Cars

A Look Inside The Ducati Museum

Late last month, the folks at TUDOR watches invited me to the Italian countryside to spend some time learning more about two of my favorite things: Swiss watches and Ducati motorcycles. Needless to say, I accepted, as it's no secret I've been crazed on each as of late. But to say that I've never dreamt of going to the Ducati Museum in Bologna would be a hilarious lie I can't even write with a straight face. It was also the perfect scene to put the Olympus PEN E-P5 that I was reviewing through its paces (more on that to come). 

Below, I attempt to flesh out what we saw. Unfortunately, my Italian-to-English translations certainly leave something to be desired...  

In the '60s, Ducati started to play around with the "Desmo" valve system, giving birth to the behemoth engine sizes that eventually dominated the racing world. This is probably one of the best maintained examples of that phase change in the industry.

The hand-turned metalwork on this early '60s 175 is truly breathtaking in person; even just the way the light reflects off of the tank should give you an idea of what it took to shape it.

Now imagine racing this thing, knees tucked up into the tank, doing 150 mph down a sandy road...

...wearing this helmet. You'd be the definition of a crash test dummy.

Fun fact: pre-WWII Ducati was a multipurpose manufacturer, specializing in cameras, small household appliances, and more. 

It was explained to me that the *official* color of Ducati is actually silver, but due to an Italian regulation, all race bikes representing Italy worldwide had to be painted red. 

Fact: Ducati's logos only get cooler as you go further back in time. 

Hand-rolled Ducati cowling, awesomely aerodynamic, always futuristic, never out of style.

Before electronic sensors took over the racing world, riders and teams had to figure out the old fashioned way how much fuel was left: by looking through a fiberglass window built into the side of the tank. Seems archaic now, but at the time this was a bleeding edge development.

That tennis ball? It was used to wipe the bugs off the visors of Isle of Man TT riders. Yeah. Nuts.

Dat bubble. 

This is the only off road bike in the entire museum, a Caviga/Ducati Dakar Rally bike. This exact one actually won in 1995.

Many of the bikes at the museum had creative flourishes, such as this one with an expertly placed PlayStation 1 controller. Interesting spot for an advert.

Our pals over at HODINKEE shared their visit to the museum with me as well. Take a look—they were able to wrangle some great conversation out of the minds behind the collection.

Inside The Ducati Museum from HODINKEE on Vimeo.


Ted Gushue is the Executive Editor of Supercompressor. He gets a tingly feeling whenever he's near a Ducati. His doctor said this isn't normal. Check up on his diagnosis on Twitter @TedGushue.