Tagged: Darmah

Real-World Italian: 1981 Ducati Darmah SD900 for Sale

1981 Ducati Darmah L Side

The Ducati Darmah was just about the end of the line for Ducati’s bevel-drive v-twin motorcycles, aside from a handful of Hailwood Replicas and S2 models, before the move from gears and tower-shafts to simple, rubber belts. The change made plenty of economic sense but, while the Pantah engine is considered one of the most charismatic engines of all time, it certainly isn’t as good-looking as that earlier Ducati powerplant.

1981 Ducati Darmah Tank

The Darmah was introduced in 1977 to replace the unloved 860GT and has a definite 70’s Superbike vibe about it, with the upswept tail and wide bars looking much more like the Japanese competition than the angular, futuristic 860. But unlike those bikes that offered comfort and straight-line speed, the Darmah could hustle through the turns on its Marzocchi suspension and pull up short with its Brembo brakes.

1981 Ducati Darmah Clocks

And it wasn’t just about style: the Darmah included evolutionary updates to the basic platform to improve function that included an electric start and a redesigned shift lever that did away with the cobbled-together crossover previously used to convert the bike to left-side shift. Combined with the comfortable ergonomics and torquey v-twin, those changes made for a very appealing package for folks who want to ride, rather than just admire their motorcycles.

1981 Ducati Darmah R Side Engine

This particular example isn’t completely perfect, but appears to be in very good, very original condition. The Darmah featured an improved build-quality compared to earlier Ducatis, so you should get more “patina” and less “corrosion…”

From the original eBay listing: 1981 Ducati Darmah SD900 for Sale

Very nice Darmah here. I also have the Silentiums that it came with, the pipes on it are Stainless. Always maintained to a high standard. Valves set, new chain and sprockets, clutch plates, steering head bearings, tires and cables. Calipers rebuilt and stainless front brake lines added. 1981 models are actually rare in the US and you get some nice features for this year: FPS wheels, stronger transmission, upgraded clutch and the motor is exactly the same as the 900SS version. That means you get the SS rods (beamed) and the wide stud heads with larger ports. Earlier versions did not have these features, using 860 rods and small port heads with narrow stud spacing.  

Everything works and the bike is the smoothest Ducati I have ever ridden with a perfect riding position. Seat has been recovered with new padding and it is comfortable. Bike also has the excellent Marzocchi shocks these came with and they are smooth and leak free. Same with the forks. Paint is perfect and the tank is sealed with Caswells. Factory seal is in place on the cases. No leaks, no crashes, never dropped. Shift lever has been shortened to fit a size 12 foot – or smaller. Backs of the mirrors show wear and one of the headlight ears has a spot in the chrome that is flaking – shown in the pictures.

You can buy a cheap one and spend more than this bike costs to get it this good. This is not my first Bevel and I have owned multiple versions since 1980. Nobody has ‘learned’ to work on a bike that owned this. I am an old man and have taken very good care of the bike, never planning to sell it. It is part of a collection that I planned to keep forever. A current massive construction project is forcing the issue. I have an open title for it and can give a bill of sale also. Buyer is responsible for shipping. If you want one of these, buy this one.

1981 Ducati Darmah Tail

The Darmah used to be the only affordable way into classic bevel-drive Ducati ownership, and I guess it still is. But, with a Buy It Now price of $13,500 it’s just that “affordable” means something a little bit different than it used to… While the Darmah may not have the sexy, race-replica lines of the Super Sport bikes, it does offer something those bikes don’t: comfort and practicality. And unless you plan to just show your Ducati off in the living room, the Darmah is better at doing just about everything a motorcycle is supposed to do…


1981 Ducati Darmah R Side

1980 Ducati Darmah for Sale

1980 Ducati Darmah L Side

Resplendent in black with gold lettering and striping, this Ducati Darmah was one of the last of the bevel-drive v-twin Ducatis, before the introduction of the belt-drive Pantah series. Introduced in 1977 after the 860 failed to ignite the loins of Ducatisti, the Darmah was styled relatively conservatively, but handsomely. It also included the usual evolutionary developments, including an electric starter.

1980 Ducati Darmah Dash

A bike for real roads, not the racetracks most of these bikes will, let’s be honest, never see, the Darmah is sexy and practical in ways a SuperSport is not. As gorgeous as the SS may be, you can’t really deny the appeal of a bit of comfort, style that isn’t trying too hard to convince, and the ability to carry a sexy young thing on the back. Or a sexy old thing, if you happen to have one of those on hand.

