Tagged: single cylinder

Grand Prix Single: 1962 Matchless G50 for Sale

1962 Matchless G50 R Side Front

Possibly less well known than the incredibly long-lived Norton Manx, the Matchless G50 was a beautifully simple Grand Prix race bike that used lightness and simplicity to great advantage, as seen in the photos of this bike that clearly show the magnesium engine cases.

1962 Matchless G50 L Side

The 496cc chain-driven SOHC air-cooled single was connected to a four-speed gearbox and could push the 320lb bike to a top speed of 135mph. Supposedly named for the 50bhp it made at the rear wheel, the Matchless G50 was a direct competitor of the Norton Manx and, although it made less power, it was 30lbs lighter, making it that bike’s equal on tighter tracks… Unfortunately, the G50’s career was much shorter, with just 180 built in total between 1958 and 1963.

1962 Matchless G50 Dash

If you want one and you’re not particularly bothered by originality, near-perfect replicas are still being built by folks like Colin Seely, although with modern tolerances and production methods and often with higher-spec internals. They’re pricey for sure, but you won’t have to worry about finding someone willing to sell you a real G50, or be concerned about crashing a piece of history.

1962 Matchless G50 R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1962 Matchless G50 Factory Racer for Sale

500cc Single Cylinder, with magnesium cases, Amal GP carburetor, correct front and rear brakes, older restoration on a very correct and unmolested factory racer. This motorcycle has been on static display in a private collection for many years. A full inspection and a new set of tires will be required prior to returning to competion use. The 1962 was the last year model for the Matchless G50 and is the most collectable and desirable of all years. Selling on a bill of sale.

1962 Matchless G50 Engine Detail2

The bike’s $62,750.00 Buy It Now price might seem pretty shocking, but Bonhams sold one in 2013 that went for just a shade under $60k so I’d expect this is right on the money for a genuine GP racer from the golden age of the British biking industry. It’s certainly an amazing machine, and would make a stunning vintage racer or display piece.

-tad

1962 Matchless G50 R Side

One for the Moto Giro: 1958 MV Agusta 125 Turismo Rapido

1958 MV Agusta 125 Tourismo L Side

While both modern and vintage motorcycle enthusiasts generally associate the name “MV Agusta” with expensive, exotic, competition-oriented motorcycles. But without more affordable, readily-available machinery like this little 125 Tourismo Rapido to plump up the company’s bottom line, much of their famous racing success would have been impossible.

1958 MV Agusta 125 Tourismo Engine Detail

Certainly even when this bike was new, the name MV Agusta was associated with top-tier racing success. But the 125 and 175 models were designed to be sold by the bucketload to help finance those successful exotic machines. These were very popular, due to their quality construction and extremely frugal fuel consumption.

1958 MV Agusta 125 Tourismo L Tank

The bike used a four-stroke engine to add refinement to the package: two-strokes make plenty of power for their weight, but they’re rattle-y, dirty, and generally antisocial. Handling was excellent, even if power was unremarkable: bore and stroke for the overhead valve single were “square” at 54mm each, for a total of 123.6cc that put 6.5hp through a four-speed box.

1958 MV Agusta 125 Tourismo Speedo

From the original eBay listing: 1958 MV Agusta Turismo Rapido

Very rare and hard to find – original vintage MV Agusta – Turismo Rapido 125 cc – Legendary Italian Design at it’s Best. I personally hand selected and purchased this Bike in Germany from a private collector who had the Bike completely restored all to Factory specs in Germany about 9 years ago. No money has been spared not only to restore the Bike but also to preserve history.

At the beginning of the year I decided to display the bike at two well known shows here in Florida, my goal was to find out if the US Judges do have that trained eye needed to appreciate a bike like this one and the precision German craftsmanship going into a Restoration, THEY DID: 

On January 31st. the Bike made 2nd. PLACE – in European Bikes – at the – DANIA BEACH ANTIQUE MOTORCYCLE SHOW – and it made – BEST IN CLASS – at the Prestigious – BOCA RATON CONCOURSE D’ ELEGANCE – on February 22.nd 2015 – They did not skimp on the Trophy either, it is made by TIFFANY & CO. – Both awards goes with the bike, they belong to the bike and they are documented.

