Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A is the division of Ducati that manufactures motorcycles. They have established themselves as one of the best-known and most successful brands in the motorcycle industry. They are known for producing powerful bikes that are pleasing to the eye and for their involvement in motorsports. While this is a well-known motorcycle manufacturer, there are probably many things that you do not know about this company. Here are 20 things you didn’t know about Ducati motorcycles.
1. They Were Founded in 1926
Ducati it a well-established brand name as it was first founded in 1926. However, it was not the motorcycle company that is known today. When the company first began, they manufactured condensers, vacuum cleaners, and a range of radio components. Ducati was founded by Cavalieri Ducati along with his three sons; Adriano, Marcello, and Bro Cavalieri. They started the business in Bologna and it was originally called Societa Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati.
2. Their Headquarters Are in Bologna
When the Ducati company was founded, the first factory was in Bologna and despite the changes to what the company manufactures, there is still a factory there to this day. Bologna is also the location of this company’s headquarters.
3. The Ducati Factory Was Destroyed in World War II
Not everything has run smoothly in the history of Ducati and one difficult time for them was during the World War II. During this period of history, their factory was a constant target for bombs. Eventually, the bombing campaign was successful and the Ducati factory was destroyed. However, the company picked themselves up and rebuilt the factory. Therefore, manufacturing operations were soon back to normal. In fact, this point marked a change in the way that the company operated as it was shortly after this that they produced their first motor, which was a move away from the products that Ducati had manufactured prior to the bombing.
4. Their First Motor Was Intended for Motorized Push Bikes
The products manufactured by Ducati have changed significantly since its beginnings as it was not originally intended as a manufacturer of motorcycles. In fact, they didn’t manufacture anything even related to motorcycles until 1946. The first related product they made was called the Cucciolo and although this was a product with a moto, it was nowhere even close to the motorcycles produced by this company today. In fact, it was just a small motor that was sold out of a box that purchasers could assemble at home and attach to the frame of their bicycle. So, it was more of a toy for the rich kids that something that a serious motorcycle enthusiast would buy. By 1950, Ducati had sold more than 200,000 Cucciolos.
5. Their First Motorcycle Was Manufactured in 1950
As the Cucciolo motor for pushbikes had enjoyed such a high level of success, they decided to create their own motorcycle based on this motor which they also called Cucciolo. The first motorcycle they produced was a 48 cc bike that had a top speed of 40 miles per hour and weighed 98 pounds. It had a 15 mm carburetor and could deliver 200 miles per gallon. Not long after they started production, they decided to drop the Cucciolo name. Instead, they called the two models of their new motorcycle the 55M and the 65TL.
6. The Number of Employees Has Expanded Rapidly Over the Years
Ducati has expanded massively over the years and this is evident by the number of people who are employed by this company. In the early years, they employed just a handful of people. By 1936, they already had 1,200 employees, which is not bad considering they had only been in business for around ten years at that time. An interesting fact relating to the number of employees is that 30% of them are women.
7. They Make Other Products in Addition to Manufacturing Motorcycles
Just like Honda and Yamaha, Ducati is best-known for manufacturing motorcycles. However, all three companies also make a range of other products that are completely unrelated to their main product. Honda makes lawnmowers and Yamaha makes pianos. The other products manufactured by Ducati include radios and electric razors. Another product they have manufactured in the past is reel-based projectors.
8. Ducati Motorcycles Are Made by Hand
Most companies in the motorcycle and car industries use a wide range of technology and automatic assembly lines to manufacture their products. This is not the case with Ducati as each of their motorcycles is carefully made by hand using skilled workers. This is one of the reasons why they are so expensive. There is someone responsible for each stage of the process and they check and sign when each stage is completed. Therefore, there is documentation relating to the production of every single motorbike that leaves the factory. This hasn’t slowed them down though as they are capable of producing one new Monster every 88 minutes.
9. Ducati Has a Separate Assembly Line for the United States
Ducati has factories in Italy, Brazil, and Thailand. The ones in Brazil and Thailand are used for assembly only. At the factory in Italy, there is a rather unusual set up in relation to the assembly lines. There are two assembly lines and one is dedicated to producing Ducati motorcycles for the United States and the other is for the assembly of motorbikes that will be sold in all other areas of the world.
10. They Launched a Motor Scooter in Milan
The first motorcycle produced by Ducati was a success and they wanted to expand this side of the company further. At that time, there was a change in market trends towards larger motorcycles and Ducati responded to this. They decided to launch two bikes at the Milan show in early 1952. The first was their already established 65TS cycle. The second was their new Cruiser, which was a four-stroke motor scooter. The Cruiser was initially well-received and described as the most interesting new machine at the show in Milan. However, it was not a great success and Ducati sold only a few thousand of the Cruiser over the next two years. This led to Ducati deciding to cease production of this model.
