Big Touring Motorcycle

Speed Read, March 5, 2023

The latest motorcycle news, customs and auctions.
Two Ducatis lead the charge this weekend; an iconic 1974 Ducati 750SS, and a neo-retro café racer based on the Ducati 996. We also take a look at Harley-Davidson’s stonking new 2,212 cc crate motor, and the new Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition.

1974 Ducati 750SS on auction at Christie's
Adam Lindemann’s 1974 Ducati 750SS Picture the scene: It’s Italy in 1972, and you’re sitting in the stands at Imola, waiting for the start of the inaugural Imola 200 road race. Earlier, you saw Fabio Taglioni arrive at the track with a strange bus with glass sides. Inside, behind hand-painted lettering, were seven fully-faired, silver Ducati racing bikes.

Little did you know that this would become one of the most important races in the history of Ducati. Furthermore, those brand new 750cc bevel gear-driven V-Twin desmodromic motorcycles you saw getting unloaded, would go on to become some of the most iconic motorcycles in history.

1974 Ducati 750SS on auction at Christie's
Two of those very bikes would finish one and two at that race in Imola. First across the line was Paul Smart, followed by his teammate, Bruno Spaggiari. They dominated the race with their silver Ducatis, famously passing the champion Giacomo Agostini on their way to victory.

To celebrate their win, Ducati decided to build 401 homologation specials in 1974, based on the bikes used at Imola. At the time, it was the closest thing to a factory race bike any average Joe could buy (if they had the money). The went on to be known as the ‘Green Frame’ Ducati, due to the remarkable color used to paint the frames.

1974 Ducati 750SS on auction at Christie's
Along with the history of the model itself, this particular bike has even more providence. This is the personal bike of esteemed art collector and investor, Adam Lindemann. Naturally, being owned by an art connoisseur, this bike has impeccable documentation and has been verified by marque experts. The engine and frame numbers are recorded in all 750SS registries, including the 750 Super Sport Registry by Ian Falloon and Phil Schilling.

The previous owner had the bike for 24 years, and at some point it had a sympathetic restoration which focussed mostly on cosmetics. Most interestingly, this is the only known Green Frame to be exported to Puerto Rico, and it still retains its original license plate from the 1970s. You can’t fake that kind of cool.

1974 Ducati 750SS on auction at Christie's
Mr Lindemann is well aware of the cool factor—so much so, that this beautiful piece of motorcycling history is being auctioned by Christie’s as part of “ADAM: Works from the Collection of Adam Lindemann.” The only motorcycle in the auction, it’ll be in good company alongside works from Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and more.

Come for the fine art, stay for the motorcycles. If only there were several extra zeros on the end of our bank balance, hey? [Via]

Ducati Euforia café racer by Luca Pagani
Ducati ‘Euforia’ by Luca Pagani Luca Pagani is an Italian designer who teaches clay modeling at Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Torino. So he’s the kind of guy who can take an idea that’s spinning around in his head, and bring it to life.

That’s how this neo-retro Ducati café racer came to be. It started as a simple sketch, which Luca then translated into a digital render. From there, he tested his design over a number of donor bikes, to figure out which would be best suited.

Ducati Euforia café racer by Luca Pagani
Naturally, the Italian designer settled on a Ducati. More specifically, the rolling chassis from a Ducati 996. Matching it the motor from a Ducati Multistrada 1000DS, Luca started designing the bike’s new bodywork.

For obvious reasons, Luca first brought his dream to life in clay. Once he was happy, molds were taken and the bodywork was made in its final form.

Ducati Euforia café racer by Luca Pagani
The fairing is hands down the best part of the bike. It’s immaculate, all the way down to the side winglets, and the embedded LED headlight that matches the bike’s modern classic vibe. Ingenious pieces of bodywork tie the fairing to the tank in a way that only a master designer could have managed.

The fuel tank is organic, yet sporty, and almost looks like it was shaped by the wind itself. The red leather seat flows effortlessly into the rear of the bike, ending in a slight ducktail that surely has Kawasaki designers picking up their jaws. Painted in root beer bronze, red and black, the finished bodywork is flawless.

Ducati Euforia café racer by Luca Pagani
Under the rear end is a two-into-two stainless steel exhaust, courtesy of FF by Fresco. Snaking its way around the engine and up under the seat, it’s yet another drop-dead gorgeous component.

If you like what you see then you’re in luck. You can order your own ‘Euforia’ from Luca—either in the spec you see here, or based on a Ducati Monster 937. We wouldn’t change a thing. [Via]

Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle 135 engine
Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 135 Stage IV Performance Crate Engine If you’ve got a 2021 or newer touring model Harley, and have always wanted more power, you’re not alone. For well over a century, Harley has been making large-displacement, over-engineered (ignoring the AMF years), under-stressed engines. There’s a reason Harley Davidson doesn’t shout their power figures from the rooftops; their engines are more about monstrous, usable torque and ridability. Until now.

Feast your eyes on the Harley Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 135 Stage IV Performance Crate Engine. The new donk delivers 194 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm and 130 hp at 5,500 rpm, at the rear wheel. For reference, The Motor Co.’s Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine puts out 115 Nm and 94 hp, while the bigger 117 that powers its premium tourers makes 168 Nm and 102 hp.

Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle 135 engine
H-D is really leaning into the “there’s no replacement for displacement” saying with this one. The Stage IV engine packs a whopping 2,212 cc of room to make explosions with.

Developed in partnership with the MotoAmerica Mission King of the Baggers road racing series, the new engine has a 68 mm throttle body matched to a CNC intake manifold. The heads have been ported to go with the high-lift camshaft and high performance valve springs. High-capacity fuel injectors feed dino-juice to the forged pistons, with a 10.7:1 compression ratio.

Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle 135 engine
The Screamin’ Eagle 135ci Stage IV Performance Crate Engine can be bolted into in an original 2021 (or later) Harley-Davidson Touring bike. No special fabrication or engine-mount relocations are required, and the engine is also backed by a two year warranty.

All this (and more) can be yours for just $7,999.95. That might sound expensive—but can you really put a price on freedom? [Harley-Davidson]

2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition
Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition Adventure bikes aren’t typically the prettiest things, but the Husqvarna Norden 901 bucks that trend. The tidy Scandinavian styling makes a strong statement, especially considering it is draped artfully over what is essentially a KTM 890 Adventure.

This week, Husqvarna announced this: the Norden 901 Expedition. Essentially an upgraded version of the base-model Norden, it adds better suspension and a smorgasbord of touring-friendly bits.

2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition
Up front are a new set of fully adjustable WP XPLOR forks, with suspension travel bumped up to 240 mm (20 mm more than the standard model). A taller, touring-style windshield has been added, along with heated grips for those colder months.

The Expedition boasts a larger, thicker skid plate compared to the standard model too. Along with offering more protection for the engine and tank, it also makes one hell of a visual statement (and will look fantastic when it’s covered in mud).

2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition
For easy chain and tyre maintenance, Husky has fitted a centre stand to the Expedition model, improving the convenience factor. It also comes standard with a set of soft panniers and mounting hardware. Lucky owners get 36 liters of storage space, which is perfect for day trips and overnighters.

For tech-minded riders, the Expedition also comes with a Husqvarna Connectivity Unit. This provides Turn-by-Turn+ navigation, call functions and music selection from the rider’s smartphone. And it wears its own unique paint job too—a combination of metallic blue and white that makes the stock Norden look a touch pedestrian by comparison. [Husqvarna Motorcycles]

2023 Husqvarna Norden 901 Expedition

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