The 1958 Year marks the last year of this model and you’ll not find to many in all red. I’ll include some factory pictures that will show the bike with a black / red seat plus I found one factory picture showing the all red seat. In one of the pictures you’ll see Magura – plus a serial Nr. that’s the Manufacturer & nr. engraved in the handle bar, only the original MV Agusta handle bar has that, you’ll not find it in the after market parts.

I would grade the bike a 9 ( from 1 to 10 ) – you’ll find some very minor flaws like a small paint chip here and there and in one picture you’ll see a very minor surface rust spot on the rear rims chrome. There is nothing really that can take anything away from the overall Beauty of this bike. It is already a show winner but this is not just a bike for show you can actually ride this every day. I just changed the Engine Oil.

If you want to come by and check the bike out before you bid on it, that’s very welcome. The bike is so special that I keep it in the living room to my wife’s delight.

1958 MV Agusta 125 Tourismo Rear Suspension

These seem like such fun machines and are far more durable than their exotic nameplate would suggest, since they were originally designed to provide regular transportation with a dash of style. And with 40,000 of them sold during their lifetime, keeping one running shouldn’t be impossible, considering we’re talking about a sixty-year-old motorcycle. This would be a great way to participate in classic events like the Moto Giro, or just make a great weekend ride for puttering around your neighborhood.

-tad

1958 MV Agusta 125 Tourismo L Front

Baby Sport: 1971 Ducati 450 MK3 Desmo for Sale

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo R Side

For fans of Ducati’s sports singles, this Mark 3 450 Desmo is the top of the heap, and shares that gorgeous orange-yellow paint with the bigger 750 Sport. But, unlike that model, the 450 Desmo features Ducati’s desmodromic system.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo L Tank

While “Ducati” and “desmodromic” have become synonymous today, the system didn’t feature on all of their models until the Pantah motor of the 1980’s, when that motor was used in both large and small displacement applications. The system was mostly used on range-topping sports models like the Super Sport twins and Desmo singles. Other manufacturers, including Mercedes, have used similar systems, but Ducati’s design was created by the revered Fabio Taglioni and first applied to their 1956 125cc race bike.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo R Side Engine

Ironically, the system probably had more practical benefits when it was introduced on Ducati racebikes in the late 1950’s, although the precision tuning does still have some benefits. If you’re not familiar, a desmodromic system uses cams that both open and close the valves to eliminate valve float and allow for very precise tuning. The fact that the valves are being closed in a controlled manner, instead of just being slammed closed as fast as a spring can manage, permits steep cam profiles that wouldn’t normally be practical.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo Dash

In 1968, Desmo performance was introduced to Ducati’s roadbikes on the Mark 3 250 and 350 bikes, with the 450 available in 1969. Interestingly, the 250 and 450 models were far more flexible on the street: the 350 had a much more highly-strung demeanor and was ready to go racing, nearly right out of the box.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo Front

From the original eBay listing: 1971 Ducati 450 MK3 Desmo for Sale

VIN 700287  Engine DM450 S/D 456907

The most desirable of the single Ducati’s in very good straight conditions, restored about 20years ago and rarely used since. Italian historic register and still with its first original Italian registration documents.

Ride and collect!

Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano (Pordenone) but i can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem.

We can supply US contact as reference.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo R Tank

This same seller has had a number of really nice bikes up for sale on eBay of late that we’ve featured, including that very, very cool Guzzi racer from last week. I’m not sure if he’s liquidating a collection, but his bikes are amazing, and he’s popped into the comments to answer questions from time to time, so don’t hesitate to ask questions at the original listing or in the comments section.

