SSD engine numbers ?

If you need technical information or help with your BOSCH ignition squarecase Ducati 900SS - Darmah engine - post your FAQs, comments & questions here.
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Spagjet
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SSD engine numbers ?

Post by Spagjet » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:41 pm

Hi,
joined the forum only a couple of days ago and have been reading a few of the posts which has got me wondering about something on one of my squarecase Ducatis. I bought it off a very good mate for a very good price a couple of years ago as a basket case with a great foundation, I have known of the bike and about the bike for the last 20+ years so knew it had a lot of work done to it and money spent on it in several areas but most importantly the engine. Anyway, I always knew it had a GT frame (couldn't be anything else with the short sissy bar seat loop) and have always thought it had a Darmah motor in it as it is an electric start (no kick start) desmo 900 with the gear selectors on the left (rather than the the right as part of the sprocket cover like a GTS/GT), not to mention the Bosch ignition. I am starting to wonder though if it might actually be the engine out of an SSD as I was told the clip ons are SSD parts, it has got late model (long leg) Marzocchi forks , Ceriani triple trees, and after reading one of the posts on here what I think is probably an SSD stainless front guard with the much more rounded edges than the squarer edges found on the GTS's etc. It's the same exactly as the stainless front guard on my '81 Darmah but (again) after reading a post on here it seems there is quite a few SSD parts on that anyway (right sidecover with cutout for back brake, fairing plate on gooseneck, etc).
Anyway, my question is about identifying the engine as far as it being SD or SSD by the case number (or not). It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things (I'll love it just as much either way) but I like to know as much as I can about all my bikes especially the bevels and find stuff like this very interesting.

The engine number is DM860 905430.

It would be great if someone out there had a book of numbers or whatever.

thanks

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Craig in France
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Re: SSD engine numbers ?

Post by Craig in France » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:14 am

Spagjet wrote:My question is about identifying the engine as far as it being SD or SSD by the case number. The engine number is DM860 905430.
Hi,

I have a register of c. 50 SSD engine and frame numbers, and 905430 could potentially fit within the SSD sequence - 905242, 905416 and 905841 are all SSDs.

However, this late in the production run, there was no difference between SD and SSD engines*. So the answer is: No, you cannot tell from the engine number whether the bike your engine originally came from was a SD or a SSD.

* And in any event, right from the start, there wasn't much: the earliest SSDs had twin web con-rods when SDs didn't; and, of course, no SSD ever had a kickstart, unlike the 1977-79 SDs. And, in theory, SSDs always had 58mm carburettor stud spacings, altho' Ian Falloon reckons this wasn't so in practice.

HTH

Craig

Spagjet
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Re: SSD engine numbers ?

Post by Spagjet » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:45 pm

Hi Craig,
thanks very much for the info, as usual with the mystical bevels nothing is ever clear cut. I just measured the stud spacings on the '81 SD, to compare with the GT with the 'possible' SSD motor, they are both 58mm. This makes me wonder if there was really any difference at all between late model Darmahs and SSD's except the paint job, fairings, and decals. I've never read any books on Ducatis apart from my old faithful and very battered Haynes shop manual so I'm no expert but I have always thought that there was never very much at all crystal clear about any of the bevels (probably more so by the time they went to beltdrive but there again I'm not sure the Italians even owned the farm by then) as far as what went on what model.

This might seem like a stupid question but does that mean (seeing they did call them "SS"D's) that here is no difference between late model ('80- '81) Darmah motors, SSD motors and late model SS motors either? Did SSD's all come out with 40mm carbies as I know this motor had an upgrade years ago from 32mm to 40mm. I know Darmahs came with 32's even though most people ticked the 40mm box when they ordered them (my Darmah has got the original 32's, my GTS has got 36's off a 750S and the GT has got 40's so I've got all three kinds represented on the three bikes). If SSD's never had 32's as standard equipment I would take that as a pretty good indication that it's a Darmah motor.

