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-   -   1996 996 SPS vs new 998s FE? (/showthread.php?t=19241)

david.hicks 30-Jun-2005 03:36 PM

1996 996 SPS vs new 998s FE?
After a biking career solely on Jap machinery, on Monday I spent a happy day at my local bike shops deciding what to buy as my first Ducati.

Started off with test rides on the 749 and 999 s models. I had about 20 mins on each - 5 mins in town, 5 mins on b-roads and 10 mins on a-roads - not long, but enough to give me some "first ever Ducati" impressions ....

- better looking up close & in the flesh than in pictures
- easiest bikes to ride fast I have ever come across
- great handling
- hot arse
- aching left hand from heavy clutch
- sore wrists

however, overall I wasn't as blown away by them as I expected to be given all the hype. On balance I preferred the less revvy nature of the 999.

Next I went a few mins up the road to another shop and test rode a 1999 800 mile 996 SPS with a John Hackett chip ....

What can I say - words fail me, but TRULY AWESOME is kind of how it felt. Just sitting on it got me giggling inside - the riding position is just so spot-on, focused and purposeful. Then I started the engine and the noise! AMAZING. Like an earthquake or a Spitfire or something. 30 mins riding around the same roads had me totally hooked - I was screaming and laughing out loud to myself like a nutter on a roller-coaster - oh my God, what a bike.

The riding and power delivery is clearly more sporty than the 749/999 but it just felt so much better (even in the arse/wrists/left hand department). The only thing that didn't feel as good as the 749/999 was the brakes.

I would have bought the 996 SPS there and then but for a couple of things ...
1. It wasn't in excellent condition (good but not excellent)
2. Up the road they had a brand-new 998s Final Edition that had caught my eye.

Unfortunately they won't let me test ride the 998s FE so I am in a real quandry about what to do. I am leaning towards the 998s FE because it is new/the very last in the line/has zero miles etc. etc. - but I am concerned that the riding experience won't be everything that the 996 SPS was.

Can anyone who has ridden both of these bikes (or similar) offer me any opinion on the differences in riding experience?

I think I understand the main differences in spec (different engine, suspension etc.), but I want to try to get an insight into the difference in feel. I will be gutted if I buy the 998s FE and am disappointed after riding the 996 SPS.

The 996 SPS was standard except for the John Hackett chip and a 14 tooth front sprocket. So far as the 998s FE goes, I would plan to put 50m carbon Termis and a 14 tooth front sprocket on and otherwise leave it standard for starters.

Any thoughts much appreciated.


david.hicks 30-Jun-2005 03:37 PM

Ooops - 1999 996 not 1996 (too many 9s and 6s!)

beancounter 30-Jun-2005 03:42 PM

I haven't ridden the 998 so cannot really answer your question.

However, I did change the brakes on my SPS to P34 4 pad calipers with cast iron disks - a great improvement on standard, could hardly ask for more.

I would say go for the SPS but then I would, wouldn't I.

JPM 30-Jun-2005 03:50 PM

I had a box standard 996 that I threw countless amounts of money at and it was a great bike, not an SPS but had many of the things you describe, I then had a 998S Bostrom Replica, which I am guessing will be a similar spec? Ohlins all round etc?

Purists may say get the SPS but if you want more ponies go for the 998 with the latest engine, which should be more reliable, plus you'll get better stoppers also with better brakes etc.

BDG/Rattler to name but two have had a 996SPS and a 996R, they maybe able to find the small differences

Twinfan 30-Jun-2005 04:08 PM

Depends how much cash you have I guess! If you can afford the 998, I'd go for that. New bike, full warranty etc.

bostrom998 30-Jun-2005 04:14 PM

If money not a problem go for the 998.....warranty etc and it gets the Ohlins font end etc. I have a Bostrom Rep and the sheer poke of the testastretta engine and the 4 pad stoppers make it a cut above in terms of performance. Not seen many discounted though as I guess they knew they'r go eventually?
No competition with 999/749, whole different and better ball game. new bikes nothing but grief unless you go all the way to the top for an R and even then styling still doesn't do it for me.
Only argument for SPS (providing it's genuine) is that if you plan to keep it and generally pamper it I reckon it'll be quite a good long term investment. When I asked John Baines lasy week which 4 valve Duke he thought would end up as the best long term hold he simlpy said...SPS....

Twinfan 30-Jun-2005 04:25 PM

I would have thought the 996R/998R would have been the best long term prospect. New generation motor, and much respected chassis.

I guess the SPS has depreciated nicely now and is the last of the pre-testastretta engines...

bostrom998 30-Jun-2005 05:16 PM

You could be right there but somehow the SPS seems more evocative even if it less efficient, and I guess that's what the collectors of the future will want?

beancounter 30-Jun-2005 05:16 PM


Mr C 30-Jun-2005 05:25 PM


Originally posted by JPM
it was a great bike,

Rest In Pieces :sniff:

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