Posts by tag: Bevel Drive

Ducati September 13, 2017 posted by

Classic Heavy Metal: 1980 Ducati Super Sport for Sale

Although it's date-stamped as a 1980 model, this Ducati 900 Super Sport is obviously a sportbike from an even earlier era: twin-shock suspension aside, the engine features vintage, half-faired style and nearly Victorian-era detailing on the engine. A bit of a throwback, this machine is nonetheless significant to modern sportbike fans, as it was the more commonly available update of the original 750 Super Sport that was Ducati's first foray into big sportbikes. These early Super Sports were basically ground zero for the company as it exists today, especially significant as we're now staring down the barrel of the end of Ducati's v-twin superbikes with the introduction of their MotoGP-aping V4.

The 900 Super Sport was introduced in 1975 as an evolution of their iconic, but very limited-production 750 Super Sport. It used an updated version of their overhead-cam, air-cooled v-twin, here punched out to 864cc and fitted with the restyled "square" engine cases to replace the "round" cases on the 750. Keep in mind that, up until the introduction of the rubber-belt Pantah engine, it was only the Super Sport models that had Ducati's spring-less Desmo valve actuation. Combined with a system of tower shafts and bevel gears to drive the cams instead of chains or belts, the "bevel-head" v-twin engine was more Swiss watch than propulsion system, and manufacturing costs were unsurprisingly high, a major reason for the switch to rubber belts.

Aside from the increased displacement, the 900SS featured a number of changes intended to broaden the bike's appeal for the US market, with modern cast aluminum wheels, a quieter exhaust [blasphemy!], improved kick start, and the gearshift redesigned for the left side of the bike. Earlier examples with left-foot shifter used a cumbersome linkage to convert the bike from its original right-foot shift and the new mechanism was much more precise. Originally, the bike came in classic silver with blue graphics, with the black-and-gold scheme seen here introduced in 1979. This particular example has aftermarket bar-end mirrors fitted that are obviously not period-correct, but pretty innocuous and easily removed if you're going for the original, mirror-less style. The engine also features a clear glass "Gear-Gazer" for the upper cylinder's bevel-drive gears, and aftermarket addition but one I'd probably want for myself, originality be damned.


From the original eBay listing: 1980 Ducati 900 Super Sport Desmo for Sale

17,066 original miles – Collector owned

Restored to Perfection in 2015


After the round case twins 750 GT, Sport and Super Sport Desmo entered the scene, Ducati management found that the line-up lacked a super sport bike capable of competing with the Japanese superbikes with over 750 cc and the Ducati 900 Super Sport was developed to fill that gap.

Initially, Ducati opted for a more touring-oriented approach, with the 860 GT styled by Giugiaro, that unfortunately did not win the public’s favour. At the same time, however, the Bolognese manufacturer also introduced a sportier version, the 900 Super Sport, reminiscent of the sales success of the gorgeous 750 SS Desmo.
The 860 cc engine was derived from the original L-twin engine conceived for the 750 GT, however with a redesigned, more squared case.

Throughout its history, the 900 SS actually underwent few modifications, from the fuel tank to the light-alloy wheels, and was offered in a gold and black livery, in addition to the classic silver and electric blue colour scheme.

Asking Price: $35,500 obo.

The Buy It Now is listed at $35,500 and for that kind of cash, I'd like a little less "brief history that we probably already know" and more information on the who-what-where of the "restoration." Describing something simply as "restored to perfection" is the kind of thing that can mean different things to different people, although I'd expect that the seller would be happy to answer any questions, and the bike looks terrific in the photographs.


Ducati August 10, 2017 posted by

Big Bevel – 1984 Ducati MHR Mille

A bit down on their luck in the late seventies and early 1980's, Ducati brought out a string of repli-racers celebrating Mike Hailwood's 1978 Isle of Man win. The ultimate was a 973cc desmodue, claiming 76 hp and and a new frame design. This collector bike has under 3,000 miles and would make an outstanding addition to any stable.

