DUCATI 900SS (1990 - 2002) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Annual servicing cost: £180
Power: 80 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.1 in / 815 mm)
Weight: Medium (415 lbs / 188 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £4,500 - £7,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Real retro sports motorcycle that was outdated when new.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

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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

Equipment

2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Specs

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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 39 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £180
New price -
Used price £4,500 - £7,000
Insurance group 14 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 80 bhp
Max torque 59 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12.1 secs
Tank range 135 miles

Model 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.

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI 900SS (1990 - 2002)

22 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: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Engine: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Equipment: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £180
5 out of 5 The Ducati that gets under your skin...
05 June 2020 by Jono

Version: Y

Year: 1996

Annual servicing cost: £100

I still like it after 24 years of ownership, service it myself, great handling and sound, still makes me grin which is what it's all about!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Comfy for long distances once did 700 miles in a day with not too much drama. Nice balanced riding position, not too radical, good seat bar peg ratio. Good on motorways good on alpine passes.

Engine 5 out of 5

I'm biased, i love the air cooled two valve Ducati motors. Prefer them to the four valves. Lots of low down grunt, great induction roar when wound up. Perfect engine for A road scratching whilst lazy and long legged for long trips. Not too buzy either.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Oddly the least reliable part is the Mikuni BDST38 carbs'. Same fitment to a host of 90's Japanese bikes too. The needles and emulsion tubes wear considerably. Worth shelling out for much better aftermarket components that last longer than the OE fitment.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Very easy to service, oil, filters, belts i can do all of it in two hours max. Access to these is easy and straightforward. Change brake fluids and check valves every two years bit more fiddly but if you can count and understand gravity then easy to do.

Equipment 5 out of 5

It has all the equipment i ever need on a motorcycle.

Buying experience: Bought 24 years ago and it's still makes me grin when i go for a blast on it. I cant really remember the buying experience. Amused that it's now worth pretty much what i paid for it so good value for 24 years of motorcycling.

4 out of 5 Brilliant all-rounder
16 March 2020 by Sajid shah

Year: 2000

Annual servicing cost: £150

I genuinely look forward to any opportunity to go for a ride. It's been my everyday commuter for 5 years. Serviced and looked after by an independent garage in Yorkshire and apart from wear and tear I've never had any issues at all. I'm shocked about the reliability rating as mine has been rock solid. The only thing I'd change is increase the handlebar height to reduce back of neck agony when distance touring. I use givi saddlebags when I go camping or touring and it really is brilliantly versatile.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

I love the engine and exhaust sound.... and it has all the power I need for my abilities 😁

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

I've selected 5 out of 5 even though it has nothing extra because I didn't need anything else.

Buying experience: Bought from Alf's down south somewhere and they were lovely folk.

5 out of 5
19 July 2019 by Wonderwop

Version: Aryton senna replica

Year: 2002

Annual servicing cost: £100

I've been told I bought the Mona Lisa of Ducati so that makes mine rarer than yours 🤣 only 200 made 🥳 best bike I have ever owned I would highly recommend the 900 supersport it has everything power performance looks respect from all bikers truly a package deal

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Like all street bikes not a very comfortable ride but as far as performance and brakes it's amazing

Engine 5 out of 5

That's straight-up V-Twin roar

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Runs super strong at 17 years old... my senna replica is the best bike I have ever owned

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: I bought this beauty from formula 1 Motorsports from a Ducati collector that goes by the name of whitey... He told me I was buying the Mona Lisa of Ducati I didn't realize how true that statement really was

5 out of 5 Old, very good and very faithful friend
28 June 2019 by drapperd

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £70

Looks, handles and sounds absolutely brilliant - none better

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

After riding the bike a few years and thinking the handling was great, I finally set the suspension up to suit my weight (85kg) and style. Absolutely transformed the bike from a great handler to an absolutely on-the-money running-on-rails masterpiece.

Engine 5 out of 5

Exactly the power and delivery I want. I bought a TL 1000 R thinking it might be a 900 SS on steroids, but despite greater power, etc. etc. it just can't quite match the sheer satisfaction of my Ducati. My Ducati 900 SS just suits me 100%

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

owned for 16 years and only issues so far were a broken speedo cable and a broken timing belt (within the 2 years) which required a replacement exhaust valve - no other damage.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cost of oil, filters and belts. Do work myself.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Everything you need, nothing you don't.

