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Hagerty Employee

50 years ago, Ducati's distinctive V-twin birthed a dynasty

The Age of Aquarius brought more than long hair, bell-bottoms, and rebellion. It also launched the age of superbikes, which drastically redefined motorcycle engineering, performance, and design. From 1969 forward, it was game on as manufacturers brought forth new, high-revving, multicylinder street bikes bristling with racing technology.

Those 70's Ducati's have such an amazing look. I bet back in the 70's they must have been some bizarre looking rocket ship to some people.

This was a good read. I don't even care about motorcycles really and I read every word.
New Driver

Well done, John. I expect Smartie would have approved. And you've proven that old axiom: Ask the man who owns one. Or several.
Pit Crew

I walked into my local Ducati (and Benelli, and Moto Guzzi) hole-in-the-wall dealership in spring of 1980. My buddy had just bought a Honda CX-500 and I wanted to ride with him. I had never owned a motorbike, I had no license and no clue how to ride one. But a magazine spread showing the all-new Pantah 500SL had me entranced. They didn't even have a Pantah in the shop. I ordered one on the spot. 3 weeks later they called up and asked if I wanted to see it coming out of the crate. Hellya. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. Assembled, I could not drive it home. I didn't know how! The shop mechanic dropped it by my house. What followed was a few weeks of evening circuits at the local dept store lot, where my friend instructed me on how to drive the damn thing. The sound! Even with the stuffed-up Contis you could hear the rumble of racing history (I later had them gutted out - and: W-O-W!). I was transfixed.

Spin the Time Machine to 2022, she's still with me. All of 12K miles (I have other distractions), but patiently awaits me to mount up and terrorize the local switchbacks. I even got my license! -in 2017. John Law had been very patient. Now at 67 I prob spend equal time gawking / polishing it than riding it. And the comically stretched-over-the-tank (instantly, I am racing!) style means the term "cafe-racer" literally means trips to local eateries with bike-buds is about all she is usable for. But even then, on a curve with the 36mm Del'ortos cracked wide open, the sound of Thunder echoing behind me - I am 25 again...

Stu A