Ducati Motor Holding S.p.a is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer that was first founded in 1926 and has been producing some of the world’s most beautiful sports-inspired motorcycles since 1946. Synonymous with style, elegance, and luxury, Ducati has carved a reputation for producing powerful performance based sports models engineered with passion and designed to drop jaws. Throughout the company’s history, Ducati has always held on to its core ideals of producing characteristically “Ducati” motorcycles, complete with high-performance “L-twin” engines that feature advanced Desmodromic valve actuation, bold trellis frame arrangements, and aesthetically pleasing shapes and lines. Built on racing success but marketed for the discerning motorcycle rider, Ducati prides itself on its exotic nature and passionate hand-made engineering. Ducati manufactures some of the world’s most iconic motorcycles, or as Ducati likes to put it: “Ducati builds emotions.”
A Brief History Of Ducati
The first incarnation of Ducati was founded in 1926 by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his three sons, Adriano, Marcello, and Bruno. Based out of Bologna, Italy, the Società Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati specialized in manufacturing vacuum tubes, condensers and radio components. It’s hard to believe that a motorcycle manufacturer like Ducati owes its fame and fortune to radio parts, but if it wasn’t for the early radio component production efforts of the Ducati family, the first Borgo Panigale factory wouldn’t exist today. It very nearly didn’t, thanks to constant bombing by the Allies during World War II, however the Ducati family managed to survive and continue production.
During the war a company in Turin called SIATA (Societa Italiana per Applicazioni Tecniche Auto-Aviatorie) was busy working on a small pushrod engine that could be mounted onto bicycles. After Italy’s liberation in 1944, SIATA began to sell their Cucciolo engine to the public. “Cucciolo” is the Italian word for “puppy” – referencing the Cucciolo’s exhaust sound. The first units were available as standalone engine kits to be mounted on to any standard bicycles. Typically, it wasn’t long until business-minded entrepreneurs bought huge stocks of these engines and began selling fully assembled motorized bicycles. By 1950, after seeing the success of the Cucciolo engine, Ducati decided to go into partnership with SIATA and offer their own Cucciolo-powered motorcycles.
The world’s very first Ducati model was a tiny 48cc motorcycle that weighed a mere 98 pounds and offered a modest top speed of 40 mph. Fed by a 15mm carburator, this little Ducati could offer an impressive 200 miles per gallon too, making it an economical transport option for post-war Italy. Distancing themselves from the already established Cucciolo name, Ducati dubbed its first models the “55M” and later, the “65L.”
Ducati Meccanica S.p.A
After the success of Ducati and SIATA’s small output engines, the Italian public wanted bigger and more powerful offerings. With the rest of the motorcycle industry focused on building bigger displacement engines, Ducati had no choice but to respond and in 1952, at the Milan show, Ducati introduced their new 65TS cycle and more advanced four-stroke motor scooter “Cruiser” model. The Cruiser was lauded by critics but it wasn’t a commercial success. Even so, the technological evolution forced a change in the Ducati company, which resulted in splitting the firm into two separate companies in 1953. Ducat Elettronica would continue to manufacturing electronic products, but the newly established Ducati Meccanica would focus purely on the development and manufacture of motorcycles.
The newly formed Ducati Meccanica was headed by Dr. Giuseppe Montano who modernized and streamlined the Borgo Panigale factory to help increase Ducati’s production. By 1954, barely a year later, the Borgo Panigale factory produced more than 120 motorcycles a day. It wasn’t long until Ducati produced its own 250cc road bike, the Mach 1, which was celebrated as the fastest 250 of its day. Ducati continued their stream of success by designing and manufacturing the large-displacement v-twin engines that would define the brand. In 1973, one of these big v-twin motors would come equipped with a desmodromic valve arrangement which would firmly separate Ducati from the rest of its competition. V-twins and desmodromics became the heart and soul of the Ducati brand and remain so right up to the present day.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Ducati though, because the firm was bought by Italy’s Cagiva in 1985 and Cagiva originally had plans to dissolve the Ducati name for good, re-badging Ducati models with the Cagiva logo. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case and Ducati managed to survive. Cagiva ultimately sold the brand to the Texas Pacific Group in 1996, giving the Texas Pacific Group a 51% share in the company. By 1998, the Texas Pacific Group had bought the remaining 49% becoming the sole owners of the company. After renaming Ducati Meccanica S.p.A to the new Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A, the Texas Pacific Group sold 65% of the company to public shareholders, but Ducati eventually found its way back to Italian ownership thanks to a buyout from Investindustrial Holdings, the investment fund of Carlo and Andrea Bonomi.
Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A
The Ducati that we know today came about when Audi decided to purchase Ducati for the sum of €860 million (which was $1.2 billion at the time). Audi, of course, was already owned by the Volkswagen Group, and VW boss Ferdinand Piëch was delighted to count Ducati as one of the Group’s assets; as a motorcycle enthusiast and Ducati fan, Piëch had once turned down the opportunity to buy Ducati in 1984 and regretted passing on the decision. Ducati’s name managed to escape from the recent VW Dieselgate scandal relatively untarnished, but it has sparked rumors that Volkswagen may be looking to sell the brand in the near future.
Currently headed up by CEO Claudio Domenicali, the future of Ducati is in safe hands. Over the past few years Ducati has managed to grow and expand in an unprecedented manner. Thanks to a new assembly plant in Thailand, Ducati now produces more motorcycle than ever and distributes their products to more than 80 countries. The current Ducati line-up has also expanded to accommodate a broader range of riders too. Rather than solely focus on decadent sports bikes, Ducati now produces a muscular power cruiser in the form of the Diavel, a hardy supermoto in the Hypermotard model, and of course, the new version of the iconic Ducati Scrambler – which isn’t a new model, but a new range in the form of a new sub-brand, with plenty of models to choose from.
Ducati is synonymous with the exotic, with style, and with luxury. It represents the Italian industry and Italian way of life. It’s bold, brash, and powerful, but elegant and subtle at the same time. Ducati is Ducati: a manufacturer of motorcycles for motorcyclists, and designed and built with passion.
Are Ducatis Reliable?
Over the last decade Ducati has been able to shrug off a reputation for poor engineering and reliability issues that it unfortunately became associated with during the latter part of the 20th century. After releasing a string of models that were plagued with minor issues, Ducatis almost became synonymous with beautiful designs that were impossible to run and maintain. Fortunately, that is not the case today. Today, Ducati build high quality motorcycles that perform as good as they look – however, a study from Consumer Reports thinks otherwise.
Consumer Reports published a study on the overall reliability of some of the motorcycling industry’s most popular manufacturers back in 2015, and it produced some controversial results. The study gathered data from more than 11,000 motorcyclists and examined the reliability of more than 12,000 motorcycles that were bought and sold between 2008 and 2014, with riders assessing their motorcycle’s overall reliability and performance over a 12 month period. After collecting all of the relevant data, the staff at Consumer Reports formulated a reliability index built on top of their analysis. The index ranked manufacturers with a percentage that indicated the incidents of failure. In short, manufacturers with low percentages of failure rates are more desirable than those with higher percentages of failure rates. By using Consumer Report’s metric, Ducati scored a rather underwhelming 33% failure rate. This placed Ducati in a better position than BMW (40%) and Can-Am (42%), but miles behind the reliability of Japanese manufacturers, and even Harley-Davidson and Triumph too.
However, this is an outdated study – especially when you consider the kind of engineering shake-up that Ducati has gone through in more recent years. Generally, a newer Ducati will be more reliable than an older one, and if not and your Ducati has a problem, Ducati will fix it.
Since 2003 Ducati has issued a total of 49 recalls in the United States. 49 recalls is a high figure compared with the likes of Yamaha’s 35, Honda’s 33, Kawasaki’s 29, and Suzuki’s 25, but recalls shouldn’t be judged too harshly because they are an indication that a company is willing to take responsibility for their engineering and assembly errors, and take the appropriate steps to remedy the issues. In some cases the more issues that a manufacturer acknowledges, the better. While Ducati has issued more recalls than other manufacturers, their recalls generally affected fewer units and the problems, though many, have never been terribly serious. For example, Ducati’s largest recall since 2003 only affected 7,130 models and occurred because of a faulty charging system on Ducati’s 1098 models. The second largest Ducati recall affected 5,962 Multistrada 1200 models and was down to a throttle cable that may not have been able to close all the way. The last of the big recalls concerned 5,502 Ducati Scrambler models and was caused by a side stand sensor error. Of these large scale recalls, none of the issues were major problems.
