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Ducati 999: Birth of a Legend - wBW Book Review

Ducati 999: Birth of a Legend

 

by Alan Cathcart and Marc Cook
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: David Bull Publishing (September, 2003) Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 9.1 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.0 pounds.
ISBN: 1893618277

This book came highly recommended by several webBikeWorld visitors who are also Ducati owners. 

Whether you love or hate the new 999 (and I won't tell you which camp I'm in!), this book is a fantastic behind the scenes look at what it takes to bring a new motorcycle model to market. 

Alan Cathcart is probably the most prolific motorcycle journalist in the business, and there's no doubt in my mind that he was given carte blanche access to every page of Ducati background information on the 999. 

This book is more than a coffee table tome; it's big, it's heavy and it's absolutely packed with detail.  The entire story flows very nicely, from some basics on Ducati history and the famous Desmodromic engine, through the initial design and styling drawings for the 999, right through all of the gritty details on what it took to pull this bike together.

The Ducati 914 to 998 series of motorcycles definitely had an outstanding shape and style, which became the benchmark by which all other motorcycle styling will be measured for years to come.  The 999's styling was instantly controversial.  This book helps explain all of the thinking and reasoning that went on behind the scenes, and proves that it's easy to criticize when you're on the outside looking in.

I'm especially intrigued by the pen-and-ink drawings of the 999 concept bikes.  You can see how the unique shape of the 999 evolved, but the end result is not quite the same as the initial drawings, some of which are very cool indeed (Ooops, my bias is showing!).

The only negative is the endless photos of Cathcart.  A little ego at work here?

Packed with details, excellent photos and never-before-seen drawings, Ducati 999: Birth of a Legend is a great book whether you're a Ducati fan or not.

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