Post-Sale Update: After 11 bids on eBay, this Varese 916 sold for $9,350.
The 916 was one of the most beautiful motorcycles of the 90s, thanks in part to the underseat exhaust and single-sided swing arm. But it wasn’t just a pretty face – history has shown that it was also one of the most important motorcycles Ducati ever built. The legend had a superhero-esque origin story – as the bike was set to debut, a fire broke out at the paint shop in Bologna. Ducati moved initial production to Cagiva’s plant in Varese, and that was the birthplace of the first 2,663 examples. This example looks great but there’s a catch – in 1995 the bike was lowsided and rebuilt. If you can get over that, this might be an opportunity to get (and ride) a Varese-built bike for a discount.
The last time I featured a Varese-built bike, commenter Ray K had some great feedback that I thought was worth repeating here:
“A Varese built bike should trade at a premium to the later Bologna made 1995 bikes. The reason it should command a premium is these bikes have certain details that were dropped when production went to Bologna. For example, Varese bikes have a VIN tag under the tail section along with a specification tag. These tags reflect Ducati’s remaining indecision on final spec when the bikes were produced. For example, although the bikes invariably came with 190/50 rear tires, some tail spec tags on Varese bikes call for 170/60 rear tires. The bikes used hollow mushroom rivets with a flex plate to hold the belly to mid body panels as well as the windscreen on. fasteners were replaced with torx screws/wellnuts shortly after production moved to Bologna and production of the rivet fasteners discontinued. There were other differences like Pankl H connecting rods, but the net is the differences were subtle. To some these differences aren’t worth a premium but over time given the significance of the 916, these differences will tend to become more meaningful.”
You can identify a “Varese” bike because the 11th digit of the VIN is a V. This bike (VIN: ZDM1SB8S8SV000662) has just over 10,000 miles and it’s being offered by the third owner, who acquired it “as an investment piece last year.” It just sits as an art piece in his studio, he has only ridden the bike once. There are several modifications but the seller has all the original parts. Said changes include carbon covers on the airbox, chain guard, sprocket guard, front fender, and more. A SPS-style number plate up front has been painted to match the tail, there’s a BMC air filter, and a Fast by Ferraci exhaust. About 2,000 miles ago the bike got a new clutch pack and just a few miles ago (but 12 months of time’s worth) the bike had a full service with replacement belts. You’ll get all the service records and receipts, and the only thing that needs attention is the tires if you plan on riding it. They look good but are getting old.
Now, about that damage. The first owner lowsided the bike on the left side. Fortunately for the bike (but not for the rider), he ended up underneath the motorcycle so that the damage was just cosmetic. The tail was replaced with a factory SPS unit, and everything was replaced by insurance. The seller has photos of the crash damage that he’s willing to email you as well. Like everything we feature, a PPI is well-warranted. Find this 916 for sale in Santa Fe, New Mexico with bidding up to $6,300