When designer Kar Lee put together an Italian mashup of the Ducati Panigale V2 and an Italjet Dragster scooter in 2018, many thought he was crazy. But now the scooter is a reality.
This handsome scooter is so radical, it might even change some rider’s attitudes toward scooters altogether.
Lee was inspired by the original Dragster design from the 1990s, but with a Ducati-like trellis frame and centre hub steering.
The reborn Italjet 200 will soon be available for $9990 ride away at all Italjet dealers in the five main states of Australia.
But unlike the 155hp (115kw) 955cc Panigale V2, the Italjet 200 is powered by a 181cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-valve, Euro 5 four-stroke single-cylinder engine producing 19.8hp (14.5kW) and 15.5Nm, embedded in package that weighs just 112kg dry.
A prototype of the resurrected Italjet with modern designs and materials was first unveiled at the 2018 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, followed by a three-year period of refinement and collaborative input from Italian MotoGP rider and now brand ambassador Andrea Dovizioso.
With some pandemic-enforced delays also thrown into the mix, production of the Italjet began in October 2021.
The quirky Dragster 200 features a molybdenum-chrome frame reinforced with die-cast aluminium plates, while the signature trellis frame – as well as providing a strong, lightweight structure that simplifies placement of engine and components – connects the steering head to the swingarm pivot and provides rigidity due to its interwoven structure.
The centre hub steering, in the same mould as the famous Bimota Tesi 3D, separates the steering, braking, and suspension functions for improved stability.
It is claimed to filter roughness, without transmitting vibrations to the handlebar.
There’s a Paioli monoshock at the front and rear with preload adjustability while, remaining true to its Italian heritage, the Italjet is fitted with Brembo brakes and Pirelli tyres.
The package is completed by an aluminium front swingarm, MotoGP-style hand/lever guards, passenger seating and a standard scooter centrestand.
Italjet Australia’s Fredy Arnet says he was “taken aback at the Dragster prototype shown at the EICMA show 2018” .
“But ‘prototype’ probably isn’t the best word, because the production model that’s going on sale in Australia is remarkably similar in design and spec to what we saw in Italy,” he says.
“And the centrepiece of that is of course the centre hub steering, but in many other ways it’s above and beyond anything else on the market – the distinctive styling one of them.
“Quite simply, the Dragster is a stunning example of Italian ingenuity, attention to detail and, most importantly, a passion to create a vehicle that excites.
“We’re looking forward to showcasing the Italjet brand to a new batch of devotees, as well as those who remember the brand with fondness from the 1990s and the turn of the century.”
Italjet was founded in 1959 by Leopoldo Tartarini, who was an integral part of the Ducati racing and business family before embarking on his own two-wheeled adventure.
The Dragster is the best-known of the Italjet models, with the two-stroke 50 and 180cc platforms previously sold in Australia.
The 2022 Dragster 200 will be available in three liveries – grey/white/red, grey/yellow and black/grey – and comes with a two-year unlimited-kilometre factory warranty.