The official word on Ducati's new cruiser

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Ducati-0803.jpgAs JT Nesbitt noted when the first Ducati Vyper spy shots appeared, the bike represents, “a monumental breach of brand trust and honesty. Never before have Ducati fitted a piece of equipment to their motorcycle that absolutely, factually, objectively, compromised the ride quality, safety, and performance of one of their motorcycles. The 240 [rear tire] will require greater lean angles, and the slowness in turns will be exacerbated by the huge difference in cornering rolling radii front to rear.” Now, a second round of spy photos have appeared and Ducati’s issued an official statement that appears to attempt, in part, to reassure fans that there’s more to this bike than the 240-section rear suggests.

Update: an apparently official sketch of “Project 0803″ — the bike’s internal codename — has leaked, giving away significant mechanical details like the Testastretta 11 degree engine, traction control, ride-by-wire throttle and Brembo Monoblock calipers. Also, there’s a new high-res spy shot below courtesy of MCN, who have more images here.
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Ducati-0803-Spy.jpgDucati’s statement reads:

As many you may have noticed, there has been quite a bit of activity in
the past few weeks surrounding a supposed new Ducati model. I wanted to
take this opportunity and send you a note saying indeed we do have a
surprise in store for this year’s EICMA show. Our R&D department is
working around the clock to complete development of this radical new
motorcycle, for which time to complete final design and engineering
elements will surely come down to the wire.

I’m sending this letter today in order to inform you of our
communication plan. Since many details of the bike (big and small)  are
still being sorted out; I have elected not to forward information or
photography until the rolling prototypes come close to resembling what
the final product will look like.

Stay tuned for further information from the Ducati Press Department; and
I can assure you the final bike will impress all with the design,
performance and technology everyone has come to expect from Ducati.

Looking at these new pictures, we see a bike that more closely resembles
the inflated proportions of bikes like the Suzuki B-King or Yamaha VMAX
than it does raked out cruisers, but despite looking like a Monster
that ate too many burgers, there’s still some serious rake in that fork.  The engine
will be the 155bhp 1198cc v-twin that’s used in the Ducati
Multistrada 1200
, possibly in a different state of tune. Will that be huge enough to satisfy the
overcompensation crowd? We’ll see at EICMA in November.

  • http://sumdubito.blogspot.com Jonathan

    Dear god, that’s ugly!

    Oh, that’s right, it’s a cruiser.

    Don’t mind me.

  • Turf

    916, 999, M900, Hyper, Vyper

    Which one of these is not like the others

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Times, they be a’changin’

    I would say it looks like a monster that ate too many cookies, but burgers is funny too.

  • MotoRandom

    To quote Bart & Lisa “We said MEH!” These big power cruisers just don’t appeal to me. That being said, I don’t think I will find a need to spend a lot of time on the Internet spewing vitriol and anguish about how deeply I am offended by how said manufacturer is taking a healthy dump on all I hold sacred about my personal vision of what true motorcycle should look like and how it should perform. I don’t feel a need to find a lawyer and sue them into not releasing said motorcycle, pay me a substantial amount of compensation for my suffering and fly to my hometown and apologize in person to me and my family for even thinking this was okay to do in the first place. I think instead I will just not purchase said motorcycle and continue to ride the one that I have and love so dearly.

    I am inclined to believe there are some who will disagree with me and I’m sure we will be hearing from them soon.

    • pauljones

      Dammit, stop talking sense!

      I completely agree. I really can’t imagine Ducati doing something like this unless they saw real potential to make money from it. If people out there don’t like it, there’s nothing that says they have to buy it. End of.

    • Jay Allen

      Sir I appreciate your excellent description of the idea of FREEDOM! As a cruiser guy, I appreciate every sport bike on the road that adds to the general public’s awareness of bikes. Ride safe, many many more miles
      JA

    • keith

      Minus your dislike of the power cruisers, Right on to the rest of your statement.

      That said, progress ain’t always pretty.

  • Erythroplasia

    That’s not a cruiser by ANY definition but it is also nothing like any other Ducati. It is ugly. Who will but that? The Vmax lovers will buy another Vmax. Nobody buys the B-King. The other suggested competition are more traditional cruisers and it is doubtful they would prefer this.

    If you want to tour on a Ducati why would anyone choose this over the Multistrada? If you want to bomb around town and commute on a Ducati why would anyone choose this over a Monster or Streetfighter, or SportClassic? If you want an expensive cruiser there are plenty of options available from Triumph and HD that are actually cruisers.

