Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ducati Motor Holding
Ducati motorcycles have long been known for their excellence in design and performance. From the first post-war bicycle-like low-displacement motorbikes Ducati has grown over the years into a racing giant that is consistently competitive in both the racing arena and the world motorcycle marketplace
In the 1960s Ducati earned its place in motorcycling history by producing the fastest 250cc road bike available, the Mach 1. In the 1970s Ducati began producing large-displacement v-twin motorcycles and in 1973 released a v-twin with the trademark desmodromic valve design. In 1985, Cagiva bought Ducati. In 1996, Texas Pacific Group bought 51% of the company for $325 million and renamed the company Ducati Motor SpA.
Ducati is best known for high performance motorcycles characterized by trellis-style frames and large capacity four-stroke, 90-degree v-twin engines featuring a desmodromic valve design. Modern Ducatis remain among the dominant performance motorcycles available today despite the aging technology of Desmo engine, which is nearing its 50th year in production. (Desmodromic valves are those which are positively closed by a leverage system, rather than relying on the more conventional springs to close the valves). While most other manufacturers have adopted wet-clutches (with the spinning parts bathed in oil) Ducati prefers to use dry clutches that eliminate the oil viscosity drag on the engine even though the engagement may not be as smooth as the oiled versions. Some Ducati motorcycles use wet (oil bath) clutches.
The chief designer of Ducati motorcycles was the late Fabio Taglioni (1920-2001). He introduced the Pantah 500 in 1979; its engine was updated in the 1990s in the supersport series.  In 1993, he introduced the Ducati Monster, a naked bike with exposed trellis and engine. Today the Monster accounts for almost half of the company's worldwide sales.
In 1995, the company introduced the Ducati 916 model designed by Massimo Tamburini , a water-cooled version that allowed for higher output levels and a striking new bodywork that featured aggressive lines, underseat exhausts, and a single-sided swingarm.
The 916 Superbike went through several incarnations, growing from 916 c.c. to 998 c.c. in its final form known as the Testastretta engine. Several different models were offered, including the SP series, the Senna, the R and the Matrix.
The company has enjoyed nine World Superbike championships in recent years.
The official Ducati website (in English and Italian)
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