-tad

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo L Side

Sophisticated Simplicity: 1939 Velocette KSS / MAC Special

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Front

For many riders, motorcycles are all about simplicity: throwing off the shackles of a roof and four doors, sound-deadening, automatic climate control, lane-change warning systems, info-tainment systems. And the real purists, be they lovers of modern or vintage machines, often gravitate towards single-cylinder machines like the Velocette KSS.

1939 Velocette KSS Special L Rear

Single cylinder bikes represent motorcycling at its most elemental: fewer parts to break and fewer parts to maintain, along with plenty of torque and charisma. Who needs a tachometer with that spread of power? Just shift it by feel. And while that simplicity and economy means that modern single-cylinder motorcycles are typically of the cheap and durable variety, that hasn’t always been the case.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Engine

Based in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, Velocette built their enviable reputation for durability with machines like the KSS 350cc. The “K” series bikes were very innovative, with a bevel-drive and tower shaft-driven overhead cam engine and a foot-operated gearshift with the very first positive-stop, something found on basically every modern motorcycle.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Tank

Later “M” series machines switched to a much cheaper-to-produce engine with pushrod-operated valves, but used an improved frame and suspension based on the racing “K” bikes.

This particular example features the best of both worlds: a refined and sophisticated bevel-drive engine with the improved handling of the later frame and suspension, making it a period-correct hotrod. Perhaps an all-original KSS would be worth more money, but this hybrid should make a better overall motorcycle…

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1939 Velocette KSS/MAC Special for sale

The marriage of a KSS motor with the more current MAC rolling chassis was a fairly common practice that resulted in a far better platform for the OHC KSS motor.  Classic Motorcycle & Mechanics tested one in July ’92 and came away impressed with the combo.  This example (’39 KSS motor # KSS9121 and ’54 MAC chassis # RS7479) was built by a Velo expert in the Florida area during ’91 and ’92 and acquired by the current owner in 2004.  He rode it occasionally over the next few years and decomissioned it for display in his climate controlled collection in 2008.  He considered the machine to be a fine example with no mechanical issues.

1939 Velocette KSS Special Dash

I love how the seller refers to the 1954 MAC chassis not as “later” but as “more current”. Ha! It’s all relative, I guess… In any event, this bike is in beautiful, but not over-restored condition, although I’m not sure just what it would take to “recommission” it for road use. It’s only been off the road for a few years, so hopefully it won’t take too much effort: this bike deserves to be ridden.

-tad

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear

The Other Bike from Bologna: 1953 Mondial 200 Sport

1953 Mondial 200 Sport R Side Front

History is littered with the corpses of car and motorcycle manufacturers that didn’t survive various economic crises and paradigm shifts and, unfortunately, boutique manufacturer Mondial is listed amongst the fallen. While we normally associate the failure of a manufacturer with the quality of their products, it’s generally far more complicated than that. The 1960’s saw a glut of cheap, incredibly well-engineered motorcycles from Japan flood a market formerly dominated by the European manufacturers that had grown by leaps and bounds in a postwar economy bolstered by the demand for inexpensive wheeled transportation.

1953 Mondial 200 Sport R Side Rear

Although the handling of these inexpensive machines was pretty far off the standard established by the racebred motorcycles from England and Italy, for most people, that hardly mattered, and quality, reliability, and even cheap speed trumped the cornering prowess of bikes from companies like Mondial.

Mondial built motorcycles from 1948-1979 and were very successful in Grand Prix racing during the 1950s. Although most Italian manufacturers of this period focused their efforts on practical, affordable transportation, Mondial was much more interested in building small-volume, high-quality motorcycles with a more sporting intent. Perhaps could be considered the Velocette of Italy. With handbuilt quality and performance, they could perhaps be thought of as the Italian equivalent of Italy and even designed and built a desmodromic cylinder head before Ducati, although it was never actually produced.

