Ducati 906 Paso


Make Model

Ducati 906 Paso




Four stroke, 90° “L” twin cylinder, SOHC, desmodromic 2 valve per cylinder, belt driven


904 cc / 55.2 cu in

Bore x Stroke 92 x 68 mm
Compression Ratio 9.2:1
Cooling System Liquid cooled


2x 44mm Weber 44 DCNF 116 carburetor

Spark Plugs 

Champion RA6YC


Marelli Digiplex variable advance


12V 19Ah



Max Power

64.7 kW / 88 hp @ 8000 rpm (at rear tyre: 56.8 kW / 77.2 hp @ 6500 rpm)

Max Torque

85 Nm / 8.7 kgf-m / 62.7 ft-lb @ 5000 rpm


Dry, multiplate


6 Speed

Primary Drive Ratio

2.000:1 (31/62)

Gear Ratios

1st 2.466 / 2nd / 1.764 / 3rd 1.350 / 4th 1.091 / 5th 0.958 / 6th 0.857:1

Final Drive Ratio

2.666:1 (15/40) or 2.533 (15/38)

Final Drive


Front Suspension

42 mm Marzocchi M1R oil-dynamic fork provided with external adjusting system of the extension brake

Rear Suspension

Swinging fork with oil-dynamic adjustable mono shock, Marzocchi Duoshock

Front Brakes

2 x 280 mm Discs, 2 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 270 mm disc, 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre



Length: 2032 mm / 80.0 in
Width:     665 mm / 26.2 in
Height:  1150 mm / 45.3 in


1450 mm / 57.1 in

Seat Height

780 mm / 30.7 in

Dry Weight

205 kg / 452 lbs

Wet Weight

222 kg / 489 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

22 L / 5.8 US gal / 4.8 Imp gal

Consumption Average

6.0 L/100km / 16.6 km/l / 39 US mpg / 47 Imp mpg

Braking 60 km/h - 0

13.9 m / 45.6 ft

Braking 100 km/h - 0

39.6 m / 129.9 ft

Standing ¼ Mile  

12.1 sec / 173.3 km/h / 107.7 mph

Top Speed

213.4 km/h / 132.6 mph
Road Test Moto.Journal 1989

Introduced for 1989, the Paso 906 was a development of the preceding 750, one of the first models to emerge following Ducati's take-over by the Castiglioni family's Cagiva concern, and enjoyed a similarly improved level of equipment and build quality. The bigger Paso retained the same basic desmodromic v-twin engine architecture that had first appeared on the Pantah 500SL in 1979, but added water cooling to the package. Like the 750, the 906 featured a square-tube frame, hidden beneath all-enveloping bodywork penned by Massimo Tamburini, late of Bimota, while another 750 carry-over was the twin-choke Weber carburettor, chosen for its emissions friendliness. Suspension on the 906 was by Marzocchi at both ends (the 750 came with an Öhlins rear mono-shock) with brakes, as usual, supplied by Brembo. Both Pasos were fitted with the then fashionable 16" wheels, but only the 906 enjoyed the benefit of a sixth speed in the gearbox.

The Ducati Paso was introduced in 1986 with the slogan "Il nostro passato ha un grande futuro" (Our past has a great future). The name was in honour of racer Renzo Pasolini, nicknamed "Paso", who died on 20 May 1973 in an accident at the Monza race track during the Italian motorcycle Grand Prix (Gran Premio motociclistico d'Italia).

The Cagiva (from CAstiglioni GIovanni VArese) company, founded by the Castiglioni brothers, needed an engine – while Ducati, who had just been released from a difficult past of statutory public management (IRI), needed revenue.

Over a series of Italian style meetings/lunches in 1984, they agreed a deal for Ducati to supply engines to Cagiva – and then go out of the business of producing motorcycles. However, the Castiglioni brothers of Cagiva were eventually offered a deal to buy Ducati, subject to the Ducati name living on as an actual motorcycle product. On closure of the deal, Ducati engines were instantly installed in a number of Cagiva bikes, which included the Alazzurra and the Elefant enduro bike.

At the time of the takeover, due to its financial difficulties Ducati was in a state of suspended animation with regards to engineering development. By that time, the classic bevel drive V-twin, which was old and expensive to produce, had been replaced by the belt-drive Pantah, designed by Fabio Taglioni. The Pantah was already known to be a strong and capable engine, and known to deliver in the Ducati 750 F1.

The Pantah engine is equipped with desmodromic valves and has been constantly developed up to the present day. And around it Cagiva wanted a Ducati motorcycle unlike any other, that showed the world both Ducati's capabilities, and where it would go in the future.

The design challenge

The challenge consisted in constructing a bike with innovative technical characteristics and image to fight the intense Japanese competition. To undertake the ambitious objective Ducati hired Massimo Tamburini, co-founder of Bimota. Tamburini would go on to design the Ducati 916 and MV Agusta F4 series, included in the Guggenheim Museum's The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition of 1988–1999, and the MV Agusta Brutale series.

Tamburini decided to streamline the bike and its 750cc motor in a close-fitting integral fairing that hid all mechanical parts - one of the first motorcycles to do this, along with the Honda CBR Hurricane series, introduced the same year. He also reversed the rear cylinder head in order to meet emissions and noise restrictions abroad. The Paso 750 was equipped with latest-generation technical features: square frame tubes made in chromoly steel, rear aluminium swingarm with progressive suspension, 16-inch wheels with radial tires, air-and-oil cooled engine, electronic ignition and a comprehensive dashboard.

