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Applegate European tour - 1st stop Ducati HQ

It was exciting to hear from Wendy and Murray Applegate as they planned their expedition through Europe in a camper!

DOCNZ stickers were organised, as well as membership, eligibility to enter Ducati museum & factory tour, and Ducati store DISCOUNTS! 

Let's see how they got on... 

Spot the DOCNZ stickers

Spot the DOCNZ stickers

During our Covid-delayed tour of Europe in early 2023, we thought it was a great opportunity to visit the Ducati factory in Bologna while making our way through Italy in our camper van. 

Ducati is such a class motorcycle, we were keen to see how these great machines are put together and become the awesome riding experience they are. 

The Ducati museum is next door to the factory, so a museum visit sounded like a good way to finish off after the factory tour! 

The factory in Bologna is straightforward to get to by road – it’s near the airport on the north side of Bologna, and we were fortunate to be able to stay in a campground nearby, making it easy to get there in time for a 9.15am tour.

Our tour group was small – only four of us – and being right on the factory floor it was easy to see everything that was going on as part of the bike assembly and testing.  We saw four different assembly lines – one line per family of bikes.

All the staff wear a red t-shirt with Ducati printed on the back giving us a real sense of a big team environment.  We saw lots of attention to detail during assembly to make sure the final bike is high quality. 

On the Monster assembly line, we saw colour coded protective covers put over the engine casings - used while the engine is being assembled into the frame to prevent damage - then removed at final inspection time. 

Each tester has his or her own motorcycle seat that is used in testing, with final seats put on when the bike is “dressed” and ready to ship, to keep the finished product pristine and damage free. 

The slightest mark on the bike means it is moved to a special area to return it to pristine condition, ensuring a top-quality machine leaves the factory.

The factory is largely an assembly plant, with most components made elsewhere by other manufacturers.  It was good to understand though, that over 90% of Ducati components are Italian manufactured. The cranks, however, arrive as a mould, and are machined robotically in the Ducati factory. 

It’s an 8 hour process to get a bike assembled, tested, quality checked and ready to ship, and all bikes are made to a specific dealer order.  It feels like a very personal process to produce a Ducati – all bikes are made to order for dealers and an inventory accompanies every bike through the factory, detailing who worked on the assembly and when. 

The Ducati racing R&D department is also in the factory, behind a locked door, and we were only allowed a peep in through a small window!

It's impressive to visit the factory and see the process of putting together a Ducati.  We did not realise how personally assembled each Ducati bike is.

The lasting impression from the visit is an appreciation that every Ducati that comes off the assembly line is a hand-built item. We would have loved to understand more about the design process though.

If you have the time and inclination, a visit to the Ducati factory is well worth your while! It was so cool.

I now have an extra strong bond with Ducati. To think my bike was on this mostly hand assembled line, amazing!

✍️ & 📸 by Wendy & Murray Applegate

Murray on 'Ducati Street' outside Ducati HQ

Murray on 'Ducati Street' outside Ducati HQ


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