Although Ducati honor tradition and heritage above all else, the company has a passion for innovation and spends a large portion of their budget on research and development. New technologies are quickly implemented on new models as soon as they’re fit for purpose, and as such Ducati motorcycles are some of the most technologically advanced on the market. The company’s commitment to new technology is what makes them so different from their competition, but before we take a look at some of Ducati’s newest technology, we’ll take a quick look at their signature mechanical difference to other manufacturers.
One of the most significant differences that a Ducati motorcycle has against the rest is the fact that Ducati engines are equipped with desmodromic valves rather than conventional pneumatic valves. Historically, spring valves were prone to break at high rpm, so Ducati engine designer Fabio Taglioni decided to overcome the problem by building an engine with desmodromic valve actuation. At that time, the 1950s, using desmodromics in a motorcycle engine was revolutionary. Essentially, a desmodromic valve uses a secondary rocker arm system that is actuated by a collar on the valve stem to close the valve as well as open it, allowing for springless valve actuation. At the time, it gave Ducati an advantage, however modern metallurgic advances have allowed for stronger springs and new pneumatic processes have almost made the desmodromic system redundant. Despite being noisy, expensive to maintain, complicated, and not as practical, Ducati have stuck with it because of the charm, tradition, heritage, and because “it is the system we know best,” according to Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.
The Ducati Superleggera
Ducati’s perseverance with the outdated desmodromic valve system is held in balance with their commitment to innovating and implementing new technology. The best example of Ducati’s commitment to innovation is their latest Superleggera model. Not only is it the most powerful twin-cylinder motorcycle ever produced, it also features some of the most cutting-edge technology available. Built around a carbon-fiber monocoque frame and swingarm, and treated with titanium and aluminum parts, the 1299 Superleggera is complimented with the most technologically advanced riding aids on the market. Armed with a sophisticated six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit that controls the Ducati’s traction control, slide control, launch control, wheelie control, acceleration, and engine braking. Ducati also treated the Superleggera with their award winning quick shifting technology and cornering ABS.
Ducati Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS)
Ducati’s commitment to innovation is best summed up with their new Advanced Rider Assistance (ARAS) concept which takes Ducati’s most advanced safety measures, including cornering ABS, multi-level traction control, and more physical safety measures such as Ducati’s advanced D|Air airbag system – a sophisticated air bag jacket that interacts with the motorcycle’s onboard systems – to provide the safest ride experience to their customers. The ARAS system is constantly evolving and Ducati foresee more electronic riding assistance in the near future with more sensors and radars attached to their motorcycles to help protect riders from potential threats whilst on the go.
Noteworthy Ducati Models
Ducati has been responsible for some of the most influential motorcycles manufacturer over the last 70 years. There are enough noteworthy and iconic Ducati models to fill an encyclopaedia, but here are some of their greatest hits. The 1959 Ducati 250 Twin was a motorcycle built specifically for Grand Prix legend Mike Hailwood and was powered by two 125cc engines that were (essentially) fused together. It was a rare motorcycle that transformed the racing landscape of the time. Just over a decade later, Ducati furthered the evolution of the motorcycle by launching their 1970 750 GT model to rival the likes of Honda’s CB750 and Kawasaki’s upcoming Z1 – rather than use four cylinders, Ducati’s chief designer Fabio Taglioni opted for an unorthodox 90 degree L-twin arrangement that Ducati is famous for today.
Continuing the L-twin theme, Ducati introduced the 900cc Sport and Super Sport Desmo in the mid and late 70s to take on the continuing dominance of Japanese built super bikes; powered by an 860cc engine and boasting Italian good looks, it was a sales success. By the mid-80s, sports bikes as we know them today began to take shape, and Ducati answered the aerodynamic fairing call with their 1987 Ducati 851 model, which laid the foundations for Ducati’s exotic styling that we enjoy today, combined with the most technologically advanced power and performance of the day. The 851S, the upgraded version, is highly sought after even today.
