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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

This isn't really asking for a buyer's guide type advice, but rather a silly question, maybe. I have 899 which I use for everything (commuting, touring, Sunday morning blast, but not track, I haven't been on a track in over 20 years now), it's ridden everyday as long as weather isn't too horrid, and I love the thing. I kind of hate working on it though, with so many wires and electronics, and in general really complicated and fiddly. I dropped off my bike for 15k mile service, and the shop has 900SS SP on the showroom. Since I'm a child of the 80s/90s, and 900SS being one of my favorite bikes, AND just how mechanically simple it is to work on, I'm genuinely tempted to replace my 899. The thing is, I've never ridden 900SS (well, to be honest, I've never ridden any Ducati other than 899), so am hoping to get some thoughts from people who have experiences with both. I know they are so different, so it's not really to compare, but do you think I'd get the same "special" feel with 900SS that I get with 899, or would it be the case of never meet your childhood hero? Also, I wonder what it's like to go from 148hp to something like 80-ish. In case it's a question of mechanical ability, I can wrench pretty well.

I'd appreciate your thoughts.
 

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The exhaust roar the classic 900SS/SP makes overcomes every HP concern because it sounds like it has more. The torque is comparable to your present bike making the grin factor very high on the classic with a few more teeth on the rear gear.
 

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Old mustang vs new mustang.
Digital vs analog

Both are good but very different experiences.
One will have better performance the other will make you wonder why people care so much about performance.
Damn. That's pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Old mustang vs new mustang.
Digital vs analog

Both are good but very different experiences.
One will have better performance the other will make you wonder why people care so much about performance.
Man, that’s rather beautifully put! Whatever I decide to do, I’ll definitely remember this statement. Thanks!
 

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Try to figure out how to have both. It is really nice having a state of the art bike with all of the gadgets and gizmos and having a simple bike with none of them. The contrast is great.
 

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I have a 2002 900SSie, not a carby, but still old school. I have Termignoni race cans and open air box. I will probably never get rid of the bike just for the sound it makes. I have never ridden a modern Superbike Ducati and don’t know how it sounds “in the saddle”.

It all comes down to personal preference, but regardless of sound and feel, old vs modern, I would keep the 899. You know the 899, you maybe want to try something different. But the 900ss becomes everyday at some point also, and then you can ask yourself what you traded for. Simplicity? classic looks? Less power, inferior handling, inferior brakes, inferior in almost every tech category. When the old school charm wears off, you have to ask what it in reality provides you. Will it be as reliable in all those conditions you describe? In wet?

I would keep the 899.
 

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I am in a good place to answer your quandary, since I have both... Best solution, get both!

Ducvet’s post sums it perfectly. They are very different bikes. Both awesome in their own right.

900ss are pretty cheap these days, so it’s not unreasonable to have both. I absolutely love my 900ss (1996 carby SP). It’s straight line performance is not going to wow you but that’s not what it’s about. It has enough performance to go quick and if you ride on tight-ish windy roads you’re in Desmo Heaven. It has wonderful drive out of corners and it handles beautifully. For a bike that is >20 years old, it’s fantastic. You’ll be amazed at how light it is too. A feather compared to the 899. So nimble. Not that the 899 is a slouch, that’s a nimble bike too, it’s just that the SS is even more so!

I am also a child of the 80’s/90’s and the SS ticks all the boxes on that front. Definitely worth meeting your childhood hero in that sense. And yes, it’s a pleasure to work on. You can actually reach things. The SS seems to be designed by a process of humans with a passion refining things over time, whereas the 899 is designed by CAD. Everything is so jammed in there, it’s an absolute bugger to work on.

The “baby” Panigale is such an awesome bike too, I fear that if you let it go, you’ll regret it. The SS won’t replace it but it will perfectly complement it!
 

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You know it has taken me many years to figure out what I want and these things some times change. When I was younger it was all about performance and style hence the 851 superbike being my first Ducati. I had friends that had supersports and though I liked the looks and the concept I did not understand why you would choose one over something that had much better performance.

A decade later I was now working in the industry and bought my first 2-valve to build a cheap track bike, many lessons were learned. Spending the time on the under powered (m750) bike taught me that as delivered performance was not the reason I enjoyed riding. I found that for me (everyone is different) the process of taking something I like and making it better was a great part of motorcycling. Once again as we always hear it is the journey not the destination and ownership of the right bike was more akin to raising children, you try and mold them into something better. It does always go to plan and is often frustrating but when you pull it off it is very satisfying.

