Ducati 900 SS in the test

Ducati 900 SS in the test
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Ducati 900 SS in the test

Ducati 900 SS as a used motorcycle

The mature Italian lady has not lost any of the sportiness with which she entered the stage 20 years ago and enraptured lovers of sporty two-cylinder models. How does the Ducati 900 SS perform in the test?

S.upersport with 78 hp? That sounds rather amusing in 2009. Where current super athletes conjure up almost 130 hp from 600 cm³. In 1990, when the first 900 Supersport rolled out of the factory, things looked different, and the red beauty delighted sports fans. And it still accelerates the pulse today.

Less because of the enormous top performance or breathtaking driving performance, but with its characterful V2 impact and the powerful pressure at medium speeds, i.e. between about 3000 and 6000 tours. The maximum power is already available at 7000 rpm, turning higher makes little sense, the V2 then seems tough and reminds you to shift.

Just like the engine, the seating position quickly makes it clear that this is not an extreme, but an everyday athlete, with whom a brisk pace is certainly possible.

The handlebars are not racing-like deep, but mounted at a tolerable height, the tank allows the driver to move quite far forward – the Duc does not force the pilot into an annoying stretched position like some other athletes, but lets him sit relaxed and bent. Even the passenger finds a decent place.

Of course, the 900er has not become a soft-washed touring block, thanks to the tightly coordinated, fully adjustable Showa suspension elements. The fork has the edge here: it responds sensitively, swallows almost everything and has plenty of reserves when it comes to damping. The shock absorber is more of the stubborn type and passes on many a shock unmoved to the driver’s back.

For a really sporty driving style, the Brembo brakes should also offer more bite and, above all, better controllability. In the absence of a specific pressure point, it lacks a little transparency.

On the other hand, there is little to complain about with the legendary, beautiful tubular space frame – it is well processed and ensures impeccable stability. Despite the very low weight of only 198 kilograms, it does not fall as easily in curves as one might assume. It needs a bit of emphasis, and it looks a bit wobbly in slow, tight corners.

Well-developed country roads with long curves that you take at high speed are the most fun. However, if you let it go right with the Duc, for example on the empty motorway, consumption increases from normally a good five liters to values ​​of well over eight liters per 100 kilometers. And super, as its name suggests. So it somehow rightly bears its name.

Short judgment


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Unobstructed view of the fully adjustable shock absorber, which, however, is insensitive and a bit stubborn to short, hard impacts.

Plus:

  • Powerful V2 engine
  • Iconic Ducati design
  • Relatively relaxed seating position for driver and front passenger
  • Stable chassis
  • High quality
  • Sensitive, appealing fork

Minus:

  • Brake moderately adjustable
  • It is wobbly in tight corners
  • Partly cheap looking attachments
  • At a brisk pace, consumption increases sharply

The competition


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The competition: the red trio.

Honda VTR 1000 F. (Left)
A good, good-natured sports tourer who knows no extremes. At most when it comes to consumption: the powerful V2 simply drinks too much. Price: 9367 euros (1997)

Suzuki TL 1000 S. (center)
Strong and very fast, but burdened with high consumption and teething troubles, the TL strengthened the V2 athlete squad. Price: 9096 euros (1997)

Yamaha TRX 850 (right)
Only the angular seat and load change reactions spoil the fun with the handy TRX and its robust row twin. Price: 8022 euros (1997)

Technical specifications


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Flat and crouched: low air resistance enables the respectable top speed.

The data*

Engine: two-cylinder four-stroke / V
Displacement: 904 cm³
Power transmission: six-speed gearbox / chain
Output: 57 kW (78 hp) at 7300 rpm
Max. Torque: 83 Nm at 6400 rpm
Front brake: double disc (Ø 320 mm)
Rear brake: disc (Ø 245 mm)
Front tire: 120/70 ZR 17
Rear tire: 170/60 ZR 17
Wheelbase: 1410 mm
Suspension travel front / rear: 120/125 mm 
Seat height: 800 mm
Tank capacity: 17.5 liters, super
Red color
Maintenance intervals: 5000 km
Price: 9645 euros (new price 1997) from 2500 euros (used)

The readings

Top speed: 213 km / h
Acceleration 0-100 km / h: 3.5 sec
Pulling speed 60−140 km / h: 11.3 sec
Weight with a full tank: 198 kg
Payload: 202 kg consumption
Country road: 5.3 l / 100 km

* Factory specification

Naked and Successor


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The Ducati 900 SS Nuda and 900 SS ie.

As 900 SS Nuda (Left), As “naked”, the Sport Duc was available from 1991 with a half shell, parallel to the “Carenata” with full fairing. Your advantages: € 268 saving and around three kilograms less weight.

With injection (right): In 1998 the 900 SS ie replaced the carburettor version. The engine hardly gained any strength (now 79 hp), but impresses with perfect throttle response from 2000 rpm. Also better: handling and braking.

City, country and highway


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Stripped: The stable and neat tubular space frame looks very filigree. Unusual: the battery sits right at the top under the tank.

In the city
Thanks to the wide, not too deeply mounted handlebar stubs and the relatively short tank, the sitting posture for a Ducati is downright humane. However, the stiff clutch is strenuous in the long run, the small steering angle prevents better maneuverability and makes winding and maneuvering more difficult.

On the country road
The V2 already delivers full power below and in the middle, which saves some switching operations. The stable Duc is most fun on smoothly ironed slopes with curves that are not too tight. She doesn’t like tight turns because of her tendency to tilt and she doesn’t like bad surfaces because of the insensitive shock absorber.

On the highway
If there is one thing the Ducati can do, it is stable and straight bolts. This can even be tolerated for a long time, because the sitting posture is quite relaxed and the wind protection is acceptable. With a top speed of over 210 km / h, the 900 is one of the fleets on the railroad, but it pulls the fuel through mercilessly at high speeds.

Graduation certificate Ducati 900 SS


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The 900 SS is not super handy and demands a clean driving style, but it follows the chosen line steadfastly.

Engine: Moderate top performance, but pleasantly powerful even at low speeds. A brisk pace increases fuel consumption drastically. (3 of 5 points)

Landing gear: The sensitive fork deserves a slightly less stubborn shock absorber. The Duc is not super handy, but very stable. (4 of 5)

Brakes: The effect of the Brembo stoppers is quite okay, but the controllability suffers from the not clearly defined pressure point. (3 of 5)

Furnishing: You won’t find unnecessary luxury here, but the Duc has everything an athlete needs. Partly cheap add-on parts cloud the picture a little. (3 of 5)

Comfort: The sitting posture is not that uncomfortable, even the pillion passenger will find a bearable place. Wind protection and suspension comfort are mediocre. (3 of 5)

Suitable for beginners: The stiff, jerky clutch, the sometimes wobbly driving behavior and the moderately adjustable brakes do not recommend the Duc here. (1 of 5)

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