Captain sensible

If a radical retro café racer is too compact for comfort, Ducati built a more relaxed SportClassic for two-up touring…

WORDS BY Frank Melling   PHOTOS BY Carol Melling

UCATI’S FIRST STAB at a mainstream retro machine, the Hailwood replica MH900E was gorgeous but eye-wateringly expensive.

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Once upon a time, Mr Melling rode a GT1000 on the Isle of Man
Once upon a time, Mr Melling rode a GT1000 on the Isle of Man

It was followed up by the Paul Smart-inspired 1000LE, which featured a fabulous motor – torquey, powerful and with a very anthropomorphic throb: authentically classic and yet thoroughly modern.

The six-speed engine was 992cc and produced a very acceptable 92bhp at 8000rpm, as well as a just as impressive 91Nm of torque.

But this wasn’t a machine for married, middle-aged riders, not with its low bars, rearsets and solo saddle.

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Finally, in 2006, out came the GT1000 SportClassic, the first bike Ducati should have made in its retro range. Gone were the rather affected single-sided swinging arm of the Paul Smart rep and the café racer riding position of the Sport, to be replaced by a more traditional, twin-sided design and a much more upright riding position. The divorce-inducing single seat was replaced by a truly lovely dual saddle. Relocating the footrests and raising the bars meant that the ergonomics became instantly rider friendly.

Read more in December’s issue of CBG

 

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