Small Italian bikes

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Hi Acotrel, Yes a fun bike, but raw and demanding too, not like the more sansitised wide case which has a tickover ,brakes and a softer state of tune. These narrow cases are still notching up victories today .Mine's a keeper , but I have to get it out and dirty. It is not an ornament like most of them.
 
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acotrel said:
A late 250 Ducati would have to be one of the nicest little road bikes ever ?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpZdorNK ... e=youtu.be
The late model 250s are beautiful, like all the single Dukes, but they might feel a bit gutless if you were used to riding more powerful bikes. The later 250s could just about hold their own with other 4 stroke 250s of the day. Their light weight and good handling and braking made up for their relative lack of power (low 20s hp). The 350 and 450 had a bit more 'go'.

Ducati didn't quote hp figures in their brochures (or not that I'm aware of). A friend who worked in the Italian Motorcycle Centre in London in the mid-70s saw 28 hp on the dyno from a then fresh valve spring 450. I doubt if my Desmo 450 made much more than that when it was stock.
 
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But it's not stock now Dave? :mrgreen:
And goes soooo much better than stock = soooo much more fun! :twisted:

Graeme
 
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GRM 450 said:
But it's not stock now Dave? :mrgreen:
And goes soooo much better than stock = soooo much more fun! :twisted:

Graeme
Oh, yes :mrgreen:
 
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daveh said:
acotrel said:
A late 250 Ducati would have to be one of the nicest little road bikes ever ?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpZdorNK ... e=youtu.be
The late model 250s are beautiful, like all the single Dukes, but they might feel a bit gutless if you were used to riding more powerful bikes. The later 250s could just about hold their own with other 4 stroke 250s of the day. Their light weight and good handling and braking made up for their relative lack of power (low 20s hp). The 350 and 450 had a bit more 'go'.

Ducati didn't quote hp figures in their brochures (or not that I'm aware of). A friend who worked in the Italian Motorcycle Centre in London in the mid-70s saw 28 hp on the dyno from a then fresh valve spring 450. I doubt if my Desmo 450 made much more than that when it was stock.
The widecase singles were a bit of a disappointment ,although where they lost excitement they gained a bit more reliability. What most don't know is that the fastest stock single (irrespective of capacity) was the 250 Narrowcase valve spring model. Gutless?, well yes if compared to the ridiculous over powerfull bikes of today.
 
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Peter R said:
Nice vid, thanks for posting. I too like the small italian bikes, athough i have always been a Britbiker.
While we all appreciate our big Nortons/BSA's/Triumphs etc, it must be said that the British motorcycle industry was not noted for its lightweight machines.
Rattly Villiers engined two strokes, or BSA bantams hardly qualify as desireable machines today, well.. at least for me.
The italians did a better job, although these bikes had their flaws too, like poor electrics, (Lucas stuff looks like a marvel of engineering by comparison).
Whilst the gearbox would bring a grown man to tears, the GT Conti looked the business!

http://classic-motorbikes.net/images/ga ... nental.jpg
 
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Hi Adrian1 I used to come across a pair of (brothers) who had those RE's very pretty but absolutely no contest with my Ducati Mach1, 3rd gear left them way behind, I looked for bigger fish to fry, the bike was on par with my 88 Norton but with better handling and stopping. Also a good match with a 350 goldie, many a good dice with 650's was had ,they could not shake it off. The bike used to wear "L" plates just to provoke the big boys into a race!.Gutless? ---no way.
 
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This little Mach1 showed a lot of larger bikes how fast it is.
The young fellow rode it from Sydney to Queensland taking every windy road he could find on the way there, then did 5 days on the Giro, then rode home again following all the windy roads again.
The only break down was a battery explosion caused by not having the headlight on and sitting on high revs. (and 2 worn out tyres) Over 5 thousand kms in total.
Oh to be young again. :cry:
 
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Oh to be young again

Or have a good chiropractor! :)

Good thing he wasn't on that 500cc boat anchor pictured next to your bike! :)
 

xbacksideslider

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norton bob said:
Hi Rohan, I too have a passion for the single Ducati, mine is a Dianna Mark 3 narrow case, about 1967. I ride it as often as I can ,in the Kent lanes (UK), I am also building an 860 to be a foil to my Norton. The 250 looks mostly standard but has a flowed inlet so happily revs into grenade territory when I forget to watch the big old Veglia. Its very involving to ride and wears me out ,but I just love the punch and the way it explodes into action. It always draws a crowd (which is handy for push starts!).
norton bob - please post some pictures, we'd love to see it.

