Simply sublime! The last Ducati, named 916, can only be summed up like this. Designed by Massimo Tamburini, this Italian with bubbling blood is a jewel of rare purity. Tight lines, aggressive look, surprising compactness and finesse…
The dream is there, pretending to exploits but will it be up to taking over from the 888? We will soon find out but first, we want to discover more. It may not be polite but we would like to see what she hides under her finery.
Traditionally Ducati, the frame is a tubular trellis but considerably reinforced compared to that of the 888. The engine is fixed at three points (instead of 2), the swingarm is now anchored to both the crankcases and the frame ; suddenly, the latter is 110% more rigid. Killer detail: via an eccentric mounted axle system, the steering can be adjusted to a column angle ranging from 23 ° 5 to 24 ° 5. Thanks to an enormous amount of work on the entire structure of the machine, the 916 is designed to be manufactured, maintained, dismantled and reassembled in a minimum of time. Everything is optimized on this superbike, from the very aerodynamic fairing through the twin desmoquattro, the gear selection, the dry clutch, the airbox, the exhaust pipes … We have used a lot of gray matter to give birth to the 916.
And on the track, it pays off. A lot. Before even starting the engine, we settle in a machine very well cut for the track. Very high butt, very thin tank allowing you to tuck your legs in, position frankly close to the front (gaffe not to be too big), we are almost in direct contact with the bike. This feeling is multiplied tenfold when the twin starts up. BBBRRROOUUUMMMmmmm! It’s virile, cavernous, deep … it suggests brutal behavior. When entering the piece of wood, sorry, the clutch, we do not suspect the real face of the boiler. Thanks to the injection, it turns out to be quite flexible but you have to be careful of the large torque. Especially since the clutch lacks progressiveness. Not easy to be gentle, when the engine is capable of it. For now, it is a question of making the powder speak. The twin works there by offering regularity and big potato. It gives even more watts around 7,000 rpm then we discover that the optimum power regime is around 9,000 rpm. Before, it is the very balèze couple which allows you to crush the turns; Then, by shifting gears when the tachometer needle touches 9, we take advantage of a thrust full of force. The box is excellent, allowing reports without thinking about it.
In dynamic behavior, the Ducati is bluffing. But it requires instructions for use. If you use the half-handlebars and the counter-steer to turn, no need to continue: you will feel like you are moving a dead cow. By cons, moving on the machine, it is a revelation of agility. So much so that it suffices to move one leg slightly for it to react. By using the sway and the glance, the 916 is placed where one wants, to the millimeter, being able to squirt from one angle to another with an ease and a surprising liveliness. Rigid at will, facing up to technical difficulties, the Bolognese has the gift of putting her driver in confidence very quickly. With her, communication is permanent and total control. You can feel very clearly on what type of terrain you are driving. The imperfections, the state, the peculiarities of the road, the 916 calls them to you permanently. The feeling with the tarmac is very fine and allows you to adapt instantly. Then it’s up to the pilot to play.
When braking or accelerating, the attitude of the motorcycle hardly moves. We set our eyes riveted on the trajectory, we take out the knee and a piece of buttocks, and the machine rushes into the turn almost on its own. Riveted on an invisible rail, it smooths the curve while the right hand prepares to put a ladle of gas back on. It is enough to send a good big dose of torque so that it extricates itself without restraint of the virolo. Its balance and efficiency are of a very high standard. The brake control is more demanding. You really have to push the lever to get something. Then, with a strong emphasis, the Brembos kick into action convincingly. The rear does not have these properties, we will just use it as a retarder or trajectory corrector..
Such beautiful machines, we are very tempted to show them to the public. Outside the circuit, the beautiful retains all its sublime but you will pay for it. The position of driving quickly invites fatigue in the wrists. The protection is quite close to the symbolic. Comfort remains circuit type. Nothing to do with a pleasure ride, even if the scent of the track never evaporates, regardless of the paths you take.
Ducati can be proud: the manufacturer offers the people a machine as beautiful as it is exhilarating to drive. An authentic racing machine that seems to have been born between the vibrators. With her, piloting turns into ecstasy.
It will be necessary to ignore the practical aspects, but is this really important on a race bike? Magnificent on the track, she accepts to venture out on the open road if you are ready to endure her. A stop at the terrace of a cafe and you will see the crowd of onlookers. A gas stroke and their respect will be acquired.
We are not talking about price, it would be indecent, especially for a bike whose destiny seems as fabulous as are its silhouette and its piloting..
M.B – (internet photos D.R.)
What you must remember
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Model marketed in
0 to 100: 3.20 s
medium: 6.50 l
270 km / h
The technical aspect
Ducati 916 1997
- Tank: 17 liters
- Wheelbase: 1,410 mm
- Dry weight: 192 kg
- Operating weight: 208 kg
- Train before
- Secondary chain transmission
- Rear axle
(94 x 66 mm)
at 9000 rpm
at 7,000 rpm