Don’t call it a Ducati: 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra

For Sale: 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650

The Italians have a certain style that seems to captivate the enthusiast. They also have a manner of procedure and nomenclature that befuddles everyone who tries to follow along. This bike, this company, and this piece of corporate history are perfect examples of style and confusion rolled into a beautiful design.

Cagiva was a producer of mopeds, scooters and small offroad bikes. Formed by legend Giovanni Castiglioni, the company name is what is known as a portmanteau: a blending of multiple words into a single name. In this case, Cagiva takes its name from the founding father as well as the region where the company was born: CAstiglioni, GIovanni, and VArese (this is similar to how BIMOTA is named). Originally started as a metal manufacturing concern in the 1950s, Cagiva did not turn to the motorcycle world until the 1970s.

The Alazzurra is one of the more confusing bikes produced in the modern era of motorcycling. Long considered a form of “badge engineering,” the bike started out as an engine deal – namely the Ducati 650cc Pantah engine – and comprised a Ducati engine married to a Cagiva-designed and branded chassis. And while Cagiva and Ducati were separate entities when the Alazzaurra was first introduced, one was bought by the other by the time this 1987 bike was introduced. Confused yet?

Cagiva, lead by Giovanni Castiglioni, actually purchased Ducati in 1985. That same year the company also completed a buyout of Moto Morini. Two years later Cagiva added to their holdings by purchasing Husqvarna. Meanwhile, they continued to market in the US under Cagiva, failing to understand the strength of the Ducati brand in America.

If we are to follow the story to its natural conclusion (i.e. to the present day), Cagiva purchased the rights to the MV Agusta name in 1991, sold off Ducati and Moto Morini to US-based investment firm Texas Pacific Group in 1996, restructured under the MV Agusta banner in 1999 (MV Agusta now holding rights to Cagiva and Husqvarna), were acquired by Harley Davidson in 2008, and in late 2010 after HD poured millions into MV Agusta in terms of production facilities and clearing the books of debt, Giovanni Castiglioni stepped in and bought his old company back. Ironically, Ducati has also been resold (private firm Performance Motorcycles SpA), and is now Italian owned once more.

From the seller:
Up for auction is a 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650. I am selling this for my Dad who is selling his collection. The bike has 1,667 Miles on the odometer. It has been fully serviced within the last 200 miles and is ready to ride now. The service included all of the mechanical maintenance as well as New Tires, POR 15 sealed the inside of the gas tank, Powdercoated the frame and wheels, all of the bodywork newly painted (except for the tank), and new BUB exhaust pipes.

This seller has offered many classic and rare bikes on eBay as of late – somewhere in Michigan there is an awesome collection slowing being parted out. Thankfully, there is a video of this particular bike running:

That is a classic Ducati sound, and those BUB pipes sound awesome. The bike is not stock, has had some re-paint work done, and has had other modifications that one can only find out by talking to the seller (for example: do the lack of belt covers simply make a statement or indicate other modifications below the surface?).

The value of an Alazzurra – the closest thing to a “real” Ducati you could purchase in the US during the early 1980s – is downright reasonable. This particular gem, with only 1,667 miles, is currently sitting at $1,000. And this is a no reserve auction! With a capable chassis, Marzocchi suspension and the legendary Ducati L-twin desmo powerplant, this is a classic that begs to be ridden. For more information, pictures and info, . Good luck, and tell ’em you saw it on CSBFS!

MI

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