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Aufbau Mike Hailwood Replica

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As New: Reviving a Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica


There are purists who baulk at the thought of changing even one bolt on a classic motorcycle—and then there’s folks like us. When you spend your days curating the world’s finest custom motos, you can appreciate a tasteful set of mods on even the most sacred of machines.


But there are some motorcycles that even we wouldn’t dare alter. It’s a short list, but the Ducati 900 MHR is near the top.


If you’re not a member of the Ducatista, or a classic racing fan, allow us to enlighten you. Back in 1978, Mike Hailwood staged a legendary comeback at the Isle of Man TT, winning the Formula 1 class aboard a Ducati 900 SuperSport. The following year, the production Ducati 900 MHR (Mike Hailwood Replica) was born.


Under the hood it was essentially a 900 SS. But it was styled just like Hailwood’s race bike and treated to a few notable upgrades like Brembo brakes and Conti silencers. By 1984 it had evolved, with a new 973 cc motor making 76 horsepower, thanks to a bigger bore, bigger valves and a redesigned crankshaft.


Now called the MHR Mille, it also featured an electric start, a redesigned instrument panel, folding foot pegs with rubber inserts, adjustable Verlicchi clip-ons, and a hydraulically actuated clutch. About 7,000 Mike Hailwood Replicas were produced up to 1985, but only about 1,100 of these were Milles. Oh, and they were the last bevel-drive twins that Ducati produced.


So if you found one, would you change a thing? We wouldn’t, and neither would the good people of Revival Cycles. The Austin, Texas-based shop is known for going deep on its projects, and we’ve seen some extensive custom work from them over the years. But when a customer rolled in with a recently acquired Mike Hailwood Replica, they knew what had to be done—and what not to do.


“This machine had been in the same home for many years, but its owner seemed to have fallen out of love with it,” we’re told. “It was marred with cracked and chipped paint, worn suspension, an incredibly shaky kickstand, electrical gremlins and carburetors that were never tuned quite right. It took all the pleasure out of what used to be an amazing machine.”


This poor little MHR needed a ‘Revival’ of the highest order.


With too many hard-fought miles under the belt for basic maintenance, a full restoration was on the cards. So Revival tore the bike down to the bare frame for powder coating, replacing every bushing and bearing along the way.


They rebuilt the Ducati’s stock Marzocchi forks, but opted to ditch the worn out rear shocks for a new set from Progressive Suspension. The gorgeous wheels were brought back to their original gold luster, and every last shiny bit was re-chromed to better-than-new condition.


Revival naturally tore into the engine too, giving it a good refresh before re-sealing it with new gaskets and seals. Then they set their focus to ironing out the old 900’s numerous wiring issues.


Leaving no stone unturned, the guys treated the cockpit to a serious refresh too. They did make a few changes though: along with the new rear shocks, they’ve added custom-made brake and clutch hoses, a custom-built side stand, and reinforced the center stand. They also installed a pair of K&N filters, rejetting the carbs to match.


But nothing could compare to the love and sweat poured into the Ducati’s race replica bodywork. Years of abuse and shoddy fiberglass repairs had taken their toll—and aftermarket Mike Hailwood Replica body panels aren’t exactly in abundant supply.


Countless hours of body and repair work later, the MHR was finally ready to receive its original livery in a better-than-factory finish. Revival took their time, laying down the original decals perfectly and adding layer after layer of clear coat for a deep, rich effect.


“That—and the roar of the mighty bevel drive breathing fire again at our Twist Off event—made for one happy Ducatista!” the guys tell us.


After seeing these shots, we believe them. Like they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”


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