Additional photos of this 1997 Ducati 916 SPS are available here for your perusal.
A limited edition of one of the prettiest motorcycles ever made, the Ducati 916SPS (Sport Production Special) was an uprated version that featured a modified engine and chassis. Nearly all the specifications were improved like Ohlins rear shocks and Showa front forks, as it was designed to be the ultimate 916.
Released to homologate the new 996cc engine for Superbike competition, the 916SPS introduced reinforced crankcases, new barrels and heads, and a 11.5:1 compression ratio. The SPS struggled to go slow – media all over the country said their test bikes stalled at idle. The transmission became a close-ratio unit, and plenty of other extras added up to a bike that was expensive (an MSRP of $24,000 back when it was new), though well-worth it, according to reviewers.
The carbon fiber Termi exhaust (included separately with the SPS for “off-road use only”) sounded like nothing else people had heard at the time, and reviewers were terrified of the power delivery. Here’s the key: this was the best Ducati you could buy in 1997 – and only 404 were sold that year. The best part of the whole story? The SPS was only road legal in Europe. Ducati didn’t conform to EPA regulations, so they sold it as a ‘track-only’ bike and made buyers sign a waiver saying that you wouldn’t register it for road use. As you might imagine, pretty much everyone ignored the waiver, as the bike came with a VIN, lights, a title, and everything needed to register the bike. Want to learn more? Check out this excellent two-part article from Odd Bike about the special editions (particularly the SPS) of the world-changing 916.
The sale includes the owner’s manual, two keys, technical service manual, an Ohio title dated November 2001, EPROM chip, World Dealer Guide, instructions on assembling the headlight fairing and mirrors, special parts booklet, some photos from a previous owner, and some additional paperwork.