When the pace heated up, though, it was obvious the non-adjustable Marzocchi fork and the Sachs shocks-which could be fine-tuned for preload only-were selected more for reasons of economy than performance. Large bumps seemed to get passed on via the shocks rather more than I'd have hoped. And the fork felt slightly vague under hard braking, although I don't recall thinking that about the Sport 1000's similar-but-firmer-feeling Marzocchis.
The GT's simple front brake setup-320mm discs and twin-piston calipers, shared with the other SportClassic models-delivered plenty of stopping power in conjunction with the single rear disc. Ducati saved some cash by specifying steel wheel rims for this model instead of the Sport 1000's alloys, but they're chrome and look good. Just as the original GT750 was soon followed by the racier and costlier Sport and Super Sport models, the GT1000 is the base model of a SportClassic range that's sure to grow over the next few years as Ducati exploits its heritage.
Where this latest Ducati gains is that many riders attracted to the modern SportClassics will be old enough to remember Ducati's original V-twins, and will prefer sitting up to hunching over the racier models' clip-ons. Another advantage is that the GT is priced competitively, slightly less than the Sport 1000. The difference could be spent on accessory exhausts and better rear shocks to give this Ducati a little extra bark and poise.
And who could complain at that? After all, upgrading shocks and silencers was as much a part of the '70s superbiking experience as getting a soggy crotch when it rained. The only other accessory this admirable retro machine is likely to lack is a cute girl in hot pants astride its pillion seat. Sadly, for the legion of aging V-twin fans (this one included), some fondly remembered objects of youthful desire are beyond even Ducati.
2006 Ducati GT1000
|Type ||a/o-cooled 90-deg. V-twin |
|Valves ||SOHC, 4 valves |
|Displacement ||992cc |
|Transmission ||6-speed |
|Weight ||407 lb. claimed dry (185kg) |
|Fuel capacity ||4.0 gallons (15L) |
|Wheelbase ||56.1 in. (1425mm) |
|Seat height ||32.7 in. (830mm) |
MVs have always been collector bikes, and that's not likely to change. With no-excuses superbikes such as the F4 1000 R, however, don't be surprised to see a lot fewer of them in living rooms and a lot more of them out on the road.