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What is a Ducati?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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Ducati Motor Holding is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer that has established its name in the motorcycle community since 1926. While this company has been through several owners since its founding, the quality of the motorcycle has remained very high; a Ducati motorcycle is typically known for its large capacity performance and racing motorcycles, and they are a constant presence in the moto gp circuit, or motorcycle racing.

The origins of Ducati can be traced back to 1926, when Italian brothers Adriano, Bruno, and Marcello Ducati founded Societa Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati, a company that primarily made radio components. The Ducati brothers became successful in their endeavor, and after opening a factory, they partnered with the Turinese firm SIATA, which was manufacturing a small engine to be mounted on bicycles. The Cucciolo, as it was called, was already quite successful; Ducati was just then joining an already proven market.

Though it did not happen immediately, Ducati began immersing itself in the motorcycle market, which was not immediately lucrative for them. The company continued to make electronics under a separate company division, and it wasn't until the 1960's that they began carving a solid niche in the motorcycling world. They produced the fastest 250 cc road bike available at the time--a machine called the Mach 1. By this time the divisions had gone through several management and ownership changes, and the government-assisted company did not have any Ducati brothers at the helm.

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As ownership changed, so, too, did the motorcycle's designs. Ducati motorcycles are now characterized by large capacity four-stroke L-twin engines, and their characteristic Desmodromic valve design. This design, simply stated, allows the valve to open and close more quickly, ostensibly creating more power and avoiding power loss that regular, passive valve designs.

The current lineup of Ducati motorcycles includes the Desmosedici--Ducati's pro racing bike--and the Desmosedici RR, the street-legal version. They also produce several other racing/performance type bikes, but perhaps one of its most notable designs is the Hypermotard, a supermotard-style bike designed for a hybrid type of on- and off-road racing that combines street racing with motocross-style racing. Its distinctive design and performance have made it a favorite both on and off the race course since its inception in 2005.

Other Ducati product lines include the Monster, Multistrada, Sport Classic, Superbike, and Streetfighter. There are several different models under each heading, offering a wide variety of performance options to suit a variety of riders.

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burcinc
Post 3

@fify-- Have you seen Ducati's latest superbikes, the 1098 and 1198? I think they look fantastic.

I do have a soft spot for Ducati 916, 998 and 999. These are definitely Ducati classics and I'm sure people are going to keep driving these no matter how many new models come out. But I love learning about and driving every new model because that's the excitement about Ducati.

Most other motorcycle brands stick with the same design and model for many years. Ducati is different because it's always looking for something better and the wait for a newer model is always worth it. Maybe that's part of making race motorcycles, but it's also why I love Ducati.

fify
Post 2

@alisha-- I think compared to what a small company Ducati is, they've been doing an amazing job with their motorcycles.

I remember reading in a magazine that Ducati is the world's smallest motorcycle company. If that's true, then I think they deserve even more praise for manufacturing such fantastic racing motorcycles.

My dad used to own a Ducati 916, which he believes to be the best motorcyle ever. He says that Ducati is different than all the other companies, because they always have racing in mind while making them.

I think all Ducati owners are extremely proud of being a Ducati owner, it's like being in a special club. There is even a word for it; people who own a Ducati motorcycle call themselves "Ducatistis." I think the simple fact that Ducati owners are so passionate about this brand says a lot about the company.

discographer
Post 1

I follow the international motorcycle races and I know what a prestigious spot Ducati has had in the realms of motorcycle racing.

But I think that in the past couple of decades, they've been experiencing a lot of competition. In the last races, they barely made it into the top ten which was much easier for them to accomplish in the years before.

Especially the Japanese motorcycles have gotten really good and Ducati keeps making changes to its racing motorcycle models to create an edge. I personally think that they're struggling. They've actually had really great riders to make up for it but I'm wondering how long their luck will continue?

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