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This project started, like so many others, with a question. Could we build a 916-era Ducati that would feel like a late-90s World Superbike, but didn’t come with the price tag of one? Could we make it just as light and powerful? Could we still find actual old-school Ducati Corse race parts? Does any of it even exist any more?
Having planned to build something similar a few years ago as a track-only, lightweight, 848EVO powered beast in 916 clothing, the planning stage was already mostly complete. SoSo’s owner Eric and I decided that this would be something really fun to go over-the-top on, with the Massimo Tamburini designed 916 quickly entering ‘collectible’ status and decent examples starting to fetch higher and higher prices. A 1998 748 in great shape came up for sale by a friend of the shop, I quickly pounced on it, and the project was officially underway, with the caveat that it would all be filmed for YouTube and we’d make a mini-documentary about it.
Early on, I knew this had to be an homage to my favorite era of World Superbike and the riders that made Ducati a force to be reckoned with. The bonus to building it with period-correct parts also meant that it would, by nature, HAVE to end up being a lightweight track missile. So, the old parts catalogs were pored through, hoarders of RS parts were tracked down and bargained with, eBay was hunted daily, and I ended up with a huge pile of Magnesium, Carbon Fiber and some of the most sought after and rare 916 parts in existence. A 1-of-200 Magnesium swingarm, Magnesium Marchesini M5R wheels, the rear shock from Michael Rutter’s ’03 British Superbike winning racebike, a handmade large-volume RS-inspired airbox from Giordano Loi, a full RS-spec carbon fiber body from Corsa Garage and a huge box of real and very, very rare Ducati Corse RS parts were secured. And, of course, a staggering amount of incredible performance parts to make it a truly formidable track bike.
The engine was the next big hurdle, as I figured that the 848 motor wouldn’t be quite enough for this build. Not only because the power was lacking for my vision, but it also doesn’t have the most iconic Ducati feature; the dry clutch. With a little more legwork, a theft-damaged and non-running, but incredibly low-mile 1098 was found.
The work started in my tiny little garage in Portland, Oregon with no manuals and only a dim intuition that the motor would even fit.
What we’ve ended up with over the course the year is a 347lb, 170hp love letter to our favorite WorldSBK Ducatis and something we hope everyone can enjoy.
It’s already been featured at The One Show here in Portland and got a ton of attention, so now we’re on to refinement and getting it to the track. We’ll have it out at some track days for development soon and the YouTube series is ongoing, so be sure to check it out!
Do you want to create a truly unique motorcycle but don’t have the time, space or equipment to do it on your own? SoSo Cycles can help! We love doing one-off, individual projects for motorcycle enthusiasts and have developed the skills and relationships to deliver top-quality results.
We’re not gonna lie, these kinds of builds take more time and money than folks generally understand but we’re happy to review your ideas and come up with a rough estimate of what it’ll take to get it done. If you’ve got a firm budget or timeline, we’ll do our best to be honest about how realistic the build concept is given the parameters you provide to us and suggest any changes we think are needed or appropriate.
Just send us an email at email@example.com with whatever you’ve got (basic concept, budget, timeline, specific priorities, etc.) and we’ll get back to you with our thoughts.
Thanks for checking out another SoSo Cycles build. We suck less!
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