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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Borile: Half a Ducati is Better Than None

We have been following the exploits of the tiny, hand-made Italian Borile for more than a decade.  The simple, light (originally less than 250 pounds) kick start, air cooled single caught our fancy, as well as that of our readers. 

The tiny company was re-launched last year following the tragic death of the founder’s son in 2009.  Originally powered by a speedway engine, Borile has announced it is switching to air cooled Ducati cylinders, one-half of a 696 for its 350 and one-half of an 1100 for its B500CR (pictured). 

Ducati arguably makes the most advanced air cooled engine in the motorcycle marketplace, investing heavily in a new design less than a decade ago.   We wish Borile the best of luck , and suggest you look at their web site (offered in both English and Italian) here.


  1. 39 y.o says:

    More evidence the Motorcycling market in the US is becoming more niche, more old school, less conquest sales (to younger riders) & continuing painting itself into a corner of catering to the rich or the old.

    Bring us the Ninja 250, the Suzuki TU250, something with warranty, affordable insurance, easy to maintain & to obtain parts, you know, like a Honda Civic equivalent, & not a Ferrari Enzo. What we need is bikes to get young people into the sport, not to ask them, “have you dragged your knees yet? or, “what, it don’t get 170hp?” or, “is it a bike looked like it was made back in the 60’s?” Young people who were born after the Carter adm. are not interested in that.

    Sad, eventually motorcycling will be like Polo (on a real horse) or Golf.

  2. Youth says:

    What the heck is the “most advanced air cooled engine?” Really, just adding fuel injector/throttle body will automatically makes it advanced? Ever since Suzuki created original GSX-R’s oil-air cooled engine, the game is already over.

    • MikeD says:

      That Oil-Air Cooled 1100-1200 Engine of the Old Bandits and Old Gixers was ANVIL RELIABLE, I had a friend in HS that relentlessly beated the living crap out of one on his GSX-R1100 and the thing wouldn’t die unless u dropped it off a plane into a rock bottomed pit with pointy rods sticking up and then set it on fire.

      • Kentucky Red says:

        Funny and true. But they were heavy as an anvil too… It is all subjective, but I personally feel that calling the Ducati DS motors the most advanced air-cooled motors to date is accurate.

  3. Scorpio says:

    I’d ride that retro supermoto in a heartbeat, and enjoy the elevation thereof. Funky catbox, frame, and all. Don’t ask me to shell out 17,500 euro to OWN one though, especially when the nearest dealer support is where???

  4. Michael Cyprus says:

    Good bike for old people!
    Anyway my point is that Ducati IS NOT the best aircooled engine manufacturer but Honda Yamaha Kawasaki and Suzuki!
    No matter how hard the italian company tries to promote their so called hi tech product.

  5. Norm G. says:

    i actually ran across somebody out riding one of these a ways back. think it was either spring 2005 or 2006.

  6. Gabe says:

    Spiro T. Agnew must have known that someday, the Internet would be invented and bored guys at work would post snarky, unconstructive little things all day long when he coined the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

  7. denny says:

    Ja, ja, ja… that looks good. And size is right too. A bit quirky, but that’s the point, it’s meant to be unusual. The original head looked better though. One question: what kind of balancing they used? Countershaft? Does anybody know… and the original motor was quit tall and narrow. Was it Heron head by chance?

  8. T. Rollie says:

    Looks like a ton of fun! I like seeing all the functional things and simplicity. Fewer covers hiding stuff brings me comfort.

    Whine alert: By the way, is every motorcycle rider obsessed with beauty? Do we spend hours in art galleries, or watching beauty contests, styling in front of a mirror and shopping for clothes? Decorating your homes? I didn’t think so. So let’s ditch the beauty obsession. The two words I’d like to never read again on these comment sections are “beautiful” and “ugly.” Thanks, got that off my chest.

  9. Cowboy says:

    Frame, wheels, engine, done. Beautiful.

    I’ll buy one in a heartbeat.


  10. GaryF says:

    Thanks for the better pic.

    That is, indeed, handsome bike. I love thumpers. Rode a Yamaha SR500 all through college. It sucked on the freeway but was more fun than a barrel of chimps everywhere else. Nearly killed me a couple of times when I rode it like an MX bike, but I still enjoyed every minute of my time with it. I am sure this Borile is the same, only better.

  11. John says:

    Ducati should buy them and have at it. Would love to see a light air cooled 350 or 500cc single, especially if it has some off roadability to it. Like a scrambler.

  12. Mickey says:

    Neat bike. Yes frame and muffler are wierd.

    We need Honda to build a bike like this using a 350 cc unicam single and listing for around $4K.

    Don’t need the swoopy body work of a CBR250 to drive the price thru the roof, just handlebars, tank, seat & lights similar to the one pictured. A good basic motorcycle.

  13. Vrooom says:

    Very nice looking bike. That swingarm looks pretty flimsy though. I suppose if you’re going to go for the lightest bike possible you need to use the minimum amount of material that will provide acceptable support. That frame is weird. Though cool looking I have to wonder about rigidity. And what I assume is the oil sump under the bike looks a bit odd too, but somehow it all works together.