1953 Mondial 200 Sport L Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1953 Mondial 200 Sport

1953 Mondial 200 Sport in very nice restored condition. Everything has been redone. Motor was rebuilt in Italy and runs and shifts fine. Bike went through an extensive cosmetic restoration. All chrome has been redone and all aluminum has had many hours of polishing. Bike comes with a clean title. Any questions about the bike you can contact me directly. This is a super rare bike and a great opportunity to add to any bike collection.

Interestingly, the year 2000 saw a brief revival of the Mondial name and the creation of a Honda RC51 -powered superbike. This unusual engine choice was only possible because in 1957, Mondial provided Honda with one of their winning racebikes to use as inspiration. Honda wanted to repay the gesture and allowed the new Mondial superbike to use their engine.

1953 Mondial 200 Sport L Side

With its striking red and gold paint, this might easily be mistaken for a 50’s Ducati, although Mondial’s traditional colors were generally silver and blue. Bidding is active on this little Mondial, with just one day left on the auction. At $7,700 the reserve has been met, which seems a fair price for such a good-looking, unusual motorcycle.

-tad

1953 Mondial 200 Sport R Side

Single and Italian: 1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 for Sale

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 R Side Front

This fine Saturday finds this Ducati 450 Mark 3 looking for a home. Although Ducati no longer makes single-cylinder motorcycles, they were the company’s bread-and-butter until the small-displacement Pantah twins arrived in the early 1980’s. The bevel-drive twins grabbed much of the glory, but their smaller, simpler siblings have a long history on the street and in competition. In recent years, collectors have been gobbling these up and prices have been increasing accordingly.

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 L Side Detail

The singles were available as sporty racers, practical standards, and even dirt bikes, with a range of displacements from 160 to 450cc’s. They were sophisticated machines, with a tower-shaft driven, single overhead-cam. The 450 Desmo models remain at the top of the heap, but bikes like this 450 Mark 3 are much sought-after as well, with displacement that allows for real-world riding and even highway use.

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 L Side

From the original eBay listing: 1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 for Sale

Bevel Ducati 450 Mark 3 non-Desmo

A cosmetic make over with a low miles strong stock engine with a new top end gasket and seal kiits. bore and everything else inside is like new. Use the “Buy it Now” and get free crated shipping to most of the lower 48 states, with discounts for overseas shipping.

Tank and tool boxes have fresh paint perfect
Frame has good paint
Rebuilt Dellorto 29mm VHB
New points, condenser and plug
New key switch (two keys)
Alloy wheels
Stainless steel spokes
New Michelin tires
New battery
Rebuilt front forks
Rebuilt shocks (Jupiter type)
New cables
New reproduction exhaust system
Tank had been repainted and the chrome panels was unable to save them (silver painted)
Overall the chrome is in good shape for 40+ years, except the chrome on the rear fender is peeling
The seat needs a recover: the pan is solid with no rust (my guy is booked up until 2015)

The seller also included a video of the bike running and idling.

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 Dash

With just over 24 hours left in the auction, bidding is up to $4,850 with the reserve, unsurprisingly, Not Yet Met. The Buy it Now price is set at $8,995 which seems reasonable for a 450 Mark 3: while smaller singles can definitely be had for less, the 450’s have been steadily increasing in value. With free shipping to most of the US at that price, I’m a bit surprised there’ve been no takers, since the bike looks to be in pretty nice shape. Any Ducati fans out there care to comment?

-tad

1970 Ducati 450 Mark 3 R Side

 

Old World Craftsmanship: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Full

1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline. Now that’s a real mouthful of a name, but it just sounds so British. And it is, designed around a classic single-cylinder engine and built by hand by a family-owned company based in Birmingham, UK.

