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The World's First Desmodromic Ducati: Trialbero Racer
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The World's First Desmodromic Ducati: Trialbero Racer

It is really very hard to imagine Ducati without their trademark desmodromic engines. In the mid-50s, Fabio Taglioni was one of the newly hired engineers at Ducati who with his sharp and influential mind worked for the legendary Italian motorcycle manufacturer. Earlier Ducatis used conventional springs to close their valves and then Fabio implemented a triple desmodromic design for Trialbero Racer in 1956. Desmodromic Engine for Ducati can be considered as the greatest gift from Fabio Taglioni. It is considered as the best technology of the Italian brand till date. Rather than relying on a spring for the closing portion, a desmodromic engine uses a camshaft to both open and close the valves.

The desmodromic valve actuation was considered as a new technology back then, but it was the first time it was successfully installed and incorporated on a motorcycle. The new engine design of Taglioni was considered as a runway success and was carried over to Ducati’s next racer and this created one of the most iconic victories ever in Ducati’s racing history. Trialbero was the first desmodromic Ducati 125cc single-cylinder. Trialbero means “three shafts” as the three camshafts are tightly packed inside the small engine’s head. Their new racer was debuted at the Swedish Grand Prix at Hedemora in July 1956.

Taglioni was the first person to make valve closure to work on a motorcycle engine and Ducati is the one who has offered it for public sale. The new 125 racer that appeared in 1956 fitted with conventional hairpin valve springs and two camshafts and was later sold to the customers. The factory was burdened to bring new road-going models to market and hence they did not campaign the desmo racer in earnest again until 1958. Mike Hailwood whose father owned the UK Ducati concessionaires, joined the factory for 1959 and scored the classic victory in the Ulster Grand Prix.

The Desmo engine was considered as a revolution in both the company and the motorcycle industry. It has a unique valve operating system as well as a very innovative engine design that dominated the World Superbike Championships and brought victories to the company. Taglioni came up with many new models with a single-cylinder engine during the 50s and '60s. Ducati was successful in building greatest racing and performance motorcycles due to the efforts and passion put forth by Fabio Taglioni. He was dedicated to Ducati and contributed to its success until 1989.

Though the desmodromic engine was complex as compared to the regular spring-operated valve system but it does have many advantages and unique features. The 125 Trialbero was considered as the first motorcycle to be tested by Taglioni to test out his new engine design. And depending upon this he developed the famous L-Twin engine which is the company’s second trademark.

This beautifully designed Trialbero Racer would be going on sale on the auction block with Bonhams at The Las Vegas. The estimated cost of the bike is between $44,000 and $48,000.

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