Ducati is always full of surprises, and we love her for that. These days the Bologna-based company is about to put on the market what appears to be two models set at the opposite extremes of the two-wheeled vehicle world. On one side, off the Borgo Panigale assembly lines are rolling the first units of the new edition Diavel 1260, the meanest, most powerful cruiser from Bologna. Unveiled at EICMA 2018, the new Diavel is a more "Ducatized" interpretation of the power cruiser theme.

The new chassis features a steeper steering geometry (27-degree rake), a more balanced weight distribution bias, and more generous ground clearance for that sporty ride that must always be associated with the Ducati name. In addition, the new Diavel adopts an updated version of the most sophisticated edition of the Testastretta V-twin, the 1,260cc DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) that delivers 159 hp at 9,500 rpm, with 95.2 peak pound-feet of torque at 7,500 rpm. One top of to the very sophisticated desmo variable timing, this unit now features twin spark ignition and secondary air induction to make it fully Euro 4 compliant while delivering its massive power and torque. The S version features Öhlins suspension units, an upgraded performance braking system, and Ducati’s quick-shift up and down. The Diavel styling has grown leaner and meaner for a unique sports power cruiser like none other.

2019 Diavel
Ducati’s 2019 Diavel 1260 and 1260 S are now rolling off the production line in Bologna, Italy.Courtesy of Ducati

On the opposite extreme, Ducati is about to release through its dealers network the product of the cooperation established with Thok E-Bikes, the MIG-RR, a sophisticated e-MTB that promises superior potential and versatility thanks to the very solid structure of its hydroformed aluminium tubing frame and top-quality components. The Ducati MIG-RR comes in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) and features a 250-watt Shimano Steps E2000 electric motor powered by a 504-WH Shimano battery. The engine delivers its power to the pedals and from there to the 11-speed final transmission, all by Shimano. Suspension is by Fox: a 170mm-travel telefork and a link-actuated monoshock. Braking is done by Shimano Saint 203mm discs with four-piston calipers. Wheels by Mavic are in 29-inch front and 27-inch rear sizes. The whole tips the scale at 50 pounds.

Ducati stepping into the electro-bicycle market does not surprise me, that is a growing business and the return per unit is very consistent. What surprised me is that Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali announced that the future of motorcycling will be electric. The Ducati e-MTB looks efficient, top-quality, and well tuned for a lot of fun through the woods and given a reasonable price will make a good success, but I believe that Claudio must have got a clear message from the Audi top level.

MIG-RR
The MIG-RR is an e-MTB produced in cooperation with Thok E-Bikes.Courtesy of Ducati

It is well known that Audi is working hard at the development of a full line of battery-powered electric cars, for whatever that might be good for, and all the makes in the group must fall in line, including Ducati and Lamborghini. But given the poor power density even lithium-ion batteries are capable of, I believe that automotive electric propulsion will only come with fuel cells.

It takes a whopping 1,550 pounds of batteries for a poor, theoretical range of 250 miles. A state-of-the-art ultra-low-emission, 300-hp, spark-ignited engine can easily run 7,500 miles on that much of weight in gasoline, cruising at a legal 70 mph. Let alone a diesel engine of the same power (duly clean, I promise). Maybe Domenicali is already at work to see how to design a desmo-electric motor. That would be real fun!