1980 Ducati Darmah Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1980 Ducati Darmah for Sale

Up for auction is a beautiful 2 owner 1980 Ducati Darmah SD900. I believe it to actually be a 1979 that was first sold and registered in the US in 1980. This is based on the engine number and the the stamp inside the storage compartment at the rear of the bike as seen in the last picture. This original, unmolested, matching numbers motorcycle runs and rides perfectly. It has the original paint which is flawless on the tank and has only a couple of minor scratches on the top of the side covers. This is not quite a show bike as it has some minor surface rust on a few nuts and bolts however it is a super clean example of this model that could be brought up to concourse condition easily. Comes with the original owners manual.

Currently registered in California through the end of June 2014.
Original Speedline wheels in perfect condition.
Brand new NOS Conti pipes. Also comes with original Silentium pipes.
36mm Dell Orto carbs.
Brand New Avon Road Rider tires.
Brand New battery.

1980 Ducati Darmah Conti

Bidding is up to $10,000 with three days left. This one looks like it’s ready to ride, with fresh tires and a new battery. For a while, Darmahs were pretty affordable, as far as bevel-drive twins went. But no more: with a bit more cache than the 860, they’re really just a rung or two below the 750GT and, like all bevels, increasing in value.

This is actually my favorite era of Ducati graphics. The current logo leaves me very cold, but this parallel-line design is so classic, sporty, and clean. I personally love modern Ducatis done up in this style.


1980 Ducati Darmah R Side

1978 Ducati 350 GTV for Sale

1978 Ducati 350 GTV R Side Front

For all of their cutting-edge technology and hyperbike posturing, Ducati can be a surprisingly traditional company. They’ve stuck with their iconic “L-Twin” [90-degree v-twin] engine since their success on road and track in the 1970’s, in spite of some inherent limitations: it’s a very narrow engine, which is great for cornering clearance and aerodynamics, but it’s also very long, requiring a wheelbase that lends stability, but not agility.

And the famous Desmodromic valves? Well, you want to hit 9,000rpm in 1955, valve-float may have been a problem. But today’s screamers clearly show that traditional springs work just fine at high revs and the smoothness of a 90 degree twin can now be approximated with crankshaft trickery and balance shafts. There are advantages to four-cylinder power long recognized by less inflexible companies and even Ducati has had to bend their own rules to be remotely competitive in Moto GP, creating their temperamental v-four.

1978 Ducati 350 GTV R Rear

You’d think that Ducatisti would be eager for any advancement that would keep their storied marque in the black, but history suggests that they’re not so very open minded, and attempts at modern design have backfired more than once. Just ask Pierre Terblanche…

In the 1970’s, Ducati decided the way forward was to develop a line of more affordable, middleweight machines. The L-twins, with their tower shafts and bevel gears were very expensive to produce. So Ducati came up with a compact, affordable parallel twin. It made sense on paper, but the cost to develop an entirely new engine were high, and Ducati designer Taglioni was not happy with this new direction.

The new 500cc engine used simple valve springs and a single overhead camshaft. It made a respectable 35hp, but the styling was perhaps a bit too forward-thinking, and the bike was not popular at all, even when it was redesigned to resemble the more popular Darmah and a Taglioni Desmo head was added.

1978 Ducati 350 GTV Dash

The 350 GTV was a smaller version of that redesigned twin that aped the look of its larger sibling with its slightly ducktailed styling and is very rare in the US. In fact, I didn’t realize any had ever been imported…

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Ducati 350 GTV for Sale

Nice condition for a 36 Year Old Motorcycle It does have some bumps and scratches, not unusual for a bike of this age. Please look at the pictures carefully and ask about anything extra you might want to know.

I have had this Duc in the barn for 6 years and ultimately have had no time to play with it, so it’s time to find another owner that will use it. This is really a nice survivor. I have it running (see short video clip) pretty well but I think that carbs will need to be cleaned and setup properly. I installed new fuel petcocks/taps this spring as the old ones were just not making a seal. I still have the old ones to include. The tires are quite old and I have a set to include with the sale. See the video clip to hear it idling away. 

