Ducati has been in the motorcycle game since 1950, and for the last 70 years the Italian marquee has built a reputation for building stylish, high-performance machines – most of them in arresting Italian racing red. One of those early efforts was a 125 cc Grand Prix racer with a “desmodromic” valve operating system. Launched in 1956, that little engine was reliable up to 15,000 rpm – a number still impressive today. That was possible because desmo valve operation negated the need for the unreliable valve springs of the era, and desmodromic valve actuation has been a hallmark of Ducati engineering ever since.
Ducati’s list of sought-after designs is long, but the 916 (released in 1994) and MH900e SportClassic (released in 2000) are just two fine examples of Italian motorcycle sex appeal and collectability. Even current models like the attainable Monster nakeds, the adventurous Multistradas and the MotoGP-inspired Desmosedici RR streetbike of 2006 are some of the most sought after.
Though long famed for its booming V-twins, Ducati introduced a brand new V-four-powered sportbike beginning in 2018 – the Panigale V4 – powered by the Desmosedici Stradale V-four. The line-up also includes Diavel and xDiavel power cruisers, Multistrada sport tourers, the Hypermotard hooligan bike, the Monster naked street bikes – and a whole range of simple, entry level Ducatis in the form of its Scrambler models.
A few of Ducati's latest and greatest models include:
2021 Ducati Multistrada V4
The latest addition to the Multistrada adventure line is the first to use the all-new V4 Granturismo engine, an 1158cc liquid-cooled V-four for which Ducati claims 170 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 8,750 rpm. Interestingly, Ducati shows its engineering flexibility here, as the new engine uses conventional valve springs instead of the trademark desmodromic system. Smart, especially in an adventure bike, as the new valve return system allows an impressive 36,000 miles between valve service intervals and should greatly reduce the cost of Ducati ownership. (More details about the engine here.)
2021 Streetfighter V4
The logical progression from the Panigale V4 was the Streetfighter V4, introduced in 2020 (the 2021 Dark Stealth V4S is pictured). Basically this is an unfaired Panigale rendered more comfortable for road use via more upright ergonomics. Its V-four still packs a massive punch; its claimed 208 horsepower arrives at 13,000 rpm, and its 90.4 lb-ft of torque at 9,500 rpm. Fear not, though; the Streetfighter gets all the advanced traction control and race-bred electronics of its even racier sistership.
The 2020 Ducati Panigale V4 S, seen here (introduced in 2018), represents the pinnacle of Ducati production superbike technology and engineering. Powered by an 1103cc V-four, its supporting cast includes Öhlins electronic suspension and Brembo Stylema calipers. One of the most advanced electronic rider aids suites helps the rider lap faster, longer, and the winglets at the front are derived from MotoGP to provide up to 82 pounds of downforce at 186 mph.
Hypermotard 950 RVE
When you have total disregard for your driver’s license, the Ducati Hypermotard is the bike that’ll promote hooligan activities and possibly get your license taken away in the process. The latest 937cc V-twin is a powerful riot, while the long-travel suspension and narrow dimensions make it difficult not to want to wheelie, jump curbs, and seek out kinky little race tracks.
Ducati's sub-brand, Scrambler, is all about breaking down motorcycling to its most elemental forms. Neutral riding positions and basic appearances invite all comers to customize their scramblers into their own motorcycles. For 2021 the new Nightshift makes the party-starts-at-dawn scene with a classic 803 cc air-cooled desmo V-twin and swagger out the exhaust pipes. There are like 10 other Scramblers for `21, each with its own unique style.