If Ducati made learner bikes

They might just look a bit like this…

If Ducati made learner bikes

BACK when the Ducati 916 was still the ultimate in jaw-dropping superbike porn, L-plate riders had the chance to live out their fantasies by riding the lookalike Cagiva Mito Evolution.

Styled alongside the 916 by Massimo Tamburini, it was, to most casual bystanders, indistinguishable from the Ducati. At least until you fired up the 125cc single-cylinder engine, dispelling the illusion in a haze of two-stroke exhaust.

These days, Ducati’s superbikes are still just as desirable as the 916 was, but there’s no junior equivalent. Ducati isn’t tied to a company making learner-legal machines now, as it was in the Cagiva days, so there’s no chance of an ‘official’ small capacity, single-cylinder Ducati-alike like the Mito.

But that doesn’t stop some companies from taking a hefty dollop of inspiration from the Italian firm. Like Thai bike maker GPX, which has just launched the Demon 150 GR. There’s no doubt as to what bikes its designers have been looking at.

It’s actually a little unfair to call the bike a Ducati copy. While it looks much as you might expect an imaginary junior-class Ducati would, the bike doesn’t ape a particular model like some cheap, Chinese-made machines do. It’s not passing off, even though there’s a strong Ducati vibe to the styling. Only the somewhat hunchbacked fuel tank mars it.

It's more tasteful than the Benny Hill-esque symbolism in the promo video (below), which appears to imply the Demon 150 GR will literally cause ladies' skirts to lift. 

Of course, under the skin the Demon 150 GR is a million miles from anything built in Bologna. There’s an air-cooled, 150cc single-cylinder engine, for a start. It’s still reckoned to be good for over 75mph, though. At 130kg it’s a pretty lightweight thing, and the suspension is apparently Kayaba kit, which bodes well in comparison with the no-name stuff that’s usually bolted to bikes like this.

It’s not Euro4-legal and its 150cc capacity means it’s firmly aimed at the Asian market, so you’re unlikely to ever see something like it on this side of the world. Even so, it has us wondering if there wouldn’t be a market for a modern take on the old Cagiva Mito idea…