It's sometimes hard to get excited about the bike often referred to as "Tamburini's Masterpiece" these days: the 916 and its derivatives have appeared in countless forms in popular culture, everything from big-budget feature films to bedroom wall posters, where they're often depicted straddled by young ladies in outfits that would provide shockingly little crash protection. It doesn't help that Ducati made them for nearly a decade, in different displacements and levels of specification, from affordable road-going exotica like the base model 748 all the way up to over-the-counter race bikes designed to be competitive right out of the crate. But they all had the same DNA, and in most cases are just a few simple, but possibly very expensive, changes away from being real track and back-road weapons. Of course, some of them were just a bit more gifted from the factory in that regard, like today's Featured Listing, a Ducati 996SPS.
2001 Ducati 996SPS for sale AutoMania GP
Ducati have racing in their blood, and for many years it seemed like they were only selling their roadbikes as a way to pay for racing. Surely there can be no other justification for the inhumane ergonomics of Tamburini's creations. It's pretty clear they were designed from the off as competition motorcycles: the entire tail of the 916 flips up easily for access to the electronics, quick-release Dzus fasteners attach the bodywork, and early bikes didn't even have a provision for a passenger. The 851/888 that preceded it might have been slightly more practical roadbikes and were successful in World Superbike competition, but there's no denying that the 916 is a gorgeous machine that still looks incredible twenty years later. The 916 and the 996 and 998 that followed appear virtually identical at first, but represent a gradual evolution under the skin: frames were revised to allow different airboxes and adjustable steering heads, injection systems were improved, heads were revised, and deeper sumps were added.
The SPS or Sport Production Special as seen here was originally the top-of-the-line roadgoing 996, with lightweight Marchesini wheels, an adjustable steering head, and an uprated engine, although straight-line performance wasn't all that much improved. Cornering was a different story, as the year 2000 saw the addition of Öhlins suspension at the front and rear. 124hp might not sound that impressive compared to many of today's superbikes, but keep in mind that they are only really rideable because of sophisticated traction control systems that keep 200hp missiles like the Panigale from high-siding you into the treeline the first time you exit a corner and whack open the throttle to the stop. When new, the SPS was state-of-the-art Italian exotica, one of the fastest, best-handling bikes available at any price.
From the Seller: 2001 Ducati 996SPS for Sale
Mileage: 4,330 U.S. miles
One of the joys and dangers of being a motorcycle dealer is that you can buy and own anything that is offered by your franchise factory line to which they throw in stupefying financing with decades to pay it off. It becomes one of those almost addictive behaviors that for the most part society frowns upon except when it is for really nice stuff. Like a rare and exclusive motorcycle such as the 2001 Ducati 996SPS you see here. Not only that, because you have access to all of the trick goodies and parts that are offered for the model, you can add them to the package, making your bike even more ultimate and personal.
As part of the homologation process to race World Super Bike, the motorcycle was designed by Tamburini (also of MV fame) as the latest evolution of the 916SPS range of the water cooled, 4V 90 degree twins. Suspension was upgraded with full Ohlin’s front and rear along with thinner and larger tube diameters used in the frame for this track only motorcycle The engine was treated to titanium connecting rods, carbon fiber air box, P8 ECU, specific cam, higher compression heads, all hand assembled by Ducati putting out an additional 14 horse power over the same engine sized 916 SPS.
Hansen’s BMW Ducati was a dyed in the wool Ducati fanatic dealership, loved the bikes, loved the customers, loved everything about the bikes, the passion they exuded, the Italian design, everything about the line. This 996SPS, #1714, was the ultimate expression of Ducati in 2001 and the owners of the shop decided that they deserved to experience the bike as their own. Darn right! Being a fairly accomplished rider and ex-racer, the owner knew what parts could be added to enhance the performance and handling, especially where there were no irritating limits such as a budget.
First off, body work was ordered to allow street legal lighting including the nose cone holding the head light buckets. ASR runners allowing turn signal mounts and a larger, stronger front fender installed. Cycle Cat supplied the Side Stand, Rear Sets, Handle Bars, Triple Clamp and Frame sliders. Billet Mirrors, Turn Signals, Clutch Cover, Gas Cap and Sprocket Cover were added for their go fast values. Radial Adapters were placed between the upgraded Road and Track Öhlins front forks and the Brembo Calipers sliding past Brembo Floating Rotors. At the rear, a Titanium Rear Spring was added to the Öhlins Shock along with the Öhlins Steering Damper. At both ends, BST Carbon Fiber Wheels were spooled on along with a STM Slipper Clutch to control rear wheel hop during deceleration. The front brake is operated by a Brembo Radial Master Brake Cylinder matched by a Brembo Radial Master Clutch Cylinder on the other handle bar.
There was an early issue when the bikes were new with the rocker arms flaking off bits of material. As a preventive measure that only a dealer could pull off, all of the arms were replaced with the corrected part when the issue was first announced.
Within the past twelve months, the valves were checked, belts replaced and all fluids refreshed including engine, brakes and clutch. Internal Fuel Lines along with O-Rings were also replaced (we have a copy of the work order). The battery is almost new. Unfortunately many of the stock parts a have been misplaced. Among the parts that will come with the bike are the stock exhaust system and the upper triple plate number which has the “1714” number on it.
The selling price is $14,995. Contact Ted for further details: email@example.com
$14,995 is a big number for a Ducati 996. But for an SPS with some of the very best parts and tuning thrown at it? You'd obviously not be able to duplicate this machine for anywhere near that, so the price seems very reasonable. Some might bemoan the compromise in collectiblity that comes with the changes, but all the replacement parts are of high quality and are designed to improve the bike's performance and handling. The cosmetic changes might not be to everyone's taste, but are easy to change with original parts or different aftermarket bits to suit the new owner's preferences.