For decades, Ducati was known for its high-performance 90-degree V-Twin (or "L-Twin", as Ducatisti prefer to say) engines, but in recent years, the company has been replacing several signature models with V-4s. More recently, however, Ducati announced it will also be bringing back Single-cylinder engines, confirming its intentions to race in motocross and produce off-road models, and separately revealing a new 659cc Superquadro Mono engine. That gives us an excuse to look through the history books at some of Ducati's most notable Singles.
Following the success of the Cucciolo, Ducati introduced its first full motorcycle (i.e. not a bicycle with a motor added on). The Ducati 60 was powered by an updated version of the Cucciolo engine and weighed just 97 pounds.
Designer Fabio Taglioni joined Ducati in the 1954, and his first motorcycle was the Gran Sport 125 Marianna race bike. Taglioni introduced what would become a Ducati signature: the desmodromic valve system. The Marianna saw success in the 1955 Motogiro d'Italia, starting a tradition of racing success for Ducati.
Yes, this gallery is about Ducati's Singles, but we need to acknowledge that it took until 1971 before the company introduced it's first Twin. The racing version of the 750 GT added desmo valves, forming a combination that would define the brand for decades to follow.
Ducati made a brief return to Singles from 1993 to 1995, introducing the Supermono racebike. Powered by a 550cc engine, the Supermono was designed by Pierre Terblanche, while its technical manager was none other than Claudio Domenicali, Ducati's current chief executive officer.
The off-road models will be joined by street legal models powered by the larger 659cc Superquadro Mono engine. Derived from Ducati's 1,285cc Superquadro Twin, the Single will debut on a new model on Nov. 2.