1979 Ducati Darmah 900 from Australia


Fun, but requires serious financial commitment


- Frequently dropped counter-shaft sprockets until I fitted an extra locking collar.

- Mains cages disintegrated.

- Ignition pickup wire insulation hardened and cracked.

- Centre stand pivot worn to the point where I can't use it.

- Capscrew from under the starter housing loosened and fell into the primary gears at 70mph... shattered 5th gear cog, the pieces of which destroyed most of the gearbox and both crankcase halves.

- Original fuse box (under tank) overheated and caught fire while the bike was turned off and unattended. Fire destroyed the S2 fairing, wiring loom, front brake hoses, instrument cluster, etc.

- Exhaust valve seat on front head dropped out when the engine was shutdown. When I went to kick start it, the closing rocker cracked from trying to close the jammed valve.

General Comments:

When it was going, the duke was good ride.. the sound and torque that you can only get from a V-Twin, and stable handling at high speed made it a great bike on either the highway or the twisties. I replaced the seat with one from a later model for extra comfort on long trips.

The reliability of this particular bike was the killer for me. Out of 18 years of ownership, it was on the road for maybe 5 years.

This bike has been recently sold (in bits!!)

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th February, 2006

1979 Ducati Darmah 900 from United Kingdom


Starter sprag clutch exploded periodically, a well known problem.

General Comments:

Wonderfully long motorcycle for tall guys (I'm 6'-6").

Not great performance, but pulled like a truck. I fitted a Peter Furlong chain case, which was a huge advantage over the standard open chain.

Here's my tip; WHEN your sprag clutch explodes, don't go to Ducati - it's common with a Borg-Warner auto gearbox part and costs sod all from an autobox supplier.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th November, 2004

8th Dec 2004, 19:48

The sprag clutch should be thrown away and a "vee two" sprag clutch purchased from Brooke Henry at Vee Two in Perth, Western Australia. He has his own version which will last forever. As with any other engine matters, talk to these guys first.

2nd Sep 2009, 09:36

Hi Guys,

I like Ducatis, I know about the so called desmo valvetrain and the shims, and keeping them adjusted every 4000 miles or so. I've been familiar with them for years, but never had one yet.

I like the ones that have the bars up high, and not the sport ones with clip ons, so I like the Darmah, the Paso, the 750 GT, Pantah, but all the rest are sport bikes.

I was thinking about a Darmah as it means tiger in Italian.

I like certain Guzzis too.

1st May 2011, 10:54

If you are talking Brook Henry, Perth W.A., you are in the right place. He did a rebuild on my Darmah in what would have been around 1988?? New big end bearings, sleeves into the conrods re-bore, oversize pistons etc., rode the bike for another 9 years thereafter, without anymore Darmah's, run like a swiss clock.

What this guy does not know about Ducati's isn't worth knowing.

Hope you are still going great guns up there in Bayswater. Keep up the good work.

Leo Boner.