Its origin is similar to other projects that begin with an engine, inside a workshop in Borgo Panigale, Italy, on the outskirts of Bologna, the capital of motorcycling. In that garage, near Ducati´s main factory, is where engineers Giorgio Nepoti, Rino Caracchi and Luigi Rizzi began creating—in 1968—racing motorcycles from models produced by the Ducati company. The venture was christened with the initials of their last names: NCR.
A stellar team of engineers and mechanics—including champion pilot Franco Farnè— focused from the start on creating avant-garde models, motorcycles that would be only available to a privileged few. The goal was to elevate the name of Ducati to the pinnacle of motorcycle racing.
And so it happened. In 1978, just a decade after its birth, NCR climbed to the top of the podium in the World Championship Formula 1—equivalent to the category of Superbikes—at the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man, with the legendary Ducati 900NCR. (Classic Motorcycles as an Investment). Driven to glory by the legendary Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood, that winning motorcycle–based on the Ducati 900SS–beat Phil Read’s seemingly unbeatable Honda.
NCR Mike Hailwood TT.
Last year, that particular unit was sold in a classic motorcycle auction organized by Bonhams in Las Vegas, USA, for more than $175,000. The price gives us an idea of the resonance of the legendary moniker Ducati 900NCR. Recently, the iconic motorcycle received a tribute with the exclusive NCR Mike Hailwood TT.
Nearly four decades after that milestone, NCR continues to produce some of the most exclusive and radical motorcycles in the market. But now, besides productions based on Ducati models, NCR also manufactures its own motorcycles with the same sporting spirit and the extensive experience achieved through almost half a century of competition tradition. Two NCR models are included among the top ten most expensive and exclusive motorcycles in the world.
NCR Corse 1200.
The first is the NCR Leggera 1200, whose top of the range—the NCR Corse 1200— can command upwards of $100,000. And deservingly so, given its benefits. Mounted on the basis of a Ducati Hypermotard from the previous generation, the NCR Leggera 1200 ranks as one of the lightest motorcycles in the world at less than 300 pounds. Together with the 132 hp delivered by its Ducati 1100 engine of 1,160 cc, it offers a power/weight ratio close to 1.
But NCR’s crown jewel is undoubtedly the Millona 16 (or NCR M16), which has been on the market for several years, and without which it is impossible to understand what the NCR brand means today. The fabled bike boasts 200 hp and weighs less than 330 pounds, lighter even than a MotoGP. Outstanding on any race, this motorcycle whose exclusivity is also felt in the price—which can go up to $160,000—is among the three most expensive production models of the world. ■