1964 Velocette Venom L Rear

These days, singles are most often associated with offroad and enduro-styled machines, or with practical, budget-minded learner bikes and commuters. But for many years, single-cylinder machines were a mainstay of the motorcycle industry. They played to the basic strengths of the configuration: fewer moving parts meant simplicity, which in turn led to reliability, light weight, and a practical spread of power. And Velocettes were anything but cheap and cheerful: they were famous for their quality construction and innovative designs characterized by gradual, thoughtful evolution and craftsmanship, as opposed to mass-produced revolution as favored by the Japanese manufacturers.

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Detail

Displacing 499cc’s, the Venom’s aluminum overhead-valve engine featured a cam set high in the block to keep pushrods short. It put about 35hp through a four-speed box that included one of Velocette’s innovative features: the first use of the “positive-stop” shift.

1964 Velocette Venom R Rear Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

For sale is my 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline frame# RS17215 engine #VM5634. It has the Lucas manual racing magneto, Thruxton seat, Thruxton twin leading shoe front brake, 10TT9 carb. 

I bought the bike earlier this year out of the Mike Doyle collection at auction. I don’t have much previous info on the bike, overall it is in great shape. The fairing has some nicks and scratches, and a crack underneath but presents well. To get it going, I changed the fluids, adjusted the clutch, brakes and installed a new 6V battery. After learning “the drill” the bike runs magnificently. I’ve put about 100 miles on it. The clutch works properly and it shifts fine. The TT carb is a challenge to tune and be civil around town so I’m in process of bolting on a new monobloc. The TT comes in a box. It does weep some oil out of the clutch while running so it comes with a new o-ring seal and felt gasket along with a few other bits and bobs like new rubber grommets for the cables and shock bushings.  

This is a very complete and highly original bike showing 6229 miles. I have a California title and it’s currently registered in my name. No reserve, happy bidding.

Update 10/7 – Finished installing the Amal monobloc and the bike runs and idles great, was able to take it for a putt. It doesn’t need a choke so I left it off, but comes with the choke parts and a new cable. I’ll post a video of the bike running on Saturday. One other item to note is that the decompression lever and cable are missing. 

1964 Velocette Venom L Side

The “Clubman” designation indicated higher-performance specifications, including higher compression and a bigger carburetor, along with a sportier riding position and a closer-ratio gearbox. The “Veeline” featured the optional fairing, making this particular example relatively rare.

Velocettes make ideal collectable British singles, owing to their high-quality construction and relative reliability. With several days, bidding is up to $7,800 with the reserve not yet met. I’m relatively unfamiliar with the current value of these, but this appears to be in very nice condition, and that fairing, will not especially sleek, is very distinctive!

-tad

1964 Velocette Venom R Front

Jewel-Like Racer: 1964 Ducati 250 F3 Race Bike for Sale

1964 Ducati 250 Race Bike R Side Low

Small bikes are big business these days, especially when the words “Ducati” and “race bike” are involved, and this little Ducati 250 F3 might be at the top of the heap. While Ducati’s improbable victory at Imola cemented their big v-twin in everyone’s mind as the bike to have and gave them credibility in the eyes of the American market with their insatiable hunger for moar powah, much of their racing and street history is built around bikes like this single cylinder machine.

1964 Ducati 250 Race Bike Dash

In fact, the first bike to feature their signature spring-less Desmo system was a single cylinder bike. Which makes sense, since the primary advantage of the system would have been most pronounced in the 1950’s, during the era when “hairpin” valve springs were still prevalent in motorcycle engines and metallurgy of the time reduced spring performance at the screaming revs that gave race winning power on track.

1964 Ducati 250 Race Bike R Side Engine

These days, single-cylinder racing is generally a budget endeavor, a stepping-stone for newer racers to show their stuff on a relatively level playing field that allows their skill and ruthlessness to shine. But racing singles from this era are anything but budget, regardless of the spec sheet: the racing 250 shared virtually no parts with the street version. Bikes like the F3 had their own frames, engines, suspensions, and brakes with basically no parts interchangeability with roadgoing models.

