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7 great love/hate bikes designed by Pierre Terblanche

Published: 02 November 2015

He’s the controversial designer who replaced 916 genius Massimo Tamburini. Talk about a hard act to follow...


 

1993 Ducati Supermono

South African Pierre Terblanche’s motorcycle design career began in 1989 when he left VW to join Ducati under the direction of Massimo Tamburini. His first work was on the updated Paso 907ie and Ducati 888. His first ‘whole’ bike, however, came when he followed Tamburini to the Cagiva Design Center, where he created the Supermono – an exquisite high-tech (it was fuel-injected with two con rods) 550cc, 75bhp, ultra-rare (just 67 were built) racing single and which was part of the inspiration for the 916.
What you’ll pay today: When they come up (which is rare), £75,000+
But should you? Yes, it’s one of the most desirable of all Ducatis.

 

1998 Ducati 900SS

When Ducati was sold by Cagiva to the Texas Pacific Group in 1996, Terblanche went with them to Bologna as Director of Design. His first product in this new role was a daunting one – refreshing Ducati’s legendary 900SS. Though a stronger chassis, new brakes and forks and a longer rear shock meant better handling, controversial styling (something that would become a Terblanche trademark) meant it wasn’t universally well received.
What you’ll pay today: £2500-£3500.
But should you? They’re about as affordable and versatile as Ducatis get.

 

1998 Cagiva Gran Canyon

In 1994, as Design Director of the Cagiva Research Center, then in San Marino, Terblanche penned his first full road-going, big-bore Cagiva/Ducati (although it didn’t go into production until 1998), a larger brother to the dreary Cagiva Canyon he’d designed earlier – the Cagiva Gran Canyon. Like many of Bologna’s wares of the era it was powered by Ducati’s versatile, 904cc, air-cooled L-twin. It followed the popular adventure bike fashion but missed the boat due to delayed production, poor build quality and expensive servicing.
What you’ll pay today: Around £2000 – if you can find one.
But should you? Affordable Ducati-powered all-rounder but it lacks star quality and durability.

 

2000 Ducati MHe900

Inspired by Mike Hailwood’s 1978 TT victory and the replica roadster MH900 that followed, Terblanche’s MHe (e for ‘evoluzione’) was unveiled as a concept in 1998. Public reaction was so positive that Ducati were convinced to put it into limited production and it became their first bike sold solely online. 1000 went on sale on Jan 1 2000, selling out in hours.
What you’ll pay today: £12,000-£17,000
But should you? Very much a mouth-watering collector’s item.

 

2003 Ducati Multistrada

Terblanche’s original Multistrada broke convention by being a road-focused but adventure-styled machine. The chassis included single-sided swingarm, fat 190 rear tyre, inverted forks and rear monoshock while an, Öhlins-equipped ‘S’ version was also available. Its oddball looks, however, split opinions.
What you’ll pay today: Early 1000s from £2300, a late, low-mileage 1100S £5500.
But should you? A cheap ‘S’ at around £3500 is classy and versatile fun.

 

2003 Ducati 999

Terblanche didn’t pull any punches in replacing the 916, but his 999, although effective, was slow to be loved, thanks mostly to its challenging styling. It was technically novel (the solo seat, for example, could be adjusted fore and aft); effective on track (winning WSB three times) and becoming a classic.
What you’ll pay today: £4500 for a good one, around £17K for an ‘R’.
But should you? Prices are only going to rise. Middle spec ‘S’ is the best buy. 

 

2006 Ducati Sport Classic

Much missed and in strong demand today, the lamentably short-lived, retro-inspired Sport Classic family was an evolution of the MHe900. The range comprised: limited-edition Paul Smart 1000, Sport 1000 and, a year later, the twin-seat GT1000. Confoundingly, at the time they never took off.
What you’ll pay today: £12K+ for a Paul Smart, £9000 for a Sport 1000, £6500 for a GT. But should you? Oh yes. Sports are glorious, GTs more sensible.

Words: Phil West

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