Ducati Cruiser




Make Model.

Ducati Cruiser


1952 - 54


Four stroke, single cylinder, OHV, pushrod


175 cc / 10.7 cu in
Bore x Stroke 62 x 58 mm

Compression Ratio


Cooling System

Air cooled


Dell'Orto carburetor


12V, 45W generator



Max Power

5.6kW / 7.5 hp @ 5600 rpm


Automatic with hydraulic torque converter

Final Drive

Frame Pressed steel

Front Suspension

Single hydraulic shock absorber

Rear Suspension

Swingarm with rubber inserts for damping

Front Wheel

2.45 x 10, Pirelli

Rear Wheel

2.45 x 10, Pirelli

Front Brakes


Rear Brakes


Dry Weight

175 kg / 386 lbs

Top Speed

80 km/h / 50 mph

When the people at Ducati presented the Cruiser 175 to the world, they were well aware that they were facing a nearly impossible challenge. They took the plunge out of pure passion. They had two obstacles to overcome: two iconic, rival scooters that had been winning over country after country with wild success. They were the Vespa, patented by Piaggio in 1946, and the Lambretta, launched by Innocenti the following year.

The bold manufacturer from Borgo Panigale unveiled its innovative model at Milan’s Fair in January 1952. Its four-stroke engine, automatic shift, and electric start – developed in collaboration with Giovanni Florio and Carrozzeria Ghia, the Turin-based company specializing in high-end cars – were avant-garde features at the time.

The brave move against Vespa and Lambretta proved an impossible feat, and fizzled within a couple of years. Only a few thousand Cruiser 175 were sold, but the wonderful scooter’s only fault was to have competed against two giants.

The Cruiser was Ducati’s first and only scooter. It was introduced in Italy in 1952 in order to take on the ever-popular Piaggio Vespa and similarly-priced two-wheelers manufactured by Lambretta, among others. The Cruiser was more innovative than its main rivals because it was the first mass-produced Italian scooter fitted with a four-stroke engine and an automatic transmission.

Power for the Cruiser came from a 175cc air-cooled two-cylinder engine that generated 8 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, enough to send the 330-pound (175-kilo) scooter on to a top speed of 52 mph (85 km/h). It turns out that the average scooter buyer in post-war Italy wasn’t terribly interested in technical innovations, so the Cruiser failed to catch on while the Vespa — and, to a lesser extent, members of the Lambretta lineup — soared in popularity. Ducati shelved the project in 1954, and it has focused on building motorcycles ever since.