Ducati 916


Phil Aynsley’s last column featured the ultimate Ducati V-twin superbike – the 1299 Panigale Superleggera (Link), while this week our resident Ducati expert thought it would be fitting to have a look at its spiritual precursor – the 916, especially as this year marks its 25th anniversary!

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Ducati’s 916

While an argument could well be made that the 851 (Ducati’s first four-valve V-twin production bike) was the company’s original “modern” superbike, I think that the impact of the 916 on the motorcycling world was such that it can truly be regarded as the first really “modern” Ducati superbike.

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Ducati 916

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With the introduction of the 916 Strada in 1994 Ducati took the two-wheeled fraternity by storm. No doubt it is Massimo Tamburini’s most acclaimed (and copied) design. While Tamburini himself acknowledged that he took inspiration from the 1992 Honda NR750 (Link) – particularly the underseat exhausts, his design was an even more attractive one!

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The iconic underseat exhausts would become prevalent in motorcycling

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The motor was a development of the 851/888, with the stroke increased from 64 to 66mm, keeping the bore at 94mm. A new engine management system was used.

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The rest of the bike was new and resulted in a considerably smaller bike than the 851, both physically and visually. The design certainly had a great impact on not only the public but also other manufacturers, as evidenced by the proliferation of underseat exhausts and ‘styled’ headlights.

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Ducati 916

In combination with its 996, 998 and 748 derivatives, over 63,000 were built until it was eventually replaced by the 999/749 in 2002.

Power of the original 916 was 114 hp at 9000rpm, with a weight of 198 kg, and the 916 was good for a top speed of 260 km/h.

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Ducati 916

The bike in all but one of the images seen here is the first to arrive in Australia. As a committed Ducati fan I thought it appropriate to commission an Italian village themed backdrop for the shoot I did for REVS magazine.

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Ducati 916

The addition of a suitably Latin looking model was a bonus! The overhead shot of a 1996 bike is included purely because it is a particular favourite of mine!

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A personal favourite shot of Phil’s of the 916

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Ducati 916

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