The 1960s was an era in the history of the Ducati motorcycle manufacturer when the brand began to come into its own. They’d evolved from their first bicycle frames with clip-on engines, to a more modern frame and suspension with finely tuned engines and complimentary transmissions that made them a force to be reckoned with in the world market. The focus on speed and performance of the 1950s was now joined by the addition of attention to comfort and stylishness. With this in mind, here are the five best Ducati motorcycles of the ’60s.
1964 Ducati 98
The Ducati 98 had achieved as close to its perfection as possible by 1964. The model was first introduced in 1952, and although it was popular because of its reliability, it was a bare-bones bike with fairly low performance. The Ducati 98 goes down in the history of Ducati as its first superbike. It was versatile and easy for beginner riders to handle. It was also built tough for durability. The 1964 Ducati 98 was equipped with a single cylinder 4-stroke engine with a 98cc displacement that was paired with a 4-speed transmission. It achieved success in 1964 at the Welsh Six Days, hauling in two silver medals. It could be purchased in the 98T for budget conscious riders and in the Sport for those looking for a sexier and sportier aesthetic.
1960 Ducati Elite 200
The Elite 200 made its appearance on the scene in the 1950s, but it remained in production until 1965 for a long and successful run. Ducati designed this bike to deliver high on performance, fun, and comfort. This sporty production model was chocked full of the newest innovations in automotive technology which gave it versatility in multiple riding scenarios. This attractively sporty bike offered riders ease of handling along with comfort for the rider along with plenty of speed. It was powered by a single cylinder 4-stroke engine with 203.7cc total displacement for 18 horsepower at 7500 RPM, paired with a 4-speed transmission. Sales were high and riders were satisfied with this popular bike that would continue on until being replaced in 1966.
1969 Ducati Scrambler
The Scrambler was a popular model in the 1960s era that ran into 1974. This bike was good when it first came out, but the mods provided a continual stream of upgrades and improvements through 1968. It was initially available in a 250 and 350. In 1969, it came out in a 450. A few of these bikes featured Desmo cylinder heads, which was rare at the time. Fine tuning and technical adjustments in the wide casing engines continued until 1974. Although not the fastest bike of its time, when properly tuned, it reached a top speed of 130 mph. Powered with a 4-stroke single cylinder, the head and block were made of light alloy with a cast-iron liner. The engine configured 10 degrees forward. This highly successful model was popular for track racing, but it had the attributes of a tourer with its amazing performance and comfortable riding position which was well-centered. The stylish bike featured rounded lines and vibrant contrasting colors that were both modern and classical. This bike was among the most fashionable on the market plus it was fun to ride.
1965 Ducati Mach I
The Ducati Mach I was appreciated for its aggressive demeanor which would come to be known as the “world’s ultimate motorcycle.” It was clearly a highly evolved bike in its time that captured the attention of riders from all walks of life. This bike had the ability to scream down the track with a top speed of 140 mph and with special tuning it topped 170 mph which was no small feat at the time. The Mach I 250 was powered by a 250 cc engine that was paired with a five-speed gearbox. Its profile was clean and aesthetically pleasing with a narrow saddle and a host of sports features. This was uncommon during the 1960s and it set the bar high for the competition. It was packed with amenities that riders loved including powerful acceleration, efficient braking and excellent handling on the road.
1967 Ducati Mark 3 D
Just as the Scrambler, the Mark 3 D was first released in 250 and 350cc displacements. Around the same time that the Scrambler came out with its 450 variant, the Mark 3 D did likewise. The Mark 3 was the beginning of a new family within the brand with a single cylinder featuring narrow casings. The 1967 Mark 3 D is highly prized by collectors from all over the world because of its breathtaking Italian design and innovations for its era. The versatile and sporty road bike is easily the best Ducati made during the 1960s.