Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. is the motorcycle-manufacturing division of Italian company Ducati, headquartered in Bologna, Italy. The company is owned by German automotive manufacturer Audi through its Italian subsidiary Lamborghini, which is in turn owned by the Volkswagen Group.
In 1926 Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his three sons, Adriano, Marcello, and Bruno Cavalieri Ducati; founded Società Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati in Bologna to produce vacuum tubes, condensers and other radio components.
In 1935 they had become successful enough to enable construction of a new factory in the Borgo Panigale area of the city. Production was maintained during World War II, despite the Ducati factory being a repeated target of Allied bombing.
Ducati is best known for high-performance motorcycles characterized by large-capacity four-stroke, 90° V-twin engines, with a desmodromic valve design.
Ducati refers to this configuration as L-twin because one cylinder is vertical while the other is horizontal, making it look like a letter "L". Modern Ducatis remain among the dominant performance motorcycles available today partly because of the desmodromic valve design, which is nearing its 50th year of use.
Desmodromic valves are closed with a separate, dedicated cam lobe and lifter instead of the conventional valve springs used in most internal combustion engines in consumer vehicles.
This allows the cams to have a more radical profile, thus opening and closing the valves more quickly without the risk of valve-float, which causes a loss of power that is likely when using a "passive" closing mechanism under the same conditions.
While most other manufacturers use wet clutches (with the spinning parts bathed in oil), Ducati previously used multiplate dry clutches in many of their motorcycles.
The dry clutch eliminates the power loss from oil viscosity drag on the engine, even though the engagement may not be as smooth as the oil-bath versions, but the clutch plates can wear more rapidly. Ducati has converted to wet clutches across their current product lines.
Ducati also extensively uses a trellis frame, although Ducati's MotoGP project broke with this tradition by introducing a revolutionary carbon fibre frame for the Ducati Desmosedici GP9.
A key part of Ducati's marketing strategy since the 1990s has been fostering a distinct community identity in connection with branding efforts including online communities and local, regional and national Ducati enthusiast clubs.
There are more than 400 Ducati clubs worldwide and 20,000 registered users of the Ducati Owners Club web site and 17,000 subscribers to the racing web site.
Enthusiasts and riders are informally referred to in the motorcycling community as Ducatista (singular) or Ducatisti (plural).