Community Classic and Custom Motorcycles Massimo Tamburini - Designer of Ducati 916 & MV Agusta F4 -...

Massimo Tamburini – Designer of Ducati 916 & MV Agusta F4 – Dies

Massimo Tamburini: Nov. 28, 1943 – April 5, 2014

Massimo Tamburini - Designer of Ducati 916 & MV Agusta F4 - Passes
Three legends – Claudio Castiglioni, Massimo Tamburini and the MV Agusta F4

One of the world’s most famous motorcycle designers, Massimo Tamburini, passed away Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Tamburini, born Nov. 28, 1943 in Rimini, Italy, was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2013, and began undergoing chemotherapy. The San Marino resident’s condition got worse through the last several months, and he died Saturday at 70-years old.

Tamburini is most known for designing two of the world’s most recognizable sport bikes – the Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4. His last designs were two modern Italian icons – the MV Agusta Brutale and F3 675.

Tamburini began his design career in 1971, when he customized an MV Agusta 750 Sport. He took the 750 Sport, and revised it, utilizing a frame he welded himself.

While designing air-condition ducts in 1973, Tamburini and partners Valerio Bianchi and Giuseppe Morri began Bimota – a “portmanteau” that uses the first letters of each partners last name (Bi, Mo, Ta). Bimota began building motorcycles that utilized engines from Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki. Tamburini left the company 11 years later due to a falling out with Morri.

The motorcycle industry was about to change, though, when Tamburini joined in 1985 the Cagiva Group, founded by Claudio Castiglioni. Cagiva, which owned Ducati in 1985, continually developed new and innovative motorcycles that have influenced the direction of the Italian and world motorcycle markets through the 1980s and 1990s. Just like Tamburini, Castiglioni also passed away from cancer (Aug. 17, 2011).

Tamburini, who would become the head of the Cagiva Research and Development department,  designed both Cagiva and Ducati motorcycles. His first design was the Ducati Paso 750, the name in memory of his friend and Grand Prix racer Renzo Pasolini, who died while racing at Monza in 1973. The Paso broke from Ducati’s race-influenced F1 styling, and brought full bodywork mainstream.

But it was in 1994 when Tamburini would drastically change the look of all sport bikes going forward. This is when the 916 was born. The 916 featured bold, streamlined styling, a single-sided swingarm and a second-generation Desmoquattro engine.

In 1996, Ducati was sold to the US-based Texas-Pacific Group, but Tamburini stayed with Cagiva. From here, Tamburini began designing MV Agusta motorcycles (Cagiva bought MV Agusta in 1991).

Tamburini would design the F4, a sport bike that was released in 1997. The F4 series was a success, and in 2005 MV Agusta released the F4 Tamburini 1000 – a special model named after its famed designer. Tamburini continued with MV Agusta, and his last creation was the Brutale and F3 675.

Tamburini helped shaped the world of modern sport bikes, and will be sorely missed by all those in the industry.

Giovanni Castiglioni, son of Claudio and President of MV Agusta, sums up Tamburini beautifully: “Massimo Tamburini was one of the legends of the motorcycle industry. I want to remember his passion, enthusiasm and determination. He was a great designer, but above all he was truly passionate about motorcycles.

“He left our company a precious heritage and will always occupy a place of honor amongst motorcycle’s all time greats. His name will go down in history for his ingenious intuition and perfectionism applied to every small detail.”

Massimo Tamburini Photo Gallery

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Adventure Review (14 Fast Facts)

Suzuki continues to fine-tune, expand, and retract the V-Strom 650 platform, and the latest iteration of the mid-size adventure motorcycle is the 2020 Suzuki...

Lorenzo, Biaggi, Anderson: Set for MotoGP Legends Inductions

Three icons of motorcycle racing will be inducted into MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame throughout the 2020 season: Jorge Lorenzo (5X World Champion) Max...

2020 Triumph Tiger 1200 Special Editions First Look (5 Fast Facts)

There will be two new Special Editions added to the 2020 Triumph Tiger 1200 lineup—the Desert Edition and the Alpine Edition.

2020 Suzuki GSX-R750 Buyer’s Guide: Specs & Price

Take Suzuki GSX-R600 supersport chassis and put in a 750cc cheater motor, and you have the 2020 Suzuki GSX-R750. Sure, it doesn't fit in...

The Best of Peter Egan: Book Review (Rider’s Library)

relatable, real. Those qualities have made Peter Egan one of the most widely-read writers of our time. Here's a review of The Best of Peter Egan.

2016-2020 Triumph Thruxton Recall: Side Stand Issues

Triumph Motorcycles America has recalled 3,244 of its 2016-2018 Thruxton, 2016-2019 Thruxton R, and 2020 Thruxton TFC motorcycles due to side-stand issues.