In addition to usual cycling brands, a lot of car companies have dipped their toes into the bicycle world. I assume this is to connect the car brand with a lifestyle of health, leisure, fitness and sport. Some also get their engineers to apply car developed technology to cycles. It appears that most car makers at some time have either made a bicycle or at least thrown their brand on one. There is a long history of car makers doing this from Hillman and Rover, those long lost British car companies, Aston Martin, McClaren, Morgan, BMW, Lotus, Porsche, Skoda, Ferrari, Ford, Maserati, Caterham, Smart, Fiat etc. Peugeot also did it and then developed that part of the business into one of the biggest bicycle manufacturers in the world.
Whilst all of the above manufacturers have had a go in the cycle world, I can’t think of any car brand that has produced an iconic bicycle that anyone would remember or describe. Volumes are always low and they don’t appear in the mainstream magazines and bike shops. Motorcycle companies like KTM have also stepped into the cycling world with relative success, and I guess it’s more logical with the two-wheeled theme. Yamaha are even one of the current and leading electric motor suppliers for bicycles. This brings me to the thread; Ducati.
Ducati have a strong link between pedal and motor cycles as they have successfully straddled both motorcycle and bicycle industries in their history. The first Ducati, the Cucciolo was an engine designed to fit a bicycle and was launched into post-war Italy in 1945. It was a rip-roaring success. Ducati currently sell a very kool looking (as you would expect) eMTB and it follows the same branding, colour and styling that ensure that the family connection is made when looking at their latest motorcycle range. They launched it just after I bought my eMTB, otherwise………..
Anyway, I’ve got a fabulous 1992 Ducati 851 Strava, to give it its full title. It sounds great, goes great, looks great and in my and quite a few others view, really is great. I assumed that Ducati’s venture into the current eMTB world was their first, but it clearly isn’t, because I recently went to see my friend Stefan at his most amazing garage on the planet, which you can read about in the links at the bottom of this post, and whilst looking for something else, found an unusual Ducati branded mountain bike. I say unusual, because it is a limited edition bike that celebrates Ducati’s World Superbike titles that they won on a bike very similar to mine, as well as the later Ducati 916. I bought it.
I hadn’t ever seen one of these bikes before and mine has ‘Limited Edition No.101’ hand painted on the down tube. It also carries the same Ducati branding as my 851 Strada, although I believe this bike is a 1995 model. The date of manufacture clues are in the frame’s serial number and believed to be made by the Taiwanese company, Kinesis (see below for the serial number info’). The Italian Marzocchi XC600 suspension forks were first introduced in 1995 and the Shimano XT groupset is also of that time. Other components of note are the Club Roost handlebars, stem and bar ends. Interestingly, the saddle is made by the famous Italian saddle maker, Selle Italia, and this is stamped on a special little gold plaque underneath the saddle. Even more interesting, is the fact that it is designed and branded as Ferrari, so it’s a collaboration between car maker and cycle component maker.
I started this post with the thread of the car industry doing bicycles, and now I’ve ended up with one of the iconic car brands, Ferrari, designing a saddle to be made by Selle Italia for a Ducati branded bicycle that I now own. I don’t know who made the bicycle frame for Ducati, so more research is required. It is an aluminium frame and is a nice design with very curvy seat and chain stays. I also don’t know how many of these limited edition bikes that they made, so even more research is required.
I don’t think my No.101 bike was bought or used by a mountain biker. The condition is excellent and it still had the plastic inserts in the SPD pedals that the dealer should have removed. Annoyingly, there is a small dent in the top tube, but it’s only a small cosmetic annoyance and nothing really to worry about. Maybe the owner dropped one of his/her Ducati tools on it by mistake. Anyway, as you’ll probably agree from the photos, it’s a nice bike and looks great next to its engine-bearing cousin.
My thread doesn’t work just one way with the car and motorcycle companies making bicycles. The Cannondale bicycle company did it the other way around and made an innovative Moto-cross bike, which you can also read about in my link below, but sadly, it killed the whole company, so it’s obviously much less of a financial risk for the car and motorcycle makers to do a few bicycles, even if it just a marketing thing, than it is for bicycle makers to get into the ‘engine world’. Anyway, when I get some more information on my Ducati mountain bike, I’ll add it to this post. In the meantime, I’m going to ride both of my Ducati’s, although not at the same time, obviously?, and when it’s time to sell, they’ll both be sold together so they stay together.
The serial number information: K = factory, F = production line, 5 = 1995, D = April, 02492nd frame.
Here’s the link to the post about my Cannondale MX400 https://diaryofamotorcyclingnobody.com/yes-i-really-have-bought-a-cannondale-mx400-surprised/
Here is the first link about my Friend Stefan’s amazing garage https://diaryofacyclingnobody.com/the-ultimate-aladdins-cave-of-bike-shops-is-in-switzerland/
Here is the first link about my Friend Stefan’s amazing garagehttps://diaryofacyclingnobody.com/part-2-of-the-ultimate-aladdins-cave-of-bicycle-shops-is-in-switzerland/
All photos by the Author
4 thoughts on “Ducati”
I agree that car and motorcycle makers have had little impact on the cycle world in recent times but…..what about the Lotus branded bike on which Chris Boardman won his Olympic title. Subsequently they used the carbon fibre tech. in mountain bikes. Also the Porsche Bike S was considered iconic for a brief period. I’d need to look far more into the history of these bikes to give full chapter and verse but I seem to recall that the “Lotus” bikes were made by someone else.
You are correct and you reminded me of the night I did the Chester club 10 mile TT and Chris went off about 10 riders before me and I was on my trusty R1000 Cannondale. He passed me on that Lotus like he was on a moto about 6 minutes later and he posted the fastest ever 10 mile TT ever (at the time). I was talking to him about his Lotus afterwards and he was fascinated by my Coda cranks! It was a shame the way Lotus handled the whole thing as they could’ve pushed the bicycle boundaries faster if they had stuck at it.
Thanks for the comment?
Hi I was thinking which car makers actually built their own bicycles, Rover, Humber, Singer and Sunbeam are the more well known brands, Although some of those were shared models. Perhaps less known was the cycle manufacturer closest to both our home towns/cities, Elswick Hopper. Not only one of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers, they built cars and motorcycles under the Torpedo brand, they also built mopeds during the fifties-sixties.
An interesting fact around 1959 Honda gave EH a Honda 50 C100 for evaluation purposes, with the possibility of becoming the UK agents, according to folklore it was not taken seriously and mostly ignored, how different things could have been.
The Ducati bicycle is very nice, always liked Ducati bikes, used to have a Darmah 900 years ago.
Many thanx for the comment Robin. Interesting, additional facts?
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