Ever since I was a little boy Ducati motorcycles have excited me. Maybe this was due to my father’s passion for the brand and love of motorcycles. I think its more deep than that. When I was very young my dad took me to IMOC (Italian Motorcycle Owners Club) rally where there were hundreds of Italian motorcycles. My father’s good friend had a Ducati 996, that was modified and prepped for the track. I was very small and could barely fit on the bike, but I made my way up there. Sitting on that bike was felt so right and natural. I knew from that day forth how special Ducatis truly were. Their red fairings and very distinct sound, were unlike any other motorcycles I’ve ever seen before. As I grew older, the other motorcycles were never as exciting to me. Yes some of the other contenders from Europe and Japan may be faster, and even more reliable. To me they’re not the same.
I would say the best part about Ducatis is the sound. I own a 95′ 900ss and the sound is fantastic. The old Ducati 900s came with two valves per cylinder, which gave it a very unique sound. Ducatis of today have four valves per cylinder, which still provides a great sound from the L-twin, but is not as raw. Driving the 900 is an great experience. My particular 900 has race carburetors and Fast by Ferracci pipes. When the bike is first started, after a week or so, it isn’t happy. The race carburetors eliminate the use of a choke. So its a little difficult to start the bike, when its cold. I usually prime the carburetor by twisting the throttle three times before starting the bike. Once I’ve primed it, I make sure the bike is in neutral, turn the key and “run” button, and finally press the start button. This may take a few attempts, but once I get it going its an incredible experience. Its loud, very loud. While its warming up the exhaust is popping and the famous Ducati dry clutch is clacking away.
The bike itself is not easy to ride. Its turning radius is terrible and the risk of stalling the bike at slow first gear speeds is a possibility. Once up to speed, the bike comes to its own and is very pleasant to ride.