Short-lived but long-lasting, the Ducati 860 GT and its family were born to be classics. These superbikes were primarily designed for racing and dominated the tracks back in the 1970s before being discontinued after only a few years in production.
A Brief History
Ducati first produced the 860 GT in 1974 to add to its wildly successful assortment of racing bikes. The 860 GT was only in production for a grand total of two years before being replaced by a newer design based on the same technological premises.
This newer design took the form of the Ducati 860 GTS. Both had similar engines, though the GTS was slightly more powerful and underwent a few other minor alterations.
In 1976, the Ducati 900 GTS, the final addition to the GT line, was introduced. Only a few short years later, 1979 marked the end of the GT series.
Designed to Leave a Legacy
In the five years of its production, the GT line managed to establish itself as a classic by way of incredible design and performance.
The performance range for the original GT engine and all subsequent updates was between 50 and 60 horsepower, with top speeds averaging about 109 miles per hour, and engines with just shy of 900 cubic centimeters of displacement.
Timeline of Versions with Changes
Though the GT line only lasted four years, three primary models were released.
- Ducati 860 GT and 860 GTE (1974-1976)
The original version of the GT was not designed with an electrical start. Instead, the engineers relied more heavily on mechanical components and solid structuring, focusing very little on the electrical components of the vehicle. The 860 GTE was the first to showcase an electric start.
- Ducati 860 GTS (1976-1979)
By 1976, all models being produced in the GT series were equipped with electric starters. This model kept the same 863.9cc, SOHC, four-stroke, air-cooled, V-twin engine design as the original, despite the exterior being restyled for better production.
- Ducati 900 GTS (1978-1979)
The 900 GTS received increased horsepower and torque compared to previous models, with an increased emphasis on handling and control at the high speeds necessary to win races.
The Ducati 860 in the News
Very little new information tends to circulate regarding the 860 GT and GTS. To put it simply, this is because there is no new information. Ducati’s GT series has been out of production for almost half of a century.
That said, the 860 GT and 860 GTE were both featured in a retrospective written for Rider Magazine as recently as 2016.
Fifteen Seconds of Fame
Ducati’s 860 GT has been featured in one film, one TV series, and one popular anime. Considering the 860 GT’s minute time in production, this is quite the rap sheet.
There aren’t any major social groups specifically dedicated to the GT line; however, you might enjoy this facebook group designated for the owners of any general Ducati motorcycle.
The Ducati 860 GT – Short-Lived, Long-Lasting
Few motorcyclists agree with Ducati’s decision to pull the GT series from production. However, one thing all owners of motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters can agree on is that the Ducati 860 GT is a classic here to stay.