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End of the Line Quiz: Ducati Desmoquattro Superbike

I popped into Chris Redpath’s shop (MotoGP Werks) yesterday just as he was rolling a customer’s brand-spanking Ducati Superleggera down from the Sprinter van. I may have grown a tad jaded over the years, but what an eyeball-popping motorcycle. This latest Superleggera, as you’ll recall, uses carbon fiber for its not-really-a-frame. All the bodywork is c-f, the wheels are c-f… basically I think everything’s that’s not metal is c-f, and everything that’s metal is titanium or magnesium or something exotic, all in an effort to keep it as superleggera as possible – superlight. Official MO scales say they only lied a little – 370 pounds, but that’s with the 4.5-gallon tank only half full and the full Akrapovic race system, which came in a separate box, bolted up. It’s frighteningly loud, it barks like an underfed Cerberus guarding the gates of Hell. It’s a beautiful, stupid-expensive thing nobody needs but everybody wants. Heck, it scared Don Canet when he rode one around Mugello.

This is the end of the line for the liquid-cooled eight-valve Ducati 90-degree V-Twin that appeared on the motorcycle scene at just about the same time I did. Not the end of the line, but the apogee, the height of development that magnificent motor is going to see – the 1285cc, 4.566-inch pistoned, 215-claimed horsepower Superbike nadir. I tried to get Redpath to strap it to they dyno, but he wouldn’t do it. Number 47 (of 500) has zero miles.

But it got my brain strolling down memory lane, reminiscing on all the fantastic liquid-cooled 8-valve Ducatis I’ve had the honor of riding over the years. Do you remember them as well as I do?


John Burns

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