Ace Underdog: Vincensi Ducati 900SS Superbike

Transforming a Ducati 900SS from a street demo into a Superbike.

Ducati 900SS

Vincensi Ducati 900SS Superbike

Photo by Phil Hawkins

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1975 Vincensi Ducati 900SS
Claimed Power:
100hp @ 8,500rpm (est.)
Top Speed:
162mph (Daytona, 1981)
864cc air-cooled SOHC desmodromic 90-degree V-twin
Weight (dry):
356lb (162kg)
Fuel Capacity/MPG:
5.3gal (20ltr)

After winning 14 World Superbike titles in the past 27 years, we tend to take for granted Ducati’s past domination of road racing’s street-bike derived class.

In one way, things weren’t so very different 40 years ago when Superbike racing was invented in America, but in others, they couldn’t be more so. Although 1,000cc 4-cylinder Japanese motorcycles were blindingly fast by the standards of the day, the engineers who created those rocket ships had not yet learned the black art of frame design. This meant that their European twin-cylinder rivals could compensate for a comparative lack of power with agile handling, hence BMW’s domination of the debut AMA Superbike series in 1976.

But with BMW’s departure at the end of 1976, it was left to the quixotic efforts of assorted privateers to fly the two-cylinder flag against the massed ranks of importer-funded and industry-sponsored Japanese 4-cylinder Superbike teams from Kawasaki, Suzuki and later on Honda, as Yamaha wouldn’t discover Superbike racing for another decade or more. It’s hard today to appreciate just how scorned racers with fewer than four cylinders were viewed as being from 1977 onwards. They were considered serial underdogs, who basically liked to do things differently just for the sake of it, even if by doing so they sacrificed any chance of winning. That’s surely why, when writing the rules for the original World Superbike class in 1988, the FIM gave twins a capacity edge (1,000cc) against fours (750cc). MC

Order the May/June 2015 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 1975 Vincensi Ducati 900SS. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.