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I was reading this over on superbike planet dot com and thought I'd post it here for obvious reasons.

On a personal note, I can completely relate to Dean Adams with regard to the "Ducati memories" that clouded my brain on the eve of a very wet NorCal winter. I'd gone to Santa Clara that January night to take gander at a Craigslist 996. Unlike Dean, I ended up riding this one home, making it there just moments before a complete downpour. Here is the article and link:

https://www.superbikeplanet.com/expletive-deleted-beater-916/

Frankly, owning 20 bikes when you’re my age just seems, well, normal.

By Dean Adams
SuperbikePlanet Editor
Monday, March 6, 2017

At any given time I own something between fifteen and twenty-five bikes. I have bikes in my garage, in nearly all of my relatives garages, in my office (second story, too), in my house and in almost all of my close friends’ garages, from here to California and back. For a long time I had the parts that made up one motorcycle in three or four different states.


People from the outside world, if they ask how many bikes I own, and if I answer honestly (I have learned not to), usually respond with some kind of an ‘are you crazy?!’ dance where their head almost spins off their neck. TWENTY-THREE MOTORCYCLES!? YOU CAN ONLY RIDE ONE AT A TIME YA KNOW?!?


Frankly, owning 20 bikes when you’re my age just seems, well, normal. I’ve clicked well past four decades on two wheels and maybe every two or three years in that decades-long period, I’ve bought a bike that has spoken to me, one that has called forth the past in ways too powerful to ignore. None of them are super-valuable: everybody needs a Honda Hawk GT or an SV650.



And somehow I managed to keep an RZ350, two SRX-6s including the one I “raced”, the 1981 GPz550 I bought new when I was 19. A couple of CBXs have slipped through my garage and I was grateful when they left. I’ve owned a 1983 KZ750L3 (which is a 1982 GPz750) for a few decades and if I ever have to sell my 2011 CB1000R—the best streetbike Honda has made in a while, I guess I can find something to replace it as my daily rider.


On that subject—of a bike with the power to conjure the past—I found myself standing in a cold St. Paul alley last month looking at a beat-up, yet still massively majestic-looking Ducati 916. The alley was icy and the wind howled—26 degrees.


I’d seen the 916 on Craigslist for $2000. I called the fellow and he told me what he knew about the bike. Quickly, my eldest son, John, and I loaded up and went for a look.


As the kid drove, my mind spun back to all the 916 files in my brain. Ferracci … WSBK … Carl Fogarty … Mladin …. Frankie Chili at Monza. Plus, the big one: I was able to spend time with the man who designed the 916: the late Massimo Tamburini.


Yes, “Tambo”. I looked him in the eyes, drank coffee with him, and ate dinner across from him. I gratefully breathed in the smoke from his constant chain of cigarettes and when his water glass was empty, I signaled the waiter. When Massimo spoke, I stopped all activity and held my breath while listening intently. Did I understand much of what he said? No. His English was not great and the only Italian words I know are really tasteless insults.



My introduction to Massimo’s masterpiece could not have been more dramatic and weighty. Rumors of the 916 were everywhere in the early 1990s and for once, when the real thing hit, it was tantamount to an earthquake in the motorcycle industry. Even now, almost two decades later, will serious enthusiasts even debate that the Ducati 916 remains a historically significant motorcycle?


The very first time I saw a 916 with my own eyes was at the Spanish GP in Jerez. Someone from a British magazine had ridden a 916 to the race and parked it in the gravel VIP/Media parking lot. In those days, if you wanted to get into Jerez on race day you got up very early, slipped in before 6:00 and then napped in the car. I did and was fast asleep until I heard the 916 go past my rental car, then stop. Whoever rode it to Jerez got off and walked into the paddock.


I grabbed my stuff and got out of the car.
In the brief time that it took me to gather all my tools of the trade, the entire Marlboro Roberts armada had arrived from their hotel and parked nearby. They were now standing around the 916. There were so many of them I could no longer see the bike.


I locked the car, and started walking to the 916. In 20 paces it occurred to me that perhaps this scene was—ya think?—a photo op: the whole guts of Team Roberts gawking at the 916, King Kenny in the middle. I dropped my bag to dig out my Nikon. But by the time I stood back up, Team Roberts were all turned and walking to the paddock.


That, too, never left me. The 916 was a bike that, to a man, stopped Kenny Roberts and his GP crew in their tracks.

Back to St. Paul 2017: we stop the truck. I find a safe place to stand with ice under only one of my boots. The 916’s owner, maybe 21 years old, rolled it out of his garage and onto the ice. My son John helped him get it up on the stand. We step back.


It really was a 916; there were the unmistakable lines that Tambo’ had sketched at the Cagiva Research Center, the “Made in Italy” sticker, red paint and gray trellis frame, the Showa forks and Ohlins shock. This one had a ton of miles on it, and had also been tastefully low-sided on each side then bandaged back together.


