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Test, Ducati 900 SS

Ducati 900 Chiara

AT total of 50 pieces of the Ducati 900 Chiara are to be produced. The creation of the German importer DNL is pleasing to the eye, certainly, but the basis of the 900 SS is also sufficient for technical bright spots?

Fresh on the table from Germany. It’s nice that the German Ducati importer DNL has commissioned a special model of the traditional Italian brand from the Swabian authorized dealer Peter Hegemann on its own initiative. On the other hand, this initiative makes it clear how carelessly the image of the 750 and 900 SS models, which are slowly coming into the future, is being handled in Bologna. Model maintenance measures have not been worth mentioning for years, and new ideas seem to fall by the wayside in the eternal financial hassle with suppliers. In short, the sporty two-valve engines seem to be of no interest to the Ducati factory.


Ducati 900 Chiara

Ducati Supermono integrated, a single hump modeled on the flawless beauty 916, and the most important accents are set. The picture is rounded off by neatly manufactured toothed belt covers made of carbon fiber and an instrument panel also made of the important material. The result, which can be admired in the colors red or silver, causes very different reactions – it triggers enthusiasm for some and dismay for others. Taste is discussable.

The creator of this creation has to admit that it is not always so easy to combine a chic exterior with the desired functionality. The poor transition between the seat and the tank is annoying even when you try to sit down. The seat cushion is somehow too short. Instead of resting comfortably in the pre-formed, comfortable seat hollow, the very best has to constantly argue with the front hard edge of the cushion. This can be remedied by a longer cushion, which can be optionally installed by Peter Hegemann. "But that", the Swabian esthete puts on record, "just doesn’t look that elegant." Point two concerns the chassis. Here the improvements concentrate on the rear of the basic 900s. The not particularly stiff standard swing arm had to give way to a tangle made from welded aluminum tubing, built according to complex calculations. This construction, although not to everyone’s taste, has three key features: It is 30 millimeters longer, stiffer and, thanks to modified articulation points on the shock absorber, improves the response of the hindquarters.

So far so good. But whatever positive influences the elaborately manufactured swing arm brings with it is tipped overboard again with full hands: At the insistence of the customers, those responsible for this project agreed to put the Chiara on fashionable 120 and 180 slippers. Even if the choice of the Pirelli Dragon Corsa was anything but skimpy – putting a 193 kg motorcycle on such wide tires is criminal.

There is hardly a longitudinal groove that the Chiara does not follow, no bump that does not cause unrest when cornering, and no braking maneuver in an inclined position without an extremely uncomfortable set-up moment. And then there should be people who want to mount a 190 on their poor, defenseless Ducati – have fun.

The Chiara has the best prerequisites to meet the sporty demands of the SS models. Thanks to the higher Termignoni mufflers and the raised rear, forays of the exhaust manifolds over the asphalt are a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, DNL paid no attention to the two-cylinder. He works untouched in the well-known routine: air-cooled, two-valve, desmodromic, rough. Especially in the speed range below 2500 rpm the Vau behaves like a collapsing epileptic and pulls unrestrainedly at the wildly beating chain. At temperatures around freezing point, this state lasts up to over 3000 rpm. All too well known problem with Mikuni carburetors. In addition, the Chiara pushes ahead properly, although the test specimen with measured 75 hp is certainly not one of the strongest in the family.

And what about point three? What is beyond doubt is what to do with delay.

The four-piston pliers and the 320 mm cast discs from Spiegler represent an improvement of 2000 percent. Despite the use of the original 16 mm hand pump, the system, which is equipped with steel flex, shines with a bold bite and good controllability. Even after several tight laps on the small Hockenheim circuit, she showed no trace of the tiresome signs of fatigue of the original. The effort that was invested in the construction of the complex braking torque support when assembling the rear stopper, on the other hand, only bears visual fruit, because it can of course not do anything against the enormous reverse torque of the two-cylinder and the resulting brake pistons, only the grip on the helps as usual, quite stiff clutch lever.

Appropos levers: They should be adjustable to guarantee safe and comfortable access even to smaller hands. And the small rear-view mirrors should be replaced by one is that do their name more justice. And it would also be desirable if the idle control could finally be better recognized in the beautiful cockpit. Otherwise it can easily happen that when the starter button is pressed, the Chiara shows an unexpected will to live with the gear engaged and – hey presto – hops off the side stand. Wouldn’t it be a shame about the good piece, because after all it is a rarity. But you have to pay for it: 25,440 marks, there’s a real, official 748 for that. But a special model is a special model. And all of these units should be able to be delivered by the end of April. Of course with TÜV and two-year guarantee.

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