Ducati’s main marketing focus has always been road racing, winning championships. This drive goes back to the company’s motorcycle origins whether it was long distance street racing in Italy called the Moto Giro, or international road racing all the way up to today’s MotoGP.
In 1994 Ducati transitioned from the 851/888 Superbike and its variants to the 916 Superbike, but kept the lesser air-cooled, carbureted 900SS in the model offerings. No radiator or complicated electronics for fuel injection but still a trellis frame. But the 900SS, like other Ducati sport bikes, was offered in different appearance and performance trim levels. If you wanted the best 900SS, you went for the pricier but better performing “Sport Production” version, the SP.
The 900SS/SP used a one inch wider 5.5 inch rear rim and larger rear tire, fully adjustable front and rear suspension, a lighter aluminum swingarm, floating iron brake rotors, a full fairing and several bits of carbon fiber; stronger and lighter. Typically made in the hundreds of units, a bit exclusive, this particular SP is number 323 proclaimed by a nice plate proudly attached to the fork bridge at the factory. This owner has added the D&D exhaust and braided steel brake and clutch lines and a few other bits to reduce weight and add performance.
While the 916 monoposto superbike launched in this time frame was truly a brutal bike to ride at low (legal) speeds due to its clip-on handlebars and rearset pegs, the 900SS with pegs more forward and bars several inches higher is decent. Equipped with a sporty removable seat cowl covering a passenger seat, pegs could be reinstalled for an adventurous passenger.
When you visit the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, you can view this Ducati 900SS/SP on loan from John Smallwood, several other Ducatis, many Italian bikes plus the recently installed Cafe Racer exhibit.
- Engine: Air-Cooled 4-Stroke 90 Degree V-Twin
- Type: SOHC Desmodromic, 2 valve per Cylinder
- Bore & Stroke: 92 x 68mm
- Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
- Horsepower: 84HP
- Induction: Dual Mikuni BDST 38mm Carburetors
- Ignition: Electronic
- Starting: Electric Only
- Electrical System: 12 volt
- Clutch: Dry, Multi-Plate
- Primary: Gear Driven
- Transmission: 6 speed
- Front Suspension: 41mm Showa 3-Way Adjustable Fork
- Rear Suspension: Adjustable, 3-Way Adjustable Dual Shocks
- Front Brake: Dual 320mm Cast Iron Disks
- Rear Brake: 245mm Floating Disk
- Wheel/Tires: 120/70-17 / 170/60-17
- Weight: 424 Pounds
- Top Speed: 137mph
- Wheelbase: 54.9 Inches