Is this the Ducati Vyper performance cruiser?

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Ducati_Vyrus.jpgRumors are swirling of a forthcoming performance cruiser from Ducati, allegedly called the Vyper. This shot purportedly shows an early clay styling model for the machine, revealing clear influence in the tank and tail from the Ducati Monster 1100. While the Ducati Vyper would be a clear departure from the brand’s traditional performance-led values, it would continue a recent move to appeal more to the American baby boomer market.
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Ducati has been chasing the increasing age and decreasing purchasing
power of the boomer generation with a renewed vigor for over a year,
first with the Roland Sands custom Ducati Hypermotard and then by giving
a dealer franchise to Orange County Choppers. A lame performance
cruiser rivaling the Yamaha VMAX and Harley V-Rod would give Ducati a
model capable of attracting people too boring to buy one of their
superbikes or nakeds.

Unlike the Ducati Adventure, we’ve seen no actual information or spy
photos of running prototypes to validate this rumor, but as Ducati
expands into more market segments, a performance cruiser begins to make
sense. It already has several variations on the large- and
medium-capacity superbike theme, air-cooled, road-focused performance
bikes like the Monster, a water-cooled, track-focused performance bike
in the form of the Ducati Streetfighter, retros, a supermoto and even a
tall sports tourer in the form of the Multistrada. What segments are
left? While we’d love to see a new take on the Ducati Supermono, the
limited market and high development costs for such a bike make it
extremely unlikely. More probable are smaller-capacity, possibly 696cc versions of the Hypermotard and Multistrada.

A performance cruiser using the 1198 engine, a steel trellis frame and
iconic styling cues from the Monster would give new buyers a way to tap
into Ducati’s heritage.

At least that’s the thinking behind the rumors. How likely is it? We’re not holding our breathe.

Image via MotoRevue

  • monkeyfumi

    If this is true (and I sincerely hope it is not) then they will probably have to find a name other than vyrus. That being the exact name of a company of ex bimota employees, who make exquisite hub-centre steered bikes powered by, wait for it….Ducati engines.
    But honestly, Ducati cruisers? That would be like Porsche making an SUV….

    • D2

      CAYENNE.

    • Chris

      They do make an SUV…and the make a four door now too…Cayenne and the Panamera.

  • drjohndee

    ‘A lame performance cruiser rivaling the Yamaha VMAX and Harley V-Rod would give Ducati a model capable of attracting people too boring to buy one of their superbikes or nakeds.’

    Yeah, that’s intelligent, presume how interesting people are by the kind of bike they ride. Some of the most painfully tedious nerds I’ve ever encountered have been sportsbike riders who would make just that kind of prejudgement.

    As for the bike, I can’t imagine something in that sector still looking like a Ducati. But it already looks better than the Indiana …

  • http://artistruth.livejournal.com will

    I understand Ducati is branching out, but just I don’t think they’ve gone that insane yet. And yes, Vyrus is another company, so that almost surely makes it untrue.

  • General Apathy

    I have heard the Duc Cruiser being called the Vyper.. Please god let this be fake. Doesn’t look very 2-up friendly.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Ah, crap, I totally meant Vyper…

  • aeolus

    Ducati seems to be following the Triumph formula of slotting the lump into what guise has the possibility of snaring some buyers. Next will be scramblers, street trackers, cafe racers, street fighters, supermotards, choppers, you name it. The sacred Ducati mystique will be besmirched.

  • lordjdavis

    Personally, I think this would be a monumental error on Ducati’s part. Producing this bike, or anything like it will most likely destroy the brand. I hope this is just a rumor

  • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com hoyt

    I also don’t understand the “boring” rant. Cruisers are not my preferred 2-wheeled choice, but there is definitely room for them in both function and form. It’s hard to deny a tastefully customized Road King in style & practicality for 2-up long distance touring.

