( From "The Ducati Story" by Ian Falloon / Haynes Publishing 1996)
As expected, there were plans to prorhice a street version of the TT1 racing bike, and,
typically, it took a while in coming. While replica frame kits made by Harris were
available in England for the Pantah engine, at Ducati the original Pantah soldiered on.
The TT2 and TTl had brought them track success, but there was still a question over
the reliahility of the Pantah crankcases when the engine was enlarged to 750 cc. 1983
was also the time of negotiations regarding the Cagiva takeover, so both production
and development were limited. Also, because a new oil-cooled V-four 1,000 cc engine
was being developed at the same time, resources were stretched, and this delayed the
introduction of the 750Fl. However, the commencement of Cagiva control saw the V-
four project cancelled, and by mid-1984 a prototype 750F1 was displayed. This hike
used a replica of the Verlicchi racing TT2 frame with a steel cantilever swing-arm, and
provision for a centre-stand. A square headlight was fitted in the full Fairing, and it had
16-inch gold-painted Oscam wheels. Claimed power was 70 bhp at 9,000 rpm, with dry
weight at 165 kg (364 lb). Other features were a hydraulic clutch and a two-into-one
exhaust system. 36 or 4C mm Dell'Orto carburettors were specified, and the
compression ratio was a high 10.4.1.
In mid-November 1984, photographs of mock production bikes appeared, now with an
18-inch rear wheel, and in February 1985 the 750Fl was premiered at the Sydney
Motorcycle Exhibition. It still didn't have the fully-floating Brembo 280 mm front discs
and 260 mm rear, but the engine was painted black and had a Conti two-into-one
exhaust system, claimed to meet all noise regulations. The red frame, sourced from the
TT2/TTl, had been widened to accommodate the camshaft belt covers and an
adjustable steering damper fitted to complement the 16-inch front wheel. Even before
the bike had gone into production there was controversy surrounding the fitting of a 16-
inch front wheel.
When the first production models appeared during 1985 they were a confusing mixture
of good and bad. The engine was only an over-bored 650 Pantah, still with the 37.5
and 33.3 mm valves of the 500. The oil-cooler lines were cheap rubber hoses crimped
into place, yet the brake discs were full-floating iron Brembos, Basic air-assisted
Marzocchi 38 mm suspension was used at the front and a Marzocchi adjustable shock
absorber at the rear (which was still a cantilever rather than rising rate), yet an
aluminium petrol tank was fitted, It was also the very last Ducati to feature the old
Giugiaro graphics that had first appeared on the 860 in 1975. The rear seat and tail
section was much larger and uglier than on the TT1 and TT2, designed to locate the
14Ah battery, and a dual seat at a later stage.
While still using the 36 mm PHF Dell'Orto carburettors of the Pantah, the 750FI
received new camshafts along with 9.3:1 88 mm pistons. Valve timing was now inlet
opening Z9º before top dead centre, closing 90* after bottom dead centre, and exhaust
opening 70º hefore bottom dead centre, closing 48º after top dead centre, and power
was only a claimed 62.5 bhp at 7,.500 rpm. The primary drive ratio was altered, more in
line to that of the TT2, to 36/71, or 1.97:1, and the 750F1 also received the fifth gear
ratio of the TT2 at 0.97:1. A 300 watt alternator provided electrical power. Weight was
up to 175 kg (386 lb), but it was still a much more compact motorcycle than the
preceding Pantah. The wheelbase was only 1,400 mm (55 inches), and a far cry from
the older bevel-gear hikes with their 60-inch wheelbase.
Compared to the racer, steering rake was increased to 28*, with corresponding trail of
5.2 inches, making the Fl a relatively slow steerer in the traditional Ducati fashion.
Performance wasn't particularly outstanding far its day, and didn't even match the
750SS of over ten years earlier. Motorrad tested the two bikes back to back in
November 1985 and found the older bike accelerated faster and had a higher top
speed. The 750Fl managed 206 km/h (128 mph) but was considerably punchier in the
mid-range. I rode one of the first examples and, after the heavy feel of the last Mike
Hailwood Replicas, was pleasantly surprised by the light weight and responsiveness of
the Fl. The Fl was a generation ahead when it came to steering and handling. Despite
only a cantilever rear suspension system, the light weight and short wheelbase made
the Fl a surprisingly quick road bike for its power output, Just like the magnificent TTl
and TT2 racers, it manager3 to match much more powerful bikes with its better balance
and power characteristics. The only problem with the Fl was that, because it was
derived from the TT2, it was a very small motorcycle and the riding position was
consequently cramped far larger riders.
