What if Ducati made a new Hailwood replica?

The Ducati 900SS 'Evoluzione': a thoroughly modern cafe racer with a hint of retro style.
The hype around the launch of the new Ducati Scrambler has got us thinking about other ways to mine the rich history of the Italian marque.

Some 35 years ago, Ducati’s official Mike Hailwood replica was a smash hit—so what would an updated version look like today? We’re betting it’d be close to this sleek 900SS café racer from Dutchman Ferry van den Boom.

The Ducati 900SS 'Evoluzione': a thoroughly modern cafe racer with a hint of retro style.
Ducati has often taken a modular approach to motorcycle construction, raiding the parts bin to create something new. Miguel Galluzzi’s design for the original 1990s Monster is the most famous example of that approach—and van den Boom has taken it a step further for his ‘Evoluzione’ build.

He’s slotted a fuel-injected 900SS engine into a sweet-handling ST4 frame, and upgraded the dynamics via 43mm adjustable Showa forks from a Monster S4. Those elegant five-spoke Marchesini wheels are from a Ducati 998, and the gorgeous single-sided swingarm has been lifted from a Monster S2R.

The Ducati 900SS 'Evoluzione': a thoroughly modern cafe racer with a hint of retro style.
The tank is from Pierre Terblanche’s much-maligned Ducati 999, and dare we say it, looks better after a subtle reshape and a two-tone paint job. A new digital instrument panel and a custom 2-into-1 exhaust system are the icing on the cake.

Van den Boom carried out most of the work himself, figuring out what would fit and what wouldn’t. He sent out the wheels and frame for powder coating, installed a seat unit from the late, lamented Radical Ducati, and built a rakish one-off fairing.

The Ducati 900SS 'Evoluzione': a thoroughly modern cafe racer with a hint of retro style.
It’s the colors that grab the eye, though. They’ll be familiar to anyone who knows the fateful tale of Mike Hailwood, and still look good decades later. But van den Boom says the red-and-green scheme was almost an after-thought. “I never intended to build a replica—I think it’s just a cool bike.”

And cool it is. Every baby is beautiful in its mother’s eyes, but at the last Ducati Club Nederland show, the 900SS Evoluzione won the prize for the best ‘special’ of 2014.

If he was still around today, we think “Mike The Bike” would approve.

Images © Mark Kamphuis

The Ducati 900SS 'Evoluzione': a thoroughly modern cafe racer with a hint of retro style.