If this Ducati Darmah looks as good as new, that’s because it almost is. It’s a ground-up build from the Dutch restoration wizards at Back To Classics, one of Europe’s top Ducati specialists.
There’s a story behind this bike, and one we can all relate to. “We were contacted by a guy who’d recently sold his business, and was getting ready for retirement,” says shop owner Harné Heuvelman. “Browsing through old photographs, he found himself back in 1980, on his recently purchased Ducati 900 Sport Desmo Darmah.”
“So he asked us if we could build him the exact same bike: red and white color scheme, large dual seat, FPS wheels, a kick start lever, and so on.”
Harné didn’t have a Darmah for sale at the time, but it wasn’t long before he came across a frame and engine. After checking his huge stock of Ducati parts, he realized that he had everything he needed to make an exact copy of his client’s long-lost bike.
The frame and engine were from a 1979 Darmah, so Harné decided to replicate a factory-fresh model from that year, right down to the last nut and bolt.
In his workshop in the tiny town of Bergambacht, the bevel engine was torn apart and rebuilt—with a new con-rod kit, pistons, valves and camshafts. The casings were salvageable, so they’ve been wet-blasted and returned to as-new condition.
Harné has kept the original Bosch ignition system, resisting the temptation to upgrade it with modern components, however better they may be. After all, the brief was to create a ‘new’ Darmah just as it left the factory.
The only non-standard parts on this machine are Ikon shocks to improve the handling, and wiring for a TomTom Rider GPS unit. The result is stunning—and suggests that Darmah designer Leopoldo Tartarini should receive more credit for his work.
“The Darmah isn’t a sought-after classic, compared to a 900 Super Sport,” Harné admits. “But it’s one of the best classic Ducatis from the user’s point of view. It has a very good riding position, electric start and, one can argue, it’s still a very good looking bike.”
If you’re tempted to replicate Back To Classics’ amazing work, there’s good news: you can still buy a solid Ducati Darmah for a reasonable price.
But for how long?