Keep in mind I like the aesthetic of old bikes but will tell everyone they are unreliable and a time/money pit, you will work on them more than you will ride them. Then a funny thing happened along the way, I became vintage. Now bikes that were cutting edge are vintage and my world has gone upside down. Go ahead and laugh, I pray it happens to you as well my friends. Lucky for me there were great strides made in motorcycles in the late 80's and early 90's, that has made the bikes from my era pretty good still to this day (or so it seems to an old guy).

If you were looking for a only bike and did not have a ton of seat time to know what you want I am still going to recommend a newer bike just because it is best to get you riding and not wrenching at first. That does not mean you can not do it the other way I know a number of millennials who started with POS cafe bikes as a first bike and they did just fine. Most want a bike that they do not HAVE to work on but choose to work on, modifications are always more fun than repairs.

Once you know what you like in a bike then I do suggest you try a simpler bike, it is always good to try and distill a motorcycle down to the purist form of what makes us smile. For some it is outright performance and technology for others the absence of anything that does not need to be there is worth much more. As I am always advocating the bike is yours make it what you want, the hard part is life some times takes a while to teach you what you truly do want.

With either bike enjoy the journey.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Piles of great thoughts, thanks! Gave me a lot to think about.
I did kind of forget why I bought 899 in the first place - I have a few old bikes. My daily was RD250 that I built from parts, and I also have a V50ii that I restored (and caught fire, need to restore it again), GSX-R 750 from the 80s and CB750, neither of which run yet. I bought 899 just so I have something that is a bit ridiculous for my purpose, and also so that I don't have to be working on it all the time (oh, and of course, for the look, that Ducati magic, you know, I always wanted a Ducati in my life). The bike is awesome, I'd never thought that I'd say this, but I've been having so much fun with 899 that I rarely ride my RD now, never thought there would be a 4-stroke that I'd prefer over 2-stroke. It's been dead reliable so far, too, which was exactly what I wanted for. But then, I'm complaining because it's so tedious to work on. The first world problem!
 

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I am in a good place to answer your quandary, since I have both... Best solution, get both!

Ducvet’s post sums it perfectly. They are very different bikes. Both awesome in their own right.
I'm in a similar boat, owning both a '94 900SS that's been well modified, and a 2017 Supersport S that's mostly stock save for the Akra exhaust and a couple of farkles here and there.

I love them both equally for very different reasons. As a rider you really feel connected to everything on the old bike, you can feel that there's nothing between your controls and the results. The new bike is refined, powerful, better in every objectively measurable way, but engineers at Ducati/Audi can't objectively measure how you feel when you ride it.

To be honest, I prefer the '17 Supersport for daily duties. But I find I have far more fun riding the '94 900SS on the weekends - I feel like Agostini on it, knowing that everything I do is directly related to how I live or die, and I choose living, but only by -><- this much.
 

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Last year I rode all of my bikes one after the other, in order from slowest to fastest. My slowest bikes didn’t really feel slow until the back to back comparison against the faster ones. The fastest bikes felt about the same, but the road was only about a mile. The 900 SS carby was in the middle, noticeably faster than my Bonny or SuperGlide, noticeably slower than my Monster or Busa. But, when I ride any one of them it doesn’t feel slow. I’m just not comparing them in my mind as I ride them.
 

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I agree with the others, find a way to keep the 899, that is the best Ducati since the PT superbikes, actually, it's the best sportbike around . point . you'll be sorry later on if you let it go, you gotto have the SS too, beg, borrow or steal....
 

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You know it has taken me many years to figure out what I want and these things some times change. When I was younger it was all about performance and style hence the 851 superbike being my first Ducati. I had friends that had supersports and though I liked the looks and the concept I did not understand why you would choose one over something that had much better performance.

A decade later I was now working in the industry and bought my first 2-valve to build a cheap track bike, many lessons were learned. Spending the time on the under powered (m750) bike taught me that as delivered performance was not the reason I enjoyed riding. I found that for me (everyone is different) the process of taking something I like and making it better was a great part of motorcycling. Once again as we always hear it is the journey not the destination and ownership of the right bike was more akin to raising children, you try and mold them into something better. It does always go to plan and is often frustrating but when you pull it off it is very satisfying.