In Ducati’s recent history, there are two models that have underlined, defined, and highlighted Ducati’s dedication to producing category topping sports bikes: the legendary Ducati 916, and the seldom seen but often discussed Desmosedici RR. First up came the 916: manufactured between 1994 and 1998, the Massimo Tamburini designed, 916cc, fully faired 916 was a light and powerful sports bike that many consider to be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made. While the 916 was one of the most beautiful, the Desmosedici RR, which was manufactured in limited amounts between 2007 and 2008, was considered as the first real race replica that civilians could buy. Powered by a MotoGP derived GP6 989cc, desmodromic V4 engine, the Desmosedici RR was one of the highest specification motorcycles of its time.
But while Ducati might be known for their exotic sports bikes, the firm’s non-sport-focused models are no less exciting. The legendary Monster series redefined the naked motorcycle segment when it first arrived in 1993 with its bold trellis frame and muscular bravado. Today, it’s an integral part of Ducati’s line-up, and is single-handedly responsible for over half of the company’s sales. The Ducati Multistrada is another often overlooked models that seamlessly fuses a sports-tourer with a supermoto creating an incredibly versatile motorcycle that can tackle a wide range of roads. Ducati’s Hypermotard is a pure supermoto machine designed for fast and nimble riding but with an upright riding stance, making an excellent choice for those who enjoy fast technical riding – in fact, the Hypermotard was the first Ducati to ever win the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, back in 2008. One of Ducati’s other more noteworthy models of late is the Ducati Diavel, a powerful muscle cruiser – the second ever cruiser produced by Ducati – that has become a sales success that particularly appeals to older riders. But as non-sports-Ducati’s go, there’s one line that has made a huge impression in recent years…
The Ducati Scrambler Line
The new range of Ducati Scrambler motorcycles have become an unprecedented sales success. Based on the old school single-cylinder Ducati Scrambler models of the 1960s and 70s, the new wave was introduced in 2015 and boasts Ducati’s signature L-twin engine, stunning good looks, and an incredibly marketable presence. Since its introduction, the Scrambler has become so successful that Ducati have turned it into its own sub-brand, with twelve different models available. Those twelve models include the 803cc Classic, Icon, Urban Enduro, Flat Track Pro, Full Throttle, Mach 2.0, Desert Sled, and Café Racer models; the 1100cc 1100 Sport, 1100 Special, and standard 1100; and the smaller Scrambler Sixty2 which comes with a 399cc engine. The Ducati Scrambler’s all feature engines made in Borgo Panigale, but the actual models are assembled in Thailand.
Ducati Company Snapshot
While Ducati Motor Holdings S.p.A is a thoroughbred Italian company, the firm was bought by the Audi Group in July 2012, which in turn makes it an asset of the Volkswagen Group. Despite being owned by larger automotive companies, Ducati enjoys fair degree of autonomy and continues designing and manufacturing motorcycles in the trademark Ducati way. Headquartered in the legendary Borgo Panigale area of Bologna in Italy, Ducati is one of the biggest names in Italy and the wider motorcycle industry with a history of Italian passion and enthusiasm, deeply routed in tradition, and immortalized in beautiful luxury two-wheeled machines. The Borgo Panigale base employs approximately 1,400 employees, manufacturers all of Ducati’s engines, and exports motorcycles to more than 80 countries all over the world.
Is Ducati Italian?
In response to an increased demand for Ducati motorcycles, Ducati launched a new assembly factory in Thailand. Though some models are fully assembled in Thailand, all of Ducati’s engines are manufactured in Italy. Previously, Ducati could only produce a maximum of approximately 40,000 motorcycles per year, however, the addition of the new Thai factory has increased Ducati’s production output above 60,000 units per year. The increased production is just one of Ducati’s strategies to help lower their price tag without compromising on manufacturing quality or diminishing the exclusivity that comes attached to the brand name. Is Ducati Italian? Even with the addition of the new factory and German ownership, Ducati always was, is, and always will be Italian.
