Bring up Pierre Terblanche in a conversation of motorcyclists, especially Ducatisti, and he’ll probably be reviled for creating the first-generation Multistrada and for what some consider an abomination of a successor to the 916/998, the 999. But don’t forget that Terblanche was also the guy responsible for designing this, the Ducati Supermono, a motorcycle we at MO all lust lovingly after each time we see pictures of it.

For those who only think of V-Twins when they think of Ducati (commence rant about L-Twins…), here’s a brief history lesson. Designed to race in the popular Sound of Singles class, Ducati introduced one of the most highly sophisticated Singles ever created in 1993 and stopped in 1995. In between, only 67 examples were made.

Underneath the Terblanche-penned bodywork lay what was essentially a 888 V-Twin with its rear cylinder removed. Designed by Claudio Domenicali, who is now Ducati’s CEO, it features four valves, 11.8:1 compression, dual overhead cams, desmodromic valve actuation (duh), and a dummy connecting rod to act as a counterbalancer to quell the inherent vibes of a single-cylinder engine. This allowed the 550cc one-lunger to rev to 10,750 rpm without rattling the rider’s teeth loose and shaking off body panels. More importantly, Ducati claims 75 crankshaft horses. If we’re generous and allowing for 15% driveline loss to the rear tire, that’s still in the realm of 63 hp. For comparison, the current KTM 690 Duke and its 690cc Thumper – with 140cc more displacement – put 69.8 hp to the wheel last time we had it on the dyno.

Making the Supermono even more of a weapon on track was its supremely light weight, with Bologna claiming a dry weight of just 260 pounds. The main frame was traditional steel trellis, but nearly everything else was either carbon fiber or magnesium. And since the Supermono was never destined for the street, Terblanche didn’t have to bother incorporating the necessary crap needed for road legality, also shaving weight.

The Supermono may have been short-lived, but it still saw success. In its debut year, 1993, it won the European, Italian, and Swiss Singles championships. Today, it’s one of the most sought after Ducatis around.

  • Starmag

    It’s said that Soichiro Honda was quite the fan of NSU racers.

  • Old MOron

    I like thumpers.

  • DickRuble

    The Supermono ended up second at the Isle of of Man in 1994 with Robert Holden atop.

  • Mahatma

    I think the AJS wins the style competition here.

    • Ian Parkes

      I’d put it third behind the Manx Norton and, in top spot, the dustbin with the blue whale on the side.

  • craig collins

    Y’all forgot Isle of Man champion Bultaco Metralla. I had two of ’em.

    • MikeH

      I’ll put in a nod for the Bultaco Metralla as well. I had one and it was surprisingly good, especially handling. Very neutral and forgiving, you could really push them HARD.

      • craig collins

        True – performance was limited only by the tires of that era. I raced the kitted version ( oh, god – priceless today, ) at a couple of old converted airports in northern California. My everyday street / canyon ride was the victim of a nasty, dirt strewn, decreasing radius, left-hander in the hills above the eastbay. I bailed about two thirds of the way through – bike and rider straight off cliff into the poison oak. Fantastic times!

    • TroySiahaan

      That is, in fact, a very cool Single. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • Ian Parkes

    Never heard it called a Norton Manx before. I’m pretty sure they were always Manx Nortons over the pond. Amazing too how the MV Augusta engine has such a strong family resemblance to its descendents. Powerful genes.

    • Kevin Duke

      Just sticking to conventional naming conventions. Same reason we don’t call it a Tuono Aprilia.

      • Ian Parkes

        Wow, it’s usually me that gets put in Pedants’ Corner. Your Tuono example is not be the same thing at all because but no-one (let alone everyone, as in the Norton’s case) says that. I’m just sticking up for the naming convention of using its actual name…

        • Jon Low

          It’s not “MV Augusta”. It’s “MV AGUSTA”.