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Ducati 900 ss MHR Restoration

Posted by Scot Wilson on

I certainly think that it is time to add some "Red" into the conversation. Yes, I remain smitten with Ochre yellow of the original Ducati 750 Bevel Drive Sports, however, the Italian Red is certainly a dynamic and significant Ducati color. The Ducati 900 Super Sport Mike Hailwood Replica has always been a significant model built by the factory and the color scheme in my opinion is brilliant. 

This is my second favorite Ducati Bevel Drive motorcycle. I enjoyed the build of this bike that came in my inventory of boxes of bits from Biggelaar Specialty Performance. I was also very fortunate that Kent Jornevall had found a 900 ss engine and offered it. 

What a great opportunity to get a hard-to-find 900 ss engine but that was already rebuilt by Kent's expert hand from his Silver Fish Race Department in Sweden. This allowed me to speed up dramatically the build time. As an aside, the red 900 ss frame in the photo above looks great against the Ochre Yellow of my Spaggiari Ducati Scuderia Corse 750 ss. Sympatico!!

With a large inventory, the process began with fitting bits and then upgrading or refurbishing other bits as the restoration process continued to evolve. Fortunately, I did end up getting the solo seat base and a NCR style front fender/mudguard from Malcolme at Syd's Cycles. There truly is an evolution in the building process with modern "floating" brake rotors courtesy of Roy Thersby in the UK for example. I personally like the use of modern brake components and believe that it is critical to have those modern brake items as the American population ages and traffic becomes more of a battle to survive, unfortunately. 

I have always been a fan of the "Race Replica" approach to a build as Ducati's passion for racing seems to be a significant part of how and why they design the bikes that they do. Therefore, 40 mm Del Orto carbs are a must and through an "open" 2:1 exhaust system. The exhaust note is symphonic and especially to someone who lusts after the smell of the original Castrol, high octane race fuel and high compression pistons. Glorious!

As it is my intention to always keep this bike, we did end up building a new wiring harness with modern quality bits but in shrink wrap to keep the vintage look. Modern voltage regulator, coils and fuse box make for an extremely reliable vintage machine. However, it was the process of working with my painters that I had the most fun. I did "mock-up" a full fairing scenario but elected to go with a 900 ss half fairing to expose more of that beautiful trellis frame and magnificent Bevel Drive engine. It is my belief that we created a very "clean" looking bike with all wires/bits nicely "tucked away". 

 

A little "fine-tuning" of the carbs to balance the symphony coming from the two big cylinder heads. It is also a benefit to have friends who love bikes and own CNC or machine shops as we made custom rear-sets. It seems that it is always necessary to make some of the bits when missing original bits or not wanting to use them. 

The fun of the race-rep build is that I can execute my own design concept. I cut off the side cover mounts as a personal preference to keep the open/race look. Further, I used what I think is a striking green metallic paint that I discovered when restoring two Bimota's. I have the paint formula for the Bimota green that was used on the DB 1 and DB2 that I rebuilt. The color in our Arizona sun just comes alive! It works with the Castrol decals even though the decals have the darker flatter green. 

The taillight and license plate bracket is Carbon Fiber as I have the molds for those Euro style items with the round Euro stop light. Gas shocks from my Spaggiari Ducati 750 ss racebike while it is being rebuilt keeps the rear of the bike up and weight forward. This Ducati 900 ss MHR is the bike that I use on the street the most. Great power delivery and modern upgrades for safety and reliability has made this Bevel Drive Ducati an amazingly reliable ride. 

It is a formidable "canyon carver" on our mountain roads here in Tucson, Arizona USA. This is a motorcycle that I will not ever tire of. It has everything to include looks, performance, handling, a raw race sound, and I believe it has a "soul"! Riding a vintage Ducati Bevel Drive 900 SuperSport is a spiritual experience. Trying to explain this experience is like explaining my USMC bootcamp experience to someone who has never been. It has to be lived to be experienced. If you own a Bevel Drive Ducati, I do hope that you love it, use it and enjoy it. 

Stay tuned as I build another Ducati 900 SuperSport MHR but with full fairing and Sports graphics. 


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