    I see 0 market for this.

    Nobody wants a Ducati that will be mistaken for a Yamaha 95% of the time.

    • CubanSandwich

      Sir: Ur comment has made my Day……LMFAO!

      • CubanSandwich

        My Bad, i meant to reply to a comment by Mark Ryan Sallee.

  • http://www.ninja250blog.com Mark Ryan Sallee

    I propose a new law: All would-be motorcycle manufacturers have to get approval from the engineers at HFL on the size of a bike’s rear tire.

  • One Trick Pony

    “As JT Nesbitt noted…”

    Ducati is designing, building and selling motorcycles.

    • Grant Ray

      If memory serves, Nesbitt designed and built some of the first small-batch manufactured motorcycles that were sold with 240 rears tires.

  • HammSammich

    So, to clarify, is it just the rear tire and the rake of the forks that changes this from street fighter to Power Cruiser? I’m just wondering if chagning those two aspects would turn this into a Bad@ss Hyper-Monster. Either way, I’m not very keen on the styling, but maybe Duc’s R&D department will fix those performance flaws before it’s production iteration (feeling optimistic today).

  • Eat my Butt

    Why is this being called a cruiser? It does not look like anything like a cruiser.

  • Shawn

    Don’t know if I like it or not. I’ll have to wait until I see the final product.

    As for the 240 rear tire? Who cares? It’s not a track bike. And as a few magazines have shown…. With a Z rated rear tire such as the Perelli Diablo, lap times were proven to be almost as fast as a smaller tire.

  • Richard Gozinya

    I’m actually interested to see what the final result will look like.

  • robotribe

    Way to go stealth on the “supposed new Ducati model” with the big f***ing DUCATI logo on the rider’s chest.

    • Random

      LOL Yeah way to go stealth.

      If it was an Aprilia’s bike maybe they could say “hiding is not our job”. “Viral” marketing is.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        LMAO!

  • DC

    Gross.

  • chili sv

    I’m having such a hard time getting past the test rider’s jeans-in-boots horror show that I can barely see the bike. It’s clearly the most offensive thing in these shots.

  • Jason749

    This cruiser is not necessarily for the U.S. market. The cruiser market in Europe has exploded. The European market and buyers are very different from the U.S. contemporaries.

    For several years, Harley saw double digit growth in Europe for their models. This lead Harley to develop European specific models (i.e. the XR 1200, which was introduced in Europe before the U.S., see http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2008/06/harleydavidson-xr1200-coming-h.html). Ultimately, Harley end up purchasing MV Agusta, but not for its motorcycle design. Rather, Harley purchased MV to support its growth by using MV’s already established distribution and parts network.

    The Vyper is Ducati playing catch-up to protect its market share in European.

    Will Ducait sell Vypers in the U.S.? Yes. If I was looking for a cruiser, I’d likely select a Ducati over a Harley any day.

    • Doubledge

      finely someone said it right! with no bitching about how ugly it is. I’m sorry but i’m down for different looking bikes. I would totally mob this bike around town. And guess what people would go crazy to check it out and see what kind of bike it is.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    I’m still stuck on the distressed designer denim tucked-into-riding-boots look.

    I have no idea if people will buy this bike. Typically I’d expect the ducati demo to be style-sensitive, but not price-sensitive. If ducati can squeeze performance out of this bike then all that matters is that people like the style. It’s not my taste (I’d take a monster 10 times out of 10), but I’m curious to see how it turns out.

  • Paul

    I just have to throw out that Ducati is still a tiny manufacturer, and in the current world of consolidation and takeovers they need to do as much as they can to stay profitable and independent. As a multi Ducati owner over the years I don’t think I would have any interest in that bike, but if it sells and is good for their bottom line, that just means they have the money to R&D better sportbikes for the rest of us.

    Porsche went through this for more than a decade, and it didn’t work out, but lets hope Ducati doesn’t wind up in the same situation someday.

    • Eat my Butt

      “Porsche went through this for more than a decade, and it didn’t work out, but lets hope Ducati doesn’t wind up in the same situation someday.”

      It didnt work out? Porsche sells the crap out of the SUVS and now they even have a sedan.

      Jason749 – How is this a cruiser? By what definition? For that matter the XR1200 is no cruiser either.

    • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk Urban Rider

      Or they could just focus their existing resources on making excellent bikes for their core market.

      I really like the rear 3/4 view of the bike, not too keen on the front though.

  • Patrick from Astoria

    They cancel the 1000 Biposto and this is what we get?

    • Grant Ray

      The 1000 Biposto (Sport 1000) looked good, but I’m told it didn’t sell. The GT1000 is still around because people are buying them. I’m okay with that as long as they consider keeping the Sport 1000 tail section in the parts catalog as a kit. Then you can have your cake and eat it.

  • Shawn

    I bet it will do pretty well here. I’m curious about the engine size. Most power cruisers tend to have larger engines. Maybe we’ll see a 1300 or 1400 cc Duc. :)

  • Opinionsarelike….

    At least the design generates some emotion.

    Love it or hate its not a Taurus.

    Thank God for guys like Czysz and Terblanche their skill and egos.

    Tilting at windmills, but Let’s hope they kill “design by focus group” which is nothing more than design by the lowest common denominator.

  • Sean Smith

    You know, I would hazard a guess that 50-80% of monster riders, and at least 80% of streetfighter riders will be all over this thing. They don’t care about performance, all they’re looking for is perceived cool. It makes sense for ducati do recognize that there is a Very large group of squids that buy their bikes.

    That said, this bike is about as cool as a pair of True Religions and an Ed Hardy shirt.

    • Eat my Butt

      Or IronMan Leathers!

    • Grive

      And look at how well those sell!

      Seriously though, I’m not sure of the why behind this bike. I’m not against ducati trying new markets at all, though.

      I’m of the idea that the success of the cruiser crowd has to do with the imagery and design behind it, more than the actual ergonomics or performance.

      So making a cruiser that shares none of the heritage seems to me to be, well odd.

      • pauljones

        Cruisers actually are very much centered around ergonomics. One of the reasons that I am a cruiser guy is that I tend to find the ergonomics of cruisers (and standards) to be more comfortable than many sport bikes, especially when it comes to long rides. I also agree about the imagery thing. For the same reason that a lot of people like owning and driving classic cars, a lot of people like cruisers that mimic the look of older motorcycles.

        Which is actually why power cruisers confuse me in a sense; the only power cruiser I’ve tried taking for a ride is the V-rod, so I may be making too much of a generalization here, but I don’t find them to be quite as comfortable as cruisers. I couldn’t imagine myself doing a 100-mile ride on a power cruiser. Other power cruisers, like the Vmax, seem to have riding positions that swing towards “sporty”, but lack the general handling advantages that come with that.

        Power cruisers don’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but I will admit that they look to me. Maybe that’s the point; just to look cool while providing a reasonably good ride around town, if not long distances.

        • Grive

          I’m sorry, I did not mean to state that cruisers had poor ergonomics – well, unless you get into the custom barbarities some people make.

          I meant that the cruiser market’s cornerstone was not the ergonomics – that is, it’s not usually the top consideration when someone says “I like cruisers”.

          Of course, if you compare them to sportsbikes, cruisers usually come ahead for normal day-to-day driving.

          Still, I’ve never been quite comfy on a cruiser. For that weight and handling, I think I’d go for a touring bike for a more practical, comfortable choice. Not that I disparage cruisers – after all, if we go only by “practical and comfortable”, let’s go get a camry.

          • pauljones

            I completely agree; looks are a major factor in the cruiser world, and performance definitely takes a back seat to looks in the cruiser market. Most riders I know do find sport bikes to be perfectly comfortable; I’m just a little odd in the sense that I don’t.

            Aside from the sense that power cruisers like this don’t make a whole lot of sense to me personally, I have no problem with them.

  • http://cohobot.blogspot.com/ coho

    Imagine the furor when the Vyrus bagger comes out in a couple of years…

  • http://yourmom.com spectator

    I see:
    1. big-engined standard bike
    2. custom-scene streetfighter

    I don’t see:
    1. Harley analogues of any kind
    2. cruiser?

    This is about as “cruiser” as a hayabusa with a 240 section tire and a polished swingarm.

    I’m not a huge ducati fan but their finished bikes nearly always look fucking badass, so, I’ll reserve final judgment till it’s finalized.