Ducati North America Inc.
Ducati has had a presence in the United States ever since 1962, but unusually it was originally headquartered in New Jersey, unlike most of its industry competitors who were based in California. In 2003, Ducati actually remedied this situation by moving their North American corporate HQ to new base in Silicon Valley, in the form of a new 12,000 square foot office in Cupertino – a building that was previously occupied by Apple. The move was a reflection of Ducati’s commitment to the American market, a market which is responsible for more than a quarter of the company’s global sales. Today, Ducati North America facilitates the design, sale, and manufacture of motorcycles and accessories for Ducati’s customers, as well as providing a wide range of merchandise and apparel, including Ducati related toys, books, DVDs, art, and branded riding gear including jackets, helmets, and gloves.
Ducati has 168 authorized dealers in the United States. The dealerships specialize in the sale and service of Ducati motorcycles, and also offer models from Ducati’s official Approved Pre-Owned Program, sell Ducati branded merchandise, and offer a wide range of Ducati-related goods and services. Over the past few years, Ducati’s dealership network has scored high on the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index – an independent survey of the major manufacturer’s dealerships and how they interact with potential customers. In 2015, Ducati topped the list, but dropped into third place behind BMW and Harley-Davidson for 2016. Though Ducati lost a place or two, the Italian firm is still ranked well-above the industry average and far ahead of brands such as Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha. Ducati’s success is likely down to its community feel, outstanding products, and exceptional pre-owned program.
Ducati Approved Pre-Owned Program
There’s no denying that Ducati’s are more complex than their closest rivals. Ducati know this, so they provide a comprehensive service and pre-owned program that it supported by highly qualified Ducati technicians. The Ducati Approved Pre-Owned Program is a great example of their dedication to excellence. Any pre-owned Ducati that is put up for sale must be subjected to no less than 35 in-depth checks to make sure that it is up to Ducati’s own high standards, and restored and repaired with genuine Ducati spare parts where necessary. Each pre-owned vehicle is then treated to a 12 or 24 month warranty depending on the conditions of the sale, with no mileage limit during that period, and with other tasty add-ons included too. This service allows older Ducati’s to enjoy a new beginning, with new buyers able to ride without the worry of old issues making themselves known.
Ducati Financial Services
Like all other manufacturers, Ducati has some interesting financing options to help attract new customers with plenty of deals and attractive incentives. Through Ducati’s traditional financing options, prospective customers can enjoy a wide selection of financing options with flexible terms or package deals that are available for new and used Ducati motorcycles. These offers generally include attractive low monthly repayments, the option of taking on 0% APR contracts, or receiving up to $2000 worth of Ducati incentive cash than can be spend on official Ducati Apparel and Accessories.
Ducati Premier Financing
Ducati Premier Financing allows prospective customers to own a brand new Ducati motorcycle with low monthly repayments, no mileage restrictions, and with established and agreed monthly term options, just like a traditional purchase contract. The difference is that the Ducati Premier scheme doesn’t go on past the agreed monthly installment option, so when an agreed 24 or 36 months is up, buyers must pay the remaining balance in one lump sum. It’s a great scheme for those who enjoy the privileges of ownership but with the flexibility of leasing, however, it’s only available on new Ducati motorcycles.
Ducati Ever Red Protection Plans
On top of buying incentives, Ducati also offers a suite of protection products to make sure that your Ducati keeps rolling for years to come, without any unexpected financial outlays getting in the way of your ride experience. The Ducati Ever Red program is essentially an in-house insurance policy that protects your Ducati from things that your average insurer probably won’t. What’s more, since it’s a Ducati service, you can guarantee that your motorcycle will be looked after and repaired to the highest Ducati standards, complete with official Ducati parts in the event of an issue.
- Vehicle Service Protection – The Ducati Ever Red program has a range of products that includes a full Vehicle Service Protection plan that covers your unexpected costs in the event of a mechanical failure. Unlike standard warranty, this program covers your additional parts and labor, from roadside assistance to motorcycle rental fees if necessary.