1978 Ducati 350 GTV L Tank

As a result of their slightly forgotten [cough sweptundertherug cough] status, they tend to sell for pretty reasonable prices. But be advised: controversial styling and engine configuration aside, the bikes also have a reputation for crankshaft failures and I’m not sure if there’s an easy fix for this, other than “hope yours doesn’t explode.” It might be worth tracking down a parts source for items you might need, like oil pumps, cam chains, and maybe a spare crankshaft or two…

Humor and horror stories aside, these were popular in Europe into the 1980’s so parts availability might not be so bad, if you’re willing to wait a while for things to ship from overseas. There’s plenty of time left on this auction, but current bidding is up to $810 [?!], so someone really should go on and buy this bike. It certainly won’t be fast, but you will get to answer a ton of questions about it every time you stop for gas.


1978 Ducati 350 GTV L Side

1982 Ducati SD900 Darmah for Sale

1977 Ducati SD900 Darmah L Front

It’s a given that unfaired motorcycles are visually defined by their engines, as there’s very little bodywork to “style”. Fortunately, Ducati’s bevel-drive, Desmodromic “L-twin” looks so good, it always seems a shame to hide it behind a fairing. It’s one of those engines that begs to be dressed up, even polished, anything to show it off better.

Introduced in 1977 and made until 1982, the Darmah was Ducati’s replacement for the slow-selling and generally too-modern-looking 860GT. Largely a restyle, it also included the usual raft of evolutionary updates and received very good reviews at the time it was new. With an 864cc version of Ducati’s twin, it was fast and relatively comfortable, the quintessential Italian roadster.

1977 Ducati SD900 Darmah R Side

Prices for these have remained relatively low, perhaps because the look is less iconic: although it was less shocking to the buyers of the time, the look is also more anonymous now and blends into the general styling trends of the 1970’s. But prices for these are on the rise as collectors looking to snap up bevels on a budget have already exploited every other avenue, including the 860GT.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Ducati SD900 Darmah for Sale

Offered for sale is a nice and rare blue 1982 Ducati SD900 Darmah in original unmolested condition. This motorcycle was purchased new by a older friend of mine in Pittsburg, KS from the Johnson Norton Ducati dealer.  It was shipped to a brother dealer in Canada and picked up there and brought back to the US thus is has a kilometer speedometer and other Canadian nomenclature.  This is original paint and a very rare color indeed.   The paint is flawless on the tank and only has a couple of chips on the sidecovers.  It presently has Conti replica mufflers but the original Franchonies are included with the sale.  It has spent the last fifteen years in a private collection and driven sparingly.  It will need some service on the clutch and perhaps need a shift selector adjustment.  It is running and rdeable order.  Included in the sale are the original owner’s manual, parts repair manual and tools that came with the bike when new.  The tires are like new and the brakes and guages are working properly as well as the lighting system

1977 Ducati SD900 Darmah R Rear

The price is up to just under $5,700 at the moment, but is likely to go higher before bidding ends. The Darmah may not have been as glamorous as the various iterations of the SuperSport, but like the Monster of the modern era, it was a money-maker: they sold plenty of these and that helped keep the lights on for Ducati during a relatively difficult period.

While not as distinctive as the SS or older Sport models, the styling is simple and elegant, and these are known for being relatively practical, with an electric starter, reliable Nippon Denso instruments, and a useful dual seat. All-in-all, maybe not the sexiest bevel-drive Ducati, but quite possibly one of their best.


1977 Ducati SD900 Darmah R Front

1982 Ducati Darmah for Sale

1982 Ducati Darmah R Front

The Ducati Darmah was introduced in 1977 as a replacement for the unloved 860.  A mechanical evolution of that machine, it represents the ultimate iteration of Ducati’s classic, bevel-drive engined roadster.  It was fast and versatile, and prices have been relatively low, as the bike still falls into that transitional period between the classic 60’s and Ducati’s modern era.

1982 Ducati Darmah Clocks

The SS may get all the headlines, but the bread-and-butter Darmah paid the bills for Ducati. It featured an electric starter, relatively reliable Nippon Denso instruments, and a practical dual seat. The 864cc “900” made effortless power and returned admirable fuel mileage, making it a great useable classic.

