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1981 Ducati 900 Desmo "SuperSport"SSD

Posted by Scot Wilson on

Our recent restoration project that is now available for sale is a 1981 Ducati 900 SSD. I would recommend this Ducati for that individual who loves the Ducati brand and is smitten with the Taglioni inspired Bevel Drive engines of the 1970's and 1980's. Additionally, this 900 SSD is a limited production model and along with the Mike Hailwood Replica was part of Ducati's marketing efforts back in the late 70's and 1980's to increase sales by building upon the successes of the Bevel Drive 900 SD and the 900 ss racers. The 900 SD Darmah was the most popular Ducati model of the time. This is according to Ducati global expert, Ian Falloon, and from his book: 860,900 & Mille Bible on page 79. Mr. Fallon also writes "the 900 SD Darmah was  a brilliant combination of an electric start desmodromic 860 cc engine with a sport touring chassis, with high quality Japanese and German electrical components".

It was, therefore, only natural that the factory saw the opportunity to create a Super Sport version of their popular 900 SD Darmah that "combined 900 SD engine and chassis with a Super Sport riding position and fairing. This produced an extremely attractive machine. In the author's words, the 900 SSD was "one of the the more attractive machines to emanate from Borgo Panigale".  

 I am in agreement with Mr. Falloon that the 900 Super Sport Darmah is in fact, one of the Ducati factory's most successful designs. It is my belief that this machine is especially ideal for that individual who wants all of the stability, performance and looks that Ducati's are famous for in a very solid package with capacity to bring along a passenger. This 900 SSD is parked next to my 900 SS Mike Hailwood Replica. I love riding both bikes, however, I do understand how the "purists" hold the 900 ss or 900 ss MHR as having more of a race pedigree. As I have raced the Ducati bevel drives, I would agree as it appears lighter and more track worthy. 

If I did not have track experience and I desired a comfortable, stable, confidence-inspiring machine with a robust desmodromic engine for the street, I do not think that you can find a better vintage machine or marque than the very potent 900 Super Sport Desmo SSD. It has good looks as well as brawn!

At Italian Iron Classics, LLC, we also built this bike for reliability and for safety. Our professional partners at Biggelaar Specialty Performance built the engine from the crank up. When I purchased the bevel drive and Pantah inventory from Jan, he was very emphatic that I take the frame and the other bits to restore this very special SSD and I am so glad that I did. As Jan is retired and his son, Toine runs this 3rd generation family business, he does travel back to Holland to help out with projects in the shop and to bring his expertise and years of experience with the bevel drive engines. You can read in the build description under bikes for sale, all that was done by Jan and the team of Biggelaar Specialty Performance. 

Needless to say, Jan and Wim worked tirelessly and from the rebuilding of the crank to the completion of the engine and the result is stellar. I am amazed that despite the "split" cases, there has not been one spot of oil and there remains no spots of oil under this engine. Further, we built this engine as a 900 Super Sport with 900 ss heads with the bigger valves and using 40 mm Del Orto carbs. There is no need to use a choke and the engine instantaneously jumps to life at the first push of the starter motor. Gears, pistons, rods and transmission gears are all new and it pulls brilliantly with all of that famous Ducati bevel drive torque up our mountain roads.

To aide in greater reliability, we built our own wiring loom/harness using modern components that look vintage but have the quality of modern items. I elected to use solid aluminum Oscam wheels instead of magnesium items. Rotors and calipers are all new. However, I use modern master cylinders for greater reliability. Loosing the use of your vintage front brake master cylinder is no fun and ever since it happened to me at the track, all of my vintage bikes have the modern items. You can elect to put the old scary bits back on if you wish. 

However, the person that I expect to purchase this 900 SSD will be someone who I hope will want it due to the collectivity of limited production vintage Ducati bevel drive motorcycles but it is my sincerest wish that individual will ride this brilliant machine. Ing. Taglioni and Ducati were so ahead of their time in so many ways with these machines. Only by riding one, can you truly understand. It will also give you insight into how this engine configuration is the inspiration and basis for the modern Ducati race bikes and street bikes that continue to come out of Bologna, Italy. 


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