Series: Legendary Motorcycles. Episode 2: Ducati 916

Fast beauty

Photo: ScuderiaAssindia/WikipediaIn this series we present legendary motorcycles at irregular intervals. In episode 2 we deal with the fast and beautiful Ducati 916, which you don't look at her age of over 20 years.

It is not so often that trade fair visitors hold their breath during a presentation - at the Milan Salon in October 1993 it happened anyway. Ducati showed the revolutionary super athlete 916 for the first time. In one fell swoop, the competition seemed outdated. The revolutionary thing at the time was the Italians' approach: they did not develop a racing machine from a street version, but the other way around. This presentation was about a racing machine that was trimmed for road. Suddenly the Duc was uniquely sexy, the competition aged in one minute by years.

As a result, the Duc delivered powerfully on the race track: the 916 and its visually similar successors 996 and 998 won eight constructors' and six riders' titles in the Superbike World Championship from 1994.

On the street, on the other hand, things didn't go so well. Although many raved about the ultimate super athlete, who looked gorgeous (design by Massimo Tamburini and Sergio Robbiano). The extremely narrow cladding, the aggressive double headlights and the then very rare under-seat exhaust system made them look fantastic, but the owners paid a high price - and that does not mean the cost of at least 28,000 marks.

Because the Duc proved to be very strenuous in handling. The buyers did not get a cheat pack but a real racing machine, which started with the extreme sitting position and did not stop with the heavy-duty clutch. Racing machines are there to be fast - they subordinate everything else to it. The 916 continues to function better and better the faster it progresses. Extremely driven, it shows an unheard of stability of the chassis, sharp handling and a powerful engine. Doesn't sound suitable for everyday use: If other super sportsmen were more of a second motorcycle, the Duc is still more the third motorcycle in the stable of collectors.

Despite high demand, Ducati delivered fewer and fewer motorcycles than could have been sold. This was due to financial shortages of the Italians and, as a result, sluggish production, so that, despite the construction period from 1994 to the end of 1997, no 4,000 units were produced per year. Legendary? Yes, and rarely.