Seeking a future Ducati investment is something that seems impossible, as it seems that ship has definitely sailed. However, there is a great machine that everyone has overlooked because it is not as stylish and beautiful as the 916 SP, 900SS bevel drive, the green frame, or the other round case bevel drives. Prices for investment grade Ducatis just seem to constantly go up and up and for good reason. Ducatis are a great classic motorcycle investment and investment grade examples are very, very difficult to find. Entry price points now seem to be escalating daily and very few people can now enjoy the wonderous fun a bevel drive offers. As Ian Falloon said in his interview with me on our video page (The Ian Falloon interview 1), “There will never be a time again in motorcycle manufacturing like when Ducati produced the bevel drives”. They were just too expensive to build, so the Italian government paid off Ducati’s debt each year and wrote it off. Everyone who bought a bevel drive Ducati did so by being subsidised by the Italian government of that time.
Ducati 860 GT
The Ducati 860 GT was built to replace the stunning round case GT750 and was the first platform for the introduction of the more modern square case motor. The 860 design is not the prettiest Ducati ever built, for political reasons, but it is a fantastic and reliable touring motorcycle. Most of the square cases came with Desmodomic valves which adds about 10-15 horsepower to the motor. However, the GT was given conventional adjustable tappet valves which deliver around 60 horse power for this particular machine. There is plenty of power for touring and even a bit of scratching on these machines. The lower power output makes servicing very inexpensive and straight forward and does not make the motor so peaky and stressed. This bevel drive still revs out to 8,000 RPM and delivers plenty of power. Some complained of poor handling at speeds over 80 MPH, but I’ve never experienced any such issues even over 100 MPH. The wide bars were blamed for the poor handling, but I suspect it was more to do with the rubbish old cross ply tyres they fitted at the time.
A great rare Ducati to own and ride
The 860 GT is a great rare Ducati to own and ride, it’s simple, handles well, is fast, unstressed and has great brakes, so what’s not to like? This motorcycle was already on the drawing board designed by Leopoldo Tartarini (the man responsible for the Italjet brand and scooters such as the Dragster and Velocifero, among others). He knew good design and was passionate about motorcycles, he had been a racer and oil ran in Leopoldo’s veins. During this period, when the 860 design was being finalised, the Italian government had a tantrum about Ducati’s debt, so they installed their own designer on the motorcycle Giorgio Giugiaro. Although Guigiaro was revered for his design of the Maserati Ghibil and went on to design the Deloreon, Golf Rabbit and many other angular cars, he was a car man and not a motorcycle man. He did not understand the customer like everyone else did who worked in the motorcycle industry and so designed a very angular, flat motorcycle. Gone were the gorgeous curves and the bodywork was made from flat sheet metal to keep production costs to a minimum, as you can read here. Customers rejected the 860 GT, although it was a great idea, and the 15,000 units a year predicted never received the demand required, so these 860s are extremely rare.
Infinitely interchangeable parts
The Ducati 860 GT has infinitely interchangeable parts with the 900SS and many other Ducatis of that era, as the frames are very similar. Many riders customise their GTs to look like a 900SS or even a round case GT. The bike is a bit of an ugly duckling, but it’s a truly great motorcycle to own and ride. It’s a great entry point bevel drive Ducati at a great price with really nice examples available from £12,000. The price point leaves plenty of money left over to customise the looks, but remember to keep all of those original parts. Very few of these rare machines are original as everyone threw away all of the old bodywork that they disliked. Original examples are very hard to come by, especially as they made so few of them, and owners of expensive bevels will want one to complete their collection. These motorcycles also offer bevel ownership at a very appealing price point. This is a perfect future Ducati investment that will not only deliver great tax free profits, but absolute joy to own, ride and tour on. If you want to find a beautiful example of this very rare machine, we do have an exceptional example available on our website here.
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