5 out of 5 Have had dozens of bikes but I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS ONE!!
03 April 2019 by Don JOHNSON

Version: 1997 900 SS/SP

Year: 1997

Five out of five for smiles per mile per year. I've had dozens and dozens of motorcycles over the decades that I DID enjoy, but I LOVE THIS BIKE and practically giggle every time I ride it!! I will DIE OWNING THIS MOTORCYCLE and WILL come back and haunt my heirs if they sell it!!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Given what the machine is, the ride quality is acceptable, but not what more modern bikes offer...and I get that and live with it. Brakes are GREAT!

Engine 5 out of 5

Five out of five for GREAT SOUND, Wonderful torque and a superb willingness to GO!

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Never broken down or stranded me, but it IS kinda maintenance intensive compared to other bikes I have owned.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Hard to say what the cost is exactly as I do ALL of the maintenance myself, including setting the valve clearances. Don't trust the values printed on the shims! Use your micrometer to find out what they REALLY are!. When you do the clearances and ANYONE wanders into the shop while you are doing them and wants to chat, THROW THEM OUT!! Oh...and make notes as you go!

Equipment 4 out of 5

Stock mirrors give you a GREAT view of the inside of your elbows, not to mention that they get lazy and blow rearward and then droop. That is fixable with a little effort, though. Clutch is cranky and abrupt, but DOES WORK WELL once you get used to making it do so and the sound it makes is UNMISTAKABLE but wonderful! Wind protection is pretty much as expected for this era...just live with it....after all it IS a kinda rare old exotic/performance bike.

Buying experience: Bought it almost new (8 miles) in 1998 for about $8200 US. Now worth maybe, MAYBE 4500 bucks and I have spent lots of money on it over the years. Now 22 years old and GORGEOUS....I LOVE IT! YELLOW, of course as red ones are a dime a dozen!!

4 out of 5 Ducati 900SS review
16 February 2019 by Jayguitars

Year: 2000

Annual servicing cost: £100

My Ducati 900SS is odd. All factory carbon, Termignoni carbon pipes, and the Marchesini light five spoke wheels. Everything that should be black plastic is carbon, so the bike is very light.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5

Mine’s modified and very cranky down low, but what a noise on the throttle!!!!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 You just keep coming back to these bikes
22 September 2018 by Shaun

Version: 900SS IE

Year: 2002

The bike is an excellent all rounder, it has low HP however the torque and usability of the power is excellent on tight roads.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Hard suspension standard have it set up.

Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

Buying experience: It hasn’t got any!

4 out of 5 Ride a lion
31 October 2017 by Michel

Year: 1993

When I still had hair, I was racing the Ducati 900SS 3 days a week against Japanese 4 cylinder, 16 valves, 125 hp +, good pilots. The result: I saw all of them pull away from me in the straight, to see them all drop back behind me in the next curve. Brakes, handling and couple from 1500 RPM are absolutely great. As fast as a 600 Japanese, but infinitely more relax. A growl of a lion, instead of an hysterical scream.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5

Tune it with internal polishing and the valve cams of the ST2 for more power in high RPM

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Never any problem.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5
27 June 2017 by Dan

Version: 1991

Year: 1991

Annual servicing cost: £300

Fantastic looks and fun to ride. The sum is greater than the parts.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brembo brakes are effective

Engine 4 out of 5

Lots of torque

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Private

4 out of 5 Intoxicating Sound and Magnetic Looks
11 January 2016 by Ducati Demone

Version: CR

Year: 1996

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, 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.

Reliability & build quality 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 vs rivals 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

Version: Reg 2011 - Mike Hailwood LTD

Year: 2002

Annual servicing cost: £200

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 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

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No problems really but it doesn't need the cloth inner on the faring which has worn out.

Value vs rivals 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

Version: 900SS full fairing

Year: 2000

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 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.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

No problems after 15 years. Regular maintenance for Ducati should be factored in to cost considerations.

Value vs rivals 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

Version: 900 Sport, matt black

Year: 2002

Annual servicing cost: £400

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!

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5

Not overtly fast, but has good stomp through town.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Totally reliable in the seven or so years I have been custodian.

Value vs rivals 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 these days. Buy one :-)

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 these days. Buy one :-)

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 months was a broken throttle cable. Used regulary for commuting

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
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