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Improving Perfection: 2005 Ducati 999R for Sale

Many people assume that whatever dusty, badly-lit, low-resolution photographs they’ve taken will be enough sell their valuable motorcycles and include almost no additional information. But it’s easy to head in the other direction and go full-on used car salesman, which the listing for this Ducati 999R has done, going so far as to describe it as being “built like a MotoGP bike…” Hyperbole is fine: I obviously indulge in stylistic excess regularly. But comparing an homologation superbike to a pure prototype racing machine suggests someone who is more of a salesman than a knowledgeable enthusiast.

Considering that the 999R has basically little in common with a MotoGP machine other than the Ducati name and the fact that it has two wheels and an engine, “built like a WSBK bike” would be much more accurate, and much closer to the original point. So if the 999R, even a “custom” one, is really nothing like a MotoGP race bike, what exactly is it?

Well unlike the 999S that was basically a spiffed-up version of the standard 999 with nicer suspension and some carbon-fiber farkles for “weight savings,” the 999R was intended to homologate the bike for competition, AMA Superbike racing in particular. Titanium rods and valves meant less reciprocating mass, a completely new cylinder head design meant better breathing, and bore and stroke were completely different than the standard bike, much more oversquare, to increase the bike’s appetite for revs: 104mm × 58.8mm versus 100mm × 63.5mm for a displacement of exactly 999cc, instead of the 999’s 998cc… Compression was higher and the crank knife-edged where it lived behind the sand-cast engine cases, all of which added up to 134 rear wheel horses and 76.6 lb-ft of torque.

The seller suggests that this customized 999R is even more desirable than a completely original bike, and lists everything that’s gone into it. The main issue here is that in hyping up changes that supposedly make the bike “more bad-ass,” he’s missing the real point of the 999R’s value. Originality is often critical in establishing the desirability of limited-production bikes like this and, as the listing describes the “custom” touches, I’m imagining the value dropping in the minds of potential buyers. That’s not to say that the changes are bad, mind you, and the modified engine definitely could prove to be enticing to buyers who actually plan to use their purchase for track or fast road work. But I’d definitely want someone other than the person who wrote the listing to tell me about the build in more detail.

From the original eBay listing: 2005 Ducati 999R for Sale


THIS IS IT! The Ducati 999R – Motorcycle History. If you are looking for one the baddest bikes ever made – this is it. Pure Ducati. Period!

When owning one of the rarest bikes in the world is not enough we invite you to take a look at our custom 2005 Ducati 999R. This is your once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of motorcycle history. This bike is in perfect condition with very low miles. Truly breathtaking! This 999R is highly upgraded:

– $10k Engine Rebuilt with Lighter Titanium Rods by Ducati Race Technician
– BST Carbon Fiber Rims
– NCR Rear Sets Custom Made
– Brembo Brakes and Master Cylinders
– Custom Seat
– NCR Race Gas Cover
– STM Dry Clutch
– EVR Cylinder
– Dark Upgrade Windshield
– New Rear Brake and Turn Signal
– 6112 Miles on Bike Overall (After Engine Rebuild Less than 1000 miles)
– Garage Kept
– Bike Has Never Been Down

There’s no other way to describe the Ducati 999R than as a race bike with lights; it really is that close to the real thing.

Breathtaking quickness—0 to 60 mph comes in less than three seconds—is matched by the bike’s Brembo brakes. The Ducati 999R is built like a MotoGP bike so it’s dripping with exotic parts. The Desmodromic motor is packed with titanium, specially coated alloys and magnesium. Many carbon fiber parts and the exhaust heat shield is from a carbon/ceramic composite.

Mileage is pretty low and the bike does look very sharp, helped by some high-quality, professional photography. Of course, all of the 999 models had dry clutches, so the listing is probably referring to an STM slipper clutch [and cool slotted housing], and I’m pretty sure the bike had Brembo brake and clutch masters originally, just not the radial units seen here. Also, when did “Dark Upgrade Windshield” become a selling-point for a rare and collectible superbike? Are the original parts, especially the wheels, included? At least any missing peripherals can likely be cheaply sourced at the moment to get it closer to stock condition. The $19,880 Buy It Now is on the higher end for an original R, but the question remains: do the changes made to this particular bike increase or decrease the value?



  • This ad is certainly full of hyperbole, and where do they get the “once in a lifetime opportunity “? I love the 999R but to me the “upgrades” only bring the value of the bike down. The brakes on this bike appear OEM to me, so the seller may not know a lot about these bikes. The asking price is definitely above market.

    • All that “baddest sportbike of all time” kind of language drives me crazy. I believe the calipers are OEM, but the master is an adjustable-ratio Brembo RCS, which is very nice but probably offers pretty minimal improvement, considering the stock parts were pretty high quality. I loved the change to the feel on my Daytona when I swapped one on, but I was moving up from the Triumph’s stock Nissin unit. That’s the thing: most of the changes the owner made involve quality components but unless your plan is to throw caution to the wind, not worry about the bike’s value, and just ride it, you’re better off staying stock, or at least saving the original bits for collectors.