One of the neighbors needed to get out of their driveway and our truck was blocking them in, so John moved the truck, leaving me alone with the owner kid.


Silence, a musty silence, a generation old or more surrounded us as we stood there together. He had his high performance Subaru idling nearby with his girlfriend in the passenger seat. She never looked up from her phone. My—pick one—winter jacket or my boots were maybe as old as the current owner of the 916.
I tried to tamp down the silence by saying what was immediately in my mind.


Me: I knew the guy who designed this bike. He’s considered one of the most legendary and important designers in the history of motorcycles. He’s revered as the Leonardo da Vinci of motorcycles.


Owner: Oh really? This was my uncle’s bike, then my dad’s. He left it here.


Me: Yeah, his name was Massimo Tamburini. This bike was kind of his early masterpiece.


Owner: It won’t start. I tried to start it last Summer and it just wouldn’t. I don’t know why.


Me: Yeah, he made some bikes later that look sort of like this—a line of MV Agustas. On the whole I think that this is a design that will seem as fresh and modern in 100 years, just like it did in 1995.


Owner: Did you want to make an offer?


John slipped his truck into a slot, parked it, and returned The disjointed conversation ended. As he walked up, I gave him my very best HOLY CRAP IT’S A REAL 916, A MONOPOSTO WITH NO LEAKS poker face.


‘Whadda’ we doin’?’, John asked. ‘You buyin’ another bike or is this my deal?’ ‘How many bike you own now, anyway?’ he chided, knowing that question bugs me to no end.


I gave the 916 one more glance. What to do?
So many memories of this bike and that era circled my head. Do I tell these two young men that I saw Frankie Chili ride one of these at Monza? Or that I watched how precise Massimo was when he cut his food and how elegantly he held his cigarettes? That I saw Mat Mladin win at Elkhart on one of these 916s?



Or that I rode in a car once with Carl Fogarty and Davide Tardozzi as they argued about what was wrong with the 916, both of them summing up their points by saying “You don’t understand” to one another? My brain was choked on old memories, too many.


Your bike, your deal, I said to John. He passed some cash to the owner and we loaded it up. I will probably own a 916 or an MV one day, but not this one.


Let’s get some lunch, I suggested, once we were on the road and confident that the 916 was not going to drop out of the box. We went to a pizza place that prides itself on making pizza like they do in Italy: wood fired, lots of oil and basil. I ate pizza like this with Tambo’ once at Claudio Castiglioni’s house.


Afterward, we walked back to the truck. As we closed on the truck with the 916 in the back I saw two heads on the other side of the truck.
I’m used to this by now. A white-haired couple had been walking to their car in the parking lot, but on the way saw the bike and they were now looking at it.



It was 26 degrees out and at that temp few things will slow the process of going from a warm building to warm-ish car. They stood, admiring the 916.


I slipped between them and the truck, smiling as I squeezed past.


As I got in I heard it: “That’s quite a motorcycle,” the man said to his wife. “It must be brand new.”
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Id kill for a 1995 916.....
Really? Are you professional?:D:D:D

Just checking in case, you know, I need your services some day LoL:D:D:D
 

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Good read
 

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Thanks for posting this. I've been on the fence about keeping or selling my 2001 748 track only bike for the last several months but this article reminded me of why I bought her in the first place. She's a work of art! She may not be the ideal track only machine as a main ride but I'm going to keep her for arts sake. I'll only ride her in perfect conditions and when I'm done doing track days, she'll become a piece of art hanging on a wall in my living room, wife approved!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for posting this.....this article reminded me of why I bought her in the first place.
No probs Paul. I feel the same. I'm never selling mine. Just like my Mille R, there isn't anything else like them from that era. I could have gotten a newer Ducati superbike, but the 916 made a huge impact on me. I lusted after one from the first time I saw one. That would have been at Aylesbury Kawasaki in 1994. A guy rolled in on one with a flat rear tire. The entire place seemingly emptied out to see it.

I finally bought my 996 this year. That's 23 years of lust. Still cannot believe I have one. When the day comes that I can no longer ride, my two twins will become center pieces in my living room.....sean
 
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Hello all. New to the group. Going to start a restore on "V000758"
Had it for about 2 years. Found it at an auto auction here in San Diego. It's pretty rough. But it runs. Looks like it was outside for awhile. But it's all there.
Just purchased the stands. And now to start.

LouM...
 

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Great piece. As an "older" rider I can identify with your view. I have only 3 bikes at the moment but understand the sickness of owning many over the years. I too was smitten the first time I discovered the voluptuous lines of Tamburini. Years later I got my '00 996 and have enjoyed her company. I too have an RZ350 and an '83 V45 Interceptor.
 

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Great read. Always love reading what makes Ducati and especially the 916/996/998 the most beautiful bike ever built. Proud owner of a 996.
Whats the significance of a Bologna or a Varese other than location ?
 
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