11. Ducati Split into Two Entities in 1953
Ducati realized that it was beginning to have two very separate sections to the business. There was the electronics element of the company that was well-established and there was a growing demand for the motorcycles they were producing. For this reason, they decided to split the company into two entities in 1953. Ducati Elettronica was the entity that covered their electronics line of products while Ducati Meccanica SpA was the part of the business responsible for the manufacture of motorcycles. The latter was headed by Dr. Giuseppe Montano and he led the modernization of the factory to accommodate the fact that they were producing as many as 120 motorcycles each day by 1954.
12. They Made Motorcycle History During the 1960s
At various points since this company was founded, they have become a part of motorcycling history. One of the most significant achievements of Ducati was in the 1960s when they created the Mach 1 and this not only established them as a serious motorcycle brand, it also put them in the motorcycle history books. At that time, the Mach 1 was the fastest 250 cc road bike available on the market as it could achieve a little over 100 miles per hour.
13. They Have Sold More Than 300,000 Ducati Monsters
One of the most successful and popular bikes that have ever been produced by Ducati is the Ducati Monster. They first began producing the Monster in 1993. It was designed by Miguel Angel Galluzzi and it is described as a muscle bike. There are eight variations of this model available; 620, 695, 696, 750, 796, 900, S2R, and S4R. This bike is characterized by its exposed engine and frame. Since production of the Ducati Monster began, they have sold over 300,000 of this model.
14. The Ducati Factory and Museum is a Popular Attraction
One of the most popular attractions in Bologna is tours of the Ducati factory. SO much so that they also built a museum on the same site that is dedicated to the history of the company and is filled with many artifacts relating to the production process and some of the best examples of their bikes from throughout history. The attraction is so popular that it is estimated that over 600,000 people have enjoyed a tour of the factory and the museum since 1998.
15. Ducati’s in Japan Are Quieter
One of the reasons that Ducati owners have chosen a motorbike from this brand is that they want a powerful bike and they love the roar that this brand produces when they accelerate and the power kicks in while they are riding. However, this is an element of the riding experience that is missing in the bikes that are sold in Japan as these are significantly quieter. This is because the cars that are manufactured for the Japanese market are fitted with a different exhaust system than the motorcycles produced for the rest of the world so that the bikes comply with Japanese rules and regulations relating to the manufacture of motor vehicles.
16. They Have Won the SuperBike Championships Many Times
Ducati has a long history of involvement in the biggest motorsport events in the world and they first became involved in racing in 1951. Since then, their motorcycles have been ridden by some of the greatest professional riders of all time. Ducati is a serious competitor at these events and they have topped the leaderboard in many championship events. In fact, riders of Ducati have won the SuperBike World Championship on 14 occasions. Ducati has also won this championship twice as the manufacturer. The total number of victories achieved by Ducati is over twice the number of victories achieved by the next best competitor at these events.
17. Casey Stoner Became a Champion on a Ducati in 2007
At sporting events, some of the most talented riders in the world have ridden Ducati bikes as part of their team. One of these is American rider Casey Stoner. In 2007, Ducati won the MotoGP World Championship with Casey Stoner as the rider. Prior to this, 33 years had passed since the championship had last been won by an Italian manufacturer.
18. Audi Acquired Ducati in 2012
The ownership of Ducati has changed many times throughout its history. Its current owner is Audi as they acquired the company in 2012. Audi is part of the Volkswagen Group and their chairman, Ferdinand Piech, is a motorcycle enthusiast who had a great desire to get involved with Ducati. Audi reportedly paid $909 million to acquire Ducati, although they originally almost paid $1.2 billion. It is owned under AUDI AG’s Automobili Lamborghini SpA subsidiary.
19. The Company Logo Has Changed Over the Years
The Ducati company logo has changed many times over the years and one reason for this is that the products manufactured by this company have changed so significantly. At first, the logo was a simple white circle outlined in black with the company’s original name topped by a lightning bolt and two overlapping ‘S’. When the motorcycle subdivision was founded, they began to use the famous two gold wings logo that topped a ‘D’ in a laurel wreath and the words Ducati Meccanica Bologna. This changed again in 1967 when the logo was simplified, and the famous scrambler wing was introduced. The current logo has been in use since 2007. This is a red shield outlined in white with the word Ducati above a symbol of a white winding road.
20. There Are Ducati Enthusiast Groups
As Ducati is such a high-quality brand of motorcycle, it has many fans around the world. Since the 1990s, Ducati has utilized this fact as part of their marketing and branding campaign and support the various Ducati fan clubs from around the world. There are now more than 400 Ducati clubs across the globe and there are in excess of 20,000 registered members of the Ducati Owners Club. Riders and enthusiasts of Ducati are known as Ducatisti. While some of the groups are focused on the vintage Ducatis, others are interested in the company’s racing activities.