Ducati are on a roll lately. They followed up the disastrous 999 with the smash hit 1098, revamped the Monster line and have just launched the Streetfighter not to mention updating the 1098 to the 1198. And they’re not finished yet. A highly anticipated Adventure tourer / Multistrada replacement dubbed the Strada Aperta (Open Road) is likely to be shown for the first time at the EICMA Milan show this November and a Performance Cruised, the Ducati Vyper, is also strongly rumored. Now it seems Ducati has plans to build a scooter as the manufacturer strives to take the powerful brand broader over the next few years.
Back in March, ducatinewstoday revealed that comments made by the official Australian Ducati importer, Warren Lee, confirmed the existence of the Ducati Adventure tourer. In these same comments made to the Courier Mail newspaper, Lee also referred to what is now known as the Ducati Vyper, a performance cruiser that has been the subject of intense speculation.
Lee said that if Ducati produced a cruiser, it would be a “high-powered, good-handling” machine. “The cruiser segment plateauxed last year. The baby boomer market is dying out,” he said.
Mr Lee didn’t stop there, he also strongly hinted that Ducati wasn’t ruling anything out, not even a scooter!
“Ducati is looking at a scooter, but a high-performance model, not a 50cc price-driven thing,” he said. “It’s on the backburner at the moment. Maybe after 2010. It’s just simmering at the moment.”
Now Spanish language scooter website Soloscooter (English Translation) is making similar claims which make for interesting reading. The site believes the scooter named Ducati Scootster (as in Scooter Monster) will be a V-twin of around 850cc capacity delivering 100bhp via a sequential, clutch-less transmission with a maintenance free toothed belt final drive. Just as Mr Lee argued the scooter would be quite sporty with plenty of aluminum and 16″ wheels. Soloscooter offers two renditions of how the new model might look, including one by the ubiquitous Oberdan Bezzi.
If you want more evidence then turn to none other than Ducati’s Director of Marketing, Diego Sgorbati who said in an interview that Ducati is considering a scooter according to Italian language blog Motoblog.it (English Translation).
“Ducati is looking at many segments, scooters, custom, enduro, off-road… it’s a normal expansion. Before going down one road though we look at all the potential barriers, technological and distribution related. For example, how many of our dealers can sell a superbike, as well as a motocross bike? Also, does it match the “soul” of the brand, does it make sense. What worked 20 years ago might not make sense today.. “
So could the scooter be for real? Well Ducati has done it before, producing the 125cc machine pictured at the start of this post in 1952. The model ran for only 2 years before the cheaper Vespa and Lambretta scooters made it uneconomic. There are enough sources to conclude that Ducati is at least considering entering this large market segment. The idea of an 850 twin seemed unlikely to me at first until I realized that the scooter form factor really requires liquid cooling which might make a detuned 848 engine a good candidate. Armed with beautiful styling and plenty of performance such a Scootster might well attract reasonable sales, not so sure about the name though!
In any event, in 2007 Ducati promised 3 models per year for the next 3 years. That prediction gave us the 848 and 1098R along with the Monster 696. This year we have received the Monster 1100, the 1198 and the Streetfighter. With the Adventure tourer confirmed for 2010, we need 2 more models to satiate our Ducati desire.
What do you think? Would you consider a Ducati scooter to commute on? Let me know in the comments.
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