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Classic Motorcycles - The Ducati 750SS






Rather like fellow Italian motorcycle manufacture Moto Guzzi, Ducati was an exotic, yet unpredictable, marquee in the 1970s. The Ducati 750SS was the first foray into big bore machinery for the company. Opinions vary, some thinking it was a collection parts from the famous Dell'Orto catalogue with glass fibre bits and pieces, (including the fuel tank), others feeling that it was simply an evolution from Ducati's GT.

Really, it wasn't important. Despite the drawing board opinions, when ridden, the SS proved to be a very special sports bike and helped pave the way for the release, and success, of the 900SS some two years later. Both the Honda CB750 and Suzuki GT750 were the two bikes that were in many ways the benchmarks in terms of performance and handling at the time of the release of the SS, and with a top speed of 124mph, the SS could compete on level terms.

However, where it excelled was in the "twisties". Even up against more powerful bikes, when it came to cornering and real life speed, in other words not just straight line performance, the SS would leave them in its wake. It built up a deserved reputation as the best cafe style racer of the day, and the best handling superbike to date.

Typical of Ducati, and a style that remains to this day, were the rear mounted footrests and clip-on handlebars. This put it firmly in the sports bracket, pushing the boundaries of sports bikes at that time, and looked different to anything else on the road at that time. It looked stunning with its race seat and optional handlebar fairing. Riding this machine took guts and an ability to cope with the radical riding position, placing as it did a lot of pressure on the wrists and neck muscles.

Production stopped in 1974. It was sometimes regarded as a piece of exotica and sales were not huge. But this 748cc, V-twin broke a mould in many ways, before Ducati moved on, as the rest of the motorcycle industry, to more cubes and more horsepower.

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