I say only 'pretty good' as I have got no way of knowing if the 32's were original on this bike as it has obviously had a VERY interesting life up till now. It has got a GT (squarecase) frame, 900 Bosch ign motor, GTS tank, SSD 'bars, SS ducktail (genuine not reproduction, with cut outs to fit over the GT sissy bar), SS speedo drive, Akront alloy rims (stainless spokes) that have GT hubs but are both wider than stock GT/GTS rims, not to mention bigger valves, porting work, race clutch, and late model forks.

I suppose they made SD's and SSD's concurrently? I can't imagine Ducati stopping one model and making another with no overlap (perfect example being the GTS bottom ends in first SD's). I suppose that's what you meant about there being no real way of knowing from the engine number.

Did SSD's have Ceriani trip trees? I'm suspecting it might be one bike made from a blown up GT and a wrecked SSD but only because that would explain the clip ons (especially seeing one has a graunch on the end).

Hmm. my GTS has got MHR clip ons so I suppose anything's possible.

When was the last year of SD production and the first year of SSD production?

Lots of questions I know but that's what this forum thing is for I suppose

By the way, I've got no complaints about it all, I have to say the Italian haphazardness of it all is one of the things I like so much about bevels (and find so interesting), I don't think there were ever two Ferraris made the same either (well, the old ones with style and character anyway)
Sort of makes "concourse Ducati" a bit of an oxymoron unless it's an SS........suits me, I like making bits for them from scratch and/or adapting old parts of other bikes to keep them running and on the road (my GTS has got a Kwaka ZX-10 front master cylinder, a Suzuki DR650 switch block, Clutch perch is an upside down cable brake perch of an old Yamaha, last clutch rod segment from arm to clutch lid is made from the end of a Holden pushrod, Tingate drag racing handlebars turned into headlight mounts, etc, etc), my wallet likes it even better..

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Craig in France
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Re: SSD engine numbers ?

Post by Craig in France » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:19 am

Spagjet wrote:Thanks very much for the info
No worries.
Spagjet wrote:This makes me wonder if there was really any difference at all between late model Darmahs and SSDs except the paint job, fairings, and decals.
Off the top of my head: clip-ons and resets, and SSDs never got the later (1980) SD seat, of course. I did compile a list, once; but it isn't 100% relevant because it focuses on the differences between SSDs and the contemporary SD model, not the late SDs.
Spagjet wrote:I've never read any books on Ducatis apart from my old faithful and very battered Haynes shop manual
The 860 Haynes is really not good for the Dramah. Much better technical stuff available, including the factory Dramah parts books and workshop manuals. And then there are Ian Falloon's excellent works ...
Spagjet wrote: … I have always thought that there was never very much at all crystal clear about any of the bevels.
Due to the meticulous work of many people, especially Ian Falloon, it's much clearer than it was :-D .
Spagjet wrote: … probably more so by the time they went to belt-drive but there again I'm not sure the Italians even owned the farm by then.
They did. The Pantah first came out in September 1979 when Ducati was part of the Italian IRI* Group who also owned (inter alia) Alfa Romeo and Alitalia. In 1980, Ducati was transferred to a sub-holding company, still Italian, called Finmeccanica, and it was during this period that the 650 Pantah, TT2, TL and 350 versions were produced. The F1 was also developed under Finmeccanica, being first shown at the Sydney show in early 1985, just before Ducati moved into private ownership (of a sort … :? ) under the Castiglionis. Then, under the Castiglioni’s ownership, came the 851/888 etc. The Texas Pacific Group wasn’t involved until 1996.

* Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale. A state-owned holding company, originally established in 1933 by Mussolini to rescue companies that went bust during the Depression. A very important player in the post-war Italian economy.
Spagjet wrote:Does that mean that there is no difference between late model ('80- '81) Darmah motors, SSD motors and late model SS motors either?
Possibly, but I don’t want to speak for the SS engines.
Spagjet wrote:Did SSDs all come out with 40mm carbies
No. 32 AD/AS for the early ones, then 32 CD/Cs, and 40s only at the end. From January 1979, 40mm AD/AS carbs were available as a racing upgrade kit which included Contis etc. Contis were never homologated for road use In Italy. For road use, Darmahs work better on 32s.
Spagjet wrote:I suppose they made SDs and SSDs concurrently?
Yes and no. To explain:

All Ducati frames were made by Verlicchi and stocked. Engines were assembled in the factory and also stocked. Production of complete bikes involved taking a frame and an engine and putting the two together - that’s why the numbers never coincide.

However, the way the frame and engine numbers run, it’s seems that SSDs were made in batches. Which would make sense for production planning, as in, “Today we’re going to put 50 SSDs together”. The factory still used this system when I visited - above each assembly line was the precise number of each model that was to be produced that day.
Spagjet wrote: I can't imagine Ducati stopping one model and making another with no overlap (perfect example being the GTS bottom ends in first SDs).
Indeed. Issues of practical economy means that whenever you can, you use up the supply of parts you already have.

It also helps to appreciate that Ducati was not a conventional company as you might understand it today. This was post-war Italy, the era of Red Bologna and massive state intervention - see IRI ownership above. Think of Ducati not as a motorcycle manufacturer, but as a state supported means of giving people work. Part of that equation included placing orders to sub-contractors for components which you might, or might not, even need - let alone eventually use.

I can remember Mick Walker telling me of his factory visits when he was shocked at the sheer quantities of parts to be seen, parts which he had been asking for for months but hadn’t been forthcoming. But of which he was welcome to take whatever he wanted, out of the bins or off the shelves. I suspect this tendency to overstock is also why Ian Gowanloch was able to buy up so much unwanted stock in the 80s and ship it off to Oz!
Spagjet wrote:Did SSD's have Ceriani trip trees?
No, only ever Marzocchi. Ceriani stuff was only fitted to the early SDs (until frame # 901174). I’ve heard it said that Ceriani were either too expensive and/or there were supply problems. Laverda made the same switch.
Spagjet wrote:Hmm. my GTS has got MHR clip ons ..
Not surprised. The original SSD clip-ons didn’t work well. Even at the time it was normal to fit different ones, often MHR.
Spagjet wrote:When was the last year of SD production and the first year of SSD production?
SD: 1977 -83(ish)
SSD: First shown at Bologna in Nov 78. Ian F. says that the first factory release was at the end of 78, but this may not be right because it looks like first batch was actually made in April 79. Production officially finished in 1980, but there were some factory parts-bin specials, at least for the Australian market, up to 83/4.
Spagjet wrote:I have to say the Italian haphazardness of it all is one of the things I like so much about bevels (and find so interesting)
For some of the reasons, see above. We're also talking about very small production runs which tends to encourage variation.
Spagjet wrote:Sort of makes "concourse Ducati" a bit of an oxymoron unless it's an SS …
People tell me that they too are equally variable ... :shock:

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Re: SSD engine numbers ?

Post by Spagjet » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:22 pm

well that's all very very interesting, thanks. I always held the notion that SD's were around for a few years and then they must have done a bit of a parts bin special and dolled the Darmah up a bit to attract some more sales while they were getting the ol' Pantie motor into it's next form and into a chassis they could flog to the public (like a lot of bevelheads I've got mixed feelings about cam belts) by bringing out the SSD as a "new model" but from what you have told me apart from the first couple of years of SD's (which I have always thought of as almost a different bike to the later ones anyway) the SD's and SSD's had the same run of years they were released. Except for Australia where you say it went on for a couple more years than the rest of the world as a true "parts bin bike" which is why I probably formed that impression in the first place.

I've learnt something today.

