When the 999 series was introduced in 2003 as the successor to the fantastic 916/996/998 genealogy of Ducati Superbikes, the world collectively groaned. Far removed from the sexy, flowing lines of the Tamburini-penned predecessors, the Terblanche-designed 999 series was rough and angular. The stacked headlight arrangement made the bike instantly recognizable in the sort of way a clown sticks out in a police lineup consisting of otherwise normal, average businessmen. In short, it was everything the earlier generations were not. There was some commonality for the Ducati faithful, however: Performance. The 999 – and especially the top-of-the-line R model – were quicker and faster than the bikes that came before. This became especially evident in World Superbike racing; so good was the platform that the 999 soldiering on through the 2007 racing season even though the bike ended production in 2006.
Despite the appearance, the aerodynamics of the 999 was actually more efficient than the earlier models. This translated not only into racetrack success, but a better riding experience. With greater adjustability and better ergonomics, more riders could enjoy the extreme Ducati experience. And what an experience – thanks to the updated L-twin testaretta engine now producing 150 HP at nearly 10,000 RPM. But as most of you already know, it is the torque of the desmoquattro twin that really drives the bike off of the corners. To that end Ducati fitted the 999R with radial-mount Brembo calipers, the very best equipment to slow you down for the next bend in the road. Out back the braced box-section swing arm keeps track of the rear wheel movement with fewer unsprung pounds than the earlier single-sided unit. Ohlins suspension (fully adjustable, naturally) completes the impressive list of components bolted to the R spec superbike.
From the seller:
2005 999R with 4081 miles. I’m the 2nd owner. I purchased from the original owner back in 2011 . Since then I’ve added a few parts including the following:
-Brembo 19 RCS brake master cylinder
-Brembo 16 RCS brake master cylinder
-Carbon large intake tubes (with aftermarket filter but can’t remember brand)
-Carbon rear hugger
-Custom LED rear lights
-Gearing change (with chain)
-4 post slipper clutch
-Swapped Ohlins OE rear for RS Ohlins with remote adjuster
-Swapped OE calipers for gold M4 calipers
-Free float rotors
-Swapped rear rotors
-Custom full titanium exhaust
-Dynojet tune for bigger custom exhaust
-Comes with Ducati spare keys and card to reprogram keys
The ugly-duckling 999R was an exclusive and expensive piece of kit. Produced in low numbers (an estimated 200 units in 2005), the R model would set you back 30 large bills a decade and a half ago. At the time, many would-be buyers considered that a ridiculous price for such a visual departure from normal Ducati supermodel status. Today, we find that the 999 series has aged rather well. The lines have held up better than the so many me-too copies that permeate the used bike listings. This is a distinctive, evocative motorcycle that brings substantial performance along for the ride. Look closely at the details – for example how the “Ducati” and “999R” logos on the fairing are actually clear coated showing the carbon fiber below – and then look at the price for a decent used example. Ugly no more, indeed.
At the time of writing this 4,000 mile bike has just crossed over the $8k mark, with reserve still in place. We have seen these bikes push into the $20ks for pristine examples, down to the high teens for others in good condition. This particular specimen has been modified to some degree, but most changes have been in the interest of performance. Check out this beast here, and let’s see what the market says. Meanwhile, head over to our Comments section and share your thoughts on the 999: Love it or hate it? Is this a “future collectable” that you can still afford today? Let us know!