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3 magic numbers - 916

Almost my favourite V-twin – an early Ducati 916 Strada. Hard to believe the impact it had at launch. My brother and I went to the annual UK motorcycle show at the NEC, partly because we were keen to see the first 916 in the country. Both our wives were pregnant so we’d promised to be home by 6pm, which meant leaving the show by 4. But by then the crowd around the 916 was still six deep. We were eventually asked to leave by security at 6pm – closing time – by which time we could really stand back and admire the bike. Eventually I owned one, and worked up to a 998S with a Pro-Twins print out proving it delivered 148bhp. But that was a jackhammer to the 916’s subtle knife. On a ride to a family get together on north Devon on a Friday afternoon I fell out of love with the 998: Big tyres hated rutted roads, big power hated the heavy traffic, and I hated the riding position and being slowly cooked alive. I went for a 999, which eventually went for this: frame number 25, one of the very first of the 916 line. It’s sublime, and my obsession is why there’s the full story of Tamburini and his masterpiece in The Road volume one, available here.



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