Ducati history It all began in 1926, when two Italian brothers, Adriano and Marcello
founded an electronics company in Bologna. Back then this was something
quite rEVOlutionary, and they probably saw great future in the electronics
industry. there family name: Ducati.
The company called Societa Scientifica Tadiobrevetti Ducati produced tubes
and other electronic components for the army and because of this was
subjected to heavy allied bombardments during the Second World War as it was
considered a strategic target.
The company’s first motorcycle was born out of the
cauldron of these war-torn times. Aldo Farinelli, who first thought of
and then manufactured a small engine that could be fitted on a bike (a
startling similarity to how Harley Davidson got their start), had to
keep his plans a secret up until the end of the war as diverting any
resources from the war effort was considered a capital crime by the
fascists - then ruling Italy. As soon as the war came to an end though,
the small engine (nicknamed Cuccioli- Italian for ‘puppy’) was offered
to the public as a cheap means of transportation. (it could squeeze
100kms out of a liter of fuel) Soon Ducati started bulding a frame to
the engine and thus the first official Ducati motorcycle was born. It
was a 60cc bike with a top speed of 40 mph and was officially named
The year 1952 marked a cornerstone in Ducati history.
It was the year it introduced its 65TS model at the Milan Show, together
with the first 4 stroke scooter, the Cruiser.
In 1953, the company was split into two separate entities, Ducati
Meccanica SpA which went on to produce motorbikes, and Ducati
Elettronica SpA which continued the company’s tradition in electronics
under separate leadership. It was also the year when the government
appointed Giuseppe Montano as manager for Ducati Meccanica. Montano was
a true biker at heart, plus he had a keen sense of commerce. He realized
that in order to be competitive with other motorcycle companies of the
era ( like Guzzi) Ducati needed to score race wins in two of the most
prestigious races in Italy at the time: Milan-Taranto and Giro d’Italia
Ducati got a racing edge over the competition - as far
as engine power was concerned - an edge it seems to possess to this very
day in the motoGP, by adopting positive valve control, also known as
Desmodromics. This allowed its engines to reach rpms far superior to
what the competition was capable of, and thus secure those extra few
horse-powers it took to best the rest.
The company had its ups and downs in racing (winning the 1956 Swedish
G.P, only to have the victorious rider die in an accident in Monza just
before the following race) but its 125 Desmo was probably the first bike
that would take them on the road to world-wide recognition.
The next successful racing model was the first 250cc model Ducati
designed, winning almost all of its races and becoming a production
model in 1961.
The model sold in the U.S., the Diana Mark 3 Super Sport went on to
become the fastest 250cc production motorcycle in the world.
The 1970s brought the beginnings of hard times for the Bologna-based
company. The invasion of Japanese-made superior quality motorcycles
spelled doom for every European small-capacity engine manufacturer.
Ducati was one of the few who could hold off the “Japanese invaders”
thanks to its engines which were beginning to be regarded by then as
“marvels of modern engineering”
The company however, was not able to recover from the shock of dropping
the small-to-medium capacity motorcycle-line, and by 1983 it was nearing
It was saved by Cagiva. The two companies agreed that Ducati would
provide the engines for Cagiva’s Elefant and Alazzurra, the former
racing successfully in the world-famous Paris-Dakar rally.
1985 was probably the year that shaped the manufacturer of the “Rosso”s
into what we all know today. With the help of Cagiva, a new research
facility was founded in Rimini.
The first ever “modern” Ducati to be born as a result
of research in Rimini was the famous Paso. The company even tried its
hand at creating a cruiser, the Indiana. The motorcycle to start winning
races again for Ducati, and to mark the company’s exit from under the
shadow of hard times, was the 851, built in 1985,.
This successful motorcycle later EVOlved into the 888 and then the 916
which established Ducati as a World Superbike superpower.
Getting into the World Motorcycle Championship was the last jewel on the
Ducati crown. Here, despite the strong opposition and initial hardships
Ducati is regularly scoring race victories to this very day.
As the bikes continue to be produced at the Borgo Paigale plant, the
craftsmanship and exceptional company pedigree make sure no one has to
look twice at a Ducati motorbike to know what they’re feasting their
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