Small Italian bikes

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Nice video, it would be very pleasant to be doing that. When the vid ended I noticed the listing for a rebuild of a Vic Camp Ducati. There is a young guy here called Darryl Bailey. His brother Steve rode for Vic Camp and was killed in Europe. During his career he sent a lot of bits home to Darryl, who because his brother had died, kept them for years unused. About 5 years ago he put them together in a bike. It is a 250 Ducati with Spondon frame, Oldani brakes , GP carb and decent internals. He originally had a 4 valve head for it, however sold it and couldn't get it back when he came to build the bike. It is one of the nicest in our historic racing and he rides it well. Unfortunately the race classes are a bit silly and we don't see it at its best.

 
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Along with the Guzzi singles, one of the ultimate single cylinder race bikes: a Moto Morini 250cc Bialbero GP. Pic taken when I visited the Bonhams Auction enclosure at the Classic Mechanics Show last month in Stafford, England. It sold for over £83,000. If we are lucky, we might see it displayed or paraded occasionally, but the rest of the time it will probably be secreted away in some private, air conditioned museum.

 

xbacksideslider

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daveh said:
If the Desmo system in the 250/350 singles still conferred a significant performance advantage over the conventional valve spring heads, you would see a lot more of them in classic racing, and you don't. If you look at the top racing Ducatis like those prepared by Nigel Lacey in England, they use heavily-modified valve spring heads in which the ports have been re-shaped. In this year's Classic TT in the Isle of Man, a Lacey-prepared 350 Sebring (very much a 'cooking' engine as standard) won the Privateer 500 class, at a race average of over 98 mph over a distance of 150 miles - and no desmodromics! A friend of mine who campaigns a decent 450 valve spring race bike saw what Lacey did to his cylinder head and was quite surprised at the surgery that had to be done.

My experience too - spring heads get preferred over desmo heads but that was mainly because you can't just order up a new grind of a desmo cam for your obsolete single as easy as you can weld and regrind your old spring cam.

Also, conversion of the singles' heads from hairpin springs to coil springs was a problem because the valve boxes are low profile, designed for the hairpins and there is minimal "meat" in the head to allow both machining a valve pocket for a coil spring AND raising the port. Also, the guides get too short.
 
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In 1957, a friend of my uncle bought one of these for 350 pounds in Italy on his way to the UK. He raced it there however after visiting the IOM and seeing reality, he gave up racing.

 
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Those MV125 dohc are said to be the quintessential race bike.
Although look heavy and top heavy and a litle over-complicated to some eyes...

Did you see where the current crop of MotoGP pilots visited the IoM recently - and were asked if they would like to race there.
To a man, they all shuddered, and mumbled something polite... !!

That place is madness personified ?
When it is said that it takes 7 years to learn the track sufficiently well to race at anything like your potential.
There are currently only a mere handful of riders that can seriously race at speed there.
And only 2 or maybe 3 on any given day that can do it consistently....
Thats not racing, that is mind games on a grand scale.... ?
 

xbacksideslider

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After the walls and wire fences, there's an underappreciated fact about the IOM - crowned roads.

Most race tracks are cambered of course. Most street riders stay one side of the street or the other and all they see is a cambered road too.

The IOM is raced on both sides of a cambered road. So, every time they cross that center, they are in an off-camber attitude, AND, they are going there, often, after crossing paint, slippery paint.

The IOM recently improved the paint by adding an abrasive to it. Not so in the past. In any event it's traction is probably of a different quality than the varying traction of the pavement it is painted on.
 
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Time Warp said:
xbacksideslider said:
Although I have been hands on with beveldrives for 30 + years quite often 'desmo has been a PITA on occasion,a lot of complication for some 52 rwhp in the case of the 900 SD.
Even today there could be a market for a non desmodromic Ducati.
I still have an SD I bought in Sydney in 1986, your right they have lots of torque but are slow to pick up revs. Rode mine from Sydney to Adelaide, Melbourne and back 2 up once....not the most comfortable ride.
Got a Guzzi Monza lurking in the shed....500cc :D
 

Time Warp

.......back to the 70's.
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72Combat said:
Time Warp said:
xbacksideslider said:
Although I have been hands on with beveldrives for 30 + years quite often 'desmo has been a PITA on occasion,a lot of complication for some 52 rwhp in the case of the 900 SD.
Even today there could be a market for a non desmodromic Ducati.
I still have an SD I bought in Sydney in 1986, your right they have lots of torque but are slow to pick up revs. Rode mine from Sydney to Adelaide, Melbourne and back 2 up once....not the most comfortable ride.
Got a Guzzi Monza lurking in the shed....500cc :D
That probably should have been put into a current context.
Purchased in 1983,by the early 1990's it was making some 84 RWHP and could safely rev to 8800 rpm.power to around 8200rpm,reved like a Pantah.
I might have been one of the first people to fit 41mm FCR's correctly when they first came available,even V2 were mounting them at to flat an angle. (imho)
You could accelerate to 220 km/h easily yet at a cruising pace it could match a 750 SS (belt) for fuel consumption.
How about 20000 kms without needing a valve adjustment,the drama's started the day they phased out leaded fuel. (ran 105 Shell mix for as long as possible,even with big cams static was 210 psi)
Great motorcycle never to be sold.






I think the only single I ever rode was a super rare ? 197? 350 desmo,the orange ones that looked a little like a mini Sport,still remember thinking it was a toy until I gave it half hearted kick and it tried to maim me (probably a $8k+ bike now)

 
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xbacksideslider said:
After the walls and wire fences, there's an underappreciated fact about the IOM - crowned roads.

Most race tracks are cambered of course. Most street riders stay one side of the street or the other and all they see is a cambered road too.

