Alan Cathcart road tests the Ducati Regolarità 125 - one classic motorcycle that Ducati wishes you never saw.
Ducati Regolarità 125
Years produced: 1975-1979
Total production: 3,486
Claimed power: 21.8hp
Top speed: 74mph
Engine type: 123.7cc air-cooled piston-port 2-stroke single-cylinder
Weight (dry): 240lb
Price then: $1,950
Price now: $1,150 - $2,500
Fuel capacity: 1.6gal
Lots of famous makes have skeletons in the closet, models they’d like you and everyone else to forget they ever made. For Ducati, that model was the ill-fated Regolarità.
MV Agusta produced a forgettable 50cc moped and 98cc scooter back in the 1950s, and Norton the overweight, unreliable Jubilee 250 twin in the 1960s, a bike even Norton fans shun. So how about the last-ever Ducati single-cylinder street bike — incidentally the first Ducati with a left-foot gear change — of which 3,486 examples were built from 1975 to 1979? Not only did the 125 Regolarità represent Ducati’s only serious attempt to target the offroad market, but it was a two-stroke Ducati! And it was a flop.
Like the dozens of other Italian makes trying to carve a slice of the country’s huge appetite for affordable personal transportation in the Fifties and Sixties, Ducati had made several forgettable 50cc-100cc two-stroke models. But by 1975, when the 125 Regolarità was launched, Ducati was well established as the leading Italian four-stroke performance brand. The idea that it should ever have tried to compete in the booming 125cc enduro market — already filled by 23 other makes — seems short-sighted, at best.
Bureaucrats have never been much good at running bike companies. In 1967, Ducati became part of Italy’s EFIM (Ente Partecipazioni e Finanziamento Industria Manifatturiera), the state-owned conglomerate responsible for the day-to-day operations of Ducati and 114 others within Italy. However, Ducati had the good fortune to have Fredmano Spairani appointed as CEO in 1969. A professional manager with an open mind as well as flair, Spairani listened, learned and acted. Engineer Fabio Taglioni and his colleagues managed to convince Spairani of the values of a product-led strategy based on the large capacity 750cc four-strokes that BSA-Triumph and Honda had just launched, underpinned by a factory race program; that’s how the 750cc V-twin Ducatis that debuted in 1971 came about. MC
Order the January/February 2011 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the Ducati Regolarità 125, including a road test by Alan Cathcart. Order it by contacting Customer Service by email or by calling (800) 880-7567.