  • Clearly the contrast to the previous MH900e (porridge is too cold) feature is not lost…..in this case the porridge is too hot.
    Nice write up though and I tend to agree that stock condition is more desirable. I’m in the market for one of these (999R) for my collection, but see the 50% mark-up for unwanted “improvements” as off putting.

  • Does it not beg a serious question why the motor was rebuilt after 5000 miles? I can’t see any sane person rebuilding a motor just to add lighter rods.

    Nice writeup Tad! They certainly sound like they are car salespeople

    • I have just taken delivery of a new ’17 CBR1000RR SP2 – they where delayed since July 2017 by Honda – and even though the bike is at 0 miles, it is being upgraded with HRC kit cams, kit ECU, kit harness, kit dash, kit exhaust etc.
      Sometimes people do modify new or nearly new vehicles for no other reason than ‘lets do it’.
      Notice I never claimed to be sane though 😉

    • Very true, since the kind of person that would buy a 999R might certainly do as you described, and the seller sort of suggests it was an elective rebuild for performance, not a repair to a blown engine. I’d just want to talk to this “Ducati Race Technician” that’s mentioned before bidding, and maybe see some receipts…

    • Adding cams and an exhaust is not the same as taking the whole motor apart and replacing the rods. Cams are essentially a ‘bolt-on’ addition. Surely could have been a racebike with bodywork put back on?

      The way RC45 talks he must have a whole aircraft hanger full of bikes…

    • I wish. Had I kept every bike I suppose I might have needed a hanger.
      Now its just a very crowded garage – with the overflow bikes in a storage lockup and at a local bike performance shop.

  • Sorry, but the “rebuilt” engine kills it.

    • Yeah, the listing suggests it was an elective, performance rebuild, but I’m skeptical, since the original rods were already titanium. Either way, it’s not the original engine and that’s not good for the value.

  • Took me a while to appreciate the 999….like most, didn’t like it at all at first but now it’s grown on me. But….still think it looks pretty bland in solid colors unless it’s sporting Xerox, Fila or other graphics…..For 20K you could have your pick of most of the Ducati’s, many superior and definitely more collectible then this particular one. The ad and comments were quite funny though! HAHA

    • I’ve always liked the design, but I didn’t really like it as a Ducati, if that makes sense. The design is striking, but almost too intellectual and not sensual enough, although I love the design of the tank. But as you say: $20k will buy you a whole lot of Ducati.

    • I bought a bike from this seller last year. It was materially misrepresented. I would not buy a bike from him again, unless I was able to see it in person before buying.

  • Very nice write up Tad, a pleasure to read. The Ducati 999R has always been an object of desire to me, the 749R even more so. This particular bike looks great and the sales pitch loud but the lack of a numbered plaque on the triple clamp needs explaining.

    • Oooooh. Good catch. Completely missed that!

  • Why is there no number plate on the triple if it’s an R?? Seems suspicious.

  • 2005 999R’s did not have numbered plaques.

    This bike looks like it still has the standard exhaust on it. If one was looking for more performance, wouldn’t you install the banana racing exhaust before tearing the engine open? This looks like a sweet bike but I agree with others that the engine rebuild is off putting.

    Who cares about silly Xerox stickers? You don’t get the crazy light weight carbon fairings with a Xerox, or a Fila. I’d much rather have an all red R with proper carbon fairings. Not to mention I’d never buy a bike plastered with advertising.

    • How do you figure that only the regular R has carbon fairings? I have a 2006 999R Xerox and all of the fairings and bodywork are lightweight carbon. Additionally, because it’s an ’06 999R, you get a lot of upgraded the previous versions didn’t have (titanium valve collets, the different shaped valves, more magnesium, etc.).

      Also, regarding number plaques: the ’03 and ’04 regular 999R had plaques, the ’03 and ’04 999R Fila, and the 2006 999R Xerox bikes had the plaque. The regular ’05 and ’06 999R bikes did not.

  • Sherpa is right….the Xerox and the Fila R’s have carbon fairings as well and hate to break this too you…they are more collectible and the prices confirm it. I hear ya on not buying branded stuff but in race bikes, it’s the sponsors that carried the sport and paid the teams and riders for the time so that’s why they sell for more….typically much more. If you don’t like it…I get it but I personally like seeing who the sponsors were…it brings back the whole nostalgia thing for me and reminds me of the time )

  • Oops, you guys are right. Xerox and Fila do have carbon fairings. Not sure where I got that they didn’t.

    One more item, didn’t the 05 R receive all the same upgrades as the 06?

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