Red Bull Ducati 916SPS

Okay boys, if you're reading this, then you pretty much know what this awesome piece of machinery is. According to this write up in  Motorcycle News this is one of only 400 made (it's number 38 by the way) between 1996 and 1998 and was first registered in November 1997. The authenticity has been checked with the Desmo Ducato Owner's Club of which I am a member.

For the technically minded, this is the 996cc engine with twin injectors per cylinder, titanium conrods, corsa heads, etc., etc. This machine has such high compression it has had a racing slipper clutch fitted so there is no locking of the rear wheel when dropping down through the gears; it has a cast ally open clutch housing, now polished. When ridden normally the engine/clutch does nearly all the braking for you.

However, the upgraded (from the standard 916) front brakes are outstanding comprising floating iron Brembo disks as well as the black Brembo lever (not found on the std machines) and cylinders. Painted in Red Bull livery it is offset by a carbon seat, carbon rear hugger, carbon front mudguard, carbon swinging arm cover, side bits and all the usual.

Nice Marchesini magnesium wheels help to keep the weight down and the large bore Termignoni cans make an extraordinary sound (very very loud!) but are, surprisingly, road legal as they came as standard when the bike was first homologated. Remember that new bikes will be subject to even more stringent regs about noise 'pollution' this year - again!

Although it does not have the full works Ohlins front forks, I've been told that the internals on the SPS are upgraded from the std. The rear shock has also had an upgraded spring added too (purple - Hyperpro probably).

This is the second Duke I've owned - having upgraded from a standard 916 - but at pushing 60 I'm not afraid to admit, that this beast is a bit too much for me. I've spent a considerable part of my life on the track and this is the only bike I've ever ridden that made me say F*** out loud when I first got on it!!

I'm getting too old for the head down arse up style of riding and have broken out the pipe and slippers and going back to a supermoto for the road and a trials bike for the competitive streak in me.

I don't want to put anyone off, but this bike is not for the faint hearted - the power delivery from about 40ish up to.. well... very very fast indeed needs nerves of steel as well as a light touch with the incredibly responsive throttle. You can't just bang the throttle open on this bike: it just spins up. So I've never wheelied it therefore - nor taken it on the track. This not just about horse power, although it has that in spades, it's about power delivery - and that can be scary.

It's been carefully maintained - mostly at Pro V Twins in Sussex - renowned Duke specialists - whom I know very well as they looked after and tuned my last 916. Bought at the end of last year it was serviced complete with new belts before I took delivery, so it's taxed and tested until September 2006. Good tyres, 23k on the clock - apparently it had been on a sorn for 1 or two years before I got my hands on it. Let's face it, if you can find the room and the cotton wool, this bike will be a collector's piece for years to come and a worthwhile investment. Just had a new rear tyre fitted and is due to be serviced at about the end of July.

Any inspection is welcome, but I won't haggle - there is a sensible price on this bike which I won't go under; if it doesn't get sold, I'll either keep it for posterity or have it brought back to concourse condition and put it up for a collector's sale for a lot more. It has brand new Ergal rear sets on it at the moment, with a race change (1 up, 5 down) which replaced the rear sets it came with. If you pay the full price you can have the old ones as well as the paddock stand in the pics.

If you want to test ride it to satisfy yourself that you really cannot live without an almost unique part of history, you'll need to supply me with the full price in cash, a valid licence and insurance document before I let you even close to it. If you do ride it and make just one mark on it - then you've bought it. I will make no exceptions. Please make sure you read and understand this bit - tyre kickers are not welcome.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or call on 07768 877 566 - bike can only be collected from mid Sussex and I only take cash, a banker's draft or a personal cheque which will have to clear before I let the bike go.