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Italian history of motor-car manufacturing would be dull without Ducati. This motorcycle designer has been striking the world with innovations from 1926. As defined by the company itself, the brand became successful due to a combination of several state-of-the-art technologies: desmodromic valve, L-Twin engine type and steel tubular Trellis frame. Nonetheless, Ducati’s success is the result of a smooth-running team work, based on the principles of dignity and respect. No discrimination in any form is tolerated by the management – that is an essence of corporate ethics.
Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. was established by the Ducati family - a father and his three sons. The company has been in their full ownership for more than 20 years. Further on, it was a subsidiary of various entities and individuals, including VM Group, Texas-Pacific Group, Giuseppe Montano, Cristiano de Eccher, etc. Nowadays Ducati is headquartered from Bologna, Italy, and since 2012 it has been under the supervision of the Volkswagen Group (via Audi and its subsidiary Lamborghini).
Ducati started as a producer of condensers, vacuum tubes and radio components. This business was quite successful and gave push to the development of a new guidance – the design of pushrod engines, aka Cucciolo, intended for bicycles. By 1950, the company has sold more than 200 thousand engines (under the auspices of SIATA). Such huge demand allowed for the creation of Ducati’s own motorcycle, based on Cucciolo. It featured only 44 kg weight and was estimated for about 64 km/h top speed.
In early 1950s the maker introduced the Cruiser – a four-stroke motor scooter. A decade later, Ducati performed exploits by elaborating an erstwhile fastest road bike, the Mach 1. In addition, it transited the production towards V-twin engines and copyright desmodromic valve. In 1985 the brand was acquired by Caviga; eleven years later the latter sold a controlling stake to Texas Pacific Group that afterwards bought the remainder, entering into a sole ownership of the company.
In 1999 an Italian brand was renamed Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. In early 2000s it was sold to Investindustrial Holdings, and then in 2012 an eminent motorcycle maker became a subsidiary of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. – an arm of Audi AG under Volkswagen Group control.
As noted above, Ducati is distinguished by the design and implementation of desmodromic valve that allowed Italian brand to place a dominant role in high-performance motorcycles segment. Unlike conventional valves with springs, Ducati’s invention features a cam lobe and a lifter, which in combination ensure a faster opening and closing of valves without the risk of power loss or valve-float. In addition, the team was the first to use multi-plate dry clutches instead of mainstream wet clutches; they preclude power loss from oil viscosity drag.
Ducati’s series of achievements began in the 1950s when Fabio Taglioni addressed design projects. Under his guidance the company released a number of motorcycle lines, ranging from small single-cylinder machines to large-capacity twins. The most outstanding Taglioni’s elaborations were Pantah (1979) and SuperSport (SS). It should be underlined that all modern solutions introduced by the team derive from Pantah.
In the 1970s the manufacturer launched off-road two-stroke Regolarita 125 and 860 GT. The latter, designed by Giorgio Giugiaro, featured unique angular lines and controversial raised handlebars which, they say, caused steering issues. In 1993 a new Ducati Monster was showcased. This ‘naked’ bike with exposed trellis instantly became a hit and since that time has been accounting for half of the brand’s overall global sales.
The same year Ducati released another model – Supermono (a lightweight single-cylinder racer). In the 2000s the company came out with PaulSmart 1000 LE motorcycle, differentiated by a retro style with reference to 750 SuperSport model.
All current Ducati’s motorcycles are equipped with one of four available engines: superquadro (liquid-cooled, desmodromic four-valve), testastretta 11 (liquid-cooled, desmodromic four-valve, 11 degrees valve overlap), testastretta 11 DS (dual ignition, liquid-cooled, desmodromic four-valve, 11 degrees valve overlap), desmodue (air-cooled, desmodromic two-valve, 60 degrees valve angle).
The range of motorcycles consists of the following model lines: Diavel, Superbike, Hypermotard, Multistrada, Streetfighter, and Monster. Monster line counts 10 popular models, widely recognized across the world.
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