The Sunday best: Ducati SS

The baddest Italian bike ever? I want it
Published January 9, 2012

Because I’m a goddamn idiot, I’ve for a while now thought the Ducati SS of the ’90s is a boring bike. It’s a bit fat and flat against more modern Ducati sport bikes and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want one in the 21st century. That changed today (my opinion of the Ducati SS, not my idiocy).

It’s January and the northern hemisphere but the layman wouldn’t know if not for calendars and discarded Christmas trees lining The City’s curbs. Surely this faultless weather and the optimism of a new year would lure beautiful motorcycles out of garages and into the parking lot of Alice’s in Woodside, I thought. Some things even an idiot can reason.

Within moments of parking, I spotted an awesome Buell White Lightning in brash orange with purple highlights on the frame and wheels, proudly branded “Buell: American Motorcycles.” In summary, cool as shit.

But even the Buell looked ordinary against the pot-bellied Ducati SS across the street. Yellow and black, bumblebee paint and the baddest headlight-bikini combo I’ve ever seen on a bike, customizations bring out the soul of the Ducati normally buried beneath layers of plastic. Missing motor covers on the right side of the motorcycle leave exposed the dry clutch and timing belt and lend a vaguely steam-punk magic to the workings of the thing.

Truth told, I had no clue what model bike it was and wanted desperately to ask its owner for the history. I never got the chance. It was after I’d got home and did some Google sleuthing before it struck me: I’m in love with a Ducati SS.