Anyway, by then the Italians must have worked out that it was pretty easy to flog bevels to Aussies as for a start there is a hell of a lot of mongrel Italian blood here in Oz (I'm half Italian), not to mention the inbuilt Aussie predisposition for recognising and loving "groovy" when they see it no matter how impractical (groovy and practical usually being mutually exclusive)(e.g. Honda- practical, Ducati- groovy).
I have heard that they sold more MHR's in Oz than GT's (not hard), GTS's (still not hard), or any other bevel model (bit harder), which is amazing considering it was only ever supposed to be a limited edition. It might not be true but it could be. I think that speaks absolute volumes about how much the Oz public liked the air-cooled bevel-drives. I've also heard that every bevel produced basically cost more to make than what they got back selling them which is just another reason I think of them as being up there with Ferraris only cheaper to buy (when new).

I suppose from what you said about bevels being all "small production runs" they were all "limited edition" in a way. Probably why I've always thought of them as Ferraris with two wheels, very special things.
Craig in France wrote:Due to the meticulous work of many people, especially Ian Falloon, it's much clearer than it was
Aussies like Ian Falloon, Ian Gowanloch, Brooke Henry, Franco Bruno, and quite a few others are worth their weight in gold to the whole part of the human race (world-wide) that like-a-the-bevel, we all would be buggered without the 'wizards and gurus'. One of my best mates is a Ducati wizard, the amazing Mark Elliott. I would still have had my life long involvement with bevels without him but it would have been A LOT harder.
Craig in France wrote: They did. The Pantah first came out in September 1979 when Ducati was part of the Italian IRI* Group who also owned (inter alia) Alfa Romeo and Alitalia. In 1980, Ducati was transferred to a sub-holding company, still Italian, called Finmeccanica, and it was during this period that the 650 Pantah, TT2, TL and 350 versions were produced. The F1 was also developed under Finmeccanica, being first shown at the Sydney show in early 1985, just before Ducati moved into private ownership (of a sort … :? ) under the Castiglionis. Then, under the Castiglioni’s ownership, came the 851/888 etc. The Texas Pacific Group wasn’t involved until 1996.

* Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale. A state-owned holding company, originally established in 1933 by Mussolini to rescue companies that went bust during the Depression. A very important player in the post-war Italian economy.
interesting. I wasn't sure but never bothered finding out as I have got very limited interest in the rubber belts, I hear with half an ear from time to time about new models, the farm being sold on (and on), shrug my shoulders and keep polishing Ferrari parts. Now that I am thinking about it I remember hearing at one stage that the 916 (voted the most beautiful bike ever made) was the last Italian styled Ducati and then the mob from Texas bought it and the next model (that I can't remember) and every one after had lost that "Ferrari-ness" because the Italian involvement was over. Maybe true or maybe just another one of my half-arsed notions (shrugging again)

Who'd have thought I'd ever have to something to thank ol' Benito for. I've learnt two things today.
Craig in France wrote: No. 32 AD/AS for the early ones, then 32 CD/Cs, and 40s only at the end. From January 1979, 40mm AD/AS carbs were available as a racing upgrade kit which included Contis etc. Contis were never homologated for road use In Italy. For road use, Darmahs work better on 32s.


very very interesting, you would have thought that having the "SS' bit in "SSD" would mean they would have automatically come with the 40's. It means to me that it's another clue that my motor could have been from an SSD as I know for a fact that it used to have 32's.

Hmmm, all SS's had 40's as original equipment didn't they? I've never even wondered before but now I am.
Craig in France wrote:No, only ever Marzocchi. Ceriani stuff was only fitted to the early SDs (until frame # 901174). I’ve heard it said that Ceriani were either too expensive and/or there were supply problems. Laverda made the same switch.
the Creriani triple trees are quite different from the Marzocchis on both my other bikes (which are quite different to each other as well) in that the hole for the steering stem is set back quite aways from the fork leg holes. Worked out perfectly in a serindipitous way as it means that the non-height adjustable SSD 'bars fit BEAUTIFULLY into the notches on the Imola tank I have recently bought for it like it was meant to be. If it had of come with 'zocchi' trip trees I would either have had to find new bars or new trip trees.
Craig in France wrote:Not surprised. The original SSD clip-ons didn’t work well. Even at the time it was normal to fit different ones, often MHR.