The IOM is raced on both sides of a cambered road. So, every time they cross that center, they are in an off-camber attitude, AND, they are going there, often, after crossing paint, slippery paint.

The IOM recently improved the paint by adding an abrasive to it. Not so in the past. In any event it's traction is probably of a different quality than the varying traction of the pavement it is painted on.
Xback - there was a tradition of racing on very fast closed public roads in Europe up until the 70s. Most riders back in the day would have seen the TT as more of the same, only faster and more demanding, and of course everyone gave it big respect. The current road racers come from that tradition. For those who are only used to billiard table smooth short circuits with gravel traps on every corner, of course it would be daunting. The exquisite little Italian racers that are discussing here were built for those fast roads circuits.

There are a few places at the TT where you don't take the racing line because of the steep camber. There are not only lots of blind corners but multiple apexes where you don't apex on the first so you can clip the second, and so on. This is second nature to road racers, who do it because it is so challenging. The TT would be as unfamiliar and daunting to circuit racers as sliding on dirt at speed (as in the US) would be for those who have never done it. Of course the TT is risky, but since it is the ultimate challenge for rider and machine, that has to be expected.
 
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Ken Blake was one of our best Australian riders - lasted about two laps on the IOM. One of the reasons that I never took my road racing seriously, is that if you become sponsored you can be under pressure to ride at places where you don't want to be. We have the circuit at Bathurst. We don't race bikes there any more, however 30 years ago it was the big deal. You could really do yourself a mischief there - really daunting, and the IOM is probably that times 100.
 
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That probably should have been put into a current context.
Purchased in 1983,by the early 1990's it was making some 84 RWHP and could safely rev to 8800 rpm.power to around 8200rpm,reved like a Pantah.
I might have been one of the first people to fit 41mm FCR's correctly when they first came available,even V2 were mounting them at to flat an angle. (imho)
You could accelerate to 220 km/h easily yet at a cruising pace it could match a 750 SS (belt) for fuel consumption.
How about 20000 kms without needing a valve adjustment,the drama's started the day they phased out leaded fuel. (ran 105 Shell mix for as long as possible,even with big cams static was 210 psi)
Great motorcycle never to be sold.
any pics?
My Darmah is stock and is a keeper too, These days I modify BMW airheads as they are cheap and provide me with lots of fun.
Daily rider is a 10 year old ST4s, its a bagger as the Americans say, but that 996 motor is a real blast. :D
 
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$8k ??
Wow are you ever behind the times. ?
Those little orange/yellow desmos - mini manx nortons !! - are somewhat sought after these days.
This Silver Shotgun is perhaps not quite as collectible - sold privately ?
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Ducati-Desmo ... 1215213743?
These were where Duc got their sporting reputation, the twins were somewhat of an afterthought....

Time Warp said:
I think the only single I ever rode was a super rare ? 197? 350 desmo,the orange ones that looked a little like a mini Sport,still remember thinking it was a toy until I gave it half hearted kick and it tried to maim me (probably a $8k+ bike now)
 
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Its got 250 numbers ??
Think you'd also want to check that its really a desmo... ?

Ducati really knew how to do that silver metalflake.
In the gelcoat ?
 
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Its been for sale for ages, always comes back to the numbers. Although matching numbers don't matter when your riding they tend to be one of the first questions when selling.
I also follow split screen VW's for sale, matching numbers don't seem to come into it....in fact if its got the original gearbox and motor less people want them. :roll:
 
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Rohan said:
Its got 250 numbers ??
Think you'd also want to check that its really a desmo... ?

Ducati really knew how to do that silver metalflake.
In the gelcoat ?
It looks like a 250 frame since it doesn't have the gusseting of the 450 frame (not that it makes any real difference to frame flex). Some 450s were shipped with 250 frames, according to one of our Oz forum members who may chime in here (same frame, minus gussets).

It looks as if it is a 450 and as far as I can see, the cam bearing support plate looks like it is a Desmo. The cam plates on the valve spring models have a different shape.
 

xbacksideslider

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Good points Daveh, about IOM and street racing.

As for the later Desmo singles, they are great lookers but . . . . give me a narrow case, every time. I had two coffin tank (wide case) Desmos, a 350 and a 450 and I put tens of thousands of miles on both of them. I also had a 250 Diana that I rode for years as well. I also built and rode a hot rod high compression narrow case 350 with Diana head and chassis.

If I could do it all again, I'd convert another 250 Diana into a high compression 350 with the 1967 Diana cam and chassis/tank/electrics and I'd graft a later Marzochhi disc brake front end onto it. Short rod makes all the difference and the chassis/tank/controls/electrics are simpler/lighter too.
 
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I've had 3 x last model 450 singles ('74) none of which I bought new. Were they crash repairs, or made from left over parts from the factory?
All of them had 250 frames without the gusseting.
I asked a well known Ducati dealer from back then and here is his reply

"hi Graeme,
You have stumbled on another corollary of the eternal mystery.
It has long fascinated me that people write books about Ducatis and make a definitive statement that some model must have a particular part. It never quite worked that way. There was chaos. Also in 1974 there was a lot of industrial trouble in Italy causing great disruption to the production of anything and everything. It would not surprise me that all your bikes were made in one batch and the day they were put together there were only 250 frames on the shelf so that is what they got. There are enough incidents of this type to fill a not particularly small book. The 1973/74 era was rich in this type of uniqueness (that is a nice term for it) and the 1983/84 era totally redefined one-offs. As the great Inspector Clueseau said as he stepped from his Citreon 2CV into the swimming pool into which he had just driven,"It is all part of the rich pageant of life".
Enjoy it.
regards
Ian”

Graeme
 
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