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.
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
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.