Why do you say the original SSD bars didn't work well? Is it because they are non-adjustable for angle? That is a clue that it is indeed all SSD gear (engine, forks, front guard, handlebars) on the GT base, if the 'bars came with an SSD wreck they would have been used on the re-build, despite the trip trees being non-SSD.

Are Ceriani trees off roundcase Sports, SS's, GT's etc?

By the way, I meant that I have got MHR 'bars on my GTS (which is the bike I have had since the late eighties), it came with those bars but they looked like Brahmin bull ears as the fork fittings were facing outwards so the 'bars missed the gauges. I have since taken the gauges off and turned the handlebar fittings around during one of my crash rebuilds (the inside ends of the actual bars are only about 5 inches apart now). It hasn't had a speedo for well over ten years but I am putting it back on soon, the bike laws have gone stupid in Oz lately, you used to be able to get away with absolute blue murder in Queensland but those days seem to be in the past all of a sudden. Hmm, I don't know a word for the way that makes me feel, except slang terms for female genitals.
Craig in France wrote:People tell me that they too are equally variable
I've got about as much interest in the other humans as I have in rubber cam belts but yes I have noticed in my peripheral vision a tendency for infinite variability,

I'd rather interact with a meat ant nest than most humans.....

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Craig in France
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Re: SSD engine numbers ?

Post by Craig in France » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:04 am

Spagjet wrote: I always held the notion that SDs were around for a few years and then they must have done a bit of a parts bin special and dolled the Darmah up a bit to attract some more sales … by bringing out the SSD as a "new model".
Rather the other way round. Hard though it may be to believe today, the original idea behind the SSD was as a ‘dolled up’ version of (and eventual replacement for) the SS.
Spagjet wrote: I have heard that they sold more MHRs in Oz than GTs, GTSs or any other bevel model, which is amazing considering it was only ever supposed to be a limited edition.
Truth is, the factory never really believed in the MHR thing - until the sales started coming in.
Spagjet wrote: I have got very limited interest in the rubber belts …
Hmmm. Don’t be too dismissive. The Pantah was arguably Taglioni’s greatest achievement.
Spagjet wrote: I remember hearing at one stage that the 916 was the last Italian styled Ducati. And then the mob from Texas bought it and the next model and every one after had lost that "Ferrari-ness" because the Italian involvement was over.
A bit of a generalisation, but … ok. The 916/748 (and later 996) of 1994 was indeed designed by an Italian: Massimo Tamburini, then working at Cagiva. He also did the Paso (urgh ...) and Cagiva Mito (“Little 916?” Absolutely!), as well as being one of the founders of Bimota. When Texas Pacific came in to Ducati, he chose to stay with Cagiva and went on to design the MV Augusta F4 and Brutale.

Pierre Terreblanche, a South African, took over at Ducati. To his credit, he has the brilliant Supermono (1993) and the 851/888 ‘facelift’ (1992). To his discredit, the re-styled SS (1998), Multistrada (2001), MH900e and the Sports Classic range. (Opinions are divided on the ST range, 749/999 and Hypermotard).

And remember, Ducati’s most successful bike of all time, the Monster (1993), was designed by an Argentinean, Miguel Angel Galluzzi (now at Aprilia).
Spagjet wrote: … you would have thought that having the "SS' bit in "SSD" would mean they would have automatically come with the 40's. <snip> Hmmm, all SS's had 40s as original equipment, didn't they?
No ... and yes. Base specification, ex-factory, was 32s. But 40s were always an option, and many export bikes came with these (and Contis).
Spagjet wrote: Why do you say the original SSD bars didn't work well? Is it because they are non-adjustable for angle?

