Ducati 750SS


Make Model

Ducati 750 Super Sport


1973 - 74


Four stroke, 90°“L”twin cylinder, SOHC, 2 valves per cylinder, bevel gear driven


748 cc / 45.6 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 80 x 74.4 mm
Compression Ratio 9.5:1


2 x Dell'Orto PHM 40A carburetors
Cooling System Air cooled

Spark Plugs

Champion L82Y, Lodge RL51


Points and coil
Battery Yuasa 12N-12A-4A-12V
Starting Kick

Max Power

51.5 kW / 70 hp @ 9000 rpm

Max Torque

71.6 Nm / 7.3 kgf-m / 52.8 ft-lb @ 5500 rpm


Wet, multiplate


5 Speed 
Primary Drive Ratio 2.187:1 (32/70)
Gear Ratios 1st 2.237 / 2nd 1.562 / 3rd 1.203 / 4th 1.000 / 5th 0.887:1
Final Drive Ratio 2.500:1 (16/40)
Final Drive Chain


Tubular steel, twin downtube

Front Suspension

38 mm Marzocchi telescopic fork

Rear Suspension

Dual shocks, Marzocchi 305 mm, 3-way adjustable

Front Brakes

Twin 275 mm disc, Scarab caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 230 mm disc, Lockheed caliper

Front Tyre

3.50 - 18 C7 Metzeler Racing

Rear Tyre

3.50 - 18 C7 Metzeler Racing
Dimensions Length  2200 mm / 86.6 in
Width      660 mm / 26.0 in
Height  1050 mm / 41.3 in
Wheelbase 1500 mm / 59.1 in
Seat Height 760 mm / 30.0 in

Dry Weight

180 kg / 397 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

17 Litres / 4.5 US gal / 3.7 Imp gal

Top Speed

230 km/h / 143 mph


Blue/green frame, silver

Ducati has always prided itself on building no-compromise sport bikes, as well suited to the track as to the street. By and large, its GT-style bikes have always been moderate sellers at best. Its sport bikes, though, have been considered the "ne plus ultra" of motorcycling. When the Ducati 750 Super Sport was released in 1973, it was accorded instant classic status. It was also the most desirable production racer available.  Based on Ducati's Imola-winning bike of 1972, the SS boasted impressive credentials right from the start.

The engine was a 90-dcgree V-twin; the valve actuation was unique in that it was desmodromic, or Desmo for short. In the Desmo engine, the valves are both opened and closed by the camshafts. The opening cycle is accomplished as one would expect; the cam lobe pushes down on a hardened lash cap setting  atop the valve. To close the valve, an additional lobe is called into service. This pushes down on an inverted rocker arm with a forked end. This fork works against another adjuster (and keeper) located on the valve stem.

This system obviates the need for valve springs, and their potential for unrestrained valve movement at high rpm; in short, since the valve action is controlled in an absolute and positive manner, the valves simply cannot float. The down side of this is that adjustment is time consuming, complicated and frequent. Ducati had pioneered desmodromic valve actuation (although Mercedes Benz gets the credit for the concept). It had heretofore only been used in its GP racers and the 250/350 singles of the late 1960s through the early 1970s.    

The engine breathed through a pair of 40mm Dell'Orto pumper carbs; no air filters were fitted  (pumper refers to the built-in accelerator pumps). A pair of Conti megaphones were thinly disguised to look like mufflers. To quicken the steering, both rims were 18 inches. The front boasted a dual-disc brake and the rear a single-disc brake. Early bikes had Lockheed components, while later ones were equipped with Scarab. The frame was a typical Ducati masterpiece; using the engine as a stressed member, it was supremely rigid. The bike simply didn't flex. Suspension, fore and aft, was capably if stiffly handled by Marzocchi. The 750SS was and is superbly rider friendly.

It makes its horsepower the old-fashioned way - huge amounts of low- and mid-range torque to get you on your way, and an incredible linear flow of horsepower that seems to go on forever. Couple that to a frame that responds to the subtlest rider input and brakes that are smooth, progressive and fade-free, and you have a bike that makes a poor rider look good, a competent rider fantastic, and a good rider feel like he's gone to heaven.  To be sure, the 750SS had a few minor flaws. The switches and lights were more appropriate for a moped than for a serious bike.

(The headlight was generally replaced with a number plate though, so it really didn't matter). The paint on the tank seldom matched the paint on either of the fenders (which often didn't match each other) or the fairing. The fiberglass had a disturbing tendency to stress-crack; and on the first test bike offered to Cycle magazine, there was actually a fly embedded in the top of the tank!  Honestly, though, no one really cared about the little details. Those big "Dues" were meant to be ridden hard, and at that they excelled.

Source Cycle Magazine