Ducati has built a whole range of masterpieces over the years, but the 900SS was something special. When the 900SS hit the street, it represented both the end of an era and a new beginning for its manufacturer. The 900SS was the last air-cooled Ducati, as later engine designs would all be liquid-cooled. The 900SS also showed style flourishes that would inform Ducati for years to come, incorporating aerodynamic curves and breaking up the company’s signature wraparound fairing to show off engine and frame.
Style can only do so much for a bike, however. A real classic has to perform: Per Cycle World, that’s exactly what the 900SS did as of its 1991 release; inspiring new customers and defeating gearhead skepticism about European bikes in the heyday of American and Japanese market dominance. Light at 414 pounds and lethally fast with its 940cc Desmo Twin engine, the 900SS could hang with any motorcycle of its time and class.
Ironically, for all the success of the 900SS in its day, there’s some mild friction about it now. Everyone still thinks it’s a masterpiece, but there’s some debate as to which model was the best of the brand. Nevertheless, the good news for motorheads is that both designs from 1991-1998 are widely available and reasonably priced on the used motorcycle market.