was a very well-developed all-round motorcycle, with excellent
handling and comfort, but it was discontinued during 1992. There wouldn't be a
replacement sport touring Ducati until 1997.
Source Ian Falloon
Road Test 1991
FOR the past ten years Ducati have strived unsuccessfully to lure significant
numbers away from Japanese sports bikes on to their own, less refined but more
Things finally seem to be going their way, however. They won the 1990 World
Super-bike championship (a sports rider's yardstick if ever there was one) with
the 851 vee-twin and Japanese prices have increased to near parity. Ducatis look
less and less an expensive luxury for the committed connoisseur.
The bikes have improved too with varied but interesting design and good finish.
Fuel injection is largely a Ducati preserve in the real sports riding department
Their company philosophy (Ducati is owned by the giant Cagiva corporation) also
seems to have changed. No longer poor imitations of Japanese sports bikes,
Ducati do it their own way — and beat RC30s into the bargain on the track.
So, Ducati appear to have opened up a whole new market for themselves in the
1990s while retaining their essentially Italian charter and keeping the
stalwarts happy. Checkout the adverts with the Ferrari...the car company are
even helping out with the parent company's grand prix effort this year.
Ducati have found their niche.
Ducati thought they'd cracked it with the Paso 906 in 1988 but suffered unfairly
from the reputation of the Paso 750 — merely a tarted up Pantah. The reaction
was for Massimo Bordi (successor to maker of Ducati's famed Ing. Taglioni) to
design a completely new bike from the ground up.
Early Paso's were marred by carburation problems from twin choke Webers and
silly, fashion accessory 16 inch wheels which hardly enhanced the Ducati
reputation for handling. The answer was to scrap the carbs, fit fuel injection
and up the tea trolley wheels to 17 inchers. What we have is the 907IE Paso — a
bike that can meet the best from Japan head-on.
THE Paso ticked over for 15 minutes at Moto Cinelli in Northampton as their
veritably possessive mechanic explained a few points. As a Ducati nut myself I
wondered if it would be like an old 900cc bevel driven Ducati and cough and
splutter for miles.
With the parting words 'look after my baby' the Ducati pulled away with no hint
of the motor feeling choked.
On paper, the 907IE's performance credentials are by no means startling. Ninety
horsepower from a liquid cooled 904cc (92x68mm bore and stroke) engine with only
2 valves per cylinder? Japanese sports bike fans could be forgiven for nodding
off but it's out on the road that the Ducati belies its specification.
That low revving motor will actually pull from as little as 2000rpm in top gear,
but that's a little theoretical. Three thousand plus and there's pulling power
all the way up to the 9000rpm red line and no sign of surge, or slacking
This spread of power makes the bike a real pleasure to ride. No hunting the revs
for power, no constant juggling with gear cogs. All-in-all a laid back but fast
ride. Cruising at 80/90mph shows a leisurely 4500/5000rpm but pushing those huge
pistons up another 500rpm and we're talking three figure speeds. A far cry
from the red line of a VFR750 Honda at 11,500rpm!
Effortless to ride and effortless to start in the mean sub-zero temperatures of
February. Switch on, wait for the fuel/ignition system to purr into action, one
notch of choke (never full), press the starter and the engine slowly turns over
before firing up. The flat torque curve, peaking at 57ft/lb at 6750rpm, and fuel
injection means the engine is never searching for power or starved of fuel —
unlike the older 900 vee twins. Opening the throttle quickly on them resulted in
carbs spitting and banging as they struggled unsuccessfully to control the
The 907IE can also run on unleaded petrol but most Italian bikes like there dose
of lead, Moto Cenili recommended I use four strar and I did, old habids die hare
even amongst their dealers.
The all-new six speed gearbox is a definite improvement over the old five
speeders. First gear feels lower — no need to slip the clutch in first as on the
old 900 vees. Top feels about the same as the old five speed box but the best
point is that now neutral can be found at a standstill — pure lux,ury for
died-in-the-wool Ducati freaks.
Another plus point is the clutch. Always the weak link between crank and back
wheel the cable operated contraption was often heavy with a tendency to slip.
The 907IE gets a hydraulic multi-plate dry clutch which removes both problems.
Vibration has never been a problem with the 90 degree vee-twin but the 907IE is
even smoother. What Bike? designer Anthony
Swain took his first ride on a Ducati and reckoned it was as smooth as the
DUCATI have always enjoyed a reputation for fine handling. Even when the
Japanese went over to box section frames and mono-shock suspension the old twin
shock, tubular steel frame Ducatis were a hard act to follow on fast bends.
Now Ducati have had to move on and are building box section, double cradle,
monoshock frames and no longer use the
engine as a stressed member. Despite this turnaround the 907IE retains the
solid, taut, Ducati feel and revels in twisty A roads where fast work is
Steering is quicker than on its predecessors. The 17 inch wheels and more
generous steering lock makes the Paso easier to handle around town as well
but it's no commuter bike. Half an hour of town work had my wrists aching from
The cast wheels are of monstrous proportions, the radial tyres even more so. The
front Michelin 120/70ZR17 looks bigger than some rears and the fat 170/60ZR17
rear is amazing. The grip they provided was exemplary at speed but bimbling out
of our estate over poor surfaces had the rear squirming a little as it searched
for flat tarmac.
