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I've been riding a '95 900SS for the past 10 years (and love it) and am now contemplating getting a 916 ..... does anybody have experience with both to give me an idea of the difference between them for riding experience, upkeep etc?
 

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I've had a couple 900's over the years and have had a 996 since 2000.

IMHO the 900 makes a MUCH better streetbike than the 996. It's a lot more comfortable, the maintanence is simpler, and you dan't have to be going 90mph for it to feel ok.

I like the 996, but the 900's make a lot more sense to me. So why don't I still own a 900 instead of the 996? I dunno. I always planned on buying yet another 900ss but I just put a deposit down on an 851 so the 900 will have to wait a little longer.
 

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After so many years on your 900SS, I would offer the suggestion that a weekend on a 916 et al, would be enough to let you know how you feel about it. If that weekend is on a racetrack you might want to buy it, but riding everywhere else the 900SS is more geared toward the real world of driving - in my opinion. I like both, have thousands of miles on both, and the 851/888 is still my favorite of all of them. Fuel injection is nice.
 

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Since 1998, I've owned two SS/SP's, two 998s and my current SS1000DS. Your size may influence comfort. So, for comparison I am (now) 5'9" and 185 lbs. I found both my SS/SP's to fit me really well. I was not uncomfortable on the 998's and have done 500 mi. days on them. I've also done two 1,000 mi. days on the SS1000DS in comfort. If I had to choose just based on comfort and doing a lot of in town riding it would be an SS?SP. OTOH I have no problems with the SS1000DS and would own another 998 in a heartbeat. Really, it all depends on you. IMO, given maintenance costs and overall performance, the best bang for your buck is the SS1000DS.
 

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There was a forum member who had an apt quote in his signature regarding the 916. Not exact, but it went something like this: Where the 916 lacks in performance and reliability, it more than makes up in its total disregard for rider comfort and safety...

Yup. Sums it up nicely!

I love my 916. In fairness, it has been totally reliable. No problems at all. It is my first choice for a fun weekend ride on back roads. When at speed, everything is perfect. Surreal, sublime. Even on the highway it makes a very acceptable ride for getting to the destination. I can spend the day on it and not be crippled at the end. City? Traffic? You will want to kick the nasty bitch into a ditch and walk away. Like riding an old wooden sawhorse that someone lit on fire.

Comfort and carrying stuff is what the ST is for.

I can't speak to the earlier 900SS, but I had a 2001 900SSie. The riding position wasn't that much different than the 916, still pretty extreme, but it was a more civilized bike overall.

Bruce has a very good point on rider size. I am 5' 9", about 165 and fairly fit for my age. I think if you were a larger, taller guy you'd suffer pretty bad on a 916 series.

Try to spend some time on one if you can. You're the only one able to decide if it will work for you.

Upkeep? You're dealing with the same maintenance intervals as any period Ducati. 6K valve inspections / service items are the same. Add 4 more valves to inspect and a liquid cooling system. The trade off is the bikes come apart pretty easy and are no more difficult to service than the SS you have experience with and fuel injection is far less problematic than carbs. Other than a potential for flaking rockers (which ins't that chronic), everything else is about the same.
 
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I have spent plenty of miles on my carby SS.
Almost equal miles on my 748.

I do work on these for a living so I ride most of the model range.
That out of the way i agree with others that your size/ body type and tolerance for pain can make the difference. I have some customers on 916 based bikes that can do no more than 100 miles a day on them. I also have had some who would log in 3000 miles a week, taller riders tend to find them cramped. I am 5"10" and find them just fine.

I find that the fuel injected supersports are about the same seating position as the superbike but with harsher rear suspension. So if you are comparing seating position only that gets closer on those bikes. The carby SS sits more like the 851 and is more comfortable for most as well as a shorter seat height for those shorter inseams. I have about 40,000 miles on my 851 most of which was sport touring.

When the injected supersports came out we saw a drop in the number of units we sold at the dealership because there was little difference in price to a 748. We also had many carby supersport owners "move up" to a superbike. Many of those miss the supersport after a while.

When I was young and did not worry so much for my drivers license I loved riding my superbikes at speeds everywhere as they are fantastic machines that live for twisty roads and opening the throttle. Now that i do worry about keeping my license more I do not enjoy riding over legal limits as much and at legal speeds any superbike is mostly more pain than fun. If riding on a track, a superbike can make you better than you are , on the road the cops don't care.

I am one of those who feel the 916 is a classic and worth collecting/ridiing, do not buy planning on getting rich but now is a good time to buy a good one bacause they will only get more rare and expensive from here. Same could be said for the SS but to a lesser degree than the 916 .

