Speed Read: A rare 1997 Ducati 916 SPS and more

The latest motorcycle news, classics and customs
These four motorcycles prove that performance comes in all shapes and sizes. There’s a rare 1997 Ducati 916 SPS for sale in New York, a 1970s Kawasaki KZ1000 restomod from the legendary AC Sanctuary, and a Honda CB1000 customized by a racing enthusiast. We end off with a sneak peek at Triumph’s upcoming motocross race bike.

1997 Ducati 916 SPS at Moto Borgotaro
For sale: 1997 Ducati 916 SPS The Ducati 916 was Massimo Tamburini’s greatest gift to motorcycling. And that’s saying something, since he also penned the MV Agusta F4 and Brutale, the Bimota DB1, and a slew of other masterpieces.

1997 Ducati 916 SPS at Moto Borgotaro
Released in 1997, The Ducati 916 SPS was a special edition of the 916, built to homologate the new 996 cc engine for Superbike competition. The SPS version was built in limited numbers, so it demanded a premium price.

It included a new set of camshafts, and an upgraded fuel injection and ECU setup. This, along with an 11.5:1 compression ratio, lightened crankshaft, and larger combustion chambers with bigger heads, meant that the engine punched out more horses; 123, to be exact.

1997 Ducati 916 SPS at Moto Borgotaro
This particular Ducati 916 SPS is being offered by Peter Boggia of Moto Borgotaro in Brooklyn, New York. Peter has a gift for sourcing exotic and desirable European machines, so we keep his website bookmarked to feed our dreams.

Numbered ’59,’ this 916 SPS was originally sold to the current owner by the Ducati dealer Fast by Ferraci, in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s only been ridden 7,500 miles since then so it’s barely broken in, and it has a dyno sheet quoting 115.2 hp at the rear wheel.

1997 Ducati 916 SPS at Moto Borgotaro
The quick-release bodywork is still in tip-top shape, displaying the beautiful Ducati 916 Desmoquattro in the gold ‘Varese’ logotype. It has different wheels and a few extra carbon fiber accessories, but the original parts are included with the bike, along with an additional fairing.

The bike is currently located in Moto Borgotaro, where it’s on sale for $45,000. Given the beauty and rarity of the bike, we wouldn’t be surprised if that price rises over time. [More]

Kawasaki KZ1000 restomod by AC Sanctuary
Kawasaki KZ1000 by AC Sanctuary There’s no denying that AC Sanctuary builds some of the best restomods in the world. They’re most known for their early Kawasaki Z- and KZ-series builds. And if you think donors are getting harder to come by, you’d be right—which is why shop boss Hiroyuki Nakamura has a habit of stockpiling good examples for future projects.

On this project though, Nakamura-san was happy to use his customer’s personal bike—a Kawasaki KZ1000 that had been through the ringer. The bike was a victim of some shoddy ‘custom’ work, arriving at AC Sanctuary’s shop a little worse for wear. Sick of his sick motorcycle, the customer asked for the full AC Sanctuary treatment.

Kawasaki KZ1000 restomod by AC Sanctuary
The shop tore the bike down to its bones, then put it back together like only they can. To those well-versed in the mythos of classic Kawasaki Zeds, the most obvious change is the bodywork.

To those well-versed in the dark arts of the Kawasaki Z-series, the most obvious change is the bodywork. The boxy KZ tank, tail unit, and side covers were all replaced with the bodywork from the older 900 cc Zed. But the KZ needed extensive groundwork to get the new tins fitted.

Kawasaki KZ1000 restomod by AC Sanctuary
AC Sanctuary first set the frame up in a jig to be cleaned up and reinforced. The Kawasaki rolls on stunning 17” OZ Racing wheels, with Öhlins forks and Brembo brakes up front. An alloy swingarm from Sculpture sits at the back, hooked up to a pair of Öhlins shocks.

AC Sanctuary isn’t known for leaving engines along. The KZ1000 now sports flowed heads, Kent ST high-lift cams, and the full gamut of race-style valve train modifications. It’s also housing a new crank with forged pistons, taking it up to 1,166 cc.

Kawasaki KZ1000 restomod by AC Sanctuary
A brace of Mikuni TMR MJN dual stack 38 carbs was bolted on, complementing the increased flow rate. The hand-built titanium exhaust is a work of art in itself, terminating in a Nitro Racing muffler. The final color scheme is all-black without a lick of chrome, making this look like a thoroughly modern machine.

Given AC Sanctuary’s reputation, we’re sure it will keep pace with modern liquid-cooled bikes with ease too. Where do we sign? [Via]

Custom Honda CB1000 Big One Super Four
Honda CB1000 by Cus’Tom Motorcycle Tom Boissel grew up in rural France, and spent his weekends on a motorcycle chasing his father along narrow, winding roads, or racing on the track. They would spend evenings together pouring over the iconic Joe Bar Team comics, which is where he first experienced the Honda CB1000 Big One Super Four. Ridden by Edouard Bracame, one of the Joe Bar comic characters, the big CB firmly imprinted on young Tom.

Tom has always held onto the motorcycling dream—even after a big crash on the Dunlop Curve at the Le Mans circuit racing, and after the passing of his father. So when an opportunity to buy a Honda CB1000 presented itself, Tom jumped at the opportunity. He’s been tinkering with bikes from a very young age and already has a few custom builds under his belt under the moniker of Cus’Tom Motorcycle, so there was no way that the Big One would stay stock.

As a veteran racer, Tom knows the importance of good suspension—so the stock front end was replaced with one from an Aprilia RSV4 factory superbike, upgraded with Öhlins internals. Complete with twin radial-mounted Brembo calipers, it’s a big upgrade. Modified Ducati fork yokes grip the forks, while a round headlight with aluminum brackets gives the front end a retro-naked look.

A Ducati 996 wheel was bolted onto the front, with a Honda CBR900RR hoop out back. A Brembo caliper was added to the rear end via a custom bracket, with Öhlins shocks completing the setup. The carbs were treated to a re-jet, while a chunky carbon fiber muffler added a dose of 90s style.

Custom Honda CB1000 Big One Super Four
Tom reworked the OEM seat unit by cutting it down and remixing it, as he wanted to keep the original ducktail. Red Alcantara adds a little racing style, and complements the Ayrton Senna Marlboro McLaren F1-inspired livery.

Tom’s Honda CB1000 Big One Super Four is pure perfection. And judging by the melted rubber on those slick tires, it appears to be a strong runner too. [Via]

Triumph 250 cc motocross bike
Triumph teases their 250 cc motocrosser Motorcycle sales figures during the COVID-19 pandemic were obscene. All segments saw huge growth in those years—but we had to name a clear winner, it would be the off-road segment.

So it’s little wonder that Triumph are after a piece of that pie. Back in 2022, the British marque announced that it had teamed up with legendary motocross star Ricky Carmichael with a view to producing a motocross bike.

Triumph 250 cc motocross bike
Triumph has racing experience in Moto2, and their adventure bikes are widely lauded. But a dedicated motocross bike is an entirely different beast; it probably would have been easier to design a jet ski. Still, they’ve forged ahead, and now we’re finally getting glimpses of what Triumph’s upcoming 250 cc motocross contender will look like.

Triumph 250 cc motocross bike
Built from the ground up, the bike’s four-stoke engine was unveiled a few weeks ago. Now Triumph has set the bike loose on a motocross track, drawing praise from Carmichael and amateur motocross racer, Evan Ferry.

Sure, all dirt bikes basically look the same—but we’re still excited to see the finished product in all its dirty glory. [Triumph Motorcycles]