What’s your ideal motorcycle? If you’re like us here at MD, you love a light, torquey, easy-to-ride four-stroke Single. And the apex of thumper development may be the 1993-1995 Ducati Supermono, a limited-production, race-only machine penned by Pierre Terblanche (designer of the SportClassics, 999, and Multistrada, among other Ducatis). With a high-revving desmodromic four-valve cylinder head and 549cc (later 572cc) of displacement, the Supermono boasted 80 hp in a 277-pound package. Wrapped up in sensuous bodywork and as loud as Satan after dropping a can of creamed corn on his toe, many racers and trackday junkies have fantasized about owning one of these sexy beasts. Too bad the limited production numbers and $30,000 pricetag made the bike a toy for wealthy collectors.
Briton Alistair Wager is one of the world’s top experts on the Supermono; he’s personally worked on 20 of the 67 machines that were built (he also managed Ducati’s AMA Superbike racing team). He thought Ducati should have produced the bike for street use, as “the Supermono was designed as a race bike that could easily be converted into a streetbike,” according to Supermono designer Pierre Terblanche. “Unfortunately nothing ever came of it.” So he set to building a street-going replica, the Supermono Strada.
Since Alistair has a parts account with Ducati, getting many of the needed components is as simple as placing an order. The Supermono Strada uses the original cases, with the big-valve Testastretta top end from the 999 superbike. Displacement is now 595cc, bumping power up to a claimed 88 hp at the crank. The big exhaust can is now moved to the right side (to keep it away from the chain), and tiny headlights (from the 749) and mirrors make things street-legal. And you won’t need a rental van filled with push-start volunteers to follow you around on Sunday mornings: the starter from a 916 takes over starting duties. Öhlins suspension, a more street-oriented standard-ratio transmission and radial-mount Brembo brake calipers with bigger 305mm discs sweeten the deal. Frames are built in England, and the swingarm is from the Ducati 1000SS. Weight is just 294.5 pounds dry.
The street equipment is much like what you’d find on late-model Ducatis, with an anti-theft system, projector-beam headlamps and all the instruments and switchgear you need. There’s even an optional gel seat, in case you want to ride more than a 20-minute racetrack session.
At 35,000 UK Pounds (about $52,000), it’s definitely not a mass-market ride. But given the original bike has traded for up to $100,000, this seems a bargain, especially when you consider the street-legality (Alistair said the machine will be available to USA buyers) and improvements in power, braking and suspension.
This project may energize thumper fans, but it’s not that exciting to the bike’s original designer: “Since it was done in 1993 the Supermono is now a bit like Madonna; still okay but a bit long in the tooth.” Terblanche is looking for some millionaires that love super singles.
“I have a project waiting in some drawer….. somewhere.” Contact us if you’re interested and we’ll pass your info along. After we collect a finder’s fee…
ALISTAIR WAGER 11th March 2009
“2009 DUCATI SUPERMONO STRADA v THE 1993/5 BIKE”
- 104 x 70 mm bore and stroke giving 595cc up from 102 x 70 mm and 572cc from 1995 and 100 x 70 mm from 1993.
- Performance up from 80bhp to 88bhp at the crankshaft, using the Testastretta cylinder head from the 999R.
- Pankl forged Titanium con-rods now fitted compared to forged steel.
- En10 Billet machined, hardened and balanced crankshaft fitted with a machined LH shaft to accept a 916 sprag starter clutch assemblyy.
- Larger inlet and exhaust valves fitted 41 and 33mm respectively up from 37 and 31 mm.
- Ducted air cooling to the carbon cambelt cover, similar to that fitted on the 999R.
- Timing gear driven water pump assembly and wet alternator, compare to exhaust camshaft driven water pump and dry alternator.
- Electric starter and sprag clutch assembly.
- Now fitted with a 6 speed standard ratio gearbox, as opposed to the 6 speed close ratio previously fitted.
- Left foot gear change with road gear change pattern ie. one down and five up (can also be easily changed to race gear change pattern).
- Now fitted with a Magneti Marelli 54mm diameter Throttle body with a single shower type injector (one half of the throttle bodies fitted to the 999R), compared to the 50mm diameter previously used.
- Now with the Magneti Marelli 5.9M ECU also fitted to the 749/999 range, in conjunction with a USB Power Commander III.
