DUCATI 900SS (1990-2002) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Old school charm, a great twin cylinder sound track, stunning looks and handling to surprise"

Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding

"Old school charm, a great twin cylinder sound track, stunning looks and handling to surprise"

  • At a glance
  • 904cc  -  80 bhp
  • 39 mpg  -  135 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

Real retro sports motorcycle that was outdated when new. If you’re after all-out speed, practicality or reliability look elsewhere. If you want old school charm, a great twin cylinder sound track, stunning looks and handling to surprise the odd modern motorcycle the Ducati 900SS is worth a look.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Matches the looks and engine – old school but kind of effective. Hard suspension, a committed riding position and taught frame means the Ducati 900SS can roll in and out of bends surprisingly well. It’s not as nimble as modern motorcycles but the Ducati 900SS is a delight to ride.

Engine 3 out of 5

On paper it’s the Ducati 900SS is a loser. In the real world the low down torque is pretty effective and modern motorcycles only pull away when revved hard. This makes the Ducati 900SS a deceptively quick motorcycle in experienced hands. Old technology with just two valves per cylinder and air cooling. V-twin like most Ducatis.

Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5

Older Ducati 900SS were notorious for snapping the head bolts in the engine and bending the bolts that push the rear spindle back when adjusting the chain. Clutch can be grabby and fail. Later motorcycles were better but don’t count on low cost trouble free motoring with a Ducati 900SS.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

Like all SS Dukes, the Ducati 900SS is expensive for the level of performance but quite cheap for an exotic motorcycle with real presence. Whatever model you go for, buying from a reputable dealer with a decent warranty is a good idea. Cherished owners club member’s bikes will be sorted but rarely cheap. Find a Ducati 900SS for sale.

 

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

Basic – but that’s par for the course on a motorcycle like this. Early Ducati 900SS's had a rubbish spring-up side stand. Comfort’s not good – there’s lots of weight on the wrists and the seat and screen are on the stingy side. Mirrors are pretty poor too but a motorcycle like the Ducati 900SS is about a raw, exciting riding experience not fuel gauges and stereos.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their DUCATI 900SS (1990-2002) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 3.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 3.3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Ducati 900 sport

31 January 2009 by Ducatijay

Picked mine up from KJM also. 2002 ltd edition SPORT model. Really impressed with it for £4000!!! Much rather have it than my mates 600 4's and what a soundtrack... Ducati's really are special and the SPORT and SS models are still brilliant... Read more these days. Buy one :-)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Ducati 900 sport

31 January 2009 by Ducatijay

Picked mine up from KJM also. 2002 ltd edition SPORT model. Really impressed with it for £4000!!! Much rather have it than my mates 600 4's and what a soundtrack... Ducati's really are speciall and the SPORT and SS models are still brilliant... Read more these days. Buy one :-)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Love it

10 October 2008 by phild1

Stock bike, 14 years old - Looks more beautiful as time rolls on, sounds wonderful, feels great. Who cares if its out performed by Japanese fours. A bike built with spirit not technology and still plenty fast enough on the road. Only problem in 16... Read more months was a broken throttle cable. Used regulary for commuting

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Mucho Funno!

06 March 2008 by ShedofBren

I have owned a 1999 900ssie registered in Mar 2000 for 8 years now, it has Remus carbon race cans and I have replaced a lot of the nuts and bolts with stainless items to stop the rust. I keep the bike clean and I keep to the required service... Read more intervals and it has given me over 10,000 miles of trouble free fun, it's been to Germany and Holland doing nearly a thousand miles in a long weekend. As for scalping bigger bikes, as long as you are steaming along at a fair pace the suspension keeps the bike firmly planted and you can take them in the twisty’s, sorry Mr Fireblade owner, Handleys Corner, TT 2008!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
3 out of 5

I owned an old knacker of 1994 bike

07 June 2007 by SeanW

briefly before turning it into a sexy seventies SS replica with a Baines frame/bodywork kit. Read more

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Tambuini vs Terblanche

26 March 2007 by JACKMCN95

Should be mentioned that the beautifully styled Tamburini-era SS bikes ended in 1998. After that Pierre Terblanche gave them a good working over his ugly stick. Despite technical improvements under the skin, sales tanked worldwide. Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

A dark horse

23 March 2007 by DucatiMartin

I have a brand new out of the box 900ss matt black. Its a 2002 model from KJM, for what I paid for it which is no more than a Versys I have twin Brembo front discs and Ohlins shocks and tons of smiles. In 10mths I have done 7300miles and its never... Read more missed a beat, nothing wrong, no breaks or faults. 4 hours in solid rain to glasgow, nothing, it just keeps going. As my first ever bike I couldn't ask for more, I love it, its full of character unlike the souless Jap bikes. And the sound it makes is up there with a merlin engine. Those who have one know the real truth about this bike.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great bike

15 March 2007 by greger

Every time I take a ride I think it's never been as good as this. Its not sweet like many fours from Japan its just a pure, raw no fuzz sportbike. The SS is like your favourite dog and japanese sportbikes are like dishwashers, you like both but have... Read more a better connection with one. Forks are not great and mirrors are for looking at your shoulders. My 97 has not broken down yet after 33000 km.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

I love and hate it

05 March 2007 by dazzawra

I have a 97 model 900SS. I bought as a second bike and only really use it for fun and riding to race meetings. When I first got the bike it was standard. My first long trip (400 miles) the clutch started slipping due to overheating trying to get out... Read more of Donington. Then on the same journey the regulator failed so I was stranded. Fixed with non Ducati parts all OK. Next long journey (Le Mans) and I suffered carb icing all the way there and all the way back. Changed the carbs for Keihin flatslides...no more problems. Now I`ve sorted all the problems, I love it. The sound, the character the torquey power delivery are all great. No chance against modern sportsbikes on a straight, but when the road gets twisty, you can surprise alot of people. I keep spending money on bits and pieces for it. It`s got Sil moto exhausts, single seat unit, Ohlins shock and steering damper. It`s cost me a fortune, but for some reason I don`t mind. I`ll probably keep this bike forever....even though I don`t trust it!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1990
Year discontinued 2002
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 80 bhp
Max torque 59 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 39 mpg
Tank range 135 miles
Specification
Engine size 904cc
Engine type 4v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 188kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1990: Ducati 900SS launched (alhough previous Ducatis had used the same name).
1991: New Showa up-side down forks.
1998: Major update with new bodywork, tank and uprated suspension.
2000: New side stand, higher bars, grey frame and wheels.
2001: New swing arm and Ohlins rear suspension.
2002: Ducati 900SS discontinued.

Other versions

Ducati 900 Super Light: High spec version of the Ducati 900SS with Marvic wheels, tuned engine, higher exhausts carbon mudguard and #1 graphics. Sold from 1992-1996.
Ducati 900SS FE: Final Edition version of the pre-updated 900SS. Numbered engraved tag, carbon mudguard and clock surround, single seat, silver only.
Ducati 900S: Budget version of the 900SS. Sold from November 2001-2002.
Ducati 900SSie: Updated model with new fairing, tank, headlight and suspension.

Photo Gallery

  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Engine
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Front view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Engine
All related bikes for sale