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1981 Ducati 900 Desmo "Super Sport" SSD, Post #2

Posted by Scot Wilson on

It is my opinion that the Ducati square case bevel drive 900 Desmo Super Sport SSD is an outstanding option for that individual who is looking for a potent performing Bevel Drive vintage motorcycle. It has the very torquey 900 engine with electric starter motor and the capacity for taking a passenger with ease. As mentioned in my previous blog post on this bike, I do understand that it is not as lithe or as race-.ready as the 900 ss SuperSport without electric start. However, the 900 SSD was in fact, raced successfully.

I find that the majority of motorcycle enthusiasts and especially those in the vintage motorcycle community are not racers but enthusiasts that enjoy the potency of a race designed engine but set-up for the street. For me, that enthusiast who wants a collectible, beautiful and potent street machine, the SSD is difficult to beat. When I park the bike, it definately draws a crowd. However, on our mountain roads surrounding Tucson, this bike is most at home taking on the twisties up to 10 ft level. The engine pulls strongly and without effort. The chassis is more than capable to the task of quick changes as the road twists and turns up the mountain. "Riding on rails" is a common description of a Ducati bevel drive and this bike fulfills that phrase to the letter. 

As the engine is the "heart" of any motorized vehicle, I would like to touch on the value of the technical expertise that went into the build of this engine. Previously mentioned, I purchased all of Jan Biggelaar's Bevel Drive and Pantah inventory. The Biggelaar family are a third generation Ducati dealer in Osterwijk, The Netherlands. Jan and Wim who worked on the Ducati bevel drive Singles & Twins were getting ready to "semi-retire"which is why the inventory was available. However, it was Jan who insisted that I take the 900 SSD project to bring it back to life. The agreement was that the Biggelaar shop was to do a "crank-up" build of this engine. 

I asked Jan and his team to build a high performance 900 Super Sport engine and from the crank up. The crank was magna-fluxed and balanced with new lightened Super Sport rods. Borgo SS pistons were connected with Hastings piston rings. All bearings were new and not the cheap items that you can find on the internet. Viton valve guides that are hardened to used with modern fuels were also installed. All transmission gears that needed replacing were replaced with NOS items. Additionally, the bevel gears in the bottom end of the engine were tested and replaced as well as a new clutch and internals. 

The engine cases were also pressure tested for any hairline cracks or imperfections. and vapor blasted to bring that magnificent engine to its original splendor. New piston sleeves were bored professionally to take the SS Borgo pistons and we used 900 ss heads that use the bigger valves with new rockers and Desmo valve gear. This race spec engine picks up revs very quickly and starts immediately with the rebuilt electric starter motor. As a race prepped 900 ss engine, it comes with new 40 mm Del Orto's connected by rubber boots for insulation to the Malossi manifolds. She truly performs as well as she looks!!

The header pipes have been re-chromed and mount into a set of Conti Replica exhaust pipes. I have the original Lafranconti exhaust mufflers, but I felt that it was sacrilegious not to use anything other than a Conti style muffler for that wonderful exhaust note. I love those views of the Square Case engines!

As I am enjoying riding and having this beautiful Ducati in the garage, I did promise my wife that it would be for sale as I try to transition from the corporate world to semi-retirement. The goal is to pursue my passion if not addiction and build up the numerous Ducati's that are in this Biggelaar inventory and bring them back to life for other's to share. 

It is my hope to find that individual who has been looking for a collectible Ducati bevel drive Super Sport SSD as the factory only made 1440 of these beautiful machines. My biggest hope is that individual who buys this 900 SSD will Ride It!!. I have ridden and raced many different marques but I love the torque, stability and performance of the big Ducati twins as it is truly useable power. 

With regards, to price, I will share my philosophy which is primarily the concept of a Win:Win. This is why I have listed OBO which means Or Best Offer. However, in Mr. Falloon's restoration book, he addresses the cost of rebuilding these bevel drive motorcycles and he estimates that on average, the cost is $12,000 to $15,000 or more. There are those who can work on their own bikes and do it for less. However, I elected to use a professional shop that will guarantee their work on a project that I knew that I was going to build to sell. 

This Biggelaar prepared engine is not only powerful but timed to perfection. I have not had to use the choke to start the engine and it starts immediately on the first push of the starter motor. I did have a leak from the inspection cover which seems to be a common problem but once fixed, the engine has not dripped a drop of oil despite the split engine cases. It is a blast to ride and it has been remarkably reliable.

In conclusion, I will entertain any viable offer but a do not subscribe to the "something for nothing" mindset that seems to be a common approach to the Ebay shopper and for those who want things on the cheap. It is true that "you get what you pay for" and that is evidenced in this build. In addition to the engine build, the paint and decals are new and we made the wiring loom with upgraded materials, connectors, fuse box and voltage regulator but it still looks vintage. All bearings are new throughout. No expense was spared to get the look, the performance and the reliability of this classic Ducati.

Feel free to e-mail me with questions at italianiron@msn.com or call me at: 520-730-7576 and I will be happy to talk about this special bevel drive motorcycle. Until the next blog........................ 

 


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