World Ducati Week 2014: Ten Things You Didn't Know About Ducati

World Ducati Week 2014 participants

Bologna—It's World Ducati Week here in Italy and the throaty sound of V-Twins is everywhere. The factory in Bologna is teeming with leather-clad loyalists, despite the 90-something-degree heat. That didn't faze me, but some of the things I learned did. Here are 10 highlights.

1) You know Yamaha makes pianos and Honda makes lawnmowers, but did you know Ducati used to make radios? And electric razors? And reel-to-reel projectors?

2) In fact, it wasn't until the Ducati factory was bombed in World War II that the factory produced the Cicciolo, a little motor you could slap on your bicycle and beat the other kids around the block.

vintage Ducati radio

3) Ducatis are still made by hand, in Italy. Every last one of them. Sure, Thailand and Brazil now have factories, but bikes are only assembled there, and only for those markets. Italian craftsmanship made by craftsmen, not robots.

4) Or should I say craftspersons? A full 30 percent of the production staff at the factory in Borgo Panigale is female.

5) There are two production lines at the factory in Bologna: one for bikes headed to the US, one for bikes headed everywhere else. Yep, emissions standards. California's are the most stringent, but manufacturing a motorcycle for one specific state is hardly practical.

6) It takes 88 minutes to make a Monster.

Showroom displaying a Ducati Monster 821

7) Want to meet the people who made your bike? By this I mean the specific individuals who produced your motorcycle. Theoretically, you could. Every step of every process in every bike's creation is signed by the individual who did the work. Takes accountability to a whole new level, eh?

8) A Ducati produced for sale in Japan is unlike any other Ducati in the world. Why? Sound regs. It's true: Bikes bound for Japan are muffled to quiet that unmistakable Ducati roar. They still purr, though. (each engine's sound can be heard on Ducati's website: http://www.ducati.com/desmosound/desmo_notes/index.do

Ducati 1199 Superleggera static side view

9) Superleggera means "super light," not "super expensive." But the 342-lb. $65,000 superbike is both.

10) There was no Ducati Scrambler sighting in the factory. It's like a unicorn. Maybe I'll get a glimpse of one tomorrow when festivities get under way at the Misano Circuit. You'll be the first to know!

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Ducati Monster 821.

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