1984 Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica Mille for sale on eBay

Though largely a 900 Super Sport below the waterline, the MHR had the exciting full body and national paint, as well as Marzocchi suspension front and rear, triple Brembo disks, and gold Oscam 18-inch alloys.  The new liter engine used the bevel-gear-driven cams, plain bearings and had a healthy increase in torque to 62 ft.-lbs.

Apparently un-restored, this Mille still has the original rubber, and everything else.  Wafer-thin fairings look excellent, as do the option Conti mufflers.  The Texas owner says this in the eBay auction:

The Hailwood Mille is the final development of the bevel drive engine. This bike has only 4356 km, original condition with orig tires, Conti 2 into 1 exhaust system.  SS front brake lines.  This bike would make a great addition to any Ducati collection.

Riders of a certain age will recall Mike Hailwood as a great champion who drove Formula 1 cars as well as bikes.  Though earlier MHR machines celebrated his comeback TT win, later editions marked his untimely 1981 death.  Either way the MHR made up a healthy percentage of Ducati sales.  Cagiva's Castiglioni brothers liked Ducati's new belt-driven cam engine so much, they bought the company, and wound bevel production down as Ducati finished up development of the 750 F1.  Some collectors focus on a model's introductory years and some see value in later developments.  Often displacement increases are part of the development, in this case a great reason to look into this very collectible Mike Hailwood Replica.


Big Bevel – 1984 Ducati MHR Mille
Ducati September 9, 2016 posted by

Old School Class: 1980 Ducati 900SS for Sale


This very classic black-and-gold Ducati 900SS represents the polar opposite of the little two-strokes that have been cropping up on our site lately. Both are motivated by v-twin engines, but that's where the similarities end. One was a product of ruthless and very close competition between arch rivals and used cutting-edge technology to eke out the barest advantages over competing machines. The other is a slightly long-in-the-tooth thug that uses thumping big cylinders, past glories, and oodles of Latin charm to win friends and influence people. Guess which one is which?


Powered by the restyled "square case" motor that was introduced in 1975, Ducati's 900SS actually displaced 864cc. The evolutionary 900SS also came with improved or modified features to improve performance and make the bike more palatable to US buyers, including quieter stock mufflers and a shift mechanism meant to improve on the the version available on previous models that crudely relocated the lever to the left side of the bike.

Ducati's 900SS was far from cutting-edge technology by the time the 1980s rolled around: twins were pretty passe in the new era of inline-four superbikes from Japan. And Ducati's famous desmodromic valve-actuation was probably no real advantage for a twin with a redline of 8,500rpm. But European bikes still represented the pinnacle of handling at this point, and although the bevel-drive, Desmo twin probably had just an insignificant performance advantage over comparable rivals, the Swiss watch-like arrangement of shafts and gears and cam lobes used to open and close the bike's four valves seems like engineering overkill. Not practical, but inherently cool.
From the original eBay listing: 1980 Ducati 900SS for Sale
I bought this bike brand new in late 1979, and have owned and maintained it this entire time.   This bike is unrestored, so the decals show cracking (typical), and the bike has it's share of minor scuffs (see pics).   This 900SS was delivered with 36mm carbs and Silentium pipes, which were exchanged for the Delloro 40s and authentic Contis you see in the pictures a few years into it's life.   I also put on the factory solo seat at the same time.    Other modifications (all typical) are SS brakelines, WORKS suspension front and rear from BevelHeaven, longer clutch actuation arm (you really want this!), V-Two Gear Gazer, and Dyna Coils.  All original parts come with the bike, except for the Silentiums (they were typically tossed in the trash) and the wimpy 36mm Dellortos. 
Mechanically the bike is excellent.   It's starts easily, idles at about 1,500rpm (good for a 900SS with 40s and Contis), and pulls strong.  The carbs and ignition are very well sorted.  Inside, it's had new rings and clutch some years back, refreshed pickup wires (they all need this eventually), and MBR collets on the last valve adjustment (totally worth it).  Common for the period, the low dogs on the 1st gear slider were removed in it's first year or so.  Since I've owned this bike it's entire life, I have (nearly all) the maintenance records from new, which are available on request. 
Motorcycle Classics did a nice feature article on this bike about 8 years ago:   search "motorcycle classics moto-guzzi-le-mans-versus-ducati-900-ss"
Hit me with any questions.   I have mixed feelings about selling this bike, but over the last 8 years it's only been out once or twice a year, so time for someone else to enjoy it.

