Ducati GT1000 Touring

Ducati delivers a retro-classic tourer and an unusual safety message.

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Ducati launched a single new model at the Cologne INTERMOT show in October, 2008. The new bike, the GT1000 Touring, is basically an accessorized Sport Classic GT1000. But the packed crowd reacted favorably to Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio's report of the firm's robust sales growth and new commitment to rider safety.

The GT1000 Touring is dolled up in classy black paint with white pinstriping, highlighting the bike's classic lines. It's still powered by the torquey and soulful 992cc 90-degree two-valve "L"-Twin dual-spark motor; the SportClassic family still doesn't get the 1100 unit found in the Hypermotard, Multistrada and new Monster 1100. But it does get a tall touring windscreen and handy chrome luggage rack, creating a cool retro tourer that should handle, stop and go better than your average middleweight cruiser. The model will be available in the USA, but pricing has not yet been set; expect it to be a few hundred dollars more than the 2008 GT1000.

CEO Del Torchio prefaced the new model announcement with a rosy picture of Ducati's recent sales history. Due to a robust plan of introducing a flurry of new models announced at last year's EICMA show in Milan, the Bologna firm has greatly increased its number of units shipped, from 27,588 in 2006 to 34,669 for 2008 (as of August), with a corresponding 34.7 percent increase in revenues. Those are impressive numbers when the market for big bikes is shrinking worldwide.

Del Torchio also announced Ducati's commitment to keeping its customers alive (and not just so they can buy more motorcycles). It's part of the European Road Safety Charter, a program composed of government, non-government and business entities committed to halving the number of traffic deaths (42,000 in 2007) in the E.U. by the year 2010. Participants must take some kind of concrete action, not just lobby or sign a pledge, and traffic fatalities and injuries are indeed declining steadily in Europe. Is this the result of actions taken by the 1130 participating government agencies, municipalities, trade organizations and companies? Even if it isn't, Ducati isn't one to be last at anything, so it's signed up and is giving a free Dainese back protector away with every new Ducati sold in Europe.

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