After a decade of working for Ducati, patiently waiting, Taglioni was finally able to put his beloved Desmodromic system into a production bike with this: the 350 Mark 3 Desmo. The bike first debuted in 1968 and would see the company into the 70’s, where in 1972 a variation of this basic engine design would win famously at Imola under Paul Smart.
But first came the singles—so many singles. Ducati would produce no fewer than 71 distinct models of its overhead camshaft single-cyclinder bikes between 1960 and 1978, which all adds up to some 95,600 production units. That’s according to motorcycle historian Ian Falloon, who filled a 300-page book cataloging their variations.
That matrix of models is dizzying, but also a testament to Taglioni’s tenacity for engine development—eking out a little more from the design with each iteration as Ducati designers continued to fuss with and update the styling as the years rolled on. After a decade of patiently waiting, Taglioni was finally able to put his beloved Desmodromic system into a production bike with this: the 350 Mark 3 Desmo.
The coffin-shaped tank wasn’t very popular when it debuted in 1968, but sales picked up steam toward the end of its run.
That little D painted on the side cover is easy to miss, but it’s a very important identifier—small and sporty, with a big, buttery-smooth power band, this fantastic little super-single was one of the best Ducati ever made.
The Ducati Story
Ducati 350 Mark 3-D (1968-1972)
Ducati 350 Desmo (1971-1972)
Ducati 750S (1972-1974)
Ducati 750SS (1973-1974)
Ducati 900SS (1975-1982)
Ducati Darmah (1977-1982)
Ducati MHR (1979-1984)
Bonus: The Benelli 750 Sei