email protected]

Hi Steve,

I came across this photo of my previous 750GT as I found it in what used to be my garage after the Oakland Hills fire of 1991. You can see the bike had Imola style high pipes. That's my 1970 Norton Commando 'S' lying on it's side in the foreground. Pretty much anything that was not made of steel (alloy, rubber and glass) all disappeared. Sad, very sad...

All Best,

Corey Levenson     [email protected]

This takes place on the Blue Ridge Parkway. While riding my 1978 900sd with four others,two guys on "blacked out" (painted black) Kawasaki Ninjas zoom by in the opposite direction.One is two up. We are in a turn and pass each other kinda close. I Think to my self there goes a couple of guys having some fun. Not too long after this we pass a bunch of  Jeeps with rangers in them ,we think they are after us. We were going a tad over the speed limil, but no we get by safe or so we think. As we motor down the road I see in my mirror we have picked up a new rider -nothing new on the parkway- but this guy is moving up through our little group fast and he passes me like I'm standing still .He's two up on a blacked out Kaw hmmm .I've seen this guy before,but he was going the other way.Well he gets to our last guy up front and passes.The guy he passes is game for a run and is off after the  Kaw. I try to keep up to see the show ,they are flying.Then our guy lets off fast ,like he sees something ,I see nothing.We go a little while and come around a turn.There ,standing in the middle of the road is a ranger.One hand is by his side on his gun,the other is pointing to a pull off area. We pull in and see about ten other sportbikes-they are pulling over all the bikes-looking for the two guys on the Kaws.They get the two up guy(I,ll bet his girlfriend was thrilled),and the are questioning all the bikers about these guys.These two sped through somewhere and ran.There is nowhere to run on the parkway in this section.So after questioning all the bikers(about 30 bikers) we are ready to go.Turn the key and it go "bink".What the hell is this "bink" ? Its getting cold(Sept.) and dark too.Bike won't start-turns over but makes this "bink" sound.We try a few things but to no avail (we all worked in a bike shop at the time).So my pal Rob ,who always carries a rope on these trips, says he'll tie her off.Cops  are still there and say no. Cops say we can push her, so Rob says he'll put his foot on the contis and away we go. The cop rides ,so he escorts us for about 10 miles with light flashing ,through the parkway till we get to the Peaks of Otter.That was weird going up and down the road without any noise coming out of the bike. So this is the HELL part-sorry it took so long to get to this point.Had to trailer her home.A valve seat had dropped (exhaust)and the intake hit it and bent it just enough to unseat it-"bink".So every time the valve scrapped by it made that noise. Not the worst thing to happen on these pages but it did screw up a great trip up to that point. Thanks for reading this story is a lot better when told in a bar.     

Steve [email protected] 
1978 900sd
1968 Sebring 350.

You have a wonderful site, but something can be improved....  I looked on your Bevel Hell but didn't see something that looks like hell at all. Two weeks ago I had a small look at my personal Bevel Hell.  I think that's more close to the real thing. Because of a shortcut in a battery charger I lost 4 Ducs, hundreds of very hard to find parts, my tools, garage. Fortunately my house didn't burn down as well, although it was very close.  If anyone has some headlamps for a 175 sport and/or 200 Elite or other early Ducati parts for a normal price a am interested to hear from you all. I can tell you; it's not pleasant in Bevel Hell.
Best regards, Adrie.

Try to avoid this kids.....  Photo: Philip Anysley Photography

Bob Dumma [email protected] posted this to the Bevelheads list 3/2/03

Just wrote an email to Roundcase Richo about another matter and told him of an incident that happened to me this afternoon. Thought I would share it with you all.

Took the yellow beast for a blast today and stopped in at the local Chinese takeaway for a feed on the way back and when I left, I had a couple of Japanese blokes come running up as soon as I started it. Picture this guy from the land of bloody motorbikes nearly jerking the gerkin over the bevel. Sitting on his haunches checking it out and I'm blipping the throttle trying to keep it going (cooled down while I was waiting for the tucker).

"Hooar! Doocartee! 9 hunded, hooar! desmow supaspot too, hooar, ownlee two, ah,ah (makes a sign with both hands like he is jerking off his old fella and it's the size of an elephant's donger). I say cylinders and he just about nods his head off with a big grin and says "hooar" a couple more times. Then he says "Big silnders !!!! Much, much, much, ahh, and then does the old "clench the fist, jam the arm out and grab the biceps with his other hand" trick and says "hooar" a couple more times. Obviously was getting horny over the low down grunt. Meanwhile the ol' mate was standing there with a silly grin from ear to ear. I'm nearly pissing myself laughing by this stage, trying not to make it too obvious.

Anyway, I told him I had to go and did a FAST getaway redline job (heh, heh), Last I saw in the mirrors was two guys running out onto the road to get a last look as I disappeared up the road. Language barrier, my arse! Universal appreciation of class! 

Shit I love Ducs!!!!

Regards, RAD

Joris posted this to the Bevelhead's list 4/2/02

Today i finally fixed the Darmah. I'm not a really a wizard when it comes to electrics which has this strange effect on me letting the bikes stand there for a couple of weeks until i can't watch it any longer...