The finished design was christened the Paso 750 and debuted at the 1985 Milan Motorcycle Show, along with a 350 cc version that was never produced. Although initially offered only in red, by 1988 it was offered in red, blue and pearl white. Ducati and Cagiva had hopes that the new machine would redefine sports touring motorcycling and complement their sportsbike line, especially in the American market.

Sales and development

The commercial success didn't come however, and worldwide the Paso 750 only sold 4,863 units between its introduction in 1986 and 1988. Only 700 were imported into the United States in 1987. The Paso was more expensive and had lower performance (72.5 hp and 210 km/h top speed) than its competitors, and had some reliability and rideability problems with the electrical and fuel systems, due to the use of an automotive Weber carburetor, which was ill-suited to a small-capacity motorcycle engine.

In 1989 the Paso 906 was introduced to replace the 750, with a six-speed gearbox, a 904 cc engine which provided 88 hp and a 220 km/h top speed. The bike still had the same automotive carburetor and unreliable electrical system, but its greatest development was the incorporation of liquid cooling. 1,802 Paso 906's were built between 1988 and 1989.

After further development, the final version of the design came in 1991 with the 907 i.e. (iniezione elettronica); now without the name "Paso". The engine remained liquid-cooled and the carburetor was replaced by the most modern Weber-Marelli IAW 043 system that integrated ignition and electronic fuel injection, which transformed the rideability of the bike. Power increased to 90 hp and top speed to 230 km/h. The wheels were changed to 17 inches, giving the bike more stability.

Despite these advances sales of this model remained sluggish, and when production ceased in 1992 only 2,303 907IE's had been built.


The Paso 906 was a significant bike for Ducati, their first to really aim at a slice of the mass market dominated by the Japanese. Although firmly committed to the merits of a V-twin, Ducati realized that the days of their air-cooled, two valve, Desmo were strictly numbered. They needed more power and efficiency, and they also needed to pass increasingly stringent emission controls. Their bikes were too noisy. Worse still their exhausts pumped an awful lot of damaging hydrocarbons out into the atmosphere. Ducati needed to clean up and refine their act, attracting new customers while hopefully not alienating traditional Ducati enthusiasts.

The Paso 906 was their answer to this challenge and is in many ways a transitional offering between the fabled Dukes of old (like the 750 and 900SS) and the truly fabulous bikes yet to come (like the 851 superbike). Although it looked like a million dollars, the 906 Paso received a fairly cool reception from road testers and buyers alike. If was too different from the old Ducatis to attract the cognoscenti (or Ducotisli), yet it wasn't different or fast enough to attract buyers of big Japanese sports bikes. It was certainly a brave move on Ducati's part, but it didn't quite come off.

With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to see now that it was a convenient halfway house, a bold step between Ducati's past and future. In the language of the market though, the Paso looked better than it cooked.  

Designed by the then technical director, Dr Massimo Bordi, the 906 engine is actually 904cc (the factory obviously didn't feel that 904 Paso had the right ring to it). It was a new engine, sharing some of the development that would later be seen on the 851 - both have the same slim crankcases, six-speed gearbox and dry clutch. But whereas the 851 would carry twin cams and four valve heads, the Paso was stuck with a traditional Ducati valve-train - a single cam and two valves, Desmo operated of course. The new engine was water-cooled and incredibly over-square, the 92mm pistons being much larger than anything Ducati had previously fitted. Fed by a big twin-choke 44mm Weber carb, the engine made good power with lots of torque and a new-found appetite for high revs. The carburetion and ignition seemed particularly well-sorted. Between 3000 and the 9000rpm redline, there were no flat spots or huge steps, just straight up, linear power. About the worst aspect of the new motor was its lack of noise.

The water-cooling handily absorbed any mechanical clutter but the new exhaust system restricted the distinctive V-twin rumble to a muffle and doubtless stifled some of its low-down power too. The box section steel frame, the Marzocchi/Öhlins suspension and Brembo brakes performed in the time-honoured Ducati fashion, giving redoubtable handling and a stiff, taut ride. They made a mistake in fitting 16in wheels front and back though.

The fashion for quick steering 16in front wheels had stemmed from the 500cc GP bikes of the mid-1980s, but had been superseded by the development and undeniable all-round merit of 17in wheels long before Ducati unveiled the Paso. Arguably overtyred with a 130/60-16 front radial, the steering needs to be firmly wrestled with to prevent understeer and the bike tends to stand upright if braked when heeled over. In its favour, the steering response and front wheel behaviour becomes quicker, predictable and more acceptable the faster you go. But then there's the problem of the riding position, which is not exactly comfortable or adaptable and has most riders looking down on the bike unable to fully tuck in behind the low screen. 

The lovely, fully integrated bodywork created by Italian craftsman, Massimo Tamburini and finished in traditional fire-engine red, gives the bike forceful visual impact. But for too many die-hard Ducati enthusiasts, the Paso lacked character. It may have looked like La Dolce Vita on two wheels but really it was a harbinger of greater and more potent motorbikes yet to come.

Source: The worlds fastest motorcycles by John Cutts & Michael Scott