’64 Ducati Mountaineer 90
From American Motorcycling Magazine August 1963; “Designed and engineered specifically for the sportsman who wants to do a lot of ‘off the road riding’. “The Mountaineer, with it’s rugged construction and knobby 16″ rear wheel will appeal to the hunter”
I love finding odd motorcycles, for this website and for riding myself. The quirkier…the better, that’s my motto. Unlike other stories I have written about bikes that I have personal connections to, this little Ducati is a complete stranger to me, but I really like it.
Come to think of it though, I actually do have a connection to it, rather convoluted however. For a short period of time I had a little Suzuki 90cc trail bike that looks strangely familiar to this Ducati. Besides both having a 90cc 2 stroke motor, look at the styling…imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery.
We only had the Suzuki for about six months but it was a blast to ride around the neighborhood and the really big vacant lot behind our house. I was tempted to ride it in a ‘Family’ Enduro once but that thought quickly passed as I opened the second beer and my step dad was rolling on the floor laughing. If I had had the Ducati Mountaineer, well, maybe he wouldn’t have been laughing so hard?
So this little Ducati is really unique. For one thing most people don’t equate Ducati with small two strokes nor trail bikes, but at that period in time, Ducati made a lot of small displacement motorcycles.
The Mountaineer and it’s street going compatriot the Cadet, were available in two different versions. You had your choice of the basic 5HP model or, the mind bending, arms stretching, neck straining 7HP model. Think of all you can do with 2 extra horsepower. The Mountaineer had a steel Duplex Cradle frame (compared to the Suzuki’s stamped, might as well be tin foil frame), re-inforced handlebars and a dual rear sprocket set up, very reminescent of Honda’s dual ratio set up on the Trail 90. The little Ducati trail bike had a three speed tansmission and weighed in at only 115lbs. With 5 or 7 horsepower, you only need 3 gears!
Here’s the really cool thing about this little motorcycle. It had a turbine like fan to cool the motor so that no matter what RPM you were running in any gear, the engine had air running over the cylinder to keep the temperature down. Italian engineering at it’s most creative.
My daily perusing of ebay landed me on this little Ducati and the fun began. The seller has a story to go with this bike, selling it for an estate, the owner had passed away, it’s been sitting for a generation. The seller says it has only 83.7 miles on the odometer. The story attached to that is that the original owner bought it new, rode it around a bit, crashed it into the brush (or something like that), and from there on was afraid to ride it and parked the bike. Ok….look at the pictures. It looks to me that there is more wear than from just one little crash and then sitting through the ‘Summer of Love’, the Vietnam War and dozen Presidential elections. The ad also states the speedo cable is disconnected, Hmmmm. And, was the crash bad enough rip off the front tire? Nonetheless, for somebody looking for a really unique Italian motorbike, this might just fit the bill. You know, this could be a neat little bike for the Moto Giro California next year.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and the full story. A great resource for information about this Ducati would be the Ducati Bevelheads list, I know this isn’t a bevelhead but these guys are knowledgeable about most any vintage Ducati. You can contact them through my friend Steve Allen at www.bevelheaven.com