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ducati mh900

You again!

by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, Feb 2021

The good, the bad and the ugly of factory clones

(See the 'You Again' home page here.)

ducati mh900

Part 3: Ducati MH900e
The replica’s replica

Okay, you’ll have to focus to hang in there for the plot on this one – Ducati’s hugely controversial MH900e (as in the Mike Hailwood replica of 2001-02), was in fact the third Hailwood replica produced by the factory.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

In 1978 Mike Hailwood rode a somewhat hastily cobbled together machine for Ducati in the Formula One TT. It was a comeback race and, to the surprise of everyone (perhaps including Hailwood!) he won. Ducati was so delighted it rushed a Hailwood replica into production, based on the 864cc SS.

ducati mh900

During a period where Ducati sales were at best modest, the MHR line, which grew into the 973cc Mille, was a stand-out performer. Some 7000 were sold from 1979 through to 1986.

Wander into the end of last millennium, and Ducati unveils the MH900e. Now this was designed by Perre Terblanche, the man who had the misfortune to pen the successor to the widely-admired 916-998 series, the 999.

While the 999 copped an utter caning for its looks, the MH900e had something about it that won admirers. Sure the lines were controversial and, aside from the engine covers, bore little or no visual reference to the originals. But here’s the thing: the total 2000 production of the premium-priced hand-built special sold out on the web in 12 hours.

There was a little glitch along the way. The assembly was supposed to have been done by Bimota, which promptly went bust. That left Ducati with the unenviable task of having to pull together a workforce of its own, presumably including some ex-Bimota spanner-twirlers, to handle the job.

In the end, the fortunate punters who put in an order eventually got their bikes. Now, they’re very collectible and rarely pop up on the market.

Ducati MH900e
Engine Air-cooled 2-valve 904cc Desmodromic 90-degree V-twin
Power 55kW @ 8000rpm
Torque 76Nm @ 6500rpm
Weight 186kg dry
Transmission 6-speed
Rating: 4/5

It looks nothing like the early MHRs but still summons up the era with a modern twist. A shame they were so exclusive.

See our feature on the Ducati SportClassic range

ducati mh900


1984 MH900 image by Yesterdays Antique Motorcycles, via Wikimedia Commons


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