His asking price is $39,000 for this very nice example, although bidding is up to just over $15,000, with the reserve not met. The 900SS was produced in much greater numbers than the preceding "round case" 750SS, but values are still going through the roof for all bevel-drive Ducatis, and even the much-maligned 860GT has been increasing in price steadily in recent years. While the blue-and-silver paint on other examples may have a stronger link to Ducati's racing success, you can't argue with the black with gold striping seen here and, for all the grief Giorgetto Giugiaro got for his styling on the 860GT, he also designed that classic Ducati logo.



Old School Class: 1980 Ducati 900SS for Sale
Ducati February 23, 2016 posted by

Invoking Dharma – 1978 Ducati 900 SD Custom

Eye-catching but not an original 900 SS, this lookalike might be a good alternative for a value-conscious bevel fan.  Presumably customized from a standard 900 Darmah, the tank and fairings present the SS aura and looks better than most originals.

20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom left

1978 Ducati 900 SD Custom for sale on eBay

20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom right front

With single overhead cams driven by a right-angle gear, the 864 cc's author 74 hp at 7,500 rpm.  Specs are good for the day, 5-speed, right-side up Ceriani forks, twin rear shocks.  Triple-disc Brembo brakes are 280mm front and 260mm rear.  Classic items such as kick-only start and dual Dell'Orto carburetors may require a period mechanic for any serious work.

20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom dash

20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom right engine

Using Ducati body parts or very good replicas, this custom looks great with under 8,000 miles indicated, and features a classic Ducati color with polished fuel tank.  Very showy with alloy rims and stainless spokes.  You know you've got a fan when you see the glass bevel view cover !

20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom bevel window

From the eBay auction:

Beautiful one of a kind 1978 Ducati 900SS Custom. Not an original 900SS. Matching engine and frame numbers.  Smiths gauges.  Kick start only - no electric start.  Runs perfectly - recently serviced in November of 2015.  Clean - Excellent condition - paint is perfect.  Handmade aluminum polished gas tank turns heads. Alloy wheels with polished stainless steel spokes. Del Orto 38mm carbs. New Ducati (Ducati Yellow- looks orange) paint. Odometer shows 7938 miles. This bike draws crowds wherever it  is parked - shows beautifully!  Very small ding in tank near seat - will send pictures upon request.  An all original SS goes for double the price!  Great for twisty roads - handles beautifully.

20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom left engine

20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom left front wheel

The '78 900 SS reviewed with a solid chassis, suspension that was good after set-up, great brakes, and an engine that wouldn't win any drag races but had great presence out on the road.  Likely all true with this 900 SS commemorative,  if you hear what this bike is saying, it will be regardless of whether it's original or not...


20160223 1978 ducati 900 ss custom cockpit

Invoking Dharma – 1978 Ducati 900 SD Custom
Ducati November 27, 2015 posted by

More Miles by Plane – 1984 Ducati DM900 Mike Hailwood

One of very few riders to be honored by Ducati with two different commemoratives, Mike Hailwood returned to racing after 11 years in cars, winning the Isle on Man in 1978, and Ducati released a similarly painted 1979 900 Super Sport.  Sadly, he was killed in a traffic accident in 1981, and Ducati produced a 1984 S2 model as a commemorative.

