Last Page - Ducati to Replace Harley-Davidson at Handlebars of Societal Downfall

By Jeff Karr, Photography by Milagro

After a long, noisy ride as the official bad-boy brand in global moto-culture, Harley-Davidson now seems to be settling into an image that's a bit less edgy-perhaps something in a Briggs & Stratton or a Black & Decker, but with a bit more give in the waist and seat for greater comfort. Wasting no time, ripped and buff Ducati has swiftly filled the cultural-icon vacuum with its own special blend of bikes, babes and 'bunctiousness.

Yes, we needed a "b" word there, so we just plain made that one up. Maybe that's a testament of just how fresh this whole new Ducati movement is. Cast off your valve springs and rejoice! World Ducati Week in Misano, Italy, marks the epicenter of this seismic shift in motorcycling culture. This ain't Sturgis, Cletus. Less beef jerky, and much more quirky, WDW has a whole different look.

Leather vests are out and Desmo tats are in. Women are objectified (some things never change), and Body Mass Indexes are trending lower. That's heart-healthy, no? And, of course, Ducatis are cleaned ... or at least vigorously sponged.

Seems fairly harmless overall. But this societal realignment is just getting started. We may be in for a long, red ride before Ducati becomes as mainstream as Harley-Davidson is today. When will we know? When the Ford F-150 Desmo Edition comes along, that would be a pretty good clue.

By Jeff Karr
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