1964 Ducati 250 Race Bike R Side Tank Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1964 Ducati 250cc F3 Corsa for Sale

I AM INTERESTED IN TRADING OFF THIS DUCATI FOR A 1972 OR LATER HARLEY DAVIDSON  XR750TT OR OTHER INTERESTING RACE OR CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE OR VINTAGE FORMULA CAR!

Very rare one of only a few true F3 250cc that Ducati produced. Professionally restored and documented by Altinier Motorsports Treviso Italy. This is a beautiful motorcycle that would make an excellent addition to any garage or collection.

Well known sportbike manufacturer Ducati has always been deeply immersed in motorcycle roadracing, and its premier engineer, Fabio Taglioni, was a talented designer of fast motorcycles. In the 1950’s, Ing. Taglioni developed an overhead cam lightweight with desmodromic valves that became the bike to beat in international lightweight racing. Later versions of this bike came with double overhead cams. Many of the world’s top rider rode a Ducati lightweight at some point in their careers.
Walter Villa was one of the most famous GP racers of the Sixties and Seventies. Winning four GP titles in the 250 and 350 classes in 1974, 1975 and 1976. It is believed that this 250 is his personal mount, based on an inspection by his brother. Both the engine and frame have significant differences from other motorcycles built by Ducati.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A BUILT UP 175cc!!

Located in Southern California.

NOTE! This motorcycle is selling on a BILL OF SALE ONLY! There are no titles on factory race motorcycles!

These are extremely rare, with very few 250’s being built. According to a previous auction of this bike through Bonhams, there may have been as few as five or six ever built. There are so many cool details on Ducatis of this period: that little cut out in the bottom of the tank for the carburetor bellmouth and the little clips that hold on what I suspect is an inspection cover on the left-hand side of the engine case. Any owners want to chime in and tell me what’s hiding behind that?

1964 Ducati 250 Race Bike Carb

While it’s still possible to find sporty Ducati singles on a reasonable budget if you’re looking to participate in events like the Moto Giro, this probably isn’t one you’d consider: a previous auction of this very bike in 2012 netted $81,000… With plenty of time left on the auction and bidding only up to around $12,000 I’d expect we have a long way to go yet!

-tad

1964 Ducati 250 Race Bike L Side

1937 Moto Guzzi PE 238 for Sale

1937Moto Guzzi PE238 L Side

At the dawn of time, back before Honda made multis for the masses, the single was the epitome of motorcycling perfection. Certainly other companies did make twins and exotic four-cylinders, but the big single provided the ideal motorcycling powerplant: simple and compact, with a torque-rich powerband that made for ease-of-use on the road and flexibility on the racetrack.

Moto Guzzi was almost exclusively associated with this configuration for the first forty years of production, until the introduction of their iconic v-twin in the 1960s. Their distinctive “horizontal” singles kept weight almost impossibly low and provided excellent access to cooling airflow for the head as can be seen in this Moto Guzzi PE238.

1937Moto Guzzi PE238 L Side Engine

Along with that distinctive laid-over engine, Guzzis of this era were notable for their exposed, “salami-slicer” flywheels. This configuration allowed Guzzi to keep the weight of their engine castings down, since they didn’t actually have to enclose the relatively large, heavy flywheel that smoothed power-pulses and provided locomotive-style torque! Valves on this smaller, 250cc example were operated by exposed, “hairpin” valve springs that can be seen in the photo above.

1937Moto Guzzi PE238 Cockpit

And while “Italian” has come to be synonymous with the “expensive,” “exotic,” and “temperamental,” it’s important to remember that, in the post-war era, manufacturers were primarily concerned with getting the population to work on time. Most Italian bikes of the era were designed to function as transportation, not as expensive lifestyle-accessories and, while Moto Guzzi was very active in competition, their bikes were famously reliable, frugal, and flexible.