  • Brian Zooom

    I want to see how it does in a laptime comparison to SHAMU around VIR North Course!….LOL

  • DarmahBum

    It’s like finding out your boss is harpooning your sister. You don’t like it; but what can you do about it? (maybe I should think of another analogy)

  • pauljones

    I’m not really sure that anything in particular makes them cruisers in the traditional sense per se; but, then, nothing about them makes them sport bikes, sport tourers, standards, dual sports, etc. When you look at them from a somewhat philosophical standpoint, though, they seem designed to be flashy, stable, and easy to ride. To me, that fits the cruiser ethos more so than any other ethos, and hence I would tend to lump them with cruisers.

    Who knows, maybe this is what cruisers will wind up evolving into as a whole.

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

    Raked out front end + looks at the expense of performance = cruiser.

  • http://www.so-sos.com/blog Yukes {SO~SO's}

    I think it needs a bigger headlight.

  • Brian Zooom

    okay, I have to chime in on something…the term cruiser came from the activity of “cruising” like what you commonly see at various bike week type events where people rode some kind of machine back and forth just more or less chillin(hough it wasn’t exclusively relegated to just that placement/activity only). It stuck for those bikes that did just that. The cars that do it, is no big deal and no one thinks a thing of it. Sport cruisers were developed as a bridge for those folks that didn’t want to hunch over a sportbike anymore, but didn’t want exactly the same ergonomic as the traditional cruiser. Also, generally speaking, most sport cruisers have a better ability in cornering and ground clearance than your traditional cruisers and most definitely moreso than your choppers.

    These bikes, well, with a machine like this one one specifically, doing simply that, I think the most common result would be a roasted groin. My bet is that this machine is so tightly packed that there won’t be enough room to disipate heat and you will have jean wearing riders cooking their personal bits.

  • http://www.bottpower.com/eng Hugo

    Well the sketch seems to be from the same designer at Ducati who designed the new Monster…
    Knowing Ducati, this bike will have dynamic handling (compared to the V-Max) and reports are about a relatively low weight.
    I mean if Triumph can built a Daytona 675 AND a Rocket, why can’t Ducati do the same?
    For sure they won’t sell “millions” but let’s wait for the final result to see what’s all about ;)

  • Ted Baxter

    lol. why does the “high res spy shot” look so photoshopped?

    • http://twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

      I dig the HFL sticker on the lower fairing.

  • Italy can do pimpy too

    First Honda drops the ball with its new VFR, now this abomination from Ducati.

  • Tom

    If your feet are ahead of your knees, I call that a cruiser. The sketch appears to have that as a design, but the photo is less clear. My question is, where did DUCATI ever say it was a cruiser?

  • Swagger

    pack of whiners….

    Ducati had a “cruiser” before and so they will again. Someone will buy it, someone will enjoy it and you can go on buying and enjoying what YOU like.

    Bravo to Ducati for stretching a bit, I imagine this will humiliate any supposed like-model competition and do so with style and aplomb. Don’t like that? Well…..bummer.

    I don’t care for cruisers, power cruisers, muscle bikes…whatever you want to call them, but I dig the fact that they’re willing to gamble on something outside their nearly perfectly honed market paradigm. Good on ‘em!

    • Brian Zooom

      “Ducati had a “cruiser” before and so they will again. Someone will buy it, someone will enjoy it and you can go on buying and enjoying what YOU like.”

      Yes, they had 2 cruisers in their past. The Apollo V4 that could have been something serious and then the Indiana with that Pantah motor in it. Look at where both are now though, iconic timepieces for to remember what not to do, or what to do if you want a sales flop.

      • Grive

        I’d give a bit more love to the Apollo.

        It’s main problem was that it was about 20-30 years ahead of its time, thanks to the tires. Apparently Ducati simply didn’t think about the rubber when designing it.

        Were they to release something like that in the 90′s, they could’ve had a contender.

    • AGP

      Indeed… I am very grateful companies like Ducati and BMW are not run by the same whiners, complainers, narrow minded old farts that are first to cry shame every single time something does not fit their definition of “ought to be.”

      A “monumental breach of brand trust and honesty?” Go get a life…

  • deckard

    Ducati jumped the shark when TPG bought the company in 1996.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

      You mean when they started making bikes that worked, and people bought?

      • deckard

        The bikes work better, but the brand lost its soul.

        • Grant Ray

          Nah. If Cadillac can find it’s way back with the awesome CTS-V, then brands can never lose their souls.

