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Max Demsky’s Ducati 916 Renews Our Faith in the Powersports Restoration Industry
BY Justin Reyes //
June 11, 2024
@_inmygarage_
Photography: Brandon Cody
@bcody_formative
  • Max Demsky’s passion for powersports stemmed from his early curiosity about how things worked.
  • Demsky gained knowledge in different ways, including YouTube tutorials, studying owner’s manuals, and even seeking mentorship from his mechanic neighbor.
  • Fate intervened when a Facebook Marketplace ad for a Ducati 916 caught his eye, and he eagerly seized the opportunity.
  • This newfound obsession with the 916 transformed his hobby into a serious pursuit.

The restoration industry has declined recently. Interest in mechanical knowledge has waned as technology dominated the current generation’s focus. While many older gearheads have “lost hope” in young enthusiasts like myself, a recent encounter at our local Cars and Coffee season opener proved the naysayers wrong. Max Demsky, a 22-year-old college graduate, arrived with his beautifully restored Ducati 916, turning heads and earning well-deserved admiration from spectators.

CURIOSITY CREATES KNOWLEDGE

You can say that taking things apart and putting them back together is a part of Demsky’s DNA. At an early age, Max Demsky could be found either dismembering his toys or under his family’s car, trying to figure out how things worked. A quizzical mind is healthy, and although his parents didn’t exhibit the same enthusiasm for cars or bikes as their son, he was encouraged to explore his interests.

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM

Gaining the skillset to restore anything requires extensive knowledge and patience, but with passion and ambition, you can achieve anything. Demsky immersed himself in the world of powersports restoration by watching YouTube tutorials, studying owner’s manuals, and seeking mentorship from his mechanic neighbor. This relentless pursuit paid off as he tackled one bike after another, culminating in the restoration of his prized Ducati 916.

AN ICONIC BIKE

Let me bring you up to speed for those who don’t know much about the Ducati 916. When the 916 was first unveiled at the Milan Motorcycle Show in 1993, it immediately became an icon of Ducati style and an instant classic, thanks to the genius of its designer, Massimo Tamburini. Its sleek, aggressive lines, under-seat exhaust, and single-sided swingarm set it apart from other bikes of its time, giving it an unmistakably elegant and sporty appearance.

At just 16, Max Demsky recognized the beauty and performance of the Ducati 916 and aspired to own one. Who can blame him? The Ducati’s timeless design still holds its value compared to today’s standards. While scrolling through Facebook Marketplace, Demsky found a “low-mile” 916 for sale in Westchester, New York. Understanding his passion, Demsky’s parents supported his journey, and he and his father traveled to see the bike. After some negotiation, the 916 officially became his.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

We all know that some projects are a lot more than they seem. This case is no different. Once Demsky returned to his family garage with the bike, he knew there was work to be done. The bike was purchased as a non-running project, and like any mechanic, Max Demsky started with the basics. The fuel system was particularly problematic, requiring Demsky to clean and realign the tank, reassemble the fuel cap, and replace clogged injectors. The bike’s advanced design and four-valve liquid-cooled V-twin engine still excite riders today, but they also come with common issues.

The Desmoquattro, the engine’s name, is notorious for having valve issues due to valves falling out of timing, and unfortunately for Demsky, his Ducati was no different. Replacing the valves and faulty belts was an agonizing process, but it soon became well worth it because four months later, the 916 came to life.

MILES PER SMILES

Hearing the Ducati idle could put a smile on anyone’s face. The idle note from the Desmoquattro, paired with the Termignoni exhaust, holds a confident presence. Demsky describes riding the bike for the first time after the restoration as a raw experience. The powerful engine roared to life with a symphony of mechanical perfection, and every twist of the throttle unleashed a surge of adrenaline. The bike’s responsiveness and precision handling made it clear why the 916 is revered as one of the greatest motorcycles ever made. For Demsky, it was not just a ride; it was a testament to his dedication and a moment that solidified his passion for vintage motorcycle restoration.


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