These Swiss Military Motorcycles Have Ducati Engines
Military motorcycles are in a category all their own. From WWII Harley-Davidson Twins to Russian mountain climbers, military motorcycles are extremely cool. However, there are rarely seen as high-performance machines. Instead, they are like can openers; all that matters is that they work. That all changes when you hear about the Swiss military motorcycle, the Condor A350, powered by a Ducati engine.
Did Ducati ever make a military motorcycle?
Silodrome reports that over the years, 3,000 A350 Condors were produced. The Condor was developed in the 1970s for the Swiss Army. The Ducati Scrambler’s 350cc thumper powered this stylish little bike. The idea was to build a small, tough, lightweight motorcycle that could be more mountain goat than hog.
The Condor A350 used a Ducati heart but was made by the Condor-Werke AG firm, founded in 1893 to produce watchmaking tools. Around the turn of the century, the company also went into bicycle production. The bicycles mostly went to the Military and post office workers. Shortly after the bicycle production began, Condor produced its first motorcycle, essentially a bicycle with a 1.25-hp motor mounted to the frame. The motorcycle division grew to become quite popular.
Condor military motorcycles
By the time woes of WWI blossomed, Condor was a well-known bikemaker and supplied many bicycles and motorcycles for the war. According to Silodrome, By the 1920s, the company was producing a range of motorcycles with displacements from 250cc all the way up to 1000cc.
After WWII, Condor was the Harley-Davidson of the Swiss. Condor was the main producer of military bikes.
What makes the A350 special?
While the company made plenty of non-military goods, however, the coolest Condor product, the A350, was only ever made for military purposes. This is, in part, why these bikes are so collectible now.
The main concern for military motorcycle design is toughness and simplicity reign supreme over anything else. Power is quite far down the list of priorities in this kind of bike. The Ducati 350 was a proven powerplant. Ducati made a special version of the 350 with lower compression so that the Condor could burn lower-octane fuel.
Another difference between the civilian model and the Condor’s 350 was that the normal Ducati unit was bolted straight to the bike’s frame. The Condor was made with rubber bushing like a Norton Commando to cut down on damaging vibrations. Condor eventually developed a totally new frame for the Condor with a heavy tubular frame. This was tougher and gave the bike more rigidity that is usually provided by the engine.
How much is a Condor A350 motorcycle worth?
This is a rare example of a rare, collectible motorcycle that is also super affordable. The official price guide shows a value of only $1,500-$2,000. This bike we see here is in remarkable, original condition showing 30,609 miles on the clock.
Check out Bonham’s Market to learn more about the bike and how to bid if interested.