Will Sell for Cash & Parts: 1977 Ducati 900 SD

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The way sellers describe what they’ll take in exchange for their barn find vehicle is sometimes entertaining. From curmudgeons who demand full cash value with no exceptions to flippers who just want something interesting for their unexpected discovery, I feel like the randomness of a barn find leaves sellers glib with anticipation. This recently unearthed 1977 Ducati Darmah 900 SD here on craigslist is an intriguing purchase, made all the more so by the seller’s declaration that he’s “into cash, into parts!” Well, gee – who isn’t, these days? 

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There appears to be quite a following for this vintage Italian motorbike, with a number of mechanical upgrades and cosmetic enhancements that made the ’77 900 SD a pleasing leap forward compared to the previous year’s 860GT. The Darmah sported new crankshaft bearings, a larger crankpin, and new cams shared with the 900 SS. This example has only 13,000 miles, and also benefits from the new-for-’77  electric starter motor and Bosch ignition.

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A classic sportbike in the most traditional sense, the exposed mechanical bits of the Darmah are a refreshing change of pace from modern sportbikes covered head to toe in a full-body fairing. As with so many Italian vehicles, the component list is mouth-watering, with Camagnolo magnesium wheels, Brembo brakes and beautiful Nippon Denso gauges. The seller notes that the original Conti mufflers are also still attached.

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The biggest cosmetic flaw is a dent in that gorgeous tank, which the seller promises is an easy repair. I personally love the bodywork and graphics, but this Darmah is lacking the classic tiger sticker next to the lettering on the driver’s left side. Although you can’t see it here, the rear end sports a mild “duck tail” with gorgeous tail lights. Overall, this is a sharp bike with sporting credentials, and there can’t be many left in survivor condition. Would you throw together some parts and cash to make a deal for this barn-find Ducati?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    THIS,,,is a cool bike. I knew it had to be from NY with that inspection sticker on the fork leg. The Darmah 900 was an awesome bike. I never cared for the Italian cars, but boy howdy, I’d love to have this. This was the 1st year for the “Desmo Bevel Drive”. It had, instead of pushrods or a belt or chain to run the valves, shafts running up the side of the cylinder ( you see them there) and bevel gears on the cam and I believe actuated the valves with another set of bevel gears on the top end. The result was, I was told, one of the smoothest V-twins to be made. And did it go. I also heard they were hard to hang onto, had a lot of steam. Straighten your arms out, it would. I think the Kawasaki Z-1 was faster, but probably splitting hairs at that point. Handling was superb, and look at them binders. They may be rusty now, but those dual discs up front stop pretty well. They made a fair number of these, someone should have parts. WAY too nice to part out. Bet you could get it cheap. You wouldn’t regret it. Fun bike.

    Like 1
    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Hi Howard, this was most definitely not the first year of bevel drives. Ducati was using bevel gear driven Desmodronic valve trains for years, even in their singles in the 60’s. The big difference between Desmos and standard valve trains btw was that the Desmo system used mechanical means to open AND close the valve eliminating the valve springs, but they made both.

      As far as smoothness, I used to “Show off” the smoothness of the engine by balancing a nickel on the case as I twisted the throttle (in neutral of course). The nickel never fell and would just spin on its edge. Also, I could start in first, shift right into 5th and while I wouldn’t recommend this as every day practice, the Duc would blop-blop-blop nice and smooth, lugging and then spinning its way to speed.

      Amazing engineering from a company that didn’t even bother trying to chase the big Japanese companies.

      Like 1
  2. wynkin

    I have one in the barn if you want one – black all stickers – low miles.

    • Clinton

      Any photos or more information on the one you have available?

  3. Howard A Member
    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Haha. That was my first Ducati, right down to the color combo. Sadly it didn’t come with the girl though

  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    The Sport Darmah is a great bike, It’s big brother, the 900SS was my ride back then but nothing wrong with the SD (other than the not-desrved rep it had of being a “girl’s bike”)

    Love a bevel drive Duc, and this is a good way to get in one relatively cheap

  5. Allan

    Looks like a really fun (and relatively simple) winter project, if the replacement/repair parts are still available. If I didn’t already have a couple of winter projects lined up, I’d make an offer.

  6. Clinton

    How much are these/this worth?

  7. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    i’d be very respectful of those Desmos…..

  8. ngamtndude

    Anybody else follow the link to craigslist and come up empty?

  9. PAW
  10. Ken

    I’m restoring one just like it. While I need instruments, this one is way too nice to part out!! Mine was way worse and is looking good now ($5,000 later!)

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