Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000: Rare Retro
Words: Jeff Ware Photography: Heather Ware
I remember the Ducati SportClassic range being launched Down Under. At the time I was publisher of Rapid Bikes, a magazine all about ging fast, and the tribute Ducati’s did little for me. I thought they were overpriced and under spec’d. Little did I know that the Sport 1000 would go up in price every year and the Paul Smart incredibly so. The former will set you back at least $25k now and beyond $30k. The Paul Smart? North of $50k as a starting point!
I remember seeing my uncle ride bikes in the late ’70s, and I’ve enjoyed plenty of stories about the hard days of crossply tyres and drum brakes. So the Sport 1000 was a bike I’d been looking forward to riding regardless of performance – to give me a modern fix of what I missed while I was in the womb…
This bike is no MHR ready for a life in your pool room or study; this is real bike – built for real riders on real roads. Built to ride in the rain. Built to ride to Bourke and back with a canvas bag Ocky’d to the tank and a sheepskin thrown over the seat. A bike built to promote corner speed and skill. A bike that needs a bit of finesse to corner. A careful touch. A smooth, experienced rider. A pure motorcyclist. This is motorcycling.
I immediately feel content on the Sport 1000. The high seat, low clip-ons, café racer ‘bar-end mirrors and the sweet thump of the L-Twin have me rockin’ on inside my black AGV. No colours suit this baby – it’s a shame my leathers are bright red though. And the fluoro yellow Ware across the back doesn’t do much for the look – but my mood is set, and I could easily be in the ’70s, despite all the modern cars, the bright lights and ETag signs. Hey, at least I’ve got sideburns…
I get the hell out of Sydney and begin my climb north. I always get a sense of relief as I hit the freeway and point towards home. But this is different. It’s a mild summer evening, it’s Friday night and I just feel so awesome firing along on this thing. I’ve got my visor up and I’m loving it. Motoring along at 120km/h, the mighty DS 1000 spinning sweetly at 3500rpm and absolutely no worries at all. This is what bikes are all about.
As much as I’m enjoying the moment, I take the first exit I come to and take the twisty way home. The Sport instantly changes face from a capable, mesmerising mile muncher to a
speed demon on rails. The 250-proddie-like size of the 1000 has me remembering my afternoon blasts on my old RGV250, heading home from work as young apprentice bike mechanic on this very road.
Expecting the worst after my experience on the crap handling MHR Ducati, the Sport 1000 has me gobsmacked as I run it into turns with uncanny speed and roll through the turns on wide open throttle. The hard compound Pirelli Phantom replicas gripping like a modern sports tyre, my knee gently touching down on every apex and the Sport 1000 holding
a line like a freight train. No shakes. No slides. No messy moments. I’m just riding loose. Letting the Duke do its thing.
With a bit of direction and some precise turning in the Sport 1000 corners with the best of them. The smooth hotmix runs out and the bumps start. At first I’m almost chucked out of the seat – but I soon relax, take a bit of load with my legs and, again, let the 1000 do its thing.
Braking hard only ruins the Sport 1000 experience. Why wash off all that awesome entry speed? You need it with only 80-horsepower on tap…
In the tight stuff, however, I give the Brembos a good work out. I know they could be better, maybe a larger bore master-cylinder, but they’re fine for the limits of the front tyre, and as long as I give ‘em a good squeeze I have no problem setting the speed. The Sport steers quickly and accurately as I ride the 45ers and even the ground clearance is good. I can only imagine how good the Ohlins forks and shock set-up is on the Paul Smart Replica – but right now, on this road, on these tyres – they’d be wasted. I’m grinning, so something must be right, right?
The engine is a gem. Like an old mate, it’s always there to push you along – open up the throaty 45mm throttle-bodies and the LTwin fires the Duke forward with predictable, tractable speed. No ferocious wheelspin – none of that crap – just drive and speed. What a bike. I pull up at home and ride straight into the garage. I flick the light on, crank up the stereo, grab a beer from the fridge and just sit and stare. Before I know it I’m half-cut and walking around in my leathers asking my wife for $19,000…
THE LIMITED EDITIONS
The SportClassic range, consisting of the Paul Smart Limited Edition and the Sport 1000, share the same chassis and engine – with the Paul Smart Replica wearing hi-spec Ohlins suspension, a full fairing, different tank and a few other goodies. The Sport 1000, however, is raw and naked.
The fantastic engine is the Desmo 1000 DS, a dual spark, two-valve, 90-degree LTwin. The engine boasts a 992cc capacity from its oversquare bore and stroke of 94 x 71.5mm and drives its two massive valves per cylinder via belt-driven cams and Desmodromic actuation. The
compression ratio is a healthy 10.1:1 and fuelling is taken care of via a Marelli EFI system incorporating 45mm throttle-bodies. The straight-cut primary drive gears spin a six-speed gearbox and the clutch is a dry multi-plate item with hydraulic actuation. The engine is air/oil cooled and the beefy crankcases double as stressed chassis members.
The frame is micro-fusion welded tubular trellis frame constructed of ALS450 tubing, as is the oversize 60mm asymmetrical swingarm. The forks on the Sport 1000 are by Marzocchi – as per the original 750 Sport. The forks are 43mm inverted items that are non-adjustable. Out the back there is a fully adjustable Sachs shock mounted directly to the left side of the swingarm. Quality Brembo four-piston calipers with semi-floating 320mm rotors stop the Sport 1000, helped by a single 245mm rotor and single-piston floating rear Brembo caliper.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2006 Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000
Claimed power: 67kW
Claimed torque: 91Nm [67ft-lbs]@6000rpm
Measured power: 58kW [79hp]@7900rpm
Measured torque: 42Nm [58ft-lb]@6200rpm
Dry weight: 179kg
Fuel capacity: 15 litres, 3.5 reserve
Engine: Air-cooled two-cylinder 90-degree L-Twin
two-valve with Desmodromic valve actuation and dual-spark ignition
Bore and stroke: 94 x 71.5mm
Compression ratio: 10.1:1
Fuel delivery: Marelli EFI with 45mm throttle- bodies
Gearbox: Six-speed constant
Frame type: Tubular steel trellis frame
Rake: 24 degrees Trail: N/A
Front suspension: Non-adjustable 43mm inverted Marzocchi forks, 120mm travel
Rear suspension: Fully-adjustable Sachs shock, 130mm travel
Front brake: 320mm semi-floating rotors with Brembo four-piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 245mm rotor with single-piston Brembo caliper
Front wheel: Spoked alloy rim, 3.50 x 17in
Rear wheel: Spoked alloy rim, 5.50 x 17in
Front tyre: Pirelli Phantom 120/70 – 17in
Rear tyre: Pirelli Phantom 180/55 – 17in
Seat height: 825mm
Overall height: 1037mm
Overall length: 2180mm Instruments: Speedo, tacho, oil warning, indicators for high beam, fuel, indicators, LCD clock, immobiliser