BMW Motorrad Spezial

Ducati 200 Élite

1962 Ducati 200 Elite classic motorcycle
It’s been too long since we’ve featured vintage Italian machinery. And then I stumbled across this jaw-dropping shot of a Ducati 200 Élite from 1962. To my eyes, it’s the perfect post-War motorcycle, and I’m not surprised to learn that it was a huge success when it appeared in 1958. The 204cc bevel-driven motor is simply a bored-out version of Ducati’s contemporary 175cc thumper—but it was good enough for 18bhp and 144kph (90mph), because the bike weighs a mere 105kg (230 lbs). The Real Classic website has a detailed write-up of the history of the model, reporting that “The standard roadbike was an all-purpose run-around rather than a racer, but if you wanted to go faster then there was a different carb set-up and a camshaft with a steep cam angle. Of course, the bog-standard spec bikes could happily return 70mpg, so you might not want to tinker with it too much…” For me, there’s as much artistry in the styling as the mechanicals. That tank in particular is a three-dimensional work of art, with more curves than Dita Von Teese. A welcome antidote to the angular, slash-and-cut plastic mouldings on too many motorcycles today. [Images below via Ducati Masip.]

Ducati 200 Elite classic motorcycle
Ducati 200 Elite classic motorcycle

  • Roger

    beautiful bike.

  • David Enfield

    A jewel .

  • Mule

    I love the details of these little Italian bikes. I don’t think I’ll ever get my mind around the shape of that tank though. Wish I had something like this so I could do the Moto Giro!

  • Cool li’l bike. The tank is a bit Salvador Dali isn’t it, but what a showpiece.

  • Anton

    I think the tank can best be described as a beautiful melting ice cube. Everything about this bike is truly a jewel indeed. Love it.

  • Emmet

    beautiful bike, but I can’t agree with the tank. I’m putting my thumb over it and my mind’s going wild about the rest of the bike!

  • Phil
  • bigbadchad

    Saw one of these restored to its original grandeur at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham AL recently. Out of over 2000 bikes, this was one of the few that stopped me in my tracks. Those Italians sure knew how to design purty cycles back in the 60s!

  • Bryguy9

    Ok, I love this site, but I have to say this is the first Ducati that speaks to me or makes me feel anything. This is a beautiful bike.

  • NoH2Oh

    Jelly mold tanks are simply works of art. Imagine those curves on a steel tank made today.

  • G

    I wish that it didn’t, but the tank reminds me of one of those nasty orange “circus peanuts” candys.

  • Jason

    So gorgeous that I put it as my background to gaze at it again and again. Yum.

  • Bald Shaun

    Drool. I love those jelly bean tanks. Absolute work of art.

  • badhairday

    … uuuaaah…!

  • Jolyon

    I personally hate that gold, the polished chrome tank in the first shot is much nicer.

  • ehys?

    Am the only one who thinks the seat looks like a cardboard box with vinyl over it? It looks blocky and out of place on such a curvy bike to me.

  • The jelly mold tanks are the best!