Welcome to Wallpaper Wednesday. Every week I will post up something beautiful from the world of Ducati that you just might like to have grace your desktop. This week we have the first motorcycle ever sold exclusively on the Internet, the Ducati MH900e.
First shown as a concept bike in 1998, Ducati announced in 2000 that they would build 2,000 examples of a bike inspired by Mike Hailwood’s Isle of Mann TT winning racer (subject itself to an earlier replica in 1979). Designed by Pierre Terblanche the stylist responsible for both the controversial 999 and the gorgeous Supermono the model offered a modern interpretation of the traditional lines of the Ducati sport twin.
True to the original concept, the Pierre Terblanche design is “neo-classical,” focusing on the essential elements of traditional motorcycle beauty and clean lines, recalling the renaissance period of Italian and English motorcycle design. Each individual component of the bike is elegant and in harmony with the rest of the machine. But the bike is also modern, utilising our latest computer controlled engine management system and chassis dynamics data acquired on the World SuperBike circuits
link: Ducati’s Official Site
The bike was sold only over the Internet at the height of the tech bubble for a price of 15,000 Euro all over the world. This novel sales approach was highly successful with the initial offer of just 500 machines selling out in 31 minutes. This was later increased to 2,000 and the remainder were spoken for by the end of the month!!
Then Ducati CEO Federico Minoli: “The Internet changes your relationship with customers,” he says. “Your customers become your marketing department: They tell you what kind of bike they want.” For example, he says, when Ducati floated the possibility of not chroming the MH900e’s exhaust pipes, customers flooded the factory with e-mails demanding chrome.
link: Sidelines – Forbes.com
The marketing strategy was clearly a success but reviews of the machine were mixed and the standard 900cc, desmodue engine offered even less power than the much less expensive 900SS due to the more restrictive exhaust system. However it sure was eye catching.