1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport | ME & MY BIKE

Still a daily rider after 40 years of ownership!

  • NAME: Keith Hale
  • AGE: 62
  • HOME: San Francisco, California
  • OCCUPATION: Fine Art Painter/Parts Manager, Munroe Motors

I bought this bike brand new from Jack's Motorcycles in Fresno, California, when I was 22. They'd just received some early, square-case Ducati 900 Super Sports, but I wanted a 750. Jack had one, but it wasn't for sale. It sat behind the counter, in a far corner of the workshop area. I haunted that shop every weekend, badgering Jack until he finally sold it to me for $3,600—$400 over retail price.

I’ve ridden it to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Big Sur. I took third on it in AFM Formula Twins at Laguna Seca in 1980, and I raced it at Sears Point. For several years in the early ’80s it was my only transportation here in Northern California. I lived in San Leandro and worked at a lighting factory in Berkeley. I racked up most of the mileage on my daily commute: Redwood Road to Skyline to Grizzly Peak and back again, five days a week, rain or shine.

After 40 years of ownership, I have several distinct memories. In 1977, I rode from the San Francisco Bay Area to Fresno through 216 miles of back roads in two hours and 10 minutes. My first pass through the Corkscrew on the gas was scary fun. Later, the bike was spread all over my bedroom for a year during its restoration. After I put it back together, it started on the first kick.

The first speedometer died in 1989, at 71,000 miles. The bike was well over 100,000 miles when I restored it in 2001. I’m still riding it daily. I enjoy the attention it gets. And it’s worth a bit more than I paid for it—an original 750SS recently sold for more than $100,000 at an auction in Las Vegas. I’ll never sell it though. For me, the real joy of ownership is still the ride—loud, elemental, and captivating.