Impossible not to compare it to a Ferrari. The new 851 can, like its 4-wheeled cousins from Maranello, provoke emotion, magic, passion … with just a glance … "I do not know what" awakened by noble and elegant machines. How not to crack in front of this flamboyant red dress, almost submissive to this intoxicating sports Italian.
When the first 851 landed in 88, the technical and mechanical solutions it adopted, its design but also its elitist price set it apart very quickly from the rest of the production. This evolution is a bigger step from the diva to the general public.
There is above all this new color, sublime, and frankly more pleasant than the old green-white-red decoration. Then, the model 90 improves on many points. The mirrors are no longer integrated and replaced by classic models, fixed on the top of the fork crown. Rims 16" removable become 17" standard, painted white to match the frame in the same color. What a contrast with the exterior of the motorcycle! Then, in 91, the shock absorber is signed Öhlins and the fork becomes an inverted model. In 92, a slight stylistic retouching intervenes and the tank is now in steel.
The pots are stainless steel elements lined with aluminum that will absolutely not make the old ones regret. The brake discs have grown, to now display 320 mm in diameter.
For the heart of the bike, it is less visible and more technical. The twin desmoquattro is no longer equipped with only one injector per cylinder. The dry clutch gains a transmission damper while its slave master cylinder shifts from right to left. Partly thanks to the increase in the compression ratio (10.4 -> 11 to 1), the engine outputs 105 hp, 3 more than before. The chassis also evolves, with a swingarm of different structure, a new rear suspension, a smaller brake disc, and a battery that moves forward to charge it a little more..
One of the most important steps was to overhaul the manufacturing process. By not cutting back on quality or performance (it’s even the opposite), the Ducati loses almost 2 plates on its purchase cost. Not bad for a machine that has improved everywhere. Today, we can afford it for less than 10 bricks.
Those who experienced the first 851 will find their marks. Identical driving position, both sporty and pleasant, supported by an excellent set of controls. The emotion begins as soon as the mill is on the way. The pulsations of the twin are in the vocalization, less deep but more virulent than those of a 900 SS. This growling motorcycle immediately attracts the attention of those around you. Capital sympathy assured with the curious and the girls; less enthusiasm from neighbors.
In action, the superbike has not changed. It is still so precise and light but requires authority on the handlebars. This feature allows you to accelerate very hard on the angle to get out of bends. Getting into it standing on the brakes will be slightly warmer, although the 17" improves the front axle well. We took the opportunity to taste the excellent Brembo braking. The power as the feeling are very well made; the back is more shy.
Torque enough to wind, the twin still waits to exceed 6500 rpm to spit out its big watts. Handle fully screwed in, the bike exceeds 230 stopwatch. He sends the Italian boiler! Nice straight lines, big curves, the 851 does not move an eyelash – stability guides the bike. This puffing of kilometers makes it possible to judge the protection: decent, and a little more at the level of the hands.
On the track, the Ducati reveals its weak points. The battery transplant did not have any real impact on the steering. A big acceleration relieves the front axle too much. His feeling is then more vague but not enough to return the hand.
The traction is excellent, especially since the machine is fitted as standard with very efficient Michelin TX 11 and 23. Between the vibrators and whatever the technical difficulties, the stability and precision of the 851 work wonders. All this at a price and it’s the pilot who flushes it out. The bike is tiring and, although driving is a great pleasure, it appears physical to take. Try to limit improvisation – the bike will only perform at its best if you ride it with confidence.
Its rigor, its sporty, firm and safe behavior do not fear the roads of average quality. It is not the bike but the suspensions that will make you slow down or change course. The suspension doesn’t have the smoothness of a roadster, and your body will count all the bumps that go under the wheels. Another thing, the fault of the old generation has not disappeared, namely a predisposition to get up during an unexpected braking on the angle, even if the rise in 17" made things better.
The Italian design school has always known how to make superb creations and the 851 is no exception to the rule. Very beautiful, endowed with a rigorous behavior, a lively and powerful engine, a fascinating voice and offering an almost indecent pleasure, the Ducati "Road superbike" is a fascinating motorcycle. What more can we want ?
(inspired by Moto-journal – internet photos)
What you must remember
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Model marketed in
sup 230 km / h
The technical aspect
Ducati 851 1992
- Tank: 20 liters
- Width: 700 mm
- Height: 1130 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,430 mm
- Dry weight: 180 kg
- Operating weight: 217 kg
- Train before
- Secondary chain transmission
- Rear axle
(92 x 64 mm)
at 9000 rpm
at 8000 rpm