Ducati 916: the divine

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Ducati 916: the divine


Ducati 916: the divine

Famous Motorcycles Finale: Ducati 916
The divine

Michael Pfeiffer


Now I have to do it again, and may the kind reader forgive me. But I cannot write this story in any other way than in the first person. This narrative form, sometimes perceived as presumptuous by journalists and gladly erased by editors-in-chief, is only permissible when it comes to very personal matters. And that’s exactly what the following pages are all about. About my very personal experiences with the decade motorcycle of the 90s, the Ducati 916. “You have to come along to the dealer conference in Bologna,” urges me from my Italian friend Silvano. He’s a Ducati dealer and tells me with shining eyes about a really great new machine that he spotted in the testing department of the plant. “I’m a journalist, and the Ducati people know me, I say no. ? No problem, you disguise yourself as my mechanic, I can get you in there.” An offer you couldn’t refuse, especially if you were a young, hungry editor at a medium-sized sports motorcycle magazine … A cool summer morning in Bologna, a dreary hotel courtyard, many Italian Ducati dealers, I stay away from all managers , but take pictures happily. New Mito, a new Cagiva Elefant and right at the front an unbelievable machine: red frame, extremely crouched line, insanely slim waist ?? that was it. Silvano hadn’t promised too much: Ducati would probably soon be launching a superbike that would make all the 851s and 888s and all the Japanese fade away anyway. A new, much more racing machine, with a single swing arm, double headlights, and a thicker engine. A few more pictures and I’ll be gone. That’s unbelieveable! My boss gives me a good side to the story, along with the Honda RC 45! The man has no idea what I’m bringing with me. I have the world’s first photos of a sensational, groundbreaking new machine, and this bean counter doesn’t turn out a page. It has to be on the title, big! It doesn’t come down to the title and it sticks to a good side. I am writing succinctly about a new, obviously much sportier Ducati, the one with two millimeters more bore 916 Cubic centimeter displacement and 265 km / h has probably already run. Colleague Peter Limmert, the older readers may remember him, asked me why I would always lean so far out of the window with my stories, and he is so right. One shouldn’t praise the day before evening, and the Italians may look good, but of course they don’t really work. January 1994, Misano, world presentation of the Ducati 916. After all, I was allowed to attend the event, otherwise I would have canceled immediately. Design guru Massimo Tamburini personally pushes one of the four Ducati 916 gems out of the box. The journalists are deeply silent: this has never happened before. This slim waistline, this crouched overall line, this slim rear end with the two oval mufflers underneath, single-sided swing arm, cast fairing brackets, mighty airbox, 50 mm throttle bodies, 190 mm rear tires. A new, beautiful, infinitely attractive, promising world! My trip comes in the afternoon. I have to watch for hours as my colleagues maltreat the gearbox, fail to hit the ideal line and the weather gets worse. Photographer Frank Herzog is getting angry. The story is not in the bag yet. A 916 was already on it by an over-motivated Japanese, now it begins to trickle, and the untalented editor of a Cologne motorcycle magazine that has since disappeared from the market continues to drive as if it were dry. ? That’s not going well, I tell Frank, and the next 916 rolls over in the gravel bed. To this day, I have not forgotten Mr Tamburini’s contorted face. He locks the box and declares the event over. The four machines had been built by hand for the journalle, and after barely five hours half had been eliminated. From then on, Master was silent and poured deep contempt on us. My story? What will happen to my story? I work on the Ducati press officer, I speak to Mr Castiglioni personally. I bribe the mechanics, I just don’t go. While the colleagues have already disappeared, the roller door rattles up again. There would still be a mule without a mirror, in God’s name I should just do a few more laps with it. It will be one of the most beautiful laps in my motorcyclist life. The sun is glowing towards the horizon and I have this incredible motorcycle under me. Nobody drives anymore, lens Frank is on a curve with the telephoto. I let it roll At first hesitantly, because the engine is already pushing properly in the middle. Then a little faster. I’m happy about the razor-sharp handling and the unbelievable stability. At some point your knee feels the asphalt, and the Ducati still has immense reserves. The last few laps I squeeze out the engine, switch off at 10,000 rpm, turn off sharply, brake on the last groove. It roars from the tailpipes and pounds in the airbox like never before. Euphoria, pure euphoria, I had never driven a machine like this before. And that with street legal, 109 hp, guarantee. ? You enjoyed that, didn’t you? A Ducati mechanic asks me, and Frank finally seems satisfied too. He did something with backlight. “The sun shone right under your knee, looked pretty good, but nobody takes it into the notebook. Frank is the coolest photographer dog ever and is right. The photo is still on my shelf today, a picture to dream about for bike-free winter evenings. To write about the 916 without going into the running would be a sin. Because that’s what it was mainly designed for. The gentlemen Carl Fogarty, Troy Corser and Troy Bayliss were six times Superbike world champions. The 916 won countless races at national and international level. Will there ever be such a big hit in motorcycle construction again? To own a 916 that has not been tinkered with today means to have a treasure. Maintaining them is a top biker’s duty.

Ducati 916

Engine: two-cylinder four-stroke 90 degree V engine, four valves per combustion chamber, desmodromic controlled, bore x stroke 94 x 66 millimeters, 916 cm3, 79 kW (109 hp) at 9000 rpm, 86 Nm at 7000 rpm min, injection, electric starter, dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, chain drive. Chassis: tubular steel frame, upside-down fork, rear suspension strut, single-arm aluminum swing arm with lever system, double disc brake in front, disc brake in rear, cast wheels, tires 120/70 ZR 17 and 190 / 50 ZR 17. Dimensions and weight: wheelbase 1410 mm, steering head angle 66 degrees, seat height 770 mm, weight with a full tank 211 kg, tank capacity 17 liters, top speed 256 km / h. price 1994:? 27,900 marks including ancillary costs (14,265 euros)

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