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Ducati has a rich history marked by a number of iconic street bike and track bike models and some game-changing designers whose impact is still felt in the models released today. The brand’s story starts back in 1926 when Adriano, Bruno, and Marcello Ducati started the Società Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati to produce a short-wave radio transmitter at their facility in Borgo Panigale. The business was a success for years but then during World War II the factory was destroyed, forcing the company to change course once the war was over.
In 1945, Ducati acquired the rights to a newly developed Cucciolo engine that was designed to be fitted to a bicycle. This move allowed Ducati to find success in the growing personal transportation realm, leading to the development of the company’s first proper motorcycle at the end of the decade, the Ducati 60. In the 1950s, Ducati brought on Fabio Taglioni, the designer who would later develop some of the most important models in the company’s history. Bikes like the 125 Sport, Gran Sport 125 Mariana, Desmo 125, and Desmo 250 cemented Ducati’s place at the starting line as well as among machines intended for everyday riders. Taglioni introduced his desmodromic engine design in the decade as well, remnants of which still remain part of Ducati’s engine production to this day.
Subsequent decades saw models such as the Scrambler 450, the Taglioni-designed 750 GT, and the game-changing Pantah 500, one of its most successful models ever. Even this wasn’t enough to keep the brand from experiencing hardships, however, and in the ’80s Ducati was acquired by the Cagiva Group. This change in leadership also brought Massimo Tamburini to the table, the designer later responsible for creating the 916, argued by many to be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever created. The iconic Monster platform also debuted during this time.
Recent decades have seen Ducati become part of the Volkswagen Group, where it’s been able to continually solidify its position as a premium motorcycle marque with bikes like the Panigale V4, the new Scrambler family, its continuing Monster platform, as well as with its Multistrada, Diavel, and Streetfighter families.