From the original listing: 1982 Ducati Darmah for Sale

This is a nice original 1982 Darmah. It has all original finish, including paint etc. Does have bub slip ons, everything else is stock. The 82 is an unusual year for the darmah. If you look at the books it says like 431 global production with zero imported to the U.S. I have heard that maybe 40 or so made it here. I have owned this for 12 years and it has been great. I have replaced little things like petcocks/fuel line, but otherwise it has been great. It has always been indoors in the desert so the metal quality is great, shiny with no corrosion at all. The seat cover has a small tear just from wear, Not much else to say, really. Just a great bike. The speedo/odo is in kilometers with mph as the smaller scale, so the mileage is actually kilometers. Ready to ride anywhere. Cases have never been apart. They still have the seal in place. I do have the front signals. They have never been on it since I have owned it.

1982 Ducati Darmah R Engine

Bidding is at just under $8,000 currently. If it stays in this range, you’re looking at a very affordable way to get into vintage, bevel-drive Ducati ownership.


1982 Ducati Darmah L Rear

1981 Ducati Darmah for Sale

1981 Ducati Darmah R Side

Ducati’s sport-touring 860GT was a relative failure.  Intended to follow the successful 750GT/Sport models and designed by a car styling icon, the bodywork was perhaps too modern, too forward thinking for buyers of the time, and Ducati scrambled to replace it with a model that would sell.

The Darmah, introduced in 1977, was the result, and its duck-tail [pun!] styling fits in well with the 1970’s in a way that the technical, modern lines of the 860 did not.  Minor mechanical updates aside, it was not a new bike, simply an evolution of the 860’s frame and motor with new bodywork.

1981 Ducati Darmah Front

The original eBay listing doesn’t contain a ton of information, but the bike looks solid and the miles are very low: 1981 Ducati Darmah 900SD

1981 original Darmah 900SD 7,534 miles. Runs beautifully, with no valve or bottom end noises. Handles just like a Darmah should. All the electrics including starter perform like new. Turn signals were removed by a previous owner and were never found.

The finish has several scrapes, and fortunately no dents(see detailed pictures). The fenders are better than average as are the Conti pipes. It comes with the very desirable Marzocchi Piggyback shocks.

Overall, it is a really nice rider, or with fresh paint it could successfully be shown and ridden. Darmah’s are still a relative bargain especially when compared to some other Ducati’s from the ’70’s and early ’80’s and will continue to rise in value.

1981 Ducati Darmah Dash

From the photos, the bike looks to be in very original condition.  Darmah production ceased in 1981, so this is one of the last built, and likely the recipient of the ongoing series of improvements made to the Darmah throughout its production run.  All-in-all, a great classic 70’s-style superbike.


1981 Ducati Darmah Rear

1980 Ducati Darmah SS in Marina, CA

I haven’t posted much on ClassicSportBikesForSale because RareSportBikesForSale has been keeping me busy, but while surfing for bikes listings for RSBFS, I can across a few choice classic sport bikes that I just had to bring to our readers on CSBFS.  One of them is this :


Originally I was pretty sure that this was a Darmah SS because of the bikini fairing and the decal on the side cover, but the frame numbers got me confused – so is this an SD or an SS?  Maybe the more knowledgeable Ducatistis can enlighten me — leave a comment!

If it’s an SS, then this got to be the only second or third SS that I have seen.  If it’s an SD conversion, it will be less collectible, but still looks great.  Either way, for the right price, this bike seems to be a good way to get to bevel heaven!


1978 Ducati Darmah 900 SD

Here’s a nice 1978 Ducati Darmah 900SD for sale around the SF bay area:

1978 black frame and tank with gold trim along bottom of seat.
Bevel gear drive desmodromic actuated valve designed engine—no belts.
Gold OEM alloy wheels by Speedline with new Pirelli Demon tires.
Starts by using either push button electric starter motor or kick start lever on right side.
Marzocchi rear shocks.
New Spec Battery.
Well balanced with cafe style handle bar and grand touring seating—a joy to ride!
Excellent cosmetically and mechanically.

While the Darmah ain’t no 750SS Imola, I have always liked the up-swept “duc” tail on the SD (a Darmah SS would be even better!).  I think the asking price of $8950  is a bit high – in these tough times (and with winter coming), a price around the $6-7000 mark would be more realistic.


1978 Ducati Darmah SS on ebay


I came across this and had to post it here because 1.) while it’s an interesting older Ducati Supersport, I’m not QUITE sure whether it’s really a Darmah SD as claimed 2.) the very unique and, er, “different” custom paint job: (more…)