Look, they made a lot of Ducati 916/996/998’s over the years, and while they're truly iconic machines, they’re also kind of cliché, especially in stock form. Not that I don’t love them to pieces. I have every intention of owning one at some point.
Part of the reason for their ubiquity is the fact that they adorned the walls of every adolescent petrol-head and had a spot in the fantasy garage of every adult biker, so images of them are pretty much everywhere, often with naked models draped over them in suggestive poses. But as many as they made, the entire production of Tamburini’s masterpiece is still just a drop in the bucket, compared to all the GSX-R’s and Ninjas that were built. So while the 916/996/998 may seem cliché, they’re still quite rare in actual fact.
Unleashed onto a completely stunned world in 1994, the 916 redefined sex on wheels for a generation of bike-enthusiasts. With an uncompromising ass-up, head-down riding position that made absolutely zero sense unless you were hanging off at more than 50° lean, nearly graphics-free flanks not quite hiding the signature trellis frame that flew in the face of beam-framed homogeny, and tucked-under-the-tail exhausts that roasted your ass, but provided nearly infinite cornering clearance, the blood-red 916 looked like nothing else on the road.
It was, in fact, so iconic, that it completely doomed the 749/999 bikes that followed, in spite of their being completely excellent motorcycles, and far more comfortable than their predecessors. The follow up 1098 took a step backwards in terms of design, looking like a softened and modernized 916. Basically, it was Ducati ripping itself off.
While standard 996’s are currently the bargain of the 916 range, this is much more than a standard bike. Short of the homologation “R”, the SPS was the highest-spec bike in Ducati’s stable at the time, with lightweight wheels, an uprated engine, improved suspension, and an adjustable steering head. The 996 featured the same engine as the earlier 916SPS that actually displaced 996cc’s [are you still with me?] but with less weight, it generally feels [and is] much faster than the listed power would suggest. In typical Italian style, power quotes vary a bit, but let’s say “more than 120hp with a fat wedge of torque.”
This particular example is probably making even more than that…
From the original eBay listing that reads like a Ducatisti Christmas wish-list: 1999 Ducati 996 SPS for Sale
Up for sale is a super clean and un abused 996 with only 45 original miles most of which are from dyno tuning. However, this is no ordinary 996, this bike has been fully modified with all of the best parts money could buy. Bike was purchased and immediately transported to Fast by Ferracci to have the engine blueprinted and all of the best parts installed. below is a list of what is done to the bike (take note there will be a different auction resembling this one for its sister bike, do not confuse when bidding)
Engine was blueprinted and below parts were installed
Ducati performance RS camshafts
custom head gaskets to set squish
5angle valve job with ported and polished heads
Ducati performance Titanium valves
titanium connecting rods
Pistal racing high compression piston kit with matched nicosil coated cylinders
micro polished lightened and balanced crankshaft
custom tuned chip for ECU/ignition advancer and retarder and performance plugs and wires
fast by ferracci full stainless exhaust
STM EVOLUZIONE slipper clutch
titanium bolt kit
carbon fiber parts include,
full airbox and intake velocity stacks (ducati performance MS Productions) very expensive.
undertail and plate hanger
rear extended hugger/chainguard
front vented RS type fender
bike also has Ducati Performance Marchesini Magnesium wheels
title is free and clear and fuel pump and filter were just replaced with new belts and oil change.
this bike screams and is built by the best to run for a long time, engine build was the best mixture of performance and long life that could be bought.
Starting bid for this is $15,000, with no takers as yet. Given the level of investment, this bike is probably worth it, although that price is more in line with the far rarer and more exotic “R”. This should be more than a mere “parts hanger” because, while Fast by Ferracci may have a somewhat spotty reputation as a dealer, their ability to build a race bike is unquestioned: it’s right there in the name! They’ve been racing Ducatis in various levels of competition for many years with quite a bit of success.
What’s just a shame is the 45 miles the bike has covered since being built. Why spend the money to put something like this together, then let it sit and collect dust? But while the current owner may be missing out, you can throw a bid out there and get a seriously trick Italian superbike for the price of a new R1.