Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dream and Discovery...

This is a blog that documents my journey of purchasing, riding, and maintaining my ultimate dream bike - the Ducati 900SS SP. I first got the bug for this bike in 1997 when I saw a Ducati Supersport parked on the loading dock of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center when I worked there as a stage hand. It was owned by a bass player for the orchestra and it had a booming exhaust note I will never forget. As the bass player would pull away after a performance in a red streak, I recall saying to myself "Now that's a motorcycle." I moved to New York City to be the next great rock musical writer in May of 2000 and put an idea of getting a bike out of my head. I was poor and sold everything I had to pay the crazy NYC rent prices.

In about 2006 I started watching MotoGP motorcycle racing. And there on the grid was the Ducati Desmosedici, a relative new comer to the MotoGP. The Ducati machines always seemed the most exotic and unique and their relatively small factory positioned them as the underdogs against the powerful Yamahas and Hondas. After watching a bunch of MotoGP races I decided I would buy s book on Ducatis to see what models I might like if i ever decided to buy one. I purchased "The Standard Catalog of Ducati Motorcycles 1946 - 2005 by Ian Falloon.

There were several models that caught my eye but for some reason I kept turning back to the 1992 - 1998 Supersport pages. The bike seemed to have not a totally pure race inspired design, but one of a sport touring bike and steroids.

I did a bunch of research and came across a large contingent of enthusiasts that love this bike. There was also a great Cycle World article written by one of my favorite authors, Hunter S. Thompson that can be read here. All of this reading, research, and staring for hours at pictures of the gorgeous 900 made me desire the bike even more. At the time I was married with a step daughter and my wife absolutely forbade me to have a motorcycle.

As time went on I kept the dream of one day owning the Ducati tucked far back in my mind. Recently in my life there have been some changes. My wife and I got separated after 3.5 years of marriage and I was now living alone again as a bachelor. After the dust settled a little bit, the thoughts of the 900 slowly crept to the front of my mind again. I started searching Craigslist and eBay. I found a really nice one in NYC but the guy wanted $5400 for it. It was a gorgeous example but a little out of my price range. I needed more of a fixer upper. Digging around on the completed auctions section of eBay I saw a 1994 900SS SP that had not sold in Jacksonville, Florida.

I lived in Jax from 1977 - 1990 and my parents, brother, an sister all still live there. I work at a college and starting September 1st I begin a one year sabbatical. I thought this would be a good opportunity to buy the bike, move to Jacksonville for sabbatical, save a bunch of money on rent by living in Jax, and ride the bike as much as I wanted to.

I asked the owner if he would take $3000 for it and he said he would. On May 2nd I sent my father and brother, both very skilled mechanics, to look at the bike. They said it wasn't perfect, but looked pretty good and ran strong. I made arrangements to fly to Florida on the 16th. Here are the pics of the bike. I can't believe this is happening!