  14. GaryF says:

    It looks like a handsome bike but the creative lighting really hides the detail. Artsy photography like this really shoots itself in the foot. Please run more photos when you get ’em … full-color ones that are well lighted.

    • steveinsandiego says:


      google images 🙂

      i’d ride that bike.

    • Rokster says:

      Gary you have a point, I hate it when a new bike is launched and all you can see is the bottom of the engine and the testers knee on the road. We need to see what the bike actually looks like guys!

  15. Irv H says:

    Why are Italians motorcycle crazy?

    • Gabe says:

      Because motorcycling is pointless, noisy, destructive and very, very beautiful. Read FT Marinetti’s “Futurist Manifesto” to get a feel for this: “We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness…we want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice..we declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath…”

  16. Steve says:

    my 2 cents….

    I like the concept of all the models on the website, especially the Rickman-styled dirtbike.

    The CR 500 pictured is cool looking… sort of street tracker styled…. but I don’t like the frame wrapping around the air filter on both sides of the bike. Looks out of place. Same with the square under-engine muffler…. no thanks!

    But I must say… If it was powered by a mini (clean) coal-fired electric power generator to instantly recharge the lithium batteries or a mini solar panel array or hell… even a mini nuke reactor instead of a gasoline fired one lung Ducati, then I would be willing to pay whatever the cost eventhough the bike would not fit my riding style, needs, etc….

    Why you ask… That’s just the kind of guy I am…. I have an arsenal of online sites to support every word I say so if anyone for 1 minute doubts me, I have a one word reply…
    Wikipedia! that’s right… I get ALL my knowledge & info straight from the source.. wikipedia! I don’t actually have to know anything about the subject either… just a few keystrokes & WHAM> I’m a subject matter genius! I don’t want to take up too much more of your time but if I did want to, I could easily tell Borile & you readers how they could make this the best freaking one lunger ever… it’s so cool… you know… I know next to nothing about bikes, design, engineering, etc….. actually, I don’t know much about anything.. people have told me so… but thanks to the internet… I no longer let my lack of any tangible knowledge prevent me from spouting off like the super-genius my ego thinks I am. I guess I owe my self esteem to Al Gore for inventing the internet.. without that, I’d probably just be reading these posts & maybe contributing an opinion from my limited experience like the majority of the posters here…

    • Harry Farquhar says:

      One thing you do have is too much time on your hands.

      • Steve says:

        regular readers will understand…..

        My intention was not to offend

        it’s my attempt to bring posts here back to what this site is was created for…

        My love of motorcycles is why this is the 1st site I open online every morning…. because I love all things “BIKE”!

        Regardless of the brand, type, size bike, etc… I’m interested. I might not want to own every one featured here but I enjoy the read just the same.

        What I dislike is any discussion about Obama, dems, repubs, healthcare, oil, gas, taxes, clean coal, nuclear power, how much oil is underground here or anywhere else…etc…. years to the end of the world, etc..

        On these issues you can count on many of us being very far apart when it comes to our politics, etc…. I have no issues with people posting opinions as long as they focus on the bike but when anyone veers into politics, or energy policy, or anything OTHER than bikes & says or implies that they know… that’s where problems start.

        I think mutual respect & consideration that we have varying opinions about these other issues is what seems to be missing here lately with some posters mistakenly assuming that the rest of us agree with them on all issues OTHER THAN BIKES. We don’t!
        The last thing I want is for the Dirck Edge to eliminate our ability to post comments on the site. After some recent posts though, I might prefer that the site go back to a “read only” site.

        • Dirck Edge says:

          Thanks, Steve. MD was a “read only” site for years simply because I didn’t want to babysit readers who could not carry on a civil conversation with others. My mother used to say “don’t bring up politics or religion with people you don’t know, because it is impolite.” Pretty simple. There is another simple rule in play here … this discussion needs to be centered on motorcycles and motorcycling. Although recent articles about alternative energy sources, such as electricity or hydrogen, can make some political discussion relevant, some readers don’t know where to draw the line. Some readers have intelligent things to say, but have an imperious tone that offends others. Some readers, on the other hand, are too easily offended.

          I am not going to attempt to mediate every fight or personality conflict. I am simply going to prohibit someone from posting if they develop a pattern of offending other readers.

  17. MGNorge says:

    The frame rail wrapping around the airbox is certainly odd. Makes me wonder if any rigidity is lost. A more stylized muffler is in order, especially when considering the upper crust pricing this will surely command.

  18. Jim says:

    I have to say that I found the original 250 more compelling. Maybe its the frame rail wrapping around the air box or the oddly bent exhaust running to the pizza box muffler.

  19. Jef says:

    This is the type of bike that the majority of riders need, for most of the riding they do. Around 250lbs, with 60hp, what’s not to love? That’s comparable power to a modern Bonneville, at half the weight. It’s more like a 250cc racebike, disguised as a “standard” streetbike. On every motorcycle forum I frequent, members bemoan the absence of modern-spec, lightweight(but good power) bikes.

  20. mrsdoubtfire says:

    Your left knee will get burned.

  21. Eddie says:

    Is that a sardine can for a muffler?

  22. Harry Farquhar says:

    Beautiful machines and amazing craftsmanship with desmo power they should be spectacular.

  23. al banta says:

    Ugly little sucker!