Keep in mind I like the aesthetic of old bikes but will tell everyone they are unreliable and a time/money pit, you will work on them more than you will ride them. Then a funny thing happened along the way, I became vintage. Now bikes that were cutting edge are vintage and my world has gone upside down. Go ahead and laugh, I pray it happens to you as well my friends. Lucky for me there were great strides made in motorcycles in the late 80's and early 90's, that has made the bikes from my era pretty good still to this day (or so it seems to an old guy).

If you were looking for a only bike and did not have a ton of seat time to know what you want I am still going to recommend a newer bike just because it is best to get you riding and not wrenching at first. That does not mean you can not do it the other way I know a number of millennials who started with POS cafe bikes as a first bike and they did just fine. Most want a bike that they do not HAVE to work on but choose to work on, modifications are always more fun than repairs.

Once you know what you like in a bike then I do suggest you try a simpler bike, it is always good to try and distill a motorcycle down to the purist form of what makes us smile. For some it is outright performance and technology for others the absence of anything that does not need to be there is worth much more. As I am always advocating the bike is yours make it what you want, the hard part is life some times takes a while to teach you what you truly do want.

With either bike enjoy the journey.
Ducvet, I love the wisdom in your philosophy. Thanks.
 

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Old mustang vs new mustang.
Digital vs analog

Both are good but very different experiences.
One will have better performance the other will make you wonder why people care so much about performance.
This... so good.
 
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Hi,

Since I'm a child of the 80s/90s, and 900SS being one of my favorite bikes, AND just how mechanically simple it is to work on, I'm genuinely tempted to replace my 899.
I agree with the "why not both" sentiment. I have a 996, and have just "adopted" a 900 SS as a project bike. As one can imagine, a bike as old as a 900SS (1993) is honestly not in the best shape. Good thing they are pretty easy to work on (I find this true of the 996 as well though) as mine needs a whole lot of work.

I quoted the OP because honestly, my taste in motorcycles is most heavily influenced by motorcycles of the 90s. Now that I can find sufficient "discretionary funds" to do with what I like, I got the two bikes that most occupied my motorcycling thoughts back then.

The older "slab sided" 900 SS was the first Ducati I ever lusted after. Hence my user name. If you can pull it off, I say keep the 899, and find yourself a well looked after 900 SS. They're out there, and prices are not yet on a trajectory into unobtainable. I see them regularly advertised on Bay Area CL for $3500-$4K or so. Good, clean, low mileage examples even.

I've seen the later SSie models for around the same prices, some even lower. When prices are in that range, ownership of a classic Super Sport is easily attainable. More so than many realize...sean
 
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Piles of great thoughts, thanks! Gave me a lot to think about.
I did kind of forget why I bought 899 in the first place - I have a few old bikes. My daily was RD250 that I built from parts, and I also have a V50ii that I restored (and caught fire, need to restore it again), GSX-R 750 from the 80s and CB750, neither of which run yet. I bought 899 just so I have something that is a bit ridiculous for my purpose, and also so that I don't have to be working on it all the time (oh, and of course, for the look, that Ducati magic, you know, I always wanted a Ducati in my life). The bike is awesome, I'd never thought that I'd say this, but I've been having so much fun with 899 that I rarely ride my RD now, never thought there would be a 4-stroke that I'd prefer over 2-stroke. It's been dead reliable so far, too, which was exactly what I wanted for. But then, I'm complaining because it's so tedious to work on. The first world problem!
The 900SS/SP is a great bike, well worth a space in any garage. Had one for years, before I replaced it with a DB2. OTOH, when you get a garage full of carbureted bikes, it is essential to own something more modern (i.e. fuel injected). Something more modern, not only provides better performance, but more importantly provides better reliability with greater resistance to problems from lack of use which becomes more and more of a problem with every bike you add to your garage.

If you intend to add more bikes to your garage paying attention to what you add and what you've got becomes more and more important. More bikes taxes your riding and maintenance time so it makes sense to make your motorcycle time as special as it can be.
 

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If you intend to add more bikes to your garage paying attention to what you add and what you've got becomes more and more important. More bikes taxes your riding and maintenance time so it makes sense to make your motorcycle time as special as it can be.
The 900 SS I just added to mine is the 7th bike in my garage. I think I may be at my limit. Not only because of space, but maintenance wise, 7 is all I think I can keep up with. Too many oil changes, tires and batteries to keep up with...not to mention carbs. As stated, having injected bikes is easier to live with...at least when they haven't run in a while they still start right up......sean
 
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