What to Know Before You Buy a Ducati Bevel Twin

Here’s what to look for when you’re in the market for a high-quality, highly collectable bike that’s a genuine Ducati Twin.

  • Ducati Bevel Twin Buyer Guide
    Packed with good advice on choosing the right Ducati bevel twin, this book includes a comprehensive inspection guide and in-depth analysis of strengths and weaknesses. It covers desirable upgrades, modifications to avoid, valuation and predicting which models will become collectable.
    Cover Courtesy Veloce Publishing

  • Ducati Bevel Twin Buyer Guide

Ducati Bevel Twins: The Essential Buyer’s Guide (Veloce Publishing, 2012) is just that—a book of everything you need to know before getting your dream Ducati. Marque expert Ian Falloon goes through information on all bevel twin models and gives in-depth analysis of each’s strengths and weaknesses. In this excerpt from the book’s introduction, Falloon gives the reasons supporting ownership of one of these bikes and tells the basics for avoiding a bad deal in buying one. 

Buy this book in the Motorcycle Classics store: Ducati Bevel Twins: The Essential Buyer’s Guide.

Despite their foibles, the bevel drive family of Ducati twins has come to epitomize the finest attributes of Italian motorcycles of the 1970s and early 1980s. This was an era when Italian motorcycle manufacturing usurped a faltering British industry, and was yet to be overwhelmed by the onslaught of Japanese bikes. For some, the Italian motorcycles of this time were unsurpassed in their representation of form following function. As the production reality of engineer Fabio Taglioni’s vision, the bevel drive Ducatis were, arguably, the finest of all. These bikes formed the basis of some astonishing racing successes, and still provide a combination of suffi­cient power and excellent handling.

Why Buy a Ducati Twin?

Compared with modern production (and even contemporary Italian) motorcycles, the Ducati bevel twin was produced only in moderate numbers and, although during its 15-year lifespan it grew from 750cc to 1000cc, the basic engine and chassis remained unchanged. When it was released in 1971, the 750 set a new standard for Superbike handling, but was initially treated with ambivalence. It wasn’t until the race victory at Imola, in 1972, that Ducati was taken seriously as a Superbike manufacturer, and this milestone event eventually led to the introduction of the 750 and 900 Super Sport. Mike Hailwood’s amazing Isle of Man TT comeback win, in 1978, saw the creation of the Mike Hailwood Replica, ultimately the most popular of all the bevel twins. Although the cost of production sealed the fate of the bevel twin engine, it has continued to maintain a strong following.

Certain models have become highly prized and extremely expensive, yet some others remain unappreciated and consequently much cheaper. As all Ducati bevel twins are broadly similar, there are still bargains to be had. Distribution disruption at the time these bikes were produced also resulted in fewer bevel twins being sold in the UK than in some other countries. Fortunately, the advent of internet sales has meant that enthusiasts anywhere in the world can now find an appropriate vehicle.

As long as you’re prepared to look after it, a bevel drive Ducati twin remains a tremendous classic motorcycle. All are reasonably fast (particularly the 900 SS and MHR), have good brakes and excellent handling. There are plenty of specialists now providing the service to keep these bikes on the road, and as their popularity increases, more aftermarket components are becoming available. Any of these bikes is a fantastic ride.

12/31/2013 8:22:37 AM

I bought my '74 Sport new. I've had a ton of fun riding it. Someday I may pass it on. It's been modified and raced well. I think sometimes about the idea of selling it and hope that I find a buyer that will wring it's neck and enjoy it. Yee Ha! It's a hoot. If I thought it would become a candidate for restoration and subsequent trailer queen 'life' I would hesitate to sell it unless I was prepared to just pimp away my wonderful bike for money.

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