Total Motorcycle’s interview with Ducati Motorcycle Canada:
by Mike & Andrea Le Pard.
On the track or on the road, Ducati offers a range of the most highly sophisticated, cutting-edge design motorcycles made today. From the fastest sport bikes to the meanest Monsters, Ducati turns the dreams of even the most fanatical enthusiasts and the most demanding riders into reality.
Total Motorcycle interviewed Steve Hicks, Ducati Event Coordinator on January 8th at the 2005 Calgary Motorcycle Show. Steve loves Ducati motorcycles and his passion and excitement for them is strongly evident.
TMW: Steve, what sets Ducati apart from the rest of the competition?
Steve: Ducati offers the motorcyclist a high-class image and style. High quality parts, Italian design, hand built from the frame up, and advanced technology sums up Ducati motorcycles nicely. To maintain our high standards we only build 35,000 motorcycles worldwide each year. Unfortunately, building motorcycles with this much quality means our prices are a little higher than our competition’s.
Ducati is also big on racing. We have won more races than every other motorcycle manufacturer combined.
TMW: What were Ducati’s most successful models for 2004?
Steve: In 2004 the Ducati Monster S4R was the best seller of the Monster lineup. The other Ducati motorcycle that was also successful for us was the Ducati 999. Riders and motorcycle press loved this motorcycle; it was great on the street and won on the track, but also had top-notch styling.
In 1992, Ducati Monster designer Miguel Galluzzi said this of the philosophy behind his creation: “All you need is a saddle, tank, engine, two wheels, and handlebars.” Since 1993 our Ducati monster family has been a very strong seller for us. Even though the styling is simple, it is so stunning that other manufacturers have tried to duplicate it. The Monster is one of the most copied styles of Ducati motorcycles of all time.
TMW: Out of all of Ducati’s 2005 models, which ones is Ducati most excited about and why?
Steve: For 2005, Ducati is excited about a few of our models such as the new Monster S2R, the Monster 1000 and 620 Multistrata.
The all new 2005 Ducati Monster S2R and S2R Dark are real attention getters. Modeled after our acclaimed Monster S4R, the S2R features many high quality performance parts at a very affordable price. The bike is decked out with an aluminum alloy single-sided trellis swingarm, unique progressive rear suspension system with adjustable rear ride height, 5-spoke wheels, and exhaust with double silencer mounted high on the right-hand side. The oversized tires and extra ground clearance is so that you can lean even further into the bends. Above all, it looks great on the road or standing still and that makes it a direct complement to Ducati’s fine lineup.
The Monster 1000 and 1000S was designed from the ground up for performance and to be a minimalist naked style bike. Every component performs a specific function, so there are no frivolous accessories, just pure concentrated technology.
Our Ducati 620 and 620 Dark Multistrata are our “do-it-all” entry-level motorcycles. Light in weight and having potent power delivered over a wide rpm range, the Multistrada 620 models are both versatile and economical.
TMW: What is Ducati currently focusing on in the market and why?
Steve: I think it is best to say what Ducati is not specifically focusing on, as this will give you a better idea of what we are working on. Ducati will not be introducing any cruiser or specific touring bikes in the near future. We just do not see a market for them for us; these types of motorcycles do not fit our image or style. There are many other companies that market cruisers and touring bikes, but you will not see them in our line up. We enjoy focusing on performance motorcycle products.
TMW: What do you foresee Ducati focusing on more in the future?
Steve: Ducati will be focusing even more on road racing models just like our Ducati 749 and 999. Our future motorcycle models will focus even more on new innovative designs and quality performance parts than ever before.
TMW: What things might we expect to see in the future from Ducati?
Steve: When Ducati designs or redesigns a motorcycle model, we design it to look good for a much longer time than our competitors. Our Italian designs are world renowned and that is something we are quite proud of. With time our models become aged so new bikes are inevitable.
Take note that no other manufacturer has produced a single motorcycle, without major changes, for as long as we have that can still win races like Ducati has. For example, our Superbike lineup is a decade old and yet not only is it still winning races, but manufacturers are still trying to duplicate its look.
TMW: Are there any future models in the works?
Steve: For 2006, I would expect a Ducati V4 road racing motorcycle as a mid first release. The 2006 Ducati V4 should be priced around $80,000, but will weigh only 340-350lbs and produce about 190 horsepower! It will be sold in limited numbers at first due to the cost, but it will become more affordable in about 2010 for the average buyer.
TMW: Are there any changes in the works for any of the current models?
Steve: The Ducati Supersport 999 will have some small changes each year. But unlike previous Ducati Supersport models the 999 won’t be left unchanged as long. I would expect a minimum of 5 years in sales (2009 model year) before major changes are introduced. This is due to increased competition in road racing models from our competitors, like Suzuki with their GSX-R1000.
TMW: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Steve: Ducati has looked at producing motorcycles like our competitors do, that is to have the bikes assembly line built rather than hand built. While this would lower costs of our motorcycles quite a bit, therefore allowing us to produce more than 35,000 bikes a year, we feel it would also lower quality as well. That is something that Ducati is considering in order to market our bikes to a greater number of motorcyclists.
We produce many of our Ducati motorcycles models at different price levels. Our Dark versions are our “economical” versions of a particular model with few added frills. One example is the Ducati Monster 1000 Dark. This different trim level allows us to keep the high quality we are known for but be able to offer the model at an attractive price point.
This concludes our 2005 Interview with Ducati Motorcycles. We would like to thank Ducati Canada and Steve Hicks for allowing us to interview them and for their time. We look forward to our next interview with them.
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