The 650 Alazzurra article


1987 Cagiva Alazzurra

A picture of me and my Cagiva 650 Alazurra road racer in the pit area at Sears Point. I moved the motor foward 1.5", steepened the rake to 26 degrees, put on 1000 Moto Guzzi triple clamps to reduce the trail, lengthened the swing arm, and braced the frame. Craig built the head pipes, and I hydroformed the megaphone 37K jpeg file

A side view of the Alazurra at Sears Point. 68K jpeg file

A picture of the Alazurra in street trim. 32K jpeg file

Another picture of the Alazurra in street trim. 36K jpeg file

I'm going to tell you a bit about my Cagiva 650 Alazzurra SS because 1) I think you'll find it interesting, and 2) it is going up for sale (SORRY, IT SOLD IN AUGUST 1996).

The bike is an '87 model and came with the 38mm Brembo calipers and 2.5"/3.0" x 18" cast wheel combination. It was purchased by the previous owner in February 1989 from Monroe Motors in San Francisco. Emile rode the bike on the street for a bit, and then started roadracing it in the AFM 650 Twins class. I met Emile in 1990 and did some work on the bike, setting up the squish bands and making clipons. Emile raced the bike in pretty stock trim, other than adjustable Konis, 38mm Marzocchi forks (stock was 35mm) and 280mm aluminum carrier discs in place of the stock 260mm one piece items. In 1991 he had a local tuner clean up the ports and manifolds and do a valve job. I think Emile got as high as 4th or 5th place finishes before putting the bike back on the street at the end of the 1991 season. He had a couple of mild low slides which left some minor dents in the tank, but destroyed the stock fairing.

I got a call from Emile in late summer 1992, when he decided to sell the bike. I'd wanted a belt-drive Ducati for some time so I bought it in moderately rough condition. Emile had complained about how the front end pushed in corners at Sears Point, so I didn't bother riding it before taking it apart and putting the frame on my frame jig. L-twin Ducatis have always had a problem of being tail-heavy (I raced a GT750 for several years in the early 1980's), and I figured this, in conjunction with the massive rake/trail, was causing the front end push. I cut off the motor mounts and moved the engine forward in the frame 1.5". Since the swingarm moved forward with the engine, I lengthened it about 1" to keep the wheelbase near stock. I also steepened the steering rake to 26 degrees, and installed triple clamps from a big Guzzi to reduce the trail from the stock 5" to something in the 3.25-3.5 inch range. I made boxed-in motormounts, removed the vertical tubes that ran just behind the back cylinder, and added in another 5 triangulating tubes on either side of the frame, a triangulating tube between the top rails under the seat, and a bit of streamline tubing between the lower frame tubes above the horizontal cylinder.

I put an aluminum plate on top of the frame (under the tank) and mounted all of the electrics to it, after removing the various safety interlock devices and redoing much of the wiring harness. I don't run a steering damper, and have never had the front end shake on me. Rewiring and figuring out how Emile had attached the Honda switches (crudely) took about 12 hours. I added mounts to the steering head for instruments/lights. I removed three of the six spokes in the one piece rear disc, and milled the disc edges until the surface was no wider than the brake pad. I then made a floating carrier for the caliper. While messing with the rear wheel I converted it to 520 chain with an anodized aluminum sprocket (and slightly higher gearing). Rearsets, a slight reangling of the intake manifolds, Malossi bellmouths on the stock 36mm carbs (with the accelorator pumps removed), a 2-1 pipe with a proper design and headpipe by my friend Craig and a hydroformed curved megaphone and trick aluminum header clamps by me, and the adapting of the center stand mounts to bolt to the motor (since they weren't attached to the frame anymore) pretty much completed things. A set of Avon AM22/23 (110, 130 x 18) in track compound and number plates saw me ready for the 1993 AFM season. The bike weighs 390 with lights and a bit of gas.

I raced the 650 Twins and 750 Superbike classes in the 93/94 seasons and acquitted myself with honor, if not distinction (that means I was always 5 - 10 places above last place). I think my best time at Sears Point was a 2:08, and the bike was consistently just a bit faster on top end than a Hawk with a jet kit and pipe. I also took it to the Wednesday night drags at Sears, where it did 100 mph/13.0 seconds in the quarter.

At the end of the 94 season I put the 650 back on the street and concentrated on getting my 750 Laverda ready for 3 of the last 4 races of the 95 season. I ride the 650 every month or two, but most of the time it sits as I've got lots of other race/street project bikes in need of fiddling. I've never gotten around to taking the bike apart and finishing the cosmetics, and with the other projects I probably won't. The engine runs well, the bike handles very well, and I'll be glad to point out all the minor legacies from the prior owner that I'm aware of. I've got a copy of a factory manual, and most of a factory full gasket set (except the timing cover gasket).

At $2700, this is an inexpensive way to get into a trick Ducati (and/or cheap 650 twins bike) with a lot of one-off work into it. Since the bike is paid for and I don't really mind keeping it around (it is the only running street bike I've got now), I'm not open to "give it away" offers, although I would probably drop the price $4 or $5 if you really press me. I'd like to see it go to a new owner who will appreciate all the neat stuff I've done to it, and I'd like to get money to feed into Carrillo rods for my SP1000 and trick wheels for my Formula 3 250 Ninja project bike (not to mention the other 13 or so projects that will be happy to soak up the excess, if any) TOO LATE, ALREADY GONE TO A NEW HOME


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