Sean Ervin loves the “mechanical artwork” of his 1962 Ducati
Sean Ervin is surrounded by Ducatis. A 250 Diana sits under the window in his office and a poster of a 750 SS hangs over his desk. But one of his favorites is the unrestored 1962 200 Elite that resides in the living room of his home.
Ervin, 47, of Overland Park, has been a motorcycle fan since he was a teenager. His first bike was a Yamaha DT100 Enduro. At 16, he bought a Suzuki GS450 because it was “fast, fun and you could get one for $1,000.”
“My mom kept telling me motorcycles were dangerous, and that I couldn’t have one,” he said, “but I kept bringing them home.” Ervin, who has six (five are Ducatis), is still bringing them home.
Ducati is sort of like the Ferrari of motorcycles. It has a spirit born of performance and Italian swagger. Part of its visceral appeal lies in the way its mechanical bits are displayed. “All the parts are right there,” he said. “Its like mechanical artwork.”
In 1959, the Elite, according to Ducati’s website, “won the hearts of bike-lovers worldwide with its combination of performance and pleasure.” It was the most sophisticated Ducati of its time
Designed by Fabio Taglioni, its single-cylinder, overhead-camshaft, 200-cc engine delivered 18 horsepower, and the Elite’s top speed was listed at 130 kilometers per hour, or 80 mph. That was fast for an engine of that size.
Ervin saw his Elite at an auction in 1996 when Somer Hooker, motorcycle collector and broker, purchased it. When the bike was for sale in 1997, bought it.
Since that time, Ervin has carefully returned the bike to its as-new configuration by removing the crash bars and replacing the swan-neck handlebars with low, clip-ons that were favored by European sport riders. He swapped out the aging wheel rims with new ones for safety reasons.
“I bought it because it was a neat motorcycle. It was in pretty good condition, so I didn’t want to restore it, but there were a few things it needed to really be complete. I scoured the earth for NOS (new old stock) parts, such as the ring around the headlight, and original decals. Everything else is the way it came from Bologna in 1962.”
He rode it frequently for a few years. “It runs like a top,” he said. But now it has a permanent place in his home, and its 50-year-old patina is a badge of originality.
“I’m lucky that my wife, Janene, appreciates it as much as I do, so we keep it where it belongs — in the house,” he said.
“I love that it’s older than I am,” he said. “I guess we’re getting to be ‘vintage’ together.”