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Ducati 851 Gallery

The 851, with its powerful liquid-cooled eight-valve V-twin engine, heralded the start of the modern era for Ducati. Previous superbikes from Bologna had been powered by air-cooled V-twin engines. Many had used the marque's unique desmodromic system. which closes the valves with cams instead of the conventional springs. But the 85!. with its four-valve heads and fuel-injection, was a considerably more modern and powerful unit.

Chief engineer Massimo Bordi had been determined to create an eight-valve Desmo twin, something his famous predecessor Fabio Tagliorti had always resisted. Bordi's 85 lcc engine retained Ducati's traditional 90-degrec V-twin layout. Liquid cooling, Weber-Marelli injection and the improved breathing of the new cylinder heads gave plenty of mid-range torque and a maximum output of l00bhp. making this the most powerful Ducati roadster yet.

The original 851 had been a disappointment but its successor was the opposite. Its engine was stronger still, its detailing slicker, and most of all its handling had been transformed from disappointing to outstanding. As well as being a great roadster, the revised 851 formed the basis of a hugely successful racebike that took riders Raymond Roche and Doug Polen to three consecutive World Superbike championships. Not only that, but the 851 "s liquid-cooled eight-valve V-twin engine was repeatedly enlarged and refined over the following decade and more, powering the string of stunning road bikes and World Superbike racing machines that made Ducati one of motorcycling's biggest success stories. Few false starts can ever have been put right so promptly and to such brilliant effect.

Bike Image Description
1988 Ducati 851 Strada 1988 Ducati 851 Strada The 1987 – 1988 Ducati 851 Strada used the signature steel tube trellis frame, adorned with Marvic wheels, Brembo brakes and Marzocchi suspension. That first release was criticised for its handling, so front wheel was changed from a 16 inch to a 17 inch wheel, and even better suspension components fitted.
1988 Ducati 851 Superbike Kit 1988 Ducati 851 Superbike Kit  
1988 Ducati 851 tri colore, holomogation model
Ducati 851 tri colore, 1988 holomogation model  
1988 Ducati 851 1988 Ducati 851

The first production Ducati Desmoquattro was the 851 of 1988, with four-valve desmodromic cylinder heads, liquid cooling and Weber Marelli electronic fuel injection. Only a small number of Tri-Colore 851's were produced during 1988, with approx. 54 designated for the US. The 851 Superbike Kit was the homologation model for World Superbike Racing and approx 20 came to the US. The tubular steel frame was derived from the F1 with an aluminum swing arm and a rising rate linkage rear suspension. The wheels on the 851 Superbike Kit are 17 inch racing magnesium. These bikes came with an electric start, headlight and taillight. The brakes are full floating Brembo. This bike was originally purchased and raced by Trevor Dunne.

1989 Ducati 851 Strada Ducati 851 Strada  
Ducati 851 Sport Ducati 851 Sport
  • Engine - 851cc, liquid cooled, DOHC, 90-degree, vee-twin
  • Top Speed - 152mph (243kph)
  • Dry Weight - 181kg (398 lb)
  • Standing Quarter Mile Time - 11.2sec
  • Launched - 1989
  • Fuel Consumption - 35mpg. More info...
  • 1989 Ducati 851 Strada 1989 Ducati 851 Strada  
    1989 Ducati 851 Strada 1989 Ducati 851 Liquid cooled, four stroke, 90°“L”twin cylinder, DOHC, desmodromic 4 valve per cylinder.
    1989 Ducati 851 SP Ducati 851  SP  
    1990 Ducati 851 SP2 Ducati 851 SP2

    Produced for the 1989 Italian Sport Production series that pitted production 750cc fours against twins of up to l,000cc, the first 851 Sport Production was virtually indistinguishable from the Strada. These machines were still 851cc, with 851 Superbike Kit updates, but a more serious homologation model appeared for 1990: the 851 SP2.

    Although still titled an 851, the 851 SP2 displaced 888cc. There was a return to two injectors per cylinder, and the SP retained the H-section Pankl con-rods and 300-watt alternator. The transmission was the closer-ratio unit of the earlier 851 Superbike Kit, as were the camshafts. The valve sizes were 33 and 29mm, and the exhaust a 45mm Termignoni. Chassis improvements included an upside-down Ohlins front fork, Ohlins shock absorber, and fully floating Brembo cast-iron front disc brakes. The Ohlins fork was a high-quality unit, but it suffered from premature fork seal failure. There was an aluminum rear subframe. Although it was an expensive limited production model, the SP2 provided unparalleled handling and performance in 1990.

    1991 Ducati 851 SP3 Ducati 851 SP3 The 851 SP3 appeared 1991, identified by louder and more upswept Termignoni exhaust pipes. Higher-compression pistons and a forced air intake contributed to a slight power increase. There were stronger crankcases this year, and an updated clutch. The Brembo wheels were painted black, and the brake and clutch master cylinders included remotely mounted fluid reservoirs. As with the SP2, each SP3 received a numbered plaque.
    1991 Ducati 851 Strada 1991 Ducati 851  Strada Liquid cooled, four stroke, 90°“L”twin cylinder, DOHC, desmodromic 4 valve per cylinder.
    1992 Ducati 851 Strada 1992 Ducati 851  Strada Liquid cooled, four stroke, 90°“L”twin cylinder, DOHC, desmodromic 4 valve per cylinder.

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