I promised myself i wasn't going to let it come this far with the Darmah and two hours after it flatlined i allready new the keylock was broken. Got the new one a week later and fitted it. Nothing.... Plan B was mainly just me, a multimeter and panic...and to much marlboro lights:-)

Most of the cables looked melted and i really didn't feel like taking the damn thing apart. I was a daily visitor for 5 weeks on R�ne's site reading every letter about every ignition used on beveltwins and singles. The more i read, the more i got confused. The first faze (denial) was over and i had to take more drastic actions. What i needed was an old guy...someone with experience...history....someone really old. Like dad...yeah....

Dad didn't suspect a thing. Calmly working on his boat which is parked on a trailer next to my "corner" full of bikes. I said;" Dad, take a look at this, will ya."

He walked over and i could see he got a bit anxious when he saw i was fiddling with the electrics. (Since he worked on cars all his life he was the perfect person to ask...) I told him what happened, that i replaced the keylock and that nothing worked. I said i didn't understand the ignition-thingies...

He looked at the bike while i turned the key-lock and said: "Got no lights too..." Who cares about lights?!? HE IS DEAD! WE NEED SPARKS! ...i felt a bit disturbed...

He smiled at me and said; "I'm not really a wizard with electrics..." ?!?!? 

WHAT???? He just closed the garage after 30 years, now works as a teacher in a technical school, main class is called "CAR ELECTRICS" !!!!!!

I gave up.

Later that day i was watching the superbike races (Man we wooped their asses their again:-) Must be frustrating to ride something that not has Ducati on the fairing:-))))

And suddenly i knew what he meant! Did i feel stupid!

What he was trying to say was; "If the lights don't work too, it is probably caused by the same fault as what make the ignition fail, stupid! Just check why the lights dont work first and go from there."

Thanks dad. I repaired the melted cables to the headlight (and keylock...smart move) and everything worked like it should. I still have to put everything together again but when i pushed the start-button...great feeling:-)

Bostrom second place, Darmah back to life, 56 year old dude actually made me learn from myself...there still are surtenties in life :-)

I'm going to get emotional now:-)

Joris [[email protected]]

(Rod posted this on the Bevelhead's list - 1/11/02)

An aging bevelhead decides to join the local Ducati owner's club on one of their road rides. They stop for their second fuel stop of the day about 300 km into the ride. As the bevelhead goes to dismount, he finds that a morning of chasing young guys on red bikes down twisty roads, age, clip on bars and a 25 year old seat have conspired to cause stiffness in nearly every one of the bevelhead's joints.

He walks, almost stumbles, in discomfort to catch up to the young guys who have gone into the ice cream joint. His gate is uncomfortable even to watch from a distance.

Once inside he orders a sundae from a fresh face, pretty teenager - the kind that seemingly works at every ice cream stop in cottage country but would never been found in such a place in the city.

The bevelhead attempts to match her pace as she moves along the backside of the counter adding toppings to order but starts to feel increasingly self-conscious about her watching his clamber along in full leathers and in obvious discomfort.

"Crushed nuts", she asks.

"No, I think that it's arthritis", answers the bevelhead.

Rod Rier [[email protected]]

(Jeff posted this on the Bevelhead's list - 1/27/02)

This talk of batteries reminded me of an incident, worth passing on.

GT s won't produce a spark at the plugs if the voltage is less than 8 volt - the headlights will work, as will the horn but the motor won't fire. One time my daughter and I took a break on a fire track at the top of Mount Sabine, as remote as you can get ( I go anywhere on my GT ! ) and the battery was too flat for us to get moving again. Roll starting was not an option on the rocky gravel track. Rather than starve to death in the wilderness I disonnected the primary wires from both coils, removed the spark plugs, turned on the ignition and we took turn kicking till exhausted, hoping to use the alternator to recharge the partially flat battery. It worked eventually and I'm here telling the tale. GT owners should keep this one in the memory bank.

Jeff Cohen [[email protected]]

(Tom posted this on the Bevelhead's list - 11/6/01)     

To paraphrase an old joke:

Heaven is where the Italians design it, the Germans build it, and the Japanese chrome plate it.

Hell is where Japanese design it, The Italians construct it, and the Germans' refuse to plate it because it is crap.

Tom Meadows [[email protected]]


Here a picture of one of my Bevel Hell experiences; a broken valve playing around in my '68 250 cc Small case Ducati (ouch). Bought as a basket case when I was 17 years old I put every penny in transforming a Monza Jr. into a cafe racer with a touch of the yellow singles of the seventies.

As student and the youngest in the family I had luck having a lot of Bevel Ducati's and lots of spare parts lying around. I carefully build the engine of my own parts and all these parts. Here probably is also the answer to why the valve broke; you never know the track of all these parts and there must have been a weak link.

After this Bevel Hell experience I took another head, cylinder and piston; being a student I had no choice I wanted to ride my Small Case. And had much of fun riding on the road and a couple of tracks; Zolder (Belgium), Assen (Netherlands), Croix en Ternois (France) and the Ostereichring (Austria). 

Part of the Bevel Heaven is the Bevel Hell, that's something we all know. The Bevel Heaven is too beautiful, no Bevel Hell experience will make me turn my back to the Bevelhead Ducati's.

In the first years of the Dutch Ducati Clubraces the trophy's for the winners were chromed Rods and Big Ends that were finished in many unpleasant ways.

(sent in a few days later...) When the valve broke I was very quick in reacting with the clutch, no wheel slide (do I hear applause, thanks, thanks). Other detail I have to mention it just happened 100 meters from home. So even in Bevel Hell there is a touch of Bevel Heaven.

Cheers, Ron Verweij
Ron Verweij [[email protected]]

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