DUCATI MIKE HAILWOOD REPLICA
Article #9, 1 April 2011 by Harné Heuvelman
After Mike Hailwood’s spectacular victory at the 1978 Isle of Man Formula One race on an NCR Ducati, the factory commemorated this event with the introduction of a race replica.
This bike from 1979 was originally titled ‘900 Replica’ (only from 1981 was the model officially titled ‘Mike Hailwood Replica’) and became known as the Mk1 later on. The 1979 model was only produced in a number of 300 (initially announced to be limited to 200!) and had a fibreglass cover over a regular 900 SS fuel tank, single seat and came with a certificate. The engine was identical to that of the 900 SS and came with 40mm Dell’Orto carburetors and Conti exhaust mufflers.
The 1980 Mk2 was not limited in production and although only the fuel tank was now made from steel, the bike was more or less the same as the 1979 Mk1. This still included some very specific items fitted, such as the one-piece fairing, the Brembo Goldline brake callipers, 40mm Dell’Orto carburettors and were originally fitted with Conti exhausts. Though this was a modification done to a lot of Mike Hailwood Replica’s, only on model year 1979 and 1980 they are road legal.
The Mike Hailwood Replica’s of 1981 and beyond are in many ways very different to that of the 1979/1980 models. The ‘Mike Hailwood Replica’ as the model was now called featured a two-piece fairing, regular Brembo brake callipers and Silentium exhaust mufflers. The 1981 Mk3 was the first MHR to include side panels to hide the battery.
In 1983 the Mk4 was introduced with an updated engine with electric start and was placed in a frame based on a Ducati S2 rather than that of a 900 SS. This was done in order to make room for a larger battery, needed for the starter motor. The bike also had a narrower and taller fairing
The final bevel drive Ducati was the Mk5 Mille Mike Hailwood Replica of 1984, produced until 1986. Apart from the increased engine displacement, the engine now had forged one-piece crankshaft. The frame and bodywork was identical to that of the 1983 Mk4 Mike Hailwood Replica.
With the development of the Pantah engine, the bevel drive era that was started with the 100 Gran Sport in 1955, with many racing victories and superb road bikes as the 750 SS and 900 SS, finally came to an end in 1986.
The Mike Hailwood Replica engine is, like all ‘square case’ Ducati’s, based on the L-Twin of the 860 GT of 1974. Although technically based on the 750 ‘round case’ L-twin, this engine had a lot of improvements for faster and simpler assembly. The outer engine cases were designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro of Studio Italdesign. Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 models have the same engine specifications as the 1979 900 SS with Bosch electronic ignition. The Mk4 electric start shares its specifications with the 900 S2 and a dry hydraulic actuated clutch. The engine has vertically split aluminium crankcases, a 90 degree L-twin layout with the vertical cylinder inclined at 15 degrees upwards. The five-speed gearbox is incorporated in the engine crankcase and all Mike Hailwood Replica’s have a left side gearshift.
The Mike Hailwood Replica Mk1 to Mk3 all use the 900 SS frame as a basis with very minor modifications for bodywork assembly. The Mk1 was fitted with magnesium Speedline or Campagnolo five-spoke wheels, where later models had aluminium FPS wheels. The Mk4 electric start and the Mk5 Mille had a completely different frame setup, shared with the 900 S2.
References (recommended further reading)
Falloon, Ian (2004) ‘ Standard Catalog of Ducati Motorcycles’, Iola: KP Books
Falloon, Ian (2008) ‘The Ducati Bible: 860, 900 & Mille All models 1975 to 1986, Dorchester; Veloce Publishing
Falloon, Ian (1998) ‘Ducati Twins Restoration Guide, Bevel Drive 1971 – 1985’, Osceola; MBI Publishing Company