By late-1985 Fls were being displayed with the net Cagiva graphics and logo. Some of
these were silver and red, but they v'ere all interim models before the arrival of the
significantly improved 750Fl for 1986. Following racing experience with the TTI, the
original 500 type crankcase, which had always cracked around the drive side main
bearing under the stress of racing, was finally strengthened, with extra webbing
between it and the gearbox mainshaft bearing. Straight cut primary gears now took
power to a hydraulically-operated dry clutch and a new, stronger gearbox was fitted
with 30º wider gears. The crankshaft was strengt.hened around the big-end journal
with new connecting rods. The oil-cooling was noiv full-flow, rather than just a cylinder
head bypass, and, in keeping with the larger capacity, valve si-es were increased to
the 41 and 35 mm of the TT2, necessitating a move to smaller 12 mm spark-plugs,
Along with slightly revised camshafts (about 8º retarded), and an increase in
compression to 10:1 using higher-domed pistons, power went up to a claimed 75 bhp
at 9,000 rpm. The new camshaft timing was, inlet opening 39º before top Bead centre,
and closing 80º after bottom dead centre, and exhaust opening 80º before bottom
dead centre, and closing 38º after top dead centre. The same Dell'Orto PHF36
carburettors were used, with small foam air-filters.
The engine was certainly an improvement, and so was the front suspension. 40 mm
Forcella-Italia forks, with provision for a wide range of adjustment in damping and
preload, were vastly superior to the non-adjustable 38 mm Marzocchis. Also, the rear
260 mm disc was no longer the fully-tloating type, and the 22-litre aluminium petrol tank
became an 18-litre steel one. As has often been the case at Ducati, some things
improve, but other details exhibit cost-cutting when models are revised, However, the
instrument layout with the white-faced Veglias was a welcome relief from the Nippon
Densos that had by now become dated, and still carries through to today on the Super
Sport: line. The styling of the rear seat was improved, but it still looked awkward from
some angles, and the red Oscam wheels mirrored the racing TT1.
Cycle magazine summed up the 750F1 succinctly in February 1987 when it said 'the Fl
allows a very competent street rider to understand how a race bike feels because the
engine will help him rather than intimidate him'. For the Fl still didn't possess
exceptional horsepower. When Cycle tested an Fl in June 1988, it only achieved a
standing quarter-mile time of 12.70 seconds at 103.1 mph (166 km/h). Perhaps the
most disappointing aspect of the new 750 engine was the vibrat.ion, which after a long
ride would leave you with numbed wrists. Somehow, the short-stroke 750 engine never
managed to feel as smooth and relaxed as the earlier bevel-gear examples.
For 1987 and 1988 the 750F1 continued to be marketed in small numbers beside the
new range of Cagiva-inspired Ducatis. From bike number 1505 the Japanese Kokusan
ignition, that had first appeared on the limited edition 750 Montjuich, replaced the
Bosch system. Also, the bst versions had a locking fuel cap and a dual seat. However,
by now the Fl was an anachronism within a Ducati range that was becoming
increasingly Cagiva-influenced. To quote Cycle magazine again, the 750F1 was 'the
last true fundamentalist Ducati'.750 Montjuich, Laguna Seca and Santa Monica.
To celebrate the win by Grau, de Juan, and Reyes in the 24 Hour race at Montjuich
Park in 1983, a limited edition race replica Fl in the finest Ducati tradition was
announced at the end of 198.5, and displayed at the Milan Show. As usual it had taken
long enough to appear, but like the first 750SS of 1974 many thought it worth the wait.
Though essentially a 750F1, the Montjuich was tuned considerably with hotter
camshafts, Dell'Orto PHM40ND carburettors, and a less restrictive Verlicchi two-into-
one Riserwato Competizione exhaust system. Even though it still only had the
cantilever rear end, the swing-arm was Verlicchi aluminium, and in a carry-over from
the 750TT1 both front and rear wheels were 16inch.
The wheels were lightweight composite Marvic smith magnesium hubs and spokes,"
and Akront aluminium rims. Rim sizes were much wider than the standard Fl at 3.50 x
16 and 4.25 x 16, and shod with Michelin 120/60V16 and 180/60V16 tyres. Other detail
differences included a 22-litre aluminium fuel tank like the first 7.50Fl, four-piston
Brembo 'Gold Line' racing calipers with fully-floating discs all round (280 mm at the
front and 260 mm rear), a vented dry clutch, and different front guard. While the
prototype featured a centre-stand, the pro<hic-tion models saved a few kilos by only
specifying a side-stand. The relationship between the Montjuich and Fl was similar to
that which existed between the original 750SS and 7iC Sport: a limited production bike
that overed higher performance through engine modifications, better brakes, and less
However, this is where the concept of the two bikes differs. The Montjuich was created
and sold as a limited edition item, each of the 200 hikes having a numbered plaque on
the petrol tank. It was only several years later that anyone realized how rare the
original 75CSS was, and by that stage many had been raced and ruined. Still, there
were many detail differences to the Montjuich, and it was both lighter and significantly
more powerful than the standard Fl. Starting with the engine, the iulontjuich received
new camshafts ivith timing figures of inlet opening 67º before top dead centre, and
closing 99º after bottom dead centre, and exhaust opening 93* before bottom dead
centre and closing 70º after top dead centre. With 137º of valve overlap, these
camshafts had more than the racing TT1, and inlet duration of 346º was also slightly
more than the TTI.