    The cruiser saturation in some sections of the country does get old quick, but that shouldn’t cause the genre to be completely rejected by a moto publication.

    When the time comes for a 2nd bike that my wife & I can ride together, she is not leaning towards a sport tourer because, according to her, “it would be too similar to your current bike.”

    Diversity is spicy

    The right cruiser is to a low rider or led sled custom just as a sports bike is to a sports car. All 4 are great for the intended purpose.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s because they’re all show and no go. If all I wanted to do was toodle about, I’d get a Triumph Scrambler. I’ve yet to ride a cruiser that’s half as capable as that.

      Huge engines, huge styling, huge proportions. All for what? Posing? To me that’s the antithesis of what a motorcycle should be about.

      • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com hoyt

        “Huge engines, huge styling, huge proportions. All for what? Posing? To me that’s the antithesis of what a motorcycle should be about.”

        ….for huge, fatass ‘Mericans, of course!

        Seriously….

        True, there are poser bar hoppers with easter egg paint, but there are also bikes like a RoadKing that fit the intended purpose just right (notice I wrote: “tastefully customized” above).

        For example, a fit-sized rider and their riding companion need to travel across 2 flat states for a 3-day camping trip. A Road King with bags and space for camping gear & 2 seats comfortable enough for straight roads does it. So does the Triumph, but not everyone needs/wants the Scrambler (good option for sure).

        The snobbish “dilution of the Ducati brand” comments are worse than the crusty HD faithful who turn up their nose to the Buells, Sportsters, and Revolution engine.

        reminder: The Ducati Apollo was a damn cool bike and it still is.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          You know we don’t hold the Ducati brand up on a pedestal.

          We don’t really care what they build, but from a marketing perspective, the decision to make a cruiser would be an odd one. Part of their ability to make money by selling bikes that they charge a premium for is that their customers are buying into a brand with perceived value, they’re not just walking away with an appliance. Part of the reason people buy Ducatis is that saying “I have a Ducati” means something to them. That meaning might change if someone in assless leather chaps is also able to say that.

          • hmm…

            Maybe true but the assless chapped fellow is unlikely to buy a Ducati. Cruisers are bought by well off middle aged riders who can no longer stand 2 hours cramped onto a 996. They still want a shiny red Italian bike so this makes perfect sense for Ducati. I’m amazed it took so long.

            As for the cries of selling out, that happened long ago with the mediocre ST4 and Multistrada. They don’t seem to have ‘damaged’ the brand too much.

            It is sodding ugly though. Done by the same guy that did the monster and you can tell. That has a fat, top heavy proportion too.

          • drjohndee

            ‘Part of the reason people buy Ducatis is that saying “I have a Ducati” means something to them. That meaning might change if someone in assless leather chaps is also able to say that.’

            Well, I agree that Ducati is a special case in the motorcycle world, (the only thing) recognized by non-bikers as equivalent to high-tec performance auto marques like Ferrari or Porsche. And they’ve ballsed up before trying to go in this direction, which is why I mentioned the Indiana above.

            It’s their image among non-bikers that might be damaged here. Fireblade and GSX-R riders aren’t perturbed by the existence of VTXs and Boulevards and I don’t think Ducati having a cruiser in the line-up is going to deter an existing biker from buying an 1198.

            On the other hand it might alter their image in the eyes of a rich newbie who just wants a cool expensive toy. Maybe some of them will buy a Benelli or MV Agusta instead. How much damage is that going to do to Ducati long-term? Not much I wouldn’t think.

            Incidentally it was the Indiana fiasco that led Ducati to develop the Monster range which is now their bread and butter, so who knows what the Vyper will lead to. ;)

        • Dr. Gellar

          Speaking of the Ducati Apollo….THAT is the bike Ducati should be considering producing, an updated version in the Sportclassic sense. Sure, it doesn’t fall into the typical Ducati sport-bike categories, but I think Ducati could really capitalize on such a machine if done right, especially here in the U.S. Powerful desmo V-4, decent handling and relatively light weight (for a big cruiser), Harley-ish styling with a Ducati twist, loads of accessories… It would certainly add a new dimension to the Ducati brand.