And, to concur, the 250s were the most impressive of the lot, honest 100 mph out of the best of them; the narrow case bikes were lighter and generally outperformed the later wide case models; and to repeat myself, the ultimate Ducati single in my opinion is a high compression 350 narrow case, desmo would be nice but not necessary.
 
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xbacksideslider said:
the ultimate Ducati single in my opinion is a high compression 350 narrow case, desmo would be nice but not necessary.
In that case, John, this should be one of your ultimate Ducatis!

This may be an earlier version of the bike on which Doug Snow lapped the Island at 98 mph at this year's Classic TT. He is now using a highly modified Sebring engine. I took these pics at the Manx GP in 2005.

It had a Gibson high level exhaust and Mark 2 Concentric Smoothbore. Pared down to the bone and light as a paper cup, and neat race prep. I included the detail shot of his swing arm mod. The gussetting is very like that on the race Aermacchis.







This is Doug Snow and his Sebring at this year's Classic TT (photo by Nigel Lacey, who tuned the engine).

 
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I would not be concerned about a Ducati 250 being down on power. I once rode a friends bike which had everything done to it - methanol fuel, huge GP carb, factory race cam, twin plug head, welded up piston to give 12 to one comp. It was as fast as any TD2 Yamaha in a race. It had a handling advantage, however it was a bit scary. - Not cheap to race.
 

xbacksideslider

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Thanks Daveh. Copied those pics, for sure.

Modified frame, isn't it? The swing arm is different, I can't see the pinch clamps/bolts for the pin. I never did it but I dreamed of using the far longer wide case swing arm pin on a narrow case swing arm and frame but welding new pinch clamps out on the sub frame as opposed to the stock location, close to the center frame tube.

Lapping at 98 MPH means it went a lot faster; what would you guess or know of the bike's top speed?

Acotrel - yeah, with good fuel and twin plugs you can make power with just about anything. Renowned tuner A.J. Lewis, for a time worked at ZDS Motors in Glendale back when and one time I bothered him about how to make my Ducati go faster. He said "tip the can," by which he meant - alcohol, or at least really good gas, along with compression and timing. Don Francisco's shop was nearby and we could buy all manner of bean oil and exotic fuel there.
 
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xbacksideslider said:
Modified frame, isn't it? The swing arm is different, I can't see the pinch clamps/bolts for the pin. I never did it but I dreamed of using the far longer wide case swing arm pin on a narrow case swing arm and frame but welding new pinch clamps out on the sub frame as opposed to the stock location, close to the center frame tube.
This forum might be a good place to enquire about frame details. There is a thread on the race winning Sebring started by Nigel Lacey, who tuned the engine: http://www.motoscrubs.com/forum/viewtop ... f=3&t=1514

xbacksideslider said:
Lapping at 98 MPH means it went a lot faster; what would you guess or know of the bike's top speed?
126.4 mph recorded through the speed trap on Sulby straight. It is flat, close to sea level, and a bit less than a mile long.
 
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By 'bean oil', do you mean 'oil of mirbane' or methane nitrate ? Towards the end I even fitted a single GP carb to my 500cc Triumph to use that in a desperate attempt to get more torque. It got to the silly stage so I built the Seeley 850 and sold the Triumph. - Lived happily ever after.
 
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Hi Xbacksideslider, my 250 is the same as the Mach 1 picture, but with a Norton cigar silencer from a 60 Dommy and no furry animal asleep on the seat. Posting foto's is a bit like humping all night,did it once,can't remember the secret.
 

xbacksideslider

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Acotrel - Castor bean oil.

Thanks Daveh - 126.4 MPH is huge, good tuning no doubt.


Bob - Yeah, I forgot how to do that too.
 
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GRM 450 said:
The link is to the 1965 four valve 125cc 4 cylinder. How much would have been spent developing this, and never to race it?
MotoGuzzi developed some 3 and 4 cylinder race bikes, back in the 1930s, some of them supercharged.
You don't hear much about them either....

Nortons had 3 or 4 versions of 4 cylinder race bikes too, ditto,
although we are straying somewhat off topic here with them.
 
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