Ultra-rare cruiser, 1986 Ducati Indiana 650 in low-mileage condition

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Ducati
The Ducati Indiana 650 is a motorcycle few people have heard of

In the late 1980s, thanks to the rebirth of Harley-Davidson, just about every motorcycle company got into the cruiser scene. Honda released the Shadow, Yamaha the Virago and even Ducati got into the V-twin market with its Indiana.

The Pick of the Day is a 1986 Ducati Indiana 650 that has covered only 5,600 miles from new, according to the Cadillac, Michigan, dealer advertising the bike on ClassicCars.com.  It looks to be in pretty good shape and quite original, with the exception of an aftermarket exhaust.

The photos with the ad are not very clear, however, so we’ve added a photo of the same-model Ducati Indiana from another source:

Ducati
Not the same Indiana for sale but a photo from another source to show its styling | motorcyclespecs.co.za

While the Shadow and Virago were very successful in sales when new, the Indiana was not.  The Ducati had two major issues: it was a little too weird for the traditional Ducati rider and too expensive for the traditional cruiser customer.

Even stranger, the bike was not really a Ducati but a Cagiva with a Ducati engine.

Sure it was labeled Ducati but the entire idea for the project came from Cagiva. At the time, the Ducati company was owned by Giovanni Castiglioni, who also owned Cagiva motorcycles, and the Indiana was an attempt to grow Cagiva, specifically in the U.S. market.

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motorcyclespecs.co.za

As you might have guessed, the project was not a success and not many were built. The Indiana would only last on the market from 1986 to 1987, then quietly discontinued.

For the rider, the Indiana was weird with a 31-inch seat height and foot pegs that were not forward or standard but somewhere in the middle. This made for weird ergonomics and a bike that was not very comfortable.

That being said, the Indiana with its 650 Pantah engine was faster than just about any other cruiser out there, with quarter-mile times in the 13-second range. The bike also has great brakes with stopping distances at 60 mph of 123 feet, something that was impossible for just about any other cruiser.

Ducati

Finding an Indiana these days is pretty difficult. Over the past five years, I have seen only two others for sale.  This one is priced at $5,995.

If you are looking for a cruiser but a Harley or one of the many Japanese alternatives isn’t to your taste, this Ducati would be an out-of-the-box alternative. You will not see another one coming your way any time soon.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I BOUGHT A 1985 KAWASAKI VULCAN V/TWIN 700 BRAND NEW IN 1985. PRESIDENT REGAN PUT A TARIFF ON ALL BIKES OVER 700CC TO SAVE HARLEY DAVIDSON AND THE BIKE WAS A 750 FOR CANADA"S MARKET. IT WAS A ENCLOSED DRIVESHAFT,WATERCOOLED MOTOR WITH 4 VALVES PER CYL,2 SPARKPLUGS PER CYL,DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAMS,2 BARREL CARB THAT NEEDED NO ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS,AIR/OIL SHOCKS ,AND FORKS,5 SPEED GEARBOX,31 INCH SEAT HEIGHT AND AVAILABLE IN RED OR BLACK. I BOUGHT THE RED. BIKE RAN GREAT AND FROM DAY ONE I INSTALLED SILICONE DOT 5 BRAKE FLUID. HAD BRAKE TROUBLE FOR THE 25 YEARS I OWNED IT. SOLD IT CHEAP SINCE ETHENOL IN THE FUEL RUINED THE TANK,CARB,AND MOTOR WHEN I STORED IT FOR FEW YEARS WITHOUT DRAINING THE FURL. IDIOT I WAS! BEST BIKE I EVER HAD FOR CRUISING…

  2. ON THE 1985 VULCAN I NEED TO SAY I HAD NO BRAKE TROUBLE WITH THE SILICONE DOT 5 BRAKE FLUID. I WROTE THAT I HAD TROUBLE WHICH I HAD TO EDIT. THANK YOU

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