          Ducati is definitely changing and going through some growing pains as it truly becomes an international powerhouse, but I wouldn’t say all is lost.

  • Chuluun

    I wonder how many people looked at the sketches/spy shots of the Rocket III and successfully predicted how well that bike would go and handle. And all criticism of the new Multistrada evaporated the second people got their hands on it.

    If this bike works, people will like it, and I trust Ducati to make it work. Although right now I do feel a little like I did when Cryptopsy went melodic.

  • CubanSandwich

    Please, Overcompensate me (95% Poser-10% Rider)… I say put togheter to TestaStretta 1198cc Engines and make a 2.4L V-4 for this “Chunky Monster”… Rocket III who? lol.

    I love the “too many burgers” analogy…lol.

    P.S: IM starting to warm up to it’s “Monstrosity”. Seriously.

  • Dez

    Uugh I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

    Is this what HD riders who want some street cred
    will be shopping for? imagine the after market mods
    for this made from crome instead of CF LOL

  • crazy uncle

    Could somebody please photoshop some 16″ apehangers on to this thing for me? I would but I have to go wax my Guzzi California with sweet braided leather grip covers. thanks.

  • The Grudz

    Make. It. Stop.

  • GeddyT

  • http://bubblevisor.blogspot.com/ lenny
  • AK

    Yay…the 1098 all over again.

    Should be a class leader for the cruisers.

    Can’t wait to see the ads with Rossi posted up on it.

    Terrible call Ducati.

  • Brian Zooom

    http://www.bikeexif.com/art-deco-custom-motorcycle

    if I wanted a cruiser…I think I’d want something like THIS!!!

  • Doubledge

    I like different looking bikes. if everyone built the same bike over and over then we would see all the same bikes on the road. I don’t know about anyone else but I would totally mob this bike.

  • toeCutter

    Hi Ducati! Sorry you are late by 10-15 years.. they used to make this kind of bikes in Europe… Vmax’s Honda X-4s Vrods,

    i know it wouldnt sell in Europe.. at least not much… Heck even Vmax doesnt sell in Europe like used to sell the first one 20 years ago…

    They would had better luck with a 695 megaScooter than a Power cruiser…

    or even better a Multi 796.

  • MAX

    Hell, I’d buy it.

    IF they do it right. The Multistrada seems to be an engineering home run, but it sure doesn’t look so hot. But, I’d still consider buying one.

    With the Vyper, if the thing ran and sounded like a Streetfighter, looked kind of like one, yet had more relaxed geometry and a more comfortable riding position, I’d really consider it. Imagine a V-Max not so contrived-looking and weighing 100 lbs less…I could go for that. It just has to LOOK right, and it will be a success.

    It better have some serious power, and really, a 200 rear tire would still look great – no need to go with a 240. Super-Wide rear tires are sooo 2005. I have a 200 Metzeler on my V-Rod, and it looks huge, yet still handles good, too. I am probably exactly the type of guy Ducati is aiming for with this bike.

    Get it right, Ducati (lots of power, good handling, and make it look TOUGH), and I may be a buyer very soon.

  • MAX

    You know, I’d actually buy a full-power ZX-14 cruiser if the thing looked good! I’ve had enough of the air-cooled 45 degree V-Twins in cruisers. Heck, Honda should throw the new 1200 V-4 in a cruiser frame and bring back the V65! (V75?) Sure, those engines love revs…good! Who says there aren’t cruiser riders that wouldn’t mind 160 RWHP at 10,000 rpm?

    I’d like to see Kawasaki make a nasty-looking ZX-10-engined cruiser in the mold of the old Z1000 of the late 80′s, but sculpted to look completely modern. Keep it full power (160 RWHP and 80 lb/tq) and a revver, and keep weight to 500 lbs wet. It sure would be interesting.

  • Pamberjack

    Behold! The power of the American rider’s hip pocket…

  • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

    Screw this thing… Bring back the Indiana!!!

  • Al

    Having just put about 750 miles in on a Monster this weekend on some relatively straight and boring roads, I’m thinking this isn’t that bad of an idea. Some soft luggage over the second seat and a short clip-on windscreen for the critters, plus 155bhp to make things small in the rear-view mirrors… minus the knee pain and back strain?

    I’ll give it a shot.

  • Tony DiPaola

    What a bunch of Girlie men!
    I own a Triumph Rocket III,
    and this new bike give me a major woodie!