These were the fiercest camshafts ever fitted to a street Ducati, and as such the
Montjuich divas peakier than expected. Along with the larger carburettors and racing
exhaust system, the camshafts lifted claimed power for the Montjuich to 95 bhp at
10,000 rpm. Unlike the earlier 750SS, the lower half of the engine was standard 750F1.
There were no polished crankshafts or con-rods, and the 10:1 pistons and barrels
were identical to the Fl. The Montjuich had an aluminium clutch drum and slightly
different gearbox internals, to accommodate the outboard countershaft sprocket.
Rather than the Bosch ignition that had been used since 1977, a Kokusan system was
used for the first time.
To compensate for the 16-inch rear wheel, the final-drive gearing was altered to 15/43,
or 2.87:1, and a narrower, 5/8 x 1/4 inch chain was used. The Montjuich abo used a
better-quality Mar;occhi rear shock absorber, but tests still criticized it for being
underdamped. Claimed dry weight was a mere 155 kg (3%2 lb), but iVIotorrad weighed
their test bike in at 178 kg (392 lb) fully.“wet, still much lees than any other two-cylin-
der street Ducati. Moto Sprint, in April 1986, managed 221 km/h (137.3 mph), with 7i
bhp at lC,000 rpm. Cycle World also put theirs through a standing quarter-mile in 11.87
seconds, at 113.52 mph (182.7 km/h).
By now the Cagiva take-over was well in effect, and the new management was anxious
to promote both Cagiva and Ducati in the US. It was this that led to Lucchinelli racing in
and winning the Battle of the Twins at the Californian track of Laguna Scca. Though
hardly as prestigious a win as that at Montjuich, it was considered momentous enough
to name the 1987 series of Fl race replicas after it. Each of these 200 bikes had a
replica Marco Lucchinelli signature on its petrol tank.
There were numerous differences between the Montjuich and Laguna Scca.
Historically, Ducati have often lowered the specification of successive models. This was
true of the 750/900SSs that in 1976 acquired indicators, smaller carburettors, and
Lafranconi silencers, and a similar situation occurred in 1987 with the Laguna Scca.
Most noticeable was the replacement of the lightweight Marvic wheels and fully-floating
discs, with 16-inch Oscam wheels and 280 and 270 mm discs straight off the 750 Paso.
Some Laguna Secas came with a dual seat option, detracting from its race replica
status, and the alloy petrol tank became a standard steel Fl item. However, the engine
specification was unchanged, and the Laguna Seca still offered significant
performance gains over a standard 750F1, despite a noticeable weight increase. The
exhaust system was either the Conti two-into-one of the 750F1, which hurt the power,
or one with a less restrictive aluminium silencer. Claimed power was down slightly to 91
bhp at 10,000 rpm, and weight up to 165 kg (364 lb). The Laguna Scca came with a
plastic mudguard over the rear wheel, attached to the aluminium swing-arm, and like
the Montjuich it was painted red and silver.
Performance of the Laguna Seca was similar to that of the Montjuich. In October 1987,
with the less restrictive exhaust, La Moto achieved a top speed of 221 km/h (137 mph),
the same as the Montjuich. Motorcyclist in the US, testing a Laguna Scca with the Conti
exhaust system, could only get a best standing quarter-mile time of 12.53 seconds at
105.7 mph (170 km/h). Their bike also weighed in at 418 lb (190 kg) wet, up
considerably on the Montjuich.
Despite the factory's commitment to the Paso and the new 851, the limited edition
750F1 continued into 1988 with the Santa Monica. Named after the circuit at Misano
where Marco Lucchinelli won the Formula 1 World Championship race in 1986, this
bike was a hybrid of the Montjuich and Laguna Scca. The composite Marvic wheels
and fully-floating disc rotors returned, but with street-legal four-piston Brembo brake
calipers, rather than the Gold Line racing versions (although the prototype was fitted
with Gold Line brakes and a Verlicchi exhaust). The dual seat was standard, as was
the Laguna Scca silencer with the aluminium can, along with the steel fuel tank. Colour
was red and white. When Moto Sprint tested the Santa Monica in August 1988 it went
219.715 km/h (136.5 mph) and weighed 173 kg (381 lb) wet. It also made 73.63 bhp at
As such, the entire 750F1 line, and in particular the three models of limited edition
replicas, represented the end of an era for Ducati. It started with one of the most
successful Ducati racing bikes ever, the 600 TT2, and ended with a series of race
replicas totally in keeping with the spirit and essence of Ducati. They were the last
bikes with unfiltered 40: mm Dell'Orto carburettors breathing, directly into the
atmosphere, and, along with the smaller 350/400F3, the last Ducatis with symmetrical
cylinder heads, those with both exhaust ports facing forwards.
( From "The Ducati Story" by Ian Falloon, published on Haynes Publishing 1996, 1998)