Mention Italian bikes and someone will always say (probably justifiably) 'hard
suspension'. Ducati seem to have got their sums right with the 907IE with rear
suspension which is firm without being harsh. It is the same as on the race
replica 851 Super-bike with adjustment for both compression damping and spring
Front suspension also uses 851 kit with 42mm Marzocchi MIR forks with four
position anti-dive settings. These offer ample adjustment for damping to soak up
most bumps. No complaints about the Brembo brakes. Two four-piston calipers
operate on 300mm drilled discs and are well up to scratch. They also give a good
amount of feel at the lever which lends to confidence. The rear 245mm disc with
two piston caliper provides back-up.
Large speedo and rev counter are accompanied by the usual warning lights but a
low fuel warning light AND a gauge seems over the top. There's no fuel reserve
The gauge is accurate but the light is hopeless, starting to flash at half tank
level. Then again, the highly rated ZZR600 Kawasaki has TWO lights which also
flash prematurely. There is even a clock but I found it difficult to read under
that solid red 'screen'.
The Paso doesn't so much have a fairing as bodywork. The 'screen' portion offers
some protection but at over six feet the wind was directed straight into my
neck. Forget the magnetic tank bag, the petrol tank is on-
ly a bodywork cover.
The Paso styling is something of an acquired taste but it looks better in the
flesh than in pictures. A lot slimmer and tastier to look at in reality but that
solid red screen takes getting used to.
Modern style, the mirrors are mounted low at the front — okay solo but two up
all they reflect are the passenger's knees! There's even the extravagance of a
centres-tand. The sidestand is a little iffy but with the help of a fold down
handle it is quite a simple operation to hoist this 473lb (dry) bike
SPARES prices are something of a lottery. Consumables start at a lowly £6.76 for
an oil filter, rising to £7.35 for a set of rear brake pads, £12.75 the air
filter, £37.74 the final drive chain, jumping to a massive £55 for the front
Accident damage is a similarly mixed bag. Damage the fairing and the bill will
be for £200.56 for either side and £119.01 for the screen/fairing. Looks
expensive, until recalling the four figure sum for a ZZR1100 fairing. A new seat
costs a mere £75.
After the front brake and clutch levers at £19.62 each, things get a little
extravagant. Handlebars £74.76, integral mirror/indicator assembly £81.08 (I),
front mudguard £83.66, headlight £105.41, complete front forks £500.30. After
that £176.25 for each silencer sounds cheap. (All prices retail plus VAT.)
Fuel consumption from that 21 litre tank was a little disappointing, averaging
45mpg. The aircooled vees used to return 50-55mph and I had imagined fuel
injection would improve on this. Though in its defence, the 907IE never went
anywhere slowly! The £7599 price tag knocks a star off the
ratings. It tops the Ducati 900SS by £350 but that model might be too sporty for
the Paso rider. Comparable Japanese sports/tourers all fall in the £6000-£7000
ANY bike that scores five stars must be something a bit special. The Paso can
fairly be defined that way — and that's not the biased ravings of a Ducati fan.
Ducati have at last built a bike full of Italian flair with the standard of
finish that has eluded them in the past. It carries the sports/tourer tag so
well that the tourer needn't worry about comfort and the sports rider needn't
worry about any compromise on the handling and performance.
It is pricier than Japan's best but not dramatically so these days. The extra
money could well be justified by the 'IE' on the fairing, initials that could
easily stand for Italian Excellence. Yes, Ducati seem to have turned the corner.
No longer are they turning out charismatic rubbish but a modern, quality
superbike with race-bred pedigree worthy of five stars in this magazine.
OUR designer Anthony Swain had never ridden a Ducati and his only experience of
Italian bikes is a 40 mile stint on the Moto Guzzi Spada — which he didn't
particularly like. His, then, is a truly unbiased opinion. ^ THIS machine is a
true Italian 9 beauty. I reckon its the most attractive bike I've seen or ridden
— and I've had a go on just about everything we've had at 'What Bike?' since I
joined a year ago.
Okay, the Ducati may look like a Japanese bike now but it still seems to have a
different character. I was even a little apprehensive when riding it — not
because of the bad weather or the £7599 price tag, but because I fell in love
My first reaction was how light it feels due to the low centre of gravity, a
real shock after riding the GT550 Kawasaki. The Ducati is so easy to ride. It
has a slight shudder under 3000rpm but nothing like that on the Moto Guzzi.
The 907 excels with its torquey delivery. There are no powerbands to wait for,
the power is there whenever you need it. In fact it even took me by surprise
when overtaking a Bedford van along a greasy country lane.
At relatively low revs I opened the throttle gently to cruise past but the
massive torque at the back wheel had It stepping out and I had to ease off. I
would love to ride the Ducati to its full potential in good weather — greasy
lanes aren't really its territory.
The only criticism I'd have is that the petrol cap doesn't lock so I'd be
constantly worried about someone swiping it or sabotaging my pride and joy.
If I had the money I wouldn't hesitate shelling out that £7599. a Maybe one
Source Which Bike 1991