20151125 1984 ducati 900 s2 mike hailwood left

1984 Ducati DM900 Mike Hailwood for sale on eBay

20151125 1984 ducati 900 s2 mike hailwood right

20151125 1984 ducati 900 s2 mike hailwood binnacle

One of the later bevel-drive engines, the 864cc desmodue with gear driven cams generates almost as much torque as its 80 hp.  Fuel is metered by twin 40mm Dell'Orto carburetors.  Marzocchi provided 38mm forks and dual rear shocks.  Familiar Brembo brakes are dual 280mm front and 260mm rear.  The beautifully bodied biposto has a nicely designed mono seat fairing.

20151125 1984 ducati 900 s2 mike hailwood left grip

20151125 1984 ducati 900 s2 mike hailwood left fairing

Having turned a little over 10,000 miles, this MHR has undergone "light restoration", though the auction doesn't provide details, it looks great.  Front calipers have been upgraded to four piston, and Conti two-into-one exhaust might be an upgrade also, though it was standard in some markets.  The warning light part of the dash has been replaced by an LED box, which detracts from the overall factory looks.  From the eBay auction:

Nice original Ducati 900 MHR which we imported from New Zealand but was originally delivered new in Japan - frame number DM900R1905587. 
The motorcycle has traveled a mere 10,037 miles or 16,000 kilometers since new and is a later electric start model, which was only in production for one year before being superseded by the final bevel 1000 Mille model.
The fairings have been refinished and look nice, with no obvious cracks or blemishes. The only non-original items on the motorcycle are the later model dual piston Brembo front caliper upgrade (which is nice and if anything vastly improves braking performance over the original single piston setup). The warning lamp cluster in the instrument panel has been replaced with a simple LED setup. There is a nice two into one Conti silencer fitted, which sounds great and is in excellent condition.

20151125 1984 ducati 900 s2 mike hailwood right fairing

20151125 1984 ducati 900 s2 mike hailwood right engine

Having travelled further from NZ to TX than it ever did on the road, this Mike Hailwood could be the start of a nice collection.  By now a legend, the DM900 reviewed as a great bike on the road, long and stable with good wind protection.  Major developments for cam drive and suspension ( and 1000cc ) were right around the corner, but the carbureted bevel is one of the greats.  This MHR is a rare tribute to a great champion.


More Miles by Plane – 1984 Ducati DM900 Mike Hailwood
Ducati May 27, 2013 posted by

How Far Will This Go ? 1974 Ducati 750 SS (Germany/Switzerland)


The SS models of the 70s are the among the highest reaching Ducati. Very rare to come across one, here we have a 750 cc. The bike was regularly driven. The seller explicitly mentions that it isn’t a museum bike, but it looks pretty good to me.


he starting price is a whopping 47.850 EUR and who knows where the reserve is. This Ducati is a real race replica and was apparently built in roughly 400 samples. Considered one, if not the most significant model of Ducati’s history, the SS 750cc was built following the Imola 200 race of 1972, which Ducati won. This model features the colors of Paul Smart  , also recently used for the recent modern replica. If you wonder what that vertical stripe on the tanks is for, well that was to check the fuel level on the racing version.


This SS also featured the bevel actuated desmodromic camshaft. I guess you could see this as the equivalent of the gear driven system of the racing Aprilia RSV4 as opposed to the stock chain driven technology. Highly sophisticated, the 750cc SS of 1974 was a demonstration of how a serial motorbike could be as close to a race bike as possible.





The Ducati 750 is posted on eBay in Germany but the bike is located in Switzerland. Let's hear it from the seller:

750SS 1974, the duc is now even washed, and is spotless. FIVA registered, and now also in the global SS register registered under under headings 190 to the constant discussions whether original or not definitively bury the ... annoying website is operated by roger miller and ian fallon. Since revision 12096 km, still dry as it is still snowing. this is not a museumsduc but is driven regularly and it shows too .... so it must be. No warranty, Collection only.

Good luck to the bidders on this one.

1974 Ducati 750 SS on ebay (Germany/Switzerland)