Keith Hale owned and rode this bike since new, and now he's selling it on.
There’s nothing quite like a good motorcycle story, and this 1974 Ducati 750 SuperSport comes with a truly unique one. It was a rare bike to begin with, as only 401 were made that year, with the build process personally supervised by Fabio Taglioni himself. Only 88 made their way to America, but how many spent their lives thus far with a single owner, who put over 100,000 miles on the clock?
The original—and current—owner, Keith Hale, has a lifetime of stories about this bike. It’s the great mechanical love of his life, and it’s been with him through thick and thin. He’s commuted on it, raced it, camped with it, and lovingly maintained it himself throughout their entire time together. Although he wouldn’t rate himself as the best bike mechanic in the world, he knows this particular bike through and through.
He’s done regular valve checks and adjustments, oil changes, and even a full restoration back at the turn of the century. The odometer stopped working at a couple of different points. He’s sure he reached over 100,000 miles some time back, but total mileage is unknown. As of 2021, Hale came to the difficult decision to sell his baby on through art motorcycle curator and dealer Moto Borgotaro.
Gallery: Keith Hale's 1974 Ducati 750 SS
While there was never a doubt in Hale’s mind that he absolutely wanted to ride this bike and enjoy life with it as much as possible, he was never a rich man. He bought the bike new in 1975, when he was 22 years old, after pestering a local dealer for months about selling him this bike.
As the story goes, he’d crashed his Norton and was recovering from an injury. When he happened to be at the dealership that eventually sold him this 750 SS, they kickstarted it—and that sound was an instant arrow to the heart for Hale. He knew he had to have it, and just kept asking after it until the dealer finally agreed. He financed it with a bank loan, for $3,600—which seems like a bargain in 2021, but wasn’t exactly pocket change back then.
Through life’s ups and downs, he found himself with no health insurance, and not making a lot of money from his career as an artist and art instructor. Although he was able to fully fund his early-2000s restoration of this bike by selling some of his art, he also did everything but the paint himself. The entire restoration cost him an estimated $5,000, which is all detailed in recognized moto historian Ian Falloon’s writeup of Hale and this 750 SS at the Moto Borgotaro site.
For any number of reasons, Hale joked that since he didn’t have a work-associated retirement plan, this 750 SS was his retirement plan. Eventually, he decided it wasn’t a joke anymore. It must surely be bittersweet, as all great love stories are. Whether we’d have seen this documentary get made if Hale hadn’t decided to sell this bike is something we’ll probably never know. In any case, we can all watch and share this great bike story—and if you’re interested in owning this bike, you can reach out to Moto Borgotaro to discuss the matter.