Probably one of the most beautiful factory-made motorcycles ever
Right after the release of the “Tron: Legacy” movie, I recall a friend asking me: “Hey, what bike is that in the film?” I scratched my head and tried to explain that Light Cycles are not something “real”. He replied “Nah! Not that one, the black one that escapes the police bike in the beginning.” Yes, he was talking about the Ducati Sport 1000, the star of this story.
As a custom and a retro-styled motorcycle aficionado, this Ducati grabbed my attention from the very first moment I started reading about it. It has all the right ingredients to be a modern classic. Just look at the shape of the tail cowl, the fuel tank, the spoked wheels, the iconic 992-cc DS L-twin motor, and the visual simplicity — all combined with loads of Italian refinement and attention to details.
Those elements clearly make this bike a proper, modern tribute to the glorious 1960s era of the cafe racers.
The SportClassic family (yes, there were several iterations of this model) was announced by Ducati at the beginning of 2004. The new lineup would draw inspiration from the historic twin-cylinders created in the early 1970s.
The neoclassical members of the SportClassic family were divided into three distinct varieties: Ducati SportClassic Paul Smart 1000 LE, Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000, and Ducati SportClassic GT 1000.
Design-wise, the Paul Smart LE (for Limited Edition) took inspiration from the legendary 1973 Ducati 750 SS Desmo that Paul Smart rode to victory. The Sport 1000 model was based on the 1972 single seater, twin-cylinder Ducati Sport. Last but not least, the GT1000 was a re-iteration of the 1971 Ducati 750 GT.
According to Ducati.com, all of the three bikes used the same 992-cc four-stroke L-twin cylinder engine that delivered 83 hp (61 kW) at 8,000 rpm and 61 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. All three variations of the SportClassic family were equipped with the same six-speed gearbox composed of straight cut gears, so there wasn’t any noticeable difference when it came to the 0 to 60 time.
Besides styling, there were other differences that set the three models apart. First of all, each had a different suspension setup. The GT 1000 used 43-mm USD Marzocchi forks for the front end, and preload-adjustable dual shocks for the rear end.
The Sport 1000 used the same 43-mm fork for the front end but a Sachs fully adjustable mono shock absorber placed on the left side of the swing arm.
The best setup you will find is on the SportClassic Paul Smart 1000 LE. For the front end, you are going to notice an upside-down Öhlins 43-mm fully-adjustable fork. At the rear, Ducati used a Öhlins fully-adjustable mono shock absorber mounted on the left side of the swing arm.
Besides the superior suspension system, the Paul Smart 1000 LE featured a steering damper, headlight fairing, green frame, silver paint on the tank and fairings, and lower clip-on handlebars. All these unique features make it stand out in any group of motorcycles, especially since production numbers were rather low. Only around 2,000 units were sold worldwide, making this bike a highly-collectible item.