Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - The 1990's -

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”


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