- Increased air-box volume, now with the injector body inside and a high flow air filter fitted (has greatly contributed to the overall engine performance).
- Chassis is a replica of the original with the same steering geometry (with only some small changes) now made from lightweight 4130 Chrome-moly tubing.
- Swinging arm is the modified lightweight Aluminium cast/fabricated item as fitted to the 1000SS ie.
- Top and bottom yokes are modified items as fitted to the 999R.
- Front forks are modified Ohlins forks with modified radial brake calliper mounting as fitted to the 999R.
- Ohlins rear shock absorber with a ride-height adjuster fitted.
- Front brake callipers are now the latest one piece 4 piston Brembo radial callipers as fitted to the 1098R.
- Front 2 x 305mm Discs fitted compared to 280 mm as original.
- Rear brake calliper is an under-slung opposing 2 piston P2 Brembo unit.
- Rear 200mm Disc fitted.
Wheels and Tyres
- 3.50 x 17 Marchesini forged Magnesium 10 spoke wheel fitted with a Pirelli Diablo Corsa 120/60R17 tyre.
- 5.50 x 17 Marchesini forged Magnesium 10 spoke wheel fitted with a Pirelli Diablo Corsa 180/55R17 tyre.
- Magneti Marelli key recognition/operated ignition immobiliser system as fitted to the 749/999 range.
- Projector beam dip and main beam light units with beam height adjusters as fitted to the 749/999 range.
- LED rear stop/tail/number plate illuminator lamp also with left/right rear indicators, mounted on a lightweight carbon number plate bracket.
- Left hand handlebar switchgear with self-cancelling directional indicator switch, horn and high beam pass button as fitted on the 749/999 range.
- Right hand handlebar switchgear with engine kill switch, starter motor button and main lighting switch (not fitted for some markets as lights are permanently on) as fitted on the 749/999 range.
Other Important Features
- Previous wet-lay-up carbon fibre parts ie. front and tail fairing, fuel tank, air-box, front mudguard, rear hugger, sub-frame and all the other composite parts are now manufactured in pre-pregnated carbon fibre, vacuum bagged and heated to 80°C in a pressurised Autoclave at 60 psi for 8 + hours, to give extra strength, and a significant weight loss without any shrinkage of components to give superior fit qualities.
- Now fitted with a lightweight Titanium silencer, well tucked-in on the right hand side (no rear brake tie-rod in the way), addressing the continual ground clearance problems associated when left hand side mounted and fouling the drive chain too.
- Retractable Aluminium side stand with ignition cut-out switch as fitted to the 749/999 range.
- Top yoke mounted Ohlins adjustable steering damper as on 749/999 range.
- Ignition key operated steering lock.
- Left and right hand rear view mirrors fitted complete with turn signal indicators.
- Cooling system now fitted with a water expansion tank which was not fitted to the original mono.
- Swinging arm has a carbon shark fin rear sprocket protector/rear stand brackets fitted to both ends of the arm.
- Neutral gear position lamp fitted is illuminated from the 749/999 dash instrument.
- Front and rear brake light switches fitted.
- Integral fuel pump and pressure release valve assembly mounted to the underside of the fuel tank the same as fitted to the 999R.
- Two electric radiator fans as fitted on the 999R.
- Speedometer instrument and rear wheel pick-up sensor fitted taken from the 999R.
- The improved Marchesini vane type rear wheel cush drive damper system fitted.
- Billet Aluminium integral rear calliper bracket/brake anchor arm/speedo sensor mount.
- Quick release F1 style Camloc fairing mounting fasteners used.
- Customised nylon crash mushrooms fitted hidden behind fairing.
- Removable seat pad with optional gel insert.
MD Readers Respond:
- You tricked me with your headline on 4/6. Your teasing us with the Pantah study was one thing, but the Supermono is just wrong. I’ve been waiting for Ducati to deliver a real production Supermono ever since the original came out. I thought, “at last, a production superbike for those of us interested in small bore machines with superb handling and pedigree.” My hopes, however, were dashed when I read the article. Exciting, to be sure, but unreachable for almost anybody interested in the concept. A niche bike, for certain, but one I’d buy in a heartbeat, if there was a real line. “Hey there, Ducati. You listening?” Bob