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Ducati 750 GT

(by Ian Falloon, July 2022)

ducati 750 gt



Trend-setting twin


In the 1970s motorcycles were simple and individual. This was the era before electronic fuel injection or even electronic ignition. Points ignition, carburettors, and air-cooling ruled. Because most bikes were unfaired the engine was visually dominant, generally fours or parallel twins, but if you liked V-twins there was really only one contender, Ducati’s 750 GT.


In 1971 Ducati was a minor Italian manufacturer known primarily for producing smaller capacity overhead camshaft singles. But everyone wanted a Superbike and Ducati was no exception.


Without the resources to create a three or four cylinder Superbike Ducati’s chief engineer Fabio Taglioni was asked to design a pragmatic 750. He took two existing 350cc singles and placed them on a common crankcase with the cylinders 90-degrees apart.


As an engineering purist, Taglioni chose the 90-degree layout for several reasons. He preferred 90-degrees because it offered perfect primary engine balance and with this layout the engine could be very smooth, with only some high frequency secondary imbalance. Also, theoretically the twin could be little wider than a single so the engine could be kept low in the frame while maintaining good ground clearance.


Taglioni called it an L-twin, and established the trademark engine layout that has been associated with Ducati ever since.

ducati 750 gt


With 30mm carbs and low compression 8.5:1 pistons the 750 GT provided only moderate performance but it was the way the engine performed that was appealing. The power delivery was smooth and effortless, the engine relaxed and loping, even when running close to the 8000rpm redline. And there was a lot more to the 750 Ducati than the engine.


The handling was class leading. Taglioni eschewed the almost universal double cradle Norton “Featherbed” style frame in favour of an open cradle design using the engine as a stressed member. While other Superbikes featured forks with skinny and flexible 35mm tubes the Ducati had a beefy 38mm fork.


Those bikes in the early 1970s with disc brakes mostly had stainless steel rotors and floating piston brake calipers. The stainless discs didn’t rust but they didn’t work in the rain either. Rusty discs didn’t worry Ducati. They wanted the brakes to work every time so they fitted a cast-iron disc rotor with a racing style twin piston caliper that gripped the disc from both sides.


Taglioni also knew the benefit of minimising unsprung weight, fitting the 750 GT with beautiful Borrani alloy rims, a 19-inch on the front and 18-inch on the rear. The weight was only 185kg and the 750 GT was one of the lightest Superbikes available.


The engine layout dictated a very long 1530mm wheelbase, and with an extreme steering rake of 29 degrees the Ducati 750 provided unparalleled stability. This played dividends in 1972 when Taglioni took a batch off the production line to prepare racing machines for the Imola 200.


On 23 April ,1972, the 750 Ducati humbled the world’s best, including Agostini and the MV Agusta and the finest Norton, Triumph, Kawasaki, Honda, BMW, Suzuki and Moto Guzzi could offer. It was the beginning of a new era for Ducati and the rest is history.


This third series Ducati 750 GT is now fifty years old.


1971-72 750 GT Third Series

Engine Number 750405-751500

Frame Number 750405-751800 approx

October 1971-June 1972


Ed’s note: Ian has custom-published a new edition of his 750 GT bible. Contact him direct via email for more info.

ducati 750 gt


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