The original Ducati 916 was announced in 1994. Ducati has been pumping out bikes that are similar to their Japanese counterparts, at least in looks. With the 916, this all changed. We got to see one of the most beautiful machines to come from Italy. More important, we get a bike that has given Ducati it's place. Throughout its history Ducati has been a boutique bike manufacture for those interested in something uniquely Italian. They have been compared to their counterparts Ferrari and Lamborghini, and rightfully so. If you are looking for something gorgeous, extremely fast, and has questionable reliability, buy a Ducati. The 916 is the beginning of this ideology that is laced into the very fabric that is Ducati. It was above all, gorgeous (they came out with a special model for Ayrton Senna, it doesn't get much cooler than that) but also performed. The 916 won Ducati the manufactures championship in almost every superbike racing series. This unprecedented success is down to the futuristic nature of the bike. It came with Ohlins and Showa suspension, Ducati's signature dry clutch, and even an adjustable rake.
The engine used in the 916 is one of the defining features, powering it to many race wins. It's the usual Ducati fare of iterating on a previous engine. This one had been in use since 1985, the 916 being a bore out of the 888cc motor before it and later would be bored out to 996. The reason that the design hasn't changed much is because it works, and gains have been made on this platform to keep up without giving Ducati a reason to switch. The engines produced over 100hp. This was comparable to their Japanese counterparts. Today most of the top spec 600cc bikes produce this power, however 25 years ago this was a good power figure. As an opinion the Ducati's sound much better especially in this configuration. The roar of the L configuration belting out above the unmistakable whirl of the dry clutch.
I mean just look at it...
The original 916's glory was the way it looked. Compared to all the other offerings it looked like a spaceship. This is what Italian manufactures are known for, whether its Ferrari or MV Agusta, the styling of their machines are downright euphoric. This is what we have come to expect from Ducati, and this was the beginning of their sport bike prowess. Ducati's are among the top of the tech tree and produce some of the fastest bikes around. The 916 is the blueprint for the modern sport bike. From the upside down forks, under tail exhaust, and even a one sided swing arm. The bike from nose to tail is a work of art, finally after letting looks go Ducati created a masterpiece and we have gotten many more since.
Speaking of masterpieces we have the latest iteration of Ducati's V4 with the 25th Anniversary edition. It's a gorgeous rendition of the livery of a 916. They have taken a V4S and added some of the race mods of the V4R. The V4 is already one of the coolest looking bikes on the market, but I think this throwback livery takes it to a whole other planet of cool. Unfortunately, they will only make 100 and I'm sure the price tag will be absurd, but as an Italian superbike should it really be any other way? This bike is not only impressive in its own right, but now bears the history of one of the all-time Ducati greats.