Our Lame Duck Story

July 25, 2018 | By Mike Seate

Been busy tearing into the crashed Ducati 999 track bike as of late, discovering some fascinating mechanics behind this 170 MPH road missile. Having read a hardcover book about the creation of this, the bike unfortunate enough to relpace Ducati’s iconic and much-beloved 916/9996 series, the 999’s futuristic styling was not to everyone’s tastes. The complex interworkings of even the 999’s fairings is a thing of genius, as the entire unit was engineered to fit together for maximum aerodynamics. Hidden beneath the lovely torpedo-shaped nose cowl, for instance, is one of the largest and most bizarre headlights in motorcycling history; resembling a Star Wars villain’s intergalactic breathing device, the cast magnesium nacelle holds two weird projector-beam headlamps. Removing the piece took several hours, but revealed the sturdy and very handsome steel trellis frame that all Ducati superbikes (well, until recently) are based upon. Once the bodywork was tossed aside, the bare bones of what should prove a funky and original streetfighter custom really began to emerge. We’re looking to our friends at Spiegler USA to supply a replacement headlight, extended hydraulic cables and a few other choice bits, while much to our surprise, several late-model Ducati parts we just happened to have lying about the CRM garage came in handy. To point, a top fork triple clamp from a 2005 Multistrada front end bolted right onto the 999’s forks, allowing the use of tubular handlebars. This will go a long ways towards making the 999 a more comfortable ride, and easing the wrist, neck and back pain so inherent in sportbikes. Stay tunes and this is going to get more complicated before the Old Duck roars to life again.