I was smitten with Ducati from day one. In the early 1990’s I thought the 851 Superbike was the most beautiful motorcycle I had ever seen and I lusted after one. I really wanted to carry Ducati when I first opened the shop but, a dealer opportunity was not available at the time. So, I waited... impatiently.
Just to drive myself crazy, I would take Ducati’s as trade-ins and ride them myself. Within weeks of opening the shop I took a couple of Monsters in as trades. One was a 900 with a set of Termi pipes on it. It was an amazing motorcycle. I rode it to work and took it up into the mountains. I remember throttling that thing up the hills and thinking, “this bike drives itself”. It points itself into the turns, I wasn’t really doing anything to help it. It was a very different experience from anything else I had ridden. I was hooked.
I drove Ducati corporate to distraction, I had to have them. I pushed hard for the dealership for several years and finally, in 2002, we signed the papers. I am very passionate about Ducati, the lifestyle and the enthusiasm of the customers. I love the sound of a Ducati twin with pipes on it. I don’t care which one it is, they all sound fantastic. Ducati can get under your skin like nothing else. It’s one of those magical combinations of frame, motor, and precision handling. It’s unsurpassed in the market.
On a Major Roll
When I first opened the shop the 916 had become the 996 and Ducati was on a roll with the Superbikes. The Monster and a few other models were still a small part of their line up but, the Superbike was hot and it was getting a lot of attention. We picked up Ducati just as they began executing an exciting new vision of the future. From that point forward, unique and daring models came out one after another in rapid succession.
Our first year with Ducati they released the controversial 999. It was a major departure in styling from the iconic 916/996/998 era and raised some eyebrows with the faithful. The 999 was way ahead of its time, there wasn’t another bike out there that looked like it or performed like it. That bike made a number of significant advances but, people thought it was “unpure”. I still love that bike and hope to own one someday. It set the stage for what was to come.
Ducati then released a line of Sport Touring bikes, the middleweight 749, and steadily evolved the Monster series. The following year we saw the new and unique Multistrada and the attention grabbing Sport Classics. All of these new models helped us grow our business and introduced Ducati to new customers. But, they didn't’ stop there.
Breaking New Ground
For the last several years Ducati has introduced a diverse range of ground breaking new motorcycles. They surprised everyone with the radical Hypermotard, one of my favorite motorcycles in the world. If I could only have one bike (no dear, that is not a possibility) it would be a Hypermotard 1100.
Then they set the bar forward again with the 1098 Superbike, the best bike they had made up to that point. They followed that up with the 1198, an even better designed Superbike and a track animal.
In an effort to make a Superbike for street riding, Ducati launched the fantastic 848 EVO with its beautiful bodywork and lovely design. And, just when you think this pace can’t continue, here comes the Streetfighter, about as muscular a bike as you’re likely to see on the street. Not really a derivative of the Superbike but, a re-engineered bike all in and of itself. It demands respect.
The new Diavel is a game changer. Fastest 0-to-60 bike we’ve ever had in our showroom, which is really saying something. The appearance of the Diavel is completely unique and the ergonomics are like nothing we have seen before. The Diavel allows people who have owned Harleys to transition to Ducati. They climb on one, put their feet flat on the ground and say, “Man, I’ve always wanted to own a Ducati. Wow, I can do this”.
The innovation continues apace, from advancements in fuel injection and electronics, to the first true traction control system. They introduced really useful riding modes on the new Multistrada and Diavel. You can change the entire character of the bike with a flick of a button. Choose a mode like Sport, Touring, or Enduro and the system adjusts the engine mapping and the suspension.
This is not a gimmick, these riding modes truly adjust the character of the bike to suit the riding conditions. You don’t always want Superbike acceleration when you’re stuck in traffic, riding modes tame the beast, or release the beast, your choice.
Ducati is not afraid to make engineering advances. They aren’t waiting for other manufacturers to do it first. They are out front, in the lead, and they’re not looking back.
A Data Company
A little known fact about Ducati is that they are a leader in data acquisition and analysis. They push the leading edge of design, engineering, and materials on the race track, capture the performance data and analyze the results, over and over again. Their continuous improvement program is second to none.
You benefit because everything they do in engineering trickles down from their race program. If Ducati finds a way to make a race bike faster, lighter, stronger, or handle better, those innovations will find their way into your next bike.
It’s not all about speed. Ducati also applies their obsession with data and continuous improvement to quality control. They continue to make major advancements in manufacturing processes and material analysis. The Ducati brand has evolved considerably in engineering, design and quality over the past 10 years. This is reflected in their maintenance intervals which have been extended up to 7,500 miles. The newest models are 15,000 miles before the first valve check. They’ve become an engineering tour de force.
An Experience Unlike Any Other
People who are passionate about design and engineering are attracted to Ducati, without question. Once you have experienced one, it’s really hard not to own one. Once you have one under your skin, there are a million other motorcycles out there but, they’re not Ducati’s. I really feel Ducati invokes passion among it’s owners and has a stronger pull on the heartstrings than almost anything else. A big part of the allure is the L-Twin motor.
All Ducati’s share the signature steel trellis frame, a design that has been with them for a very long time. When they originally engineered that frame they got it exactly right. The engine is a stressed member with the steel trellis frame to support it. Once the motor is spinning a few thousand rpm it balances out and the bikes handle like razor blades. Every Ducati we have on the floor cuts a line like nobody's business, it’s unique to Ducati.
Other signature traits include Ducati’s confidence inspiring 6 speed transmissions, performance oriented fuel injection, and top quality dual disc front and single disc rear Brembo brakes with braided stainless steel brake lines. Every Ducati throughout the line has sport-style front and rear 17” wheels. Every bike has a nice contact patch and the ability to put some serious traction down. And, they are as light as anything available, with superb power to weight ratios. Most of the bikes we carry from Ducati are sub 400 lbs dry, it’s all done through exceptional design and engineering derived from their race program.
The Ducati customer is more design conscious of both the motorcycle and themselves. They have an appreciation for beautiful things that are well made. They believe in wearing quality gear. They are sporty people, their hobbies are sporty, and their passions are sporty. All motorcyclists are outdoors people but, the Ducati person will often tell you they are a former downhill racer, ride mountain bikes, or surf. They want a motorcycle with a tinge of thrill. They want a motorcycle that teaches them how to ride better.
What people discover is that Ducati’s are accessible. For no more than the cost of a Japanese bike, a stock Monster is a work of art, sounds awesome, and has a pull-your-emotions engine. The barrier to entry to have that much performance and technology is really a low dollar amount. We have a lot of young Ducati customers that won’t settle for anything less. We are also finding that a lot of women are attracted to the Monster’s as well. They’re light, have a low seat height, handle beautifully, and it’s a bike you can be proud to own.
We don’t have to guide customers to the Ducatis on our shop floor, they’re drawn to them naturally.