Maintenance on a superbike will have higher costs as there are more valves so a typical service is about 3 hours more. Desmoquattros also have issues with rocker arms flaking chrome so be aware that you may need to change them on occasion. No better superbike ever made (in my opinion) to work on than a 916 based bike, the design was just right I would prefer to work on one of these any day over others. Supersports are aircooled so it does not get any easier than this. if you are new to working on bikes and want to buy a bike you can learn with then the 2-valve aircooled is great.

Fun- cannot help you here as I probably spend more time on my aircooled bikes than the superbikes, given the right track though I jump on my 748 and have a great time. they are both Great bikes but different.
 

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Both! I use the SS for longer trips and my 748 for playing silly buggers (plus it is the prettiest bike ever made). I'm 5' 7" and don't have a problem with the 748 although I did stick some slightly higher bars on as a sop to my aging wrists - 56 and climbing!
 

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I've been riding a '95 900SS for the past 10 years (and love it) and am now contemplating getting a 916 ..... does anybody have experience with both to give me an idea of the difference between them for riding experience, upkeep etc?
I noticed you have bevel drive bikes, as well as the belt drive SS. I have those (an 80 SS and 97 SS) plus my 996 and thought I'd respond with that experience in mind. The 996 is a very capable motorcycle, but in my mind it's a bike with laser focus, typical of Massimo Tamburini's designs. It's a track bike in its heart, not as comfortable as either the belt SS or even the bevel SS, which by 70s standards was considered about as uncomfortable a bike as there was. The 996 is a bike for 10 laps as fast as you can go, then stop. I ride mine maybe once a month at most for a couple of hours. The belt drive SS is a much more versatile bike, not as fast around the race track but substantially more suited to street sport riding. I own the 996 partly as a genuine piece of art (Tamburini's engineering and design is wonderful) and partly because I enjoy riding it fast occasionally. As a bike to use for day long sport rides, it's not my first choice and it would never replace the '97 SS for that purpose. Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the in-depth responses guys. I was expecting opinions all over the map but there seems to be a common consensus.

The reason I was interested in the 916 was because I was looking for a new riding experience and I just love the styling of the whole series but I didn’t realize it was such a narrow focus bike. As so many of you have said, it’s a bit of a beast to ride and that confirms the fact that my SS is much more suited to my riding style at this point in my life. (I love your graphic comment Dan: “City? Traffic? You will want to kick the nasty bitch into a ditch and walk away. Like riding an old wooden sawhorse that someone lit on fire.”!)

If I get a chance to take one for a spin, I would certainly look forward to the experience, but it sounds like a superbike is not what I need in my garage. (‘Want,’ is another story and I agree with you Silvaire - I just love the styling and I would be fun to just park one in the living room as art.)

Thanks for all your input.

Bill
 

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Well I can't add to the feedback on riding a Superbike but I would say that given your rather fine stable of oldies but goodies, a lovely '94 916 would fit right in being first year production and all. Make a good collectible but not so precious you wouldn't want to ride it. And they are beautiful just to look at.
 

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There was a forum member who had an apt quote in his signature regarding the 916. Not exact, but it went something like this: Where the 916 lacks in performance and reliability, it more than makes up in its total disregard for rider comfort and safety...

Yup. Sums it up nicely!
Yep, that was my old signature line and I stand by it. Your ability to live with a 916/748 depends entirely on your tolerance for pain and your need for jackassery.

I've never had so much fun on a bike that was actively trying to kill or cripple me. Now that I am rolling up on 60 years old the back can't take it for more than an hour now, so the 916 will leave the line-up this spring.

As a second bike it would be a good experience, but I could not recommend one as a primary bike. It has been done of course, but by better men than me.

Every time I ride it though, I remember that this is the bike that Ducati would NOT let Hunter Thomson have for a test ride and I understand why.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well I can't add to the feedback on riding a Superbike but I would say that given your rather fine stable of oldies but goodies, a lovely '94 916 would fit right in being first year production and all. Make a good collectible but not so precious you wouldn't want to ride it. And they are beautiful just to look at.
I'd love to have it for that fact ... as the collection slowly grows! Looks like you have a somewhat similar stable, including a '74 Sport. I'm 3/4 the way through restoring mine and would love to look at yours sometime for details. Let me know if that's something you would consider. Not many around.

Bill
 

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Sure thing, happy to, but I am guilty of false advertising. My Sport is really a '73, black cases and all, titled as a '74. Reasonably original save for tank and tail piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sure thing, happy to, but I am guilty of false advertising. My Sport is really a '73, black cases and all, titled as a '74. Reasonably original save for tank and tail piece.
Funny, mine is the same: registered as a '74 but with black cases and leading axle, etc. Maybe a Canadian thing. I'll PM you my # and we can talk. Cheers
 
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