- Theft Protection – Many insurance policies don’t fully cover you for theft in the event that your motorcycle is stolen; many only cover your motorcycle’s cash value at the time of theft, which could leave you liable to pay your vehicle’s insurance deductible, sales tax, admin fees and other various costs. With Ducati’s Theft Protection plan, you don’t have to worry about these extra costs.
- Tire & Wheel Protection – This scheme protects your tires and wheels against damage caused by road surfaces and debris. If you suffer damage from broken glass, nails, or potholes, Ducati will replace your wheels and tires for up to seven years with the Ducati Tire & Wheel Protection Plan.
- Ducati Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) – Unfortunately, things happen and if for some reason your Ducati is declared a total loss before you’ve finished your repayments, the GAP has your back. Rather than being left with an enormous bill, the GAP plan covers you in the event of an accident, theft, or natural disaster.
The Ducati New Rider Program
New riders that have successfully completed an MSF course or state authorized rider education program can enjoy a $250 incentive scheme which can be deducted against the cost of a new Ducati or Scrambler model. The current eligible models include the Monster 797, Monster 797 +, Multistrada 950, SuperSport, Scramber Sixty2, Scrambler Icon, and Scrambler Full Throttle.
Ducati’s Other Business Interests
Unlike most major motorcycle manufacturers, Ducati has very few other business interests outside of the motorcycle industry. Where brands like Yamaha and Kawasaki have interests in musical instruments or heavy machinery, Ducati’s primary focus has always been on the manufacture of motorcycles. However, there have been times when Ducati has teamed up with other famous brands and produced vehicles outside of the motorcycle industry.
Unknown to many Ducati enthusiasts, is the fact that Ducati actually produce their own line of bicycles. Ducati have teamed up with fellow Italian brand Bianchi to manufacture some of the most beautiful bicycles on the market. Bianchi have over 130 years of experience in the bicycle industry and have won numerous cycling competitions and championships. Combing Bianchi’s engineering prowess with Ducati’s raw passion and emotion has helped the two brands conceive a range of innovative bicycles spanning over six different sub-categories.
These Ducati branded bicycles include models in the sport, mountain bike, vintage, stock, kids, and electric “e-bike” categories. Each category has a number of models to its name, and all of them feature precision engineering, amazing aesthetics, and a whole host of top-shelf parts from the likes of Bianchi and Shimano. Ducati’s own E-bike line features Bosch powertrains and battery packs, cutting edge materials, and impressive performance.
Though it’s certainly not a focus of the Ducati company, the firm has been known to manufacture automotive engines for four-wheeled vehicles from time to time. Ducati’s first four-wheeled design dates back to 1946 and featured a 250cc v-twin engine with a four speed transmission in a Trellis-style chassis – much like the Ducati’s of today. It was a two-seater sedan called the DU4, and though one prototype was built, the idea never really took off, possibly due to the success of Ducati’s motorcycles instead. More automotive plans were hatched in the 1960s when Ducati engineer Fabio Taglioni designed and built an 8-cylinder desmodromic engine for Osca Maserati. The engine was supposedly for a race car, though the project was never completed.
Ducati continued to develop engines for racing outfits, with the most famous being the Tecno K racer for the Formula K series. Tecno K would help launch the careers of race drivers such as Ronnie Peterson, Francois Cevert, and Clay Regazzoni. The vehicles used were propelled by small 250cc motorcycle engines, and Tecno K used engines from Benelli, Aermacchi, and Morini, before striking a deal with Ducati. At the same time, Ducati also had their eyes on an official production car and worked with British manufacturer Leyland to produce the well-reference Triumph Herald. No one knows exactly how many Ducati made Triumph Heralds exist, but they’re easily identified with the “Ducati Meccanica” logo sitting underneath the Triumph emblem.
During the late 70s to the late 80s, Ducati had a tough time and considered halting motorcycle engine production altogether in favor of more practical ventures such as a turning their operations into a manufacturing plant for diesel marine and agricultural engines. Fortunately, that never happened but during this period of uncertainty Ducati worked with the VM company to produce four cylinder turbo diesel engines for certain Alfa Romeo models. Luckily, Ducati was taken over by the Castiglioni brothers who put Ducati back on track, with a renewed focus on two wheeled vehicles.
