Fabio Taglioni made Ducati history.
What would a Ducati be without the famous desmo system, a 90-degree L-twin engine, or a trellis frame? Over the decades, these three components have become staples of Ducati motorcycles, allowing the Italian firm’s products to stand out from the crowd.
Exactly how did these historical features come to be? It turns out that they are all the brainchild of a single man—Fabio Taglioni. He was an Italian engineer and visionary who gave Ducati its exotic flavor. 2020 marks the Centennial of Taglioni’s birth and Ducati is celebrating with a well-deserved documentary.
Ducati shared a video teaser on its social media platform on May 27, 2020. The teaser hints at the impending introduction of a documentary dedicated to Taglioni, one of the most important, if not the single most important character in the brand’s history.
Taglioni, who previously worked with Ceccato Motorcycles and Mondial, joined Ducati in 1954, four years after the company started producing motorcycle components. Taglioni was part of a team of engineers tasked with developing racing motorcycles and technologies that would eventually apply to street bikes. By 1955, Taglioni came up with the design for the Ducati Gran Sport Marianna, kickstarting the manufacturer’s racing history.
The following year, to increase the engine’s revolutions while dealing with the era’s material limitations, Taglioni came up with a desmodromic system that closes the valves using a cam rather than springs. The desmo system had been previously used by Mercedes-Benz, but Ducati was the first company to give it a motorcycle application in 1956.
15 years after his first history-making design, Taglioni started developing a new type of V-twin engine and in 1971, the Ducati 750GT became the first motorcycle to rock the company’s new 90-degree V-twin, dubbed the L-twin. Only a few years later, Taglioni followed up with the introduction of a trellis frame concept that uses triangular lines to create a rigid yet lightweight tubular structure.
Taglioni worked with Ducati until 1989 and the story goes that he created over a thousand projects for the company over close to half a century. 50+ years later, desmo, L-twin, and trellis frame remain part of Ducati’s modern lingo, a testament to the engineer’s vision and spirit of innovation. Taglioni passed away in 2001 at age 81, in Bologna, Italy.
Ducati has yet to confirm a release date for the celebratory documentary but we’ll keep you posted as soon as we know more!