1937Moto Guzzi PE238 R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1937 Moto Guzzi PE238 for Sale

This is a very nice example of an older restoration in italy.  Recently imported to the states.  A few scratches on the tank decal.  Paint chips in rear fender, but otherwise looks nice.  Unknown running condition, but I have imported bikes from this dealer and will need some going through, but otherwise will likely run.  Super neat and rare bike.

Bidding is active on this bike, but is only up to $6,200 with the reserve not met and five days left on the auction. While a bike like this is certainly not “entry level” classic by any means, and performance of a 1930’s 250 is certainly not up to modern levels, old Guzzis are famous for their usability making this pretty practical for its vintage.

That torquey single is famous for being able to lug from single-digit speeds in top gear so, allowing for the ultimate limits of the power and braking, these old Guzzis can be used on the road, and I’m sure any classic road rally or event would be ecstatic to have something like this in attendance!

-tad

1937Moto Guzzi PE238 R Side

 

 

 

Yellow One-Lunger: 1975 Ducati 350 Desmo for Sale!

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo R Side

Today, Ducati’s famed “Desmo” valvetrain features across their entire range, giving them something to crow about in their marketing material, something for bench-racing affectionados to brag about, something that adds just a bit to the symphony of noise these bikes make. But with today’s streetbikes that can rev to 16,000rpm and still go 16,000 miles between valve adjustments, there’s really little practical advantage to Ducati’s avoidance of valvesprings.

These days, the biggest limiting factor for Ducati motors is piston speed, not valve float.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo L Side Detail

But in the 1950’s, when “hairpin” valve springs were still regularly used and metallurgy was less advanced, there was a definite performance advantage for a desmodromic system. Most cars and motorcycles use the lobes of cams or pushrods to open valves, and springs to close them. But at high speeds, springs just can’t close the valves fast enough before the cam pushes them back open, leading to “valve float” where the valves never actually close all the way. In addition to the obvious performance problems this can generate, pistons can actually strike the open valves, causing catastrophic failure.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo Dash

Designed by Fabio Taglioni and first applied to the 1956 125cc race bike, Ducati’s desmodromic system uses cams to both open and close the valves, completely eliminating float and allowing for very precise tuning. In 1968, Desmo performance came to the street and was eventually available in 250, 350, and 450 flavors. The 350 was actually 340cc’s with 10:1 compression and a 5-speed box.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo R Side Detail

Interesting, the 250 and 450 models were far more flexible on the street, with the 350 the hot-headed middle child. The bike could top 100mph easily in stock form and was just about ready to go racing right out of the box: just add a bigger carburetor and megaphone exhaust.

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Ducati 350 Desmo for Sale

An exceptional example of an original yellow 350 Desmo Single. Designed by Italian designed, Tartarini, these Desmos were the pinnacle of Ducati’s single-cylinder design and performance. Restored by current owner approximately 20 years ago with limited mileage since then.

Bike comes with 36-spoke Borrani alloy rims, four-leading-shoe Grimeca front drum brakes, and 32 mm Dellorto SSI remote-float racing carburetor. Engine was disassembled, inspected and rebuilt with new parts as required, including 76.4mm high-compression piston and electronic ignition. Starts and runs perfectly.

Includes original parts (not pictured) such as steel chain guard, engine brackets and front brake stays. Other minor engine spares also included.

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo L Rear Suspension

This particular example is finished in classic Ducati yellow, that’s almost orange. Yellow is a color that’s so easy to do badly, but this particular shade is a very rich, evocative color. Shouty and just a bit “look-at-me” but classic and subtle at the same time: it’s easily my favorite yellow and a great match for the bike. I also love the gauges that swing underhand in a more British style, but with classic Italian markings.

At $12,000 currently with the Reserve Not Met, I’m curious to see what this sells for. Most 60’s and 70’s Ducatis are not Desmos and feature regular valve springs, and the early Desmos have been highly valued for some time.

-tad

1975 Ducati 350 Desmo Cockpit