          Ducati producing a performance cruiser does make some sense, but that clay mock-up of the Vyper is, to me, not encouraging. Hope the real thing turns out to be more attractive.

          • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com/ hoyt

            Dr. Gellar –
            Agree with you on the Apollo & its ‘could-be’ modern interpretation. The Yamaha Sakura concept blends old styling with new, sleek & modern touches very well, so something like that playing off of the bench seat Apollo could surpsise lots of us. And, a cruiser has more room to hide the radiator if they wanted to use that motor. I also agree with the comment about the clay model above: Not very appealing or 2-up capable.

            Wes – i didn’t intend to direct the last remark towards HFL.

  • http://www.robotribe.com robotribe

    This is as bad as an idea as Porsche producing an SUV. And yet, those god-awful machines did huge numbers in sales.

    I don’t know what’s worse: Ducati making a cruiser or the possibility that there are customers out there who’d buy them.

    Boo.

    • modelasian

      Robotribe is absolutely right in comparing this to the Porche Cayenne. Boxter/Monster is another Porche/Ducati parallel.
      Has Porche been diminished? I still see a lot of wrinkled white and Asian guys in them. I think the Ducati image will be fine, as long as they keep at least a couple models in top form.
      Also, realistically, most people who I see on a 1098 use its cornering capabilities far less skillfully and often than a Harley rider uses its torque. So which rider is really the poseur?

  • s0crates82

    A ducky-cruiser… so does this mean that Ducati riders will no longer give a friendly wave?

  • johnny

    I like it (and I ride a Monster) – I’m sure once it’s finished it will look awesome.

  • http://www.peterlombardi.com Peter Lombardi

    barf… and not the bay area riders forum, you guys are cool
    -peter

  • deltablues

    I like it…and this is coming from a guy who’s first brand new motorcycle was a Ducati 900SS-CR. If they keep the weight low, tune the 1198 engine for more down-low torque, and give it some proper ground clearance; then I think they may have a winner in this bike.

    • mototom

      yes Wes but those would be assless ITALIAN leather chaps made in some Bulgarian sweatshop and sold for a premium by their dealer network as part of their new clothing line recently previewed in Elkton MD – the soon to be coveted Coarsa Italiano.

  • vic

    this is simmilar to the “suv” by porche except that the cayenne is a prety good off roader and really fun on the race track too..i’ve seen one going crazy on a local track..man that thing is insane in the right hands both off road and on.the cayenne may be a sale out but it is a very good product .sadly this cannot be said of the vyper or whatever it will be called

  • http://www.designronin.com Design Ronin

    Looking at the photo, bad as it is, I would doubt that this is a factory clay job – no where near good enough, nor does the design reflect any of the design cues of the current design team. Further more, having worked in realm, getting a pic of such a secret project is near impossible. Not even the Italians are that lax.

    ….. of course, I could be horribly wrong…. :S

    • carboncanyon

      Uhhh Design Ronin I dunno… the clay job looks pretty good. You can see that they’re still working the clay by the tape on the fairing piece in front of the frame. Maybe you simply don’t like the design, but for a model-in-progress it looks like it’s done by pro modelers.

      And as far as the design, I can definitely see some design cues from the Monster. Actually, it looks like the lovechild of a Monster and a Boulevard M109R2.

    • johnny

      I thought originally it might be a fake too, but check out the offset tripleclamps, to increase the rake- never seen those on a Ducati before

      • http://www.designronin.com Design Ronin

        Like I said, I could be wrong. Having worked in clay I still have my doubts but hey, with the way the marquee is heading these days nothing would surprise me. I think I said somewhere around here that in my humble opinion Ducati stopped being Ducati after the 999, which though offending a lot of people, still demonstrated the pioneering mentality they once had (I think it’s still a great design). Everything since then has been marketing speak.

