1988 Ducati Paso 750
So here we have another somewhat unloved motorcycle that seems to be becoming a bit of a collector item. Why? Well, there are probably a number of good reasons and few that make you still want to ask…why?
Welcome class to Paso 101. Ducati, for multiple reasons, has always had financial difficulties (name an Italian company that hasn’t ???) and in the 1980’s needed some $$$ help. Enter the Castiglioni brothers…Cagiva. Back in 1978 they bought Aermachhi from Harley Davidson, this was their big start. As they developed their motorcycles (another very interesting story),they found they needed motors for their bigger motorcycles, the Elefant Adventure model in particular, and Ducati was the best choice. Shortly thereafter, they bought up all of Ducati.
The team that created the Paso was Taglioni (Desmo God), Tamburini ( Ducati 916 and MV F4 designer God), and The Brothers ($$$ Gods). With that team how could the Paso not be perfect?? Well, this was a time that all motorcycle manufacturers were looking for a niche, yet again. Ducati had gone from ‘bevel drive’ to belt drive with the Pantah (the same design is still used today) but the problem was not enough horsepower. The Japanese builders were able to get more ponies and more top speed out of their four cylinder bikes than the Italians or the Brit’s. Whats a company to do?? “Let’s streamline it!” The Paso was the first of the fully enclosed sportbikes of the era.
LIke it or not, the Paso…oh, do you know where the name came from? Renzo Pasolini. Renzo was a great roadracer that sadly died in an accident at Monza in 1073. Back to the design…this was Ducati’s first try at ‘full-closure’ body work. The idea was to create a body that would control the airflow away from the rider. Tamburini designed the bike with the rear cylinder head reversed (which had already been done on the Elefant), and adding two oil coolers mounted to the side of the motor. Then came the problem, one single Weber automotive carburetor and less than reliable electrics. What are you gonna do?! Now add 16″ wheels front and rear for quick handling and bodywork that nobody really liked and what do you have??? A bike that only lasted a few years on the market…even when it was bumped up to 907cc’s and was still slow. The Paso be came one of the unloved Ducati’s much like the poor red-headed stepchild, the 860GT.
Here’s the thing though, the Paso was and is a good motorcycle. Maybe 72 HP and only a top speed of 130 MPH wasn’t up to the standards of the times, but it was a Ducati. It was unique in styling, it handled quite well and with a whole of work, it actually ran well…maybe. What most owners did was change out the carb set up, found 17″ wheels off a later model 900SS (required a boatload of modifications) and found themselves with a motorbike worthy of the Ducati lineage.
So, today while looking for parts for my Benelli, I came across a very nice Paso. Only 13.6 k miles, recently went through (it’s a running rider), and overall a nice bike. Yes, it does show its age here and there but don’t we all…that’s what makes us special. This bike too. The price is well within reason and even if it is not one of the favorites among the Ducatisti, it is a motorcycle well worth adding to any collection. Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures. Ask if the owner has made the change to 17″ wheels because modern performance tires in the original 16″ size are about as hard to find as hens teeth.