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“When what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Massimo Tamburini - A Tribute

Massimo Tamburini
1943 – 2014


A tribute

Great, genius, phenomenon, superstar, icon and such, words that are often used to describe great personalities. But there are few people in the world that defy greatness and go on to define an era. A one word description isn't really enough to describe their impact on an industry and on the people. Massimo Tamburini was one such man. An Italian motorcycle designer, the like of which the world has never seen or heard of. A person with truly unmatchable natural talent who had designed motorcycles at Ducati, Cagiva and MV Agusta. However, he is most noted for designing two of the most iconic motorcycles – Ducati 916 and MV Agusta F4.

Massimo Tamburini passed away recently on April 6th 2014 after a hard fought battle with lung cancer of which he was diagnosed in November 2013. A very sad day in the motorcycling world and a reason to remember him all the more.

Tamburini was born on November 28th 1943 in Rimini, Italy. He lived and worked in San Marino at Centro Ricerche Cagiva, a subsidiary of MV Agusta, which he retired from in December 2008. He was one of the founding members of Bimota along with Valerio Bianchi and Giuseppe Morri. The name Bimota is made of first two letters of the surnames of the three founding members (Bi, Mo, Ta). In 1985, Tamburini joined the Cagiva Group owned by Claudio Castiglioni. Ducati was acquired by the Cagiva Group in that year and from then on, Tamburini went on to design motorcycles for both Ducati and Cagiva.


Claudio Castiglioni and Massimo Tamburini

To say that Massimo Tamburini was passionate for motorcycles and to design them would be an understatement when we realize how much he is regarded and respected in the motorcycle industry. His love for motorcycles developed at a young age and his exposure with the industry began when he attended the world championship race at Monza in 1961. He designed his first motorcycle in 1971 by working on the existing MV Agusta 750 Sport for which he developed the frame himself. His first Ducati creation was the Paso 750 with a full bodywork.


Ducati 916

Then came Tamburini's most celebrated design in the history, the Ducati 916. Even today, it is one of the most visually stunning motorcycles. No other motorcycle design in the world has ever made such an impact. Ever. The 916 is such an icon that Ducati had to go back and relive the design in 1098 that debuted in 2007. The 1098's design is actually considered by some as the tribute to the 916. Tamburini also designed the almost equally iconic MV Agusta F4. Both these motorcycles were included in the Guggenheim Museum's The Art of the Motorcycle exhibit of 1998 – 1999.Benchmarks are often set in various fields but anything that defines a whole era is much more than that.


MV Agusta F4

The greatness of Tamburini isn't just in the fact that he was a wonderful designer, but in his ability to create something so radical that it shattered all beliefs. To completely change the way people look at motorcycles is simply magical. All of Tamburini's creations exude his love and passion of designing a beautiful motorcycle. It is unimaginably hard for anyone to convey emotions in a creation and get them straight through the heart of the one who looks at it. Massimo Tamburini could do exactly that.

The world of motorcycling has lost a very special man. He is the reason why the rest of the world says that Italians are the most passionate in designing automobiles. A one man did this to the beliefs of the entire mankind. He will be remembered and appreciated in generations to come.


Massimo Tamburini, thank you for giving motorcycle lovers like myself a dream to look up to. Looking at any beautiful motorcycle is one of the many reasons why I love them. In one way or the other, I am sure that you are the inspiration behind many beautiful two wheels that we see today.

Great respect and admiration to you.

Rest in peace.

Article by : Sachin Sen
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