Massimo Tamburini – The Michaelangelo man of motorcycle design

Anyone who has ventured even a little bit into the motorcycle space would know that a big chunk of the best designs has come from Italian motorcycle manufacturers. One such motorcycle that I would say is on the top of my list is MV Agusta’s Brutale series. To me, a Brutale would be an example to define the fine line between engineering and design. The design was very intriguing to me that I went ahead and did a bit of research to know how the vehicle has evolved, only to find a name at the end of the history line – Massimo Tamburini.

MV Agusta Brutale RR

Massimo Tamburini was an Italian motorcycle designer who left an indelible mark on the industry with his iconic designs. Born in Rimini, Italy in 1943, Tamburini began his career as an industrial designer before transitioning into the world of motorcycles. Tamburini is best known for his work with Ducati and MV Agusta, two of the most prestigious Italian motorcycle manufacturers. He began his career at Bimota, a small Italian motorcycle manufacturer, where he designed the company’s first bike, the SB1.

Bimota SB1

Tamburini working on his personal Ducati 916

In 1985, Tamburini joined Ducati and designed the 851, a bike that would go on to win multiple championships in the World Superbike series. He continued to design for Ducati throughout the 1990s, creating iconic models like the 916, the 996, and the 999. The 916, in particular, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made, with its sleek lines and distinctive single-sided swingarm.

The single-sided swingarm keeps the rear wheel fully exposed on one side

Tamburini’s success at Ducati eventually led to an invitation to join MV Agusta, where he designed the F4, a bike that is still regarded as one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made. His designs were not just beautiful, but also functional. He was known for his attention to detail, and his bikes were renowned for their exceptional handling and performance. He was also an innovator, introducing new technologies like fuel injection and electronic engine management to the world of motorcycles.

Tamburini(right) with Claudio Castiglioni and the MV Agusta F4

Tamburini passed away in 2014 at the age of 70, but his legacy lives on through his designs. His impact on the motorcycle industry cannot be overstated, and his bikes continue to inspire riders and designers around the world. From the iconic 916 to the breathtaking F4, Massimo Tamburini’s designs will forever be remembered as some of the most beautiful and influential motorcycles ever made.



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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Ahh! I love these bikes and I intend to ride a Ducati 916 on a race track down the line. It was a nice intro about Mr. Tamburini and his humble origins. I have been always gravitated towards the naked bikes like this, it’s a perfect mix of boldness & fine aesthetics balance in such high powered & high performance bikes, especially in those developed by Mr. Tamburini.
    In fact, I do own a naked, cafe racer bike. Hopefully, I’ll ride one of aforementioned ones soon enough. 🙂

  • Grant Barnes
    March 5, 2023 9:20 pm

    I have always been fascinated by the design of high performance motorcycles and how just by looking at it you can tell its fast. The Italians really know what they are doing when it comes to fast vehicle design and Tamburini’s work clearly shows how he is one of the best to do it.

  • Aidan Shelburne
    March 5, 2023 12:32 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing, love the motorcycle content. The old Italian cafe racers and the newer naked and hyper-naked models are really things of beauty. I never knew who was behind these designs and it’s a delight to learn, I’ll have to look into it further.


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