        • carboncanyon

          Design Ronin, I’m still curious what it is about the clay model that makes you think it’s not factory. I don’t like the design of the bike myself, but the quality of the clay modeling itself is pretty good.

          • http://www.designronin.com Design Ronin

            There’s something about it that’s not quite right. Dunno, could be the crappy photo but it just looks a little off.

  • John van Houten

    Click here for a sneak preview of the official Ducati brochure photography for this wonderful new bike

    http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/804/duc1.jpg

    …not :-)

    • uberbox

      WTF?

    • vic

      damn,even the model hates it(look at her face :)) ) priceless

  • carboncanyon

    Remember two years ago the speculation of a Ducati/Harley merger? I don’t remember how that all went down, but maybe since it didn’t happen this is Ducati’s next course of action. According to a quote from the CFO of Ducati (D’Onofrio), “Half of all Ducati owners in the US also own a Harley.”

    When you look at it that way, I think building a Ducati cruiser makes loads of sense.

  • http://artistruth.livejournal.com will

    This isn’t equivalent to Porsche making an SUV. This is like Ferrari making a competitor to the Dodge Challenger.

    And I agree with DesignRonin. If they were able to keep something basic like the Streetfighter under wraps that long, this wouldn’t get out. This could very well be an OCC hack job. And I do mean hack job.

    I don’t think it makes sense in their brand language right now. Try after the adventure bike comes out.

    • carboncanyon

      Will, do you remember the controversy back when Porsche fans first found out about the Cayenne? People were crying blasphemy!

      From a product planning standpoint, a Duc cruiser makes sense in the same way the Cayenne made sense. A lot of Porsche owners had an SUV as their daily driver; why not offer a Porsche SUV? A lot of Duc owners also own a Harley; why not offer a Duc cruiser then? Not a lot of Ferrari owners own, want, or even look at the Challenger. The execution of the cruiser design however, may make this a disaster…

      If this is an OCC hackjob, it’d be done in metal. I’ve only seen an episode or two, but they don’t do clay. And as ugly as this cruiser is, OCC has even less sophistication in their designs.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Yeah, if this was OCC it’d have hot wheels cars glued on it or an airbrushed mural of Spiderman using the space shuttle to fight terrorists. I don’t think those guys have the ability to work in clay.

  • Brian

    DUCATI, PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR BRAND. JUST GRADUATED FROM THE JAPANESE BIKES, PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK.

    DUCATI CRUISER, IS LIKE PORSCHE MAKING A 4-DOOR….NOTHING EXCITING ABOUT IT.

    WE ARE ALL BEGGING YOU!

  • rj

    I LOVE the idea of a Ducati company going back to its roots and building a complete line of bikes in the Italian way. You ney sayers are all wrong. Ferrari has had 4 seaters in the line for years and years and this is no different and in the same way will do no damage to the brand. The problem with your opinions is your perspective is too recent. Ducati has made bikes that wernt dry clutches and were actually known for their single cylinder bikes… The twin cam along later. Bottom line is the sport bike world became the race replica world and these bikes are losing their practicality by the second. This is why streetfighters are gaining ground, and why many manufactures are knocking off the concept… comfy performance oriented bikes , what was once called “standard” bikes are coming back.

  • Wakester

    I believe the bike is going to be a hit in the US market. Many people that couldn’t ride a Ducati sportbike before because of their gravitational challenges now have a bike that can lug them around! Even still there are always going to be haters, but no one on here can tell me that if they see this bike parked at their local coffee shop, they are not going to walk over and admire. In the spirit of being “American” anything shiney, new, and fast will appeal to the masses. I guess the Hypermotard will spend more time in the garage if this bike is for real.

    Also, you’d get to be the first cruiser in town with an aftermarket $2,300 full 54mm carbon race exhaust!