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Massimo Tamburini: 1943 – 2014

Mon, 07 Apr 2014

Massimo Tamburini, creator of some of the industry’s most iconic motorcycle designs, has succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 70. Tamburini was diagnosed with the disease last November and underwent chemotherapy treatment but passed away April 6.

Earning renown for designing motorcycles such as the Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4, Tamburini’s name will be forever linked with those two companies, as well as Cagiva and helped found Bimota (Tamburini is the “Ta” in the company’s name.)

Massimo Tamburini (right) with another late motorcycle industry icon, Claudio Castiglioni.

Tamburini joined with Valerio Bianchi (“Bi”) and Giuseppe Morri (“Mo”) in the ’60s, to manufacturer, of all things, air conditioning ducts. Tamburini already had an interest in motorcycles, building his own frame to customize an MV Agusta 750 Sport in 1971. Two years later, the trio changed their focus to motorcycles, forming Bimota and producing bikes from their own chassis and engines from various manufacturers.

In 1985, Tamburini joined the Cagiva Group, just as the company acquired Ducati. Tamburini set to work designing models for both brands. His first Ducati was the 1986 Paso 750, one of the first production motorcycles to use a full close-fitting fairing.

While the Paso 750 wasn’t a popular model, the Ducati 916 was a different story. The 916 replaced the Ducati 888, using a larger engine and a striking new fairing that still influences some of today’s designs. The 916 was also noted for its single-sided swingarm and underseat exhausts, features that continued through numerous successors.

When Cagiva sold Ducati in 1996, Tamburini remained, turning his focus to the MV Agusta brand. In 1998, MV Agusta revealed the Tamburini-designed F4 and its iconic four-pipe under-tail exhaust. Tamburini later designed the MV Agusta Brutale and the F3 675.



By Dennis Chung

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