The last real Ducati foray into the four-wheeled market occurred in the early 90s, when Ducati collaborated with fellow Italian institution Ferrari. Between 1990 and 1992 Ducati built a special V8 engine designed by Ferrari to be used in the limited edition Lancia Thema 8.32. Since then, Ducati has only produced motorcycles, save for the odd concept sketch every now and again.
Ducati has a long and illustrious racing history and has made an impression in a wide range of competitions and championships. Ducati is probably most well-known for its efforts in the MotoGP championship where it was successfully won the Manufacturer’s title and Rider’s championships. Though Ducati hasn’t been competitive in recent years, things are changing and their flagship prototype racer, the Desmosedici GP is becoming the machine to beat. Ducati has also won in the World Superbike Championships numerous times, clocking 17 Manufacturer’s titles, and 14 Rider’s titles. Other racing accolades include a total of 10 championship wins in the British Superbike Championships, six titles in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, two AMA Superbike Championship titles, and one Supersport World Championship title.
Over the years, Ducati has courted some of the most talented motorcycle riders on the planet, including the likes of Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, and Andrea Dovizioso from MotoGP; Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss, Neil Hodgson, Doug Polen, and Carlos Checa from the World Superbike Championships, to name but a few.
Curiously, Ducati has never excelled at competitions such as the Isle of Man TT, with their twin-cylinder engine not being able to compete with the inline-four configurations used by other manufacturers. However, Ducati’s new V4 Panigale arrangement and Desmosedici Stradale engine may encourage them to test a new race format. However, Ducati has been garnering a lot of success at the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb events lately, claiming victories and success on a regular basis.
The Ducati Museum
Opened in 1998 and fully renovated for Ducati’s 90th anniversary in 2016, the Ducati museum at Borgo Panigale is something of a place of pilgrimage for dedicated Ducatisti. Located in Bologna, Italy, the museum itself is a tribute to Ducati’s history that takes visitors on a chronological adventure through the company’s past, present, and future, with seminal models, rare examples, and legendary motorcycles on display. As well as the extensive motorcycle collection, visitors can enjoy a number of installations and artworks.
The museum is best enjoyed when combined with a factory tour. Factory tours must be booked in advance and visitors can enjoy unparalleled access to the Borgo Panigale factory. The tour takes you through the factory and allows you to witness the various manufacturing and engine assembly processes required to build a working Ducati motorcycle. The museum and factory tours operate at different times throughout the year, so check with Ducati well in advance of your trip. Prices also vary depending on the situation, however, Ducati owners will be pleased to know that they can receive discounted tickets when they produce their ownership card or affiliation with the Desmo owners club.
5 Facts You Might Not Know About Ducati
#01. All of Ducati’s motorcycles are still made by hand, and in Italy. While there are new assembly plants in other regions, all of Ducati’s engines are handmade in Bologna. Unlike most other manufacturers, Ducati doesn’t have a robot assembly line at all – literally, everything is still made by hand. And that is why Ducati motorcycles can command a higher price than that of their competition.
#02. All Ducati motorcycles are signed off by the individual technicians that produced each and every unit, so theoretically you could locate the exact technicians who manufactured your Ducati motorcycle, should you so wish it. Every single step is signed off by the individual who put it together, making it very easy to track down who bolted one component to another. This is one example of Ducati’s passion for their hand-built ethos, forging a direct link between their assembly staff and the final product.
#03. Can you guess how long it takes to build a Ducati Monster motorcycle from start to finish? In total, the average Ducati Monster takes a mere 88 minutes to put together. That’s incredibly, considering that Ducati has an all-human production line.
#04. 30% of Ducati’s all-human production line consists of female technicians, which is a higher percentage than many other manufactures. The Borgo Panigale factory is just one part of Ducati’s global force that is addressing the workplace gender imbalance, with more than 30% of Ducati UK’s overall workforce being female too, in what was previously a male dominated environment.
#05. Ducati was the first manufacturer in the motorcycle industry to equip one of their heritage/classic models with a sophisticated Cornering ABS system. The Ducati Scrambler 1100 boasts this incredible technology – a system more commonly founded on range topping sports bikes rather than relaxed street models.