MHR 1000 by Gerold Vogel – small series based on the Mike Hailwood replica

25 Ducati MHR 1000 from Gerold Vogel

Small series based on the Mike Hailwood replica

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When the vertical shaft Ducatis had long been history, the Swiss dealer Gerold Vogel launched an exclusive small series based on the Mike Hailwood replica in 1989. Vogel transformed these 25 Ducati MHR 1000s into sought-after pieces of jewelery with the blessing of Fabio Taglioni.

W.ow would a banker react today if a motorcycle dealer asked him for a high six-figure loan to buy 50 discontinued models from a chronically sluggish motorcycle manufacturer? The chances of getting this amount approved are probably extremely poor. With Gerold Vogel from Weinfelden, Switzerland, things were different in 1985 – he got the loan. Maybe because he was successful in his business. Perhaps because they were the legendary bevel Ducatis. But maybe also because such business was still quite normal for bankers back then.

Ducati MHR 1000

The last machines of the bevel shaft era

At that time, Ducati was already owned by the Castiglioni brothers and degraded to a mere engine supplier for Cagiva models – an exclusive small series was intended to please both solvent Ducatisti and pay homage to their creator.

Accolade from Fabio Taglioni

So Vogel traveled to Bologna to let Fabio Taglioni know about his plans. The famous Ingegnere was spontaneously taken with the idea and agreed to support the Swiss. Two more flying visits followed in Borgo Panigale, during which Vogel presented the progress of his project with numerous drawings. From an aesthetic point of view, this convinced Taglioni so much that he even ennobled it with his signature in the end – free of charge. What Vogel felt like an accolade.

Now it was time to implement the ideas recorded on the many sketches. Technically, the Ducati MHR 1000 were largely left in series production. Quite deliberately, because open carburettors with adapted jets and the throughput-friendly and powerful-sounding Conti bags were enough, in Vogel’s opinion, to give the 1000 L-Twin a go. The ardent Ducati enthusiast is convinced that in its last stage of development it had matured into a fantastic engine. More stroke and bore improved the homogeneously powerful power delivery of the upright shaft V2, while the switch to crankshaft plain bearings, Nikasil-coated cylinders, full-flow oil filters and the hydraulically operated dry clutch benefited both smoothness and stability. “Back then, we actually had no more problems with the 1000 series engines,” Vogel recalls.

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Ducati MHR 1000 without handlebar flutter

Which of course didn’t mean that a Mike Hailwood Replica 1000 was perfect. Chassis unrest in particular gnawed at their reputation, and the sweeping fairing touched down early in curves. The Swiss dealer eliminated both weaknesses in its exclusive small series. In contrast to the German Ducati importer, who, like the TÜV, had blamed a frame triangle that was too weakly designed for the suspension misery and had reinforcements welded in there, Vogels men saw the problem areas elsewhere: with better damping Pirelli tires and a functioning steering damper, they could flutter the handlebars eliminate. And with the tightly cut, stably fixed half-shell, "the Ducati MHR 1000 with the last installed Oscam wheels ran on the speedometer as if on rails at 225 km / h," confirms Vogel.

A welcome side effect of the sturdy fiberglass cladding, which should primarily only bring out the lean angle and aesthetics that many Ducatisti believe were lost in the Ducati MHR 1000. The latter was particularly important to the Swiss Ducati dealer. Because with its limited edition, which was intended as a homage to the ingenious designer Taglioni, this sculptural vertical shaft Desmo twin simply had to be seen in all its glory.

The great master seemed to have liked this approach in any case, as his engraved red signature not only adorns the polished left engine cover, but also the sight glass of the vertical shaft cover on the rear cylinder. Fabio Taglioni also signed by hand all the documents and the certificates of authenticity that were given to each of the 25 buyers together with the special brochure and a poster that were also signed.

Powerful, low-frequency rumbling from the open Contis

It goes without saying that Gerold Vogel has all the documents together for his own copy of this limited edition. It is number one of 25 Ducati MHR 1000s, as the polished brass plate with a three-dimensional tricolor on the rear bumper reveals. The Duc leans casually on the side stand constructed by Gerold Vogel’s troop, the red paint shines with the many polished aluminum parts of the engine in the warm autumn light, while Gerold’s brother Urs brings the Desmo-Twin to life.

A push of a button is all it takes, and the V2 responds with a powerful, low-frequency rumble from the open Contis. "The original ‘Silentium brand’ silencers were neither pleasing to the eye nor for the performance of the bringers," says Gerold. And emphasizes that at the time, every buyer still got all the other standard parts in addition to the original exhaust system in order to be able to restore the exclusive version of the Ducati MHR 1000 to its standard condition at any time.

However, probably none of the 24 buyers have done that. Because Vogel’s successful renovation looks right from every perspective. You could spend hours looking at this wonderful engine, which the polished aluminum cover lends a noble touch. Also nicely done are details like the reworked left side cover, from which the open funnel of the rear carburetor peeps. Admired enough, Urs wants to go now. And finally take a picture of Dave.

March forward forcefully without hiccups

Then I can also do a short lap with the noble piece. What an experience! It’s just wonderful how softly and yet directly the V2 hangs on the gas. Already from 1500 tours the slides of the 40s Dellortos can be fully opened, and the Ducati MHR 1000 marches forward with vigor without hiccups. With speeds increasing, the dull rumble turns into a hammering staccato that is addictive. Before I can enjoy the smooth run, the unexpectedly comfortable suspension and the not so stubborn handling, the short test ride is unfortunately over again. Too bad, I would also like to have such a "bird". Urs and Gerold smile as if they could read my mind.

But this homage to Taglioni was already something for solvent enthusiasts, the "GV Classic Limited Edition" cost 34,500 francs when delivered from 1989. A price that many Swiss Ducati fans perceived as a provocation because of the supposedly manageable renovation work, which was once unleashed in vicious letters to the editor. Today, some of these letters to the editor are likely to be annoyed because they did not strike at "the excessive price" back then. As is usual with Konigswelle-Ducatis, the value of Gerold Vogel’s 25 rare pieces has risen sharply. Why I can save myself the loan request from my banker.

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