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Your Mileage May Varese: 1995 Ducati 916

The Ducati 916 is a bike that should need no introduction on these pages. The immortal, evolutionary offspring of the 851/888, the 916 offers every bit of performance that the evocative design implies. And while time has a tendency to mute the claims and hyperboles of an era, this model continues to represent itself well. Simultaneously recognized as a performance benchmark (with 5 WSBK titles to its name thanks to Fogarty and Corser) and a styling icon (Guggenheim’s “The Art of Motorcycle”), the 916 was a quantum leap ahead of anything available when it was originally released in 1994. And while sharper and even more focused models were to follow (SP, SPS, SP2, SP3, SPA, Senna Edition), the base model obliterated everything in it’s 1994-1995 era path.

1995 Ducati 916 for sale on eBay

While the 916 has little resemblance to the previous generation 851/888, the family DNA becomes more obvious when the bodywork is removed. From the trademark trellis frame to the liquid-cooled, fuel injected, four valve per cylinder desmoquattro power plant, there are subtle changes but pretty much everything is in the same place. That makes a lot of sense given the history of how Ducati introduces new models. The 851 and 888 SP models were actually test beds for the next generation engine. The 888 SP4, for example, was already a 916 in displacement, just like the 851 SP3 actually displaced 888cc. From there is where the revolution took over. Chassis geometry was sharpened, a unique single-sided swing arm fitted, the high exhaust introduced to increase cornering clearance, packaging was tightened up and the marvelous, angular bodywork was shrink-wrapped over the top. Fast, gorgeous, expensive and uncompromising, the 916 cemented Ducati as THE performance player in the sport bike world.

From the seller:
Here we go Boys and Girls, not to many clean ones on the market, this bike has being storage for a few years, second owner selling it, no used for any more never on the track, never down.

It May need service, the bike start easy. Ask questions, very motivated to sell it, Im shrinking my collection of 20 years. Ask questions and bid with confidence

The Ducati 916 lineup has an interesting sub-version history as well. Just as the bike was introduced, just as the press was going mad and the orders were starting to come in, a fire at the Bologna factory shut the party down. Desperate to get product back up and running, Ducati temporarily relocated production to a Cagiva facility located in Varese, Italy. And while the 916s assembled in Varese are identical to those that rolled off of the Bologna factory floor, there is still a mystique about them. Because the Varese location did not initially have a full production line, the contention is that Varese bikes were more “hand built” making them more special. Realistically you can only tell a Varese bike from the VIN number, but the story propogates the mysterious and the magic behind this very special motorcycle. Today’s example appears to be a Varese model by the numbers.

The seller has not provided a lot of text or back history in the advert, but there are a few decent pictures here. With 22k on the clock there are more miles that we normally see on these models (long-range comfort was never a priority). Time has been kind to the 916, and longevity should not be a question like it was nearly 25 years ago. Parts availability continues to be good, and this is as collectible a classic as you are likely to find. Even if you are not looking for an investment, the 916 has great performance and will continue to look striking and purposeful for decades to come. Check it out here, and then jump back to the Comments section and share your thoughts. Do you buy into the Varese nostalgia, and are those bikes better? Good Luck!!



  • “Realistically you can only tell a Varese bike from the VIN number”
    You can also tell by the stamping of the Cagiva Elephant logo on the gas filler surround. Which if you zoom in on one of the pictures you can see on this bike.

  • Great catch Oliver! Thanks for chiming in.

    – Mike

  • Cagiva Elephant stampings were used up until the Texas Pacific Group took over – so in 1997 there were no more Elephant stamps on any of the body parts.

  • Varese bikes … is this little detail about the Cagiva elephant. My 94 900 SS CR has the elephant on the cap in the same location as this 916. So it was constructed in the Varese location as well? Interesting if true …

  • I disagree. Mine had the elephant on the gas cap and was a Bologna bike.

  • A Varese 916 should definitely have a Cagiva elephant on its gas camp, just as it should have rivet fasteners attaching the mids to the belly pans and windscreen as opposed to Torx bolts and wellnuts. It should also have “Ducati Racing” embossed on its rear wheel. All of these things do not necessarily mean a 916 is a Varese produced bike, but to be a correct original Varese produced bike it needs to have these. The only sure fire way to tell a Varese bike is by the frame VIN. The VIN is also printed on a sticker under the tail section, making it easy to tell whether the tail section is original to the bike.

    With respect to the presented bike, there are a number of things which do not appear original. The front brake rotors, tail section, foot pegs, rear fender, turn signal lenses and rear shock all don’t appear original. The air intakes may also not be original or are covered with CF like the dash.

    While most of these parts at the surface can seem to be easily sourced to return the bike to original, as Marc mentioned the parts will need to have the Cagiva elephant on them to be correct. If the tail section, doesn’t have the correct VIN sticker it is pretty much an unfixable fault. Given the importance of the VIN to verifying that a bike is a Varese produced bike, it is important to have the VIN everywhere it should.

  • Good summary Ray.
    Also front top cowling is not original.
    916 was designed by Cagiva CRC department, so that´s why Cagiva logo is on many Ducatis and first 916 generation.

  • IIRC, the Varese-built 916’s also had Pankl forged connecting rods.

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