The round twin Ducati L-twin is now a legend. But to assemble such a solid block of sump? That only took 10 hours. And that kind of work doesn’t make accountants happy. A worthy successor was needed. But it still had to be as similar to The Original as possible. The 860 GT did not bring Ducati the success it had hoped for. There were even people who saw him as evil.
The successor to the 860 GT, the 900 SD Ducati Darmah was definitely not a successor to the SS Ducatis, but a fast touring motorcycle. And touring motorcycles are less ‘sexy’ than sports bikes. However? So the machines were not taken out of the showrooms. At the same time, Ducati Darmahs have been officially recognized as making greed.
The investment trend goes so far that Harm Heuvelman of Ducati Back to Classics specialist from Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht was even allowed to bring one in showroom condition to a customer who had a Ducati Darmah as a boyhood dream. So sometimes dreams come true. ‘It costs something. But then you have something.’
A good name
In terms of naming, the Italians had shown their best side: In Hinduism, ‘dharma’ means behavior considered to be in accordance with rta, the order that enables life and the world, and includes duty, justice, law, behavior, ethics and. ‘The right way of life’. Plus of course a strong steering frame and good brakes.
A better, simpler block
Technically, a lot had been done to the Ducati Darmah. The crankshaft bearing was revised, the machine had standard Desmo heads and shifting to the left was no longer possible with the improved ‘detour’ from the right which was used up to and including 1976. Also an important improvement: the Ducati Darmah had a Bosch instead of an ignition system Ducati.
The Ducati Darmah suspension improvements were also used in the king axes of 1978. And while the frame was the same as that of the 860 GT, the bodywork was completely redesigned. Leopoldo’s Tartarini design seemed to have good sales opportunities in 1977. The engines came from Nippon Denso. Behind the tank and a friend, Ducati Darmah had a cool ‘duck tail’. The rims were beautiful, gold colored magnesium Campagnolos. By the way, only Ducati Darmah 900 was made with those wheels.
A very good start
The beginning was promising. 1977 was a year of extensive maintenance and in 1978 the Cerian fork was replaced by a Marzocchi. Speedline became the new wheel dealer. In 1978, the LaFranconi dampers were also replaced with Silentiums and in that year the Fat Duc also lost its kickstarter for good.
The block with its angular covers, which was designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro of Studio Italdesign, which was still based on the ’round blocks of the crankcase, was made easier and technically easier – thus cheaper – to produce. At first the L-twin breathed 32 mm, but from 1978 the heads were also ready for Ø 40 mm gas works.
Good, originals are few
Many Dharmas have been used – because they were not used at great cost – they have been transformed into something more sporty. At the same time, almost original copies are very few. In the ‘trade’, for professionals, these bikes are very high with a mille or ten for a good technical and neat article. And compared to what the 750 SS has to fetch these days, that’s a change.
And buying a Duc like this from a company that understands these bikes is the best thing you can do. A well-maintained and decently maintained Ducati Darmah can last well for 100 km.
Because with these Italian strengths it is very important that repairs are carried out regularly and by professionals. In any case, take an expert with you when looking ‘in the wild’.