There are not many motorcycles, that can truly earn the honorary title “milestone”. The Ducati 916 is part of this illustrious line – she came, mesmerized and won. Incidentally, she revolutionized the motorcycle world, because she set new standards for supersports, which apply until today.
The reasons for the radiance of this motorcycle are manifold. One reason is the revolutionary approach, that her creators were following: They developed a motorcycle for the race track to make a serial production, not the other way around, which was common at the time.
Between 1994 and 2002 the Ducati 916 – and her direct successors 996 and 998 – earned eight Manufacturer’s championships and six rider’s titles in the Superbike World Championship, which underpinned the mythos 916 even further. Still today, hobby riders and conquerors of the rural roads alike enthuse about the razor-sharp steering precision and the tremendous stability of the chassis, about the smooth onset but enormous strength of the desmodromic, – goose bumps guaranteed. The lucky people, who have been able to enjoy a ride of the 916, know that she is not only beautiful, functional and robust, but also well-balanced to ride and therefore very fast.
These virtues are owed to the legendary engineer Massimo Tamburini and the no less legendary Claudio Castiglioni. Grown up during the marriage of Italian motorcycle culture after the second World War, both united a powerful mixture between passion for motorcycles, national pride, enthusiasm for technology, and a sense for aesthetics. Only then something like the 916 could occur at the beginning of the 1990s. These are also the reasons, that she is still the embodiment of the sporty Ducati, although both already left the company and the world.
People, who are driving the 916 today, still think her chassis is state of the art. The old desmoquattro, which she adopted with a slightly bigger displacement from the 851/888, is still a very strong engine for the rural road, where it shines with a distinct middle speed range, where it runs extremely smooth. Introduced at the end of 1993, the 916 spearheaded the Ducati revival of the following decade, both on the street and the racetrack. (Ian Fallon)