Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. is one of the most successful manufacturers of motorcycles in the world. The company is based out of Bologna, Italy and was founded in 1926. Lamborghini, a subsidiary of the well-known German automaker Audi, currently owns Ducati.
Ducati has been owned by a number of different companies and groups throughout its history. Antonio Cavalieri Ducati founded it in 1926 as a manufacturer of vacuum tubes, condensers, and other radio components.
It wasn’t until the late 1930s and early 1940s that the company began to develop an interest in motorcycles. During the last years of World War II, Ducati began experimental development on a small pushrod engine designed to be mounted on bicycles. The engine was quickly released just a few months after the end of the war in 1944.
At first, Ducati focused its production efforts on engines alone. They were soon prompted to build complete motorized-bicycles after a number of companies began to buy up their motors in quantity and market their own motor-mounted bicycles. The first complete motorcycle produced by Ducati was sold in 1950. Originally named the Cucciolo, the motorbike was soon renamed the 55M and the 65TL.
The market quickly shifted towards larger motorcycles and Ducati hopped right on this trend. They responded with the Ducati 65TS cycle and the Ducati Cruiser at a Milan tradeshow in early 1952. Though there was a large amount of public interest in the motorcycles, neither model initially sold very well. Ducati continued to grow during the next several years. By 1954, the company was producing 120 bikes per day.
But what really cemented Ducati’s place in motorcycle history occurred in the 1960s. It was during this decade that the company produced the Mach 1. The motorcycle became the fastest 250cc road bike ever produced.
Ducati’s success continued on into the 1970s with the development of large-displacement V-twin motorcycles. New models were released throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Many featured new technological advancements and innovations that helped them become bestsellers.
The Audi subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group bought Ducati in 2012 before transferring it to their Lamborghini subsidiary later that year. Ducati is currently owned by Lamborghini and continues to produce high performance motorcycles under the Ducati brand name.
Ducati’s current flagship model, and one of its most popular motorcycles, is its Ducati 1199 Panigale superbike.
Ducati introduced the 1199 Panigale at the 2011 Milan Motorcycle show. The motorcycle is named after Borgo Panigale, a small manufacturing town in Italy.
At the time of its release, the Ducati 1199 Panigale was the world’s fastest twin-cylinder production motorcycle. It also featured the highest power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios of any production motorcycle on the market.
During its first several years of production, the 1199 Panigale received several awards and much recognition. It was considered by many experts and critics as one of the best superbikes every produced.
A key feature of the motorcycle, aside from its engine, is its suspension. It is one of the first production motorcycles to utilize an electronically adjustable suspension system. Rebound and compression are adjusted electronically while pre-load needs to be adjusted manually.
Since 2012, Ducati has produced a special edition of its flagship model. Known as the Panigale R, the superbike has lightened engine internals and carbon fiber external parts. This raises the power up a few horsepower while also reducing the bike’s weight. The top speed of the Ducati Panigale R is just over 200 mph.
Ducati currently manufacturers a number of different models of its motorcycles under six different produce lines. These product lines include Monster, Multistrada, Diavel, Superbike, Hypermotard, and Streetfighter.
Monster: Ducati’s Monster line of motorcycles consists of the 696, 796, 1200, and 1200 S.
Multistrada: Ducati’s Multistrada line of motorcycles consists of the 1200, 1200 S, and 1200 S Pikes Peak.
Diavel: Ducati’s Diavel line of motorcycles consists of the Diavel, Cromo, Carbon, and Strada.
Superbike: Ducati’s Superbike line of motorcycles consists of the 899 Panigale, flagship 1199 Panigale, 1199 Panigale S, and 1199 Panigale R.
Hypermotard: Ducati’s Hypermotard line of motorcycles consists of the Hypermotard, Hypermotard SP, and Hyperstrada.
Streetfighter: Ducati’s Streetfighter line of motorcycles consists of the 848.
Ducati has a long and illustrious history in motorcycle racing. The company’s history with motorsports began in 1951 with their team of bicycle factory racers and has continued up to the present day. In fact, Ducati still follows its age-old business model, “win on Sunday, and sell on Monday.”
Ducati has done very well in a number of different motorcycle racing events. These include Grand Prix motorcycle racing, the Superbike World Championship, the Supersport World Championship, the British Superbike Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, and the Australian Superbike Championship. They have won these championship events several times each.