The Ducati 900SS was one of the only non-Japanese supersports capable of rising to popularity and clinching Ducati’s grip on a multi-million dollar market cap. Faced with considerable pressure by Japanese competition, the 900SS was Ducati’s only real hope at breaking through to the market.
History of the Underdog
In the beginning, Ducati was the underdog. Compared to the massive market capitalization of the supersport wing of the motorcycle industry by Japanese manufacturers and designers, there was almost no way for Ducati to win over a large enough share of consumers to succeed.
At least, this was the case until the 900SS hit the market in 1975, becoming an instant success.
The Design of a Newcomer
The 1976 Ducati 900SS sported an air-cooled, bi-valved four-stroke, 90-degree, desmodromic, V-twin engine. The power and handling capabilities of this superbike enabled riders to enjoy a pristine sense of speed and control while behind the handlebars of this newcomer.
Timeline of Versions with Changes and Pictures
Since it first entered production in 1975, the Ducati 900SS has undergone countless changes with the number of unofficial generations being around 18, although many of them were meant to be simply updated versions of the previous calendar year generations.
- Ducati 900SS (1975-1976)
The original 900SS was designed for speed. In order to upseat the entrenched Japanese designers, Ducati had to prove themselves capable of manufacturing a total powerhouse; and that’s just what they did.
The 1975 Ducati 900SS had an 864cc engine and was capable of 80 horsepower at 7,500 rpm.
- Ducati 900SS (1978-1979)
Models produced during these two years tend to be held in the highest esteem compared to the entire series. With less horsepower than the original model, it’s a wonder how this generation was capable of increased speeds and taking hair-pin bends with ease.
- Ducati 900SS (1989-1990)
The 1989 and 1990 production years marked the introduction of Ducati’s six-speed manual transmission system to the 900SS series. Further modifications included changing the engine’s displacement to 904cc and getting horsepower up to 84hp at only 7,000 rpm.
- Ducati 900SS (2000-2001)
The most recent generation of the Ducati 900SS was last produced in 2001. The most notable differences between this and prior generations were the alterations made to the now 43mm Showa upside-down fork front suspension and Showa adjustable monoshock with progressive linkage back suspension.
The Ducati 900SS in the News
Since it was removed from production in 2001, there has been little buzz surrounding the Ducati 900SS series. However, on July 21, 2019, the website Hotcars.com featured the Ducati 900SS in its list of “Ten Great Motorcycles Which Deserve to Be Back on the Market.”
The Underdog Goes to Hollywood
Ryan Renolds, Kiera Nightly, Keanu Reeves. It seems like every day another celebrity buys another Ducati motorcycle. This is one popular motorcycle manufacturer in Hollywood today.
Given the massive popularity that the 900SS once enjoyed, it’s a shame to see so few social groups still actively enjoying their 900SS superbikes. Fortunately, there are a few Facebook groups like this one that still have over 2,000 members in them.
The Ducati 900SS – History’s Underdog
Everybody loves a good underdog story, and that’s exactly what the Ducati 900SS brings to the table. Not only has it rightfully earned its place in history, but it did so by upstaging many of the world-renowned superbike manufacturers from Japan in the 1970s, no easy feat.