They’re really too low to be comfortable.
Spagjet wrote: Are Ceriani trees off roundcase Sports, SSs, GTs etc?
No (and sometimes, yes). Most round case bikes used Marzocchis. Only in 1974, i.e. almost at the death, did some GTs and Sports have Cerianis. The Super Sport never did.

Where Cerianis were used was on the 860 GT and GTe. But not for long. The replacement GTS had Marzocchis. I know that Ceriani was in difficulties by the late 1970s. It finally went bust in 1980. The brand name now belongs to Paioli.

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Re: SSD engine numbers ?

Post by Spagjet » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:47 pm

hey Craig, you're a real font of information, thanks.
Craig in France wrote:Truth is, the factory never really believed in the MHR thing - until the sales started coming in.
yeah, I had heard that. I see parallels between the MHR's and monsters (despite the monster not really being an Italian design) in that they just thought they would do a quick 'special' but they both went on to become extremely popular and long lasting models. They called it a monster because they were trying to make it look like a stripped down 'streetfighter' with it's guts hanging out. I think they got the design breif right, they are a bit fugly but they are what they are, the most affordable way to own your own Ducati and I have admit from all the ones I have known, are pretty bullet proof. Everyone I know that has had or has got a Monster just loves them to bits. I still think they're a bit fugly but there again I might be a bit affected from all the aluminium alloy dust I have breathed over the years sanding and mirror polishing Ferrari bits
Craig in France wrote:Rather the other way round. Hard though it may be to believe today, the original idea behind the SSD was as a ‘dolled up’ version of (and eventual replacement for) the SS.
there's just no accounting for some things is there, although no matter how you look at it you can't really call SSD's a failure as a model
Craig in France wrote:Hmmm. Don’t be too dismissive. The Pantah was arguably Taglioni’s greatest achievement.
I think my attitude about the belts will be forever coloured by a few things
I knew they were just a cheaper alternative to the bevel
Pantahs were only 500's and 600's. Big bore road bikes start at 750, in my weird brain anyway. Despite the fact that most 600's nowadays would suck the mirrors off my old 860 on the way past. Till we get to the corners anyway, whaaaa ha ha ha ha.
Belts wear out
Pantahs, TT2's, 750F1's, etc all were bitches to keep running. It seemed like a backward step in some ways. I thought they would be the death of Ducati (I did have a poster of an F1 on my wall when I was a kid though, they looked the part.

I knew they had to do something to save Ducati and nothing ever stays the same so I haven't got anything at all against them, they are still just as much Ducatis as the bevels are, maybe if I paid more attention to them I might want one which is a very dangerous thing in my brain. I've already got 11 bikes , no room, and am seriously considering buying another bevel that has come up.....sigh
Craig in France wrote:No ... and yes. Base specification, ex-factory, was 32s. But 40s were always an option, and many export bikes came with these (and Contis).


I'm learning all the time. Maybe I always assumed they all had 40's (and Contis) because obviously all the units that came to Australia were export bikes
Craig in France wrote:They’re really too low to be comfortable.
suits me just fine. That will fit right in with the Imola tank, souped up Desmo900 motor, no-crossover pipes, wide Akronts, etc. It's never going to be a comfortable thing to ride no matter what I do so the 'bars might as well be impractical as well.
Craig in France wrote:The replacement GTS had Marzocchis
My GTS has got Marzocchi triple trees which are the shape of a very shallow 'V'. In all the time I have had it and looked at other bevels I have never seen another set the same. Every other GTS I have seen have got 'straight' trip trees. The Cerianis on the GT I have got are probably the original equipment witht he frame then. Hmm, very interesting. They are perfect with the SSD 'bars and Imola tank. You can get it on full lock both sides perfectly because of the 'set back' gooseneck hole.

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