Ducati’s 250 Desmo was a nailed down design classic. The firm began in Bologna, in ’26 – producing electrical parts. That might generate a few wry smiles amongst Brit bikers of a certain age. Italian machines have traditionally been noted more for aesthetic than technical perfection. Especially in the wiring department!
At any rate, Ducati’s signature engine set-up was ‘desmodromic’. It saw valves closed by cams – rather than springs. The goal was more precise control of valve-gear components. For a marque so synonymous with styling, then, ‘desmo’ was definitely a feather in Ducati’s parts cap. The 250 was the baby of the newly engineered range. Though of reduced capacity compared to its bigger siblings, the 250 was still blessed with a fair lick of speed. Indeed, it fell just a tad short of the totemic ‘ton’. In handling terms, too, the 250 had plenty in its favour. Weighing in at less than 300lb – and with finely-tuned suspension – its rubber side remained resolutely glued to the tarmac. Saying that, clip-on ‘bars, rear-set footrests and a solo seat coaxed riders into finding the limits of adhesion!
The Desmo was designed by Leo Tartarini. He drew the 250 with simple, strong lines. They were all that was needed. The bike had dynamism built-in – by dint of its ‘racy’ parts list. So, the 250 was as strong visually, as it was technically. Certainly, its desmodromic valve-train was a key asset. But, it also possessed poised and purposeful looks – belying its size. Dimunitive it may have been, but the Ducati 250 Desmo married technological innovation with innate Italian good looks!