Ducati Trials Bikes.




                Ducati Trials.

















Photo Courtesy Barry Robinson@ Offroad Archives.

This is the second built Ducati 350 desmodromic trials, built by Peter Gaunt, and sold to Deryk Wylde.


We will start with a bit of background information as how we got flooded in the UK in the late sixties early seventies, with more Lightweight Ducati’s than we knew what to do with.

The GB importer Vic Camp had been helping the sales of these lightweight "Dukes" by sponsoring several up and coming road racers on specially converted machines, and supplying the parts to individuals that wanted to build their own 250cc Mach/ 1 and later 2 race bikes, and even a couple of three fifties.

But then came the flood.

The Berliner Brothers in the USA were the importers of that brand into their country. And had asked Ducati to try and jazz the model up to help the slumping sales for the machines, in the USA.

A shipload of bikes appeared at the docks and the Berliner Brothers boarded to take a look at the precious cargo.

One look was enough, the Ducati stylists had Gone over the top with their interpretation of how a modern early seventies motorcycle should look.

Every thing had been squared off, even the headlight.

No way we want these ugly ducklings the brothers said to each other, they were fuming.

And told the Captain of the vessel to leave port with the cargo and sail off into the sunset.

After frantic phone calls to Italy bouncing one way and another, the Italian company basically said they are your bikes and we are not having them back.

( And to be honest both the Ducati concern and the Berliner brothers were both vertially bankrupt at the time).

The Berliner brothers were in big trouble.

A shipload of their bikes was now on the high seas with nowhere to go.

You know what it is like in big business sometimes you have to make sacrifices, but try not to make them yourselves.

So they needed a screw to turn, and that screw was going to be Bill Hannah, a shall we say a wheeler-dealer from Liverpool.

Bill had made his money selling cars and motorcycles and had a motorcycle race team using Ducati’s and Patton machines to some success.

The connection with the Berliner Brothers was that he was their agent to them importing AMC machines into the USA.

So a phone call from them to Bill made the picture very clear, either he Bill, took the shipload of Ducati bikes off of their hands, (at the right price), or they would cancel all orders for the AMC bikes.

Bill being the entrepreneur that he was, had to agree, and just hope that he could sell the vast quantity of lightweight Ducati’s now on his hands.

It was probably Vic Camp that lost out the most because Bill could sell a Ducati Monza far cheaper than Vic could.


So where does the trials bike come into this equation?

Well a chance conversation with top trials rider and innovator Peter Gaunt, who was at a loose end at that time, after walking away from several makes because of inconsistency with the treatment he had been getting by these so called motorcycle Moguls.

He needs a bike to build for someone.

Bill Hannah had a warehouse full of Ducati’s and parts, so Peter had the pick of this lot, to try and develop a trials bike.

A 160’s frame was chosen, but some how because the chance of larger capacity trials awards and cups were easier to get, Peter needed to shoehorn a 350cc lump into the bike, and make it as light as possible.

The one big drawback with this engine is that it is deep, with the engine oil being carried in a sump under the engine.

It would also be a bit of a handful with the power available with the desmodromic valves fitted.

These were basically built as race engines.

But Peter has he always did, and could, got the bike to handle, which only he can do, and also used parts to try and quieten the motor down.

First bike built, and he entered it into the Scottish Six Days. So used that week as development for the bike.

And also came out with a result. But it was Peter.

A second bike was built, as a predecessor to a production version.

But with more and more two stroke trials bikes now dominating the scene it was never going to be a commercial proposition, and the enterprise was shelved.

Peter sold the second machine to electronics expert and motorcycle photographer and journalist Deryk Wylde, who enjoyed the bike and its different characteristics for the following two years, and had fun riding it for that period.



We now get to the present day and the Classic trials scene, as we will call it.

Several Ducati based trials bikes have sprung up and we take a look at a couple.


 Photo Courtesy Classictrial.

This is the latest creation of a Ducati trials bike by Ian Perberdy.

 Ian built this machine ready to ride twelve months ago, and since that time it has further modifications, and these are still in progress.

Ian has kept the bike as original as possible by using a modified

160 Monza Junior frame, 

 Wheel hubs are also original Grimeca as fitted to the machine. the engine is a 160 unit too, rebuilt by Ducati engine expert

 Brian Silver.

It has a pair of NEW REH front forks fitted along with OZO rear alloy  shocks,

Holts alloy fuel tank,,

 The smart red seat pad is removable leaving just a GF plate when a seat is not needed. mudguards are also fabricated with glass-fibre.

It has a Bartram exhaust currently fitted but this is due for development too.

Other developments are the manufacture of an air box and carburration modification (fitting New Carb) along with what could be a change to the current Electrex World ignition fitted.

Gearing is problematic because there is no real way to reduce the primary ratios, but this is being looked into.


Photo Courtesy Classictrial.

The other side of the little bike showing the Bartram exhaust.


Photo Classictrial.

The new air-box under construction.



Photo Courtesy Sliders photography and ORR-e

Mark Whatmore gives the little bike a run out in the

2017 Talmag trial, in January.


Photo Courtesy Classictrial.

A recent outing for the bike and Ian Baker, rode so well that he won the

Pre 65 class.

Yes this machine can be classed as Pre65 because the model was built before then.


Photo Courtesy Classictrial.

Ian is going to give us his account of the little bike and the ride he had later.

 We look forward to that Ian.