DUCATI 900SS (1990-2002) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

Old school charm, stunning looks and handling to surprise

DUCATI 900SS  (1990-2002)

Old school charm, stunning looks and handling to surprise

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Real retro sports motorcycle that was outdated when new.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 their cylinder head studs and bending chain adjusting bolts. Clutch can be grabby and fail. Later motorcycles were better but don’t count on low cost trouble free motoring with a Ducati 900SS.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

Like all 'SS' model Dukes, the Ducati 900SS is expensive for the level of performance but quite cheap for an exotic motorcycle with real road 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 small side. Mirrors are pretty poor too but a motorcycle like the Ducati 900SS is about a raw, exciting riding experience not electronics and creature comforts.

Owners' Reviews

13 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.

Review your DUCATI 900SS (1990-2002)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Intoxicating Sound and Magnetic Looks

11 January 2016 by Ducati Demone

Engine and looks are unmatchable! The sound angers dogs and startles joggers out of their earphones when this machine approaches. With classic Ducati lines, the intoxicating rumble of the L-twin power plant, and the trampy rasp of the dry clutch,... Read more there are few, if any, other bikes as outright sexy as the 900SS. Red... of course.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
nice, smooth braking.
Engine
5 out of 5
WOW! Listen to the naysayers all you wish, but 80-ish HP never felt so nasty! Somehow, it all comes together in a well-balanced machine that is MORE than fast enough for all but professional racers.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Tach cable wore out near engine connector after riding it about 3,500 miles. Other than that, it has been a delight to ride.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Bought it used in 2014 for US$4,000 with 12,500 miles on it.
Equipment
3 out of 5
who cares?! like i want to put saddle bags on this baby! You don't make a Super Model carry your luggage! This thing is for RIDING, not for TRAVELING. Get a Gold Wing if you want luggage.
5 out of 5

Adventure with contentment!

18 November 2015 by Ducati Adventurer

Having owned Ducati bikes over a 40 year period this 900SS has given me as much pleasure as my 916 and 1098. It might not have the maximum speed or handling but when I do my 289 miles commute from North Devon to Cambridge twice a month I get off and... Read more smile, thinking that was wonderful and better than any flash cars I've owned doing the same trip.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
It's at its best doing maximum speed within the law on A roads and I stop at 120 miles to fuel and food with drink.
Engine
5 out of 5
No problems
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
No problems really but it doesn't need the cloth inner on the faring which has worn out.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I have a great garage who look after my bike and don't charge the earth.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Bike is all standard and I have Michelin Pilot 3 tyres on it at present which are great.
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer for 6000 with red, green and white paint job. The bike had been stored for 9 years in its packaging.

4 out of 5

My 2000 Ducati 900SS experience

04 November 2015 by Kevin

This bike has a lot of character. It sounds awesome and is a real exotic. I've never had any reliability issues with it. 2000 models have EFI. It handles and stops well. Maintenance through reputable Ducati mechanics is notably more expensive... Read more than for Japanese sport bikes. The committed riding position makes this bike uncomfortable for long rides. It does not have 170 plus horsepower like the latest litre bikes, but if your street riding requires you to do more than 120 mph, you need your head examined! The engine is very torquey, and it is a lot of fun on winding paved roads. No rust after 15 years, just normal maintenance. The kickstand is horrendous, like many Ducati bikes.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes are excellent, Brembos. Ride quality is slightly harsh but expected for a sport bike. Aftermarket seat is a definite improvement.
Engine
5 out of 5
V-twin character, EFI makes easy starts. Lots of grunt when you roll on the throttle out of corners.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
No problems after 15 years. Regular maintenance for Ducati should be factored in to cost considerations.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Aftermarket seat fits well with bike, MUCH better than standard seat.
Buying experience

private sale

4 out of 5

Great bang for your buck.

08 June 2015 by Urban Spaceman

Well worth the money these days. Much easier to maintain than you may have been lead to believe. Suspension is on the firm side and bumpy roads will though you about. Bin the standard cans and fit some good ones so you can hear it snort and thump! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
Not overtly fast, but has good stomp through town.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Totally reliable in the seven or so years I have been custodian.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Belt change every couple of years. Worth learning how to do it. Not hard. See how on youtube.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Mine rolls on Continentals. Not much equipment to talk about on this bike. Doesn't lack anything though.
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 :-)

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 :-)

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

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!

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

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

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
-
Read all 13 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1990
Year discontinued 2002
Original price -
Used price £2,000 to £6,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £300
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  (1990-2002)
  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Ducati 900SS motorcycle review - Side view
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  • 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
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