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Tamiya 1/12 Ducati 900 Supersport…

April 21, 2014 in Cars & Motorcycles

I was inspired to show this model because of George Williams’ post of April 17, of his Tamiya 1/12 Ducati 900 NCR racer.

This model was built quite a few years ago, and I just discovered it out in the garage, with the windshield and rear fairing having fallen off. I put them back on, but the windshield doesn’t seem to fit as well as it used to. Oh well, I don’t either.

Anyway, these Tamiya 1/12 motorcycle kits are really pretty nice, even the older ones. I am really impressed with the job George did on his racer. Just beautiful. With all the sponsor decal markings, the racers become kind of a “moving canvas”!

I have a special interest in Ducati, as I bought a new 900 SD “Darmah” in 1978, and had it for 10 years. Had to part with it in 1988 when I got a Kawasaki Concours, as I couldn’t afford to have 3 bikes all at the same time! Decided to keep my first bike, a Norton Commando.

The “Darmah” used the same bevel camshaft drive 90 degree V-twin (or “L”-twin) engine as the 900 Supersport, but featured electric start (which worked perfectly), and it was detuned slightly for a more tractable bike, smaller carbs, less extreme valve timing, etc. It also had more upright handlebars (not clip-ons as on the 900 SS) and no windshield or fairing. It used the “desmodromic” valve actuation system developed by Ducati’s Dr. Fabio Taglioni, where the valves are both opened and closed mechanically, with arms that act on the valve stems. No springs are used. It sure was different than the Norton, but I taught myself how to do the valve adjustment, which used shims, and as it turned out, it hardly ever needed adjustment over long periods of time, I guess partly due to my forgiving riding style.

A wonderful machine, with tremendous character. The bevel drive engine, with its gear and shaft driven cams, had a sound all its own, with the whine of those gears. Music!

The modern Ducati belt drive engines produce more power, and are simpler and less costly to produce, but just don’t have the class and sound of the bevel drive engines. All the Ducati V-twins have an absence of vibration compared to other machines, as the 90 degree V-twin is in perfect primary balance. It was an uncanny, relaxed feeling, and you can get going a lot faster than you think, in a hurry.

Somewhere I have a couple of photos of my Darmah, but I can’t find them. I am posting an image of the front side of a 1978 Ducati one sheet flyer on the Darmah, which shows a machine exactly like mine, with the Campagnolo 5 spoke mag wheels, the stock La Franconi mufflers, and the Tiger head design on the side cover. Great bike. I miss it!

11 additional images. Click to enlarge

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16 responses to Tamiya 1/12 Ducati 900 Supersport…

  1. Beautifully built and photographed, Robert….nice all around job!.

  2. I’m struggling to find any give away’s that this is in fact a model and not a real bike Robert! Stunning work as usual!

  3. Very sharp Robert. What was it doing in the garage anyway?

  4. It’s gorgeous, Robert, I especially like the ‘silver’ finish, reminds me of the Paul Smart racing version. It’s great that it has survived all this time with minimal (and easily repaired) damage, and your photographs really set it off. Thank you for sharing.

  5. You can always tell when one of these is nearby because of the valve clatter! It’s very unique sounding! Nice reclamation of an old model too!

  6. I won’t mess around with the “Ok, so where’s the model…” comments, but it really is perfect. True artistry.

  7. Tiger Tiger burning bright.
    Great build there Robert.

    • Simon, I really liked your comment. ‘Tyger, tyger, burning bright, in the forests of the night”. I have always been a fan of William Blake, and also, probably mainly for his art and design, not just his poems. And I am a big fan of tigers, even the small cat versions!

      • Well when Ducati Released the 900 Darmah the bike mag ran with the header “Tiger Tiger” All those years ago.
        I use to ride bikes many years ago now, so I enjoy seeing them posted on here and else where.

        • Simon, yes you are right, and I remember seeing that! Both before and after I got the Darmah, I saved all the magazine articles on it, and eventually also had quite a collection of books on Ducati. When I sold it, I gave all this to the buyer. Sadly, 9 years after I sold it, I saw it again, at a local car/bike show. It had been trashed, I never was sure by whom, but it was then owned by a different party than the one who bought it from me. I was devastated, it was one of the more sad things I have had happen, though there have been a couple that were much worse. Anyway, thanks for that memory, and thanks to William Blake! What bikes did you ride?

  8. Thanks to all for the nice comments about my old Ducati!

  9. Nice clean build, looks like a showroom bike!

  10. Bob,
    What can I say that has not already been said, Outstanding. A scotch and Bleu for you is awaiting.

  11. you never cease to amaze me bob

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