No bike of the 1970s better illustrates how lessons learned at the race track could translate to road-going superbikes. In 1975, a 135mph top-speed had everything else chasing the elegant heels of the Ducati 900SS.
Ducati were well on their way to establishing their niche as a manufacturer of exotic, highperformance V-twins ahead of the launch of the 900SS. The bike was rooted in the 750cc V-twin racers of Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari, who famously finished first and second in the 1972 Imola 200.
The 900SS used the bore and stroke of the 860GT tourer (86 x 74.4mm) giving both bikes a capacity of 864cc. The Imola 750s used the same stroke too. Fabio Taglioni was the engineering genius behind the V-twin projects and the 900SS featured his preferred 90-degree layout and desmodromic valve actuation off bevel driven cams. Filterless 40mm Dell’orto carbs conspired with freeflowing Conti exhausts to give the SS its imperious bark. A measured [email protected] at the crankshaft gave 68bhp at the rear-wheel.
If the performance caused jaws to drop, the graceful lines of the 900SS did so too. The bike’s proddie racer pedigree was plain to see; from the stark utility of its design and layout to the absence of an electric start. Clip-ons, rearsets, a half-fairing and a single seat further suggested where the 900SS had come from and where it might take you. If you really wanted to carry a passenger then a dual seat and pillion ’pegs could be specified but in truth a bike like the 900SS is very much a solo pleasure.
“If the performance caused jaws to drop, the graceful lines of the 900SS did so too”