Ducati Factory Tour

The Ducati factory is in Bologna which is only 40 minutes away by hi-speed train, so I arranged a tour for while Jan & Kim were staying with us.
The tour has to be pre-booked due to demand, so I did this about two months ago to make sure we could get in.

We caught the train and arrived in Bologna about an hour early, so I suggested that we get a coffee close to the bus-stop and then catch a bus closer to the time that we had to be at the factory.
With typical well-oiled Italian precision, the regular 20 minute interval buses decided to deviate from their timetable big-time, so that three buses arrived while we are having coffee and then there were none for about 45 minutes!
This meant that we missed our arranged tour start-time and had to ask for another tour that day. Ducati were really good and so we were slotted in on an afternoon tour - this meant waiting another 2 hours, so we caught the bus back into Bologna, had lunch and then caught the bus back out to the factory!
The Outside Wall Displaying Some Of The Iconic Ducati Riders
Kim & Jan Under Casey Stoner
Jan Waiting At The Gate
The tour was really well organised and our guide was very knowledgable and professional (even handling the stupid questions tactfully!).

We were not allowed to take photos inside the assembly area and we had to have stickers placed over the lenses of any cameras, but watching the personnel work was fascinating.
They were building Multistradas and Hyper-Dotards at the time, but we saw one Panagale (a EU60,000 exotic sports bike - one of only 500 being built) being dyno-tested at the end of its assembly.
The factory was turning out 400 bikes a day as we toured and each bike is timed to take 40 minutes to assemble.
All the parts are sourced from outside suppliers, except for the crankshafts and camshafts which are manufactured outside, but finished in the Ducati factory to ensure the highest quality.
At the end of the bike assembly, they are idled for 5 minutes, then dynoed for 5 minutes (up to about 3/4 of full revs) and then finally checked and quality inspected for an hour.
Each employee is tried in a specific task, but can work on any part of the assembly of the bikes.
Each Panagale on the other hand, is hand-assembled by one person to ensure the highest quality is obtained.

At the back of the factory is the MotoGP R&D area as well as the race-prep area. Obviously, this is locked up tight, but there is a door with a window that you can look through into a type of showroom with some of the race engines sitting there.
I am sure that this is purely so that visitors can sure that they have had a look at the MotoGP area of Ducati and I am also sure that all the hi-tech stuff would be behind another two (at least) locked doors!!

The next section was the Ducati museum which traces the history of the company with respect to motorcycle production.
An interesting fact that I did not know was that Ducati built radios (based on the Marconi design), typewriters, movie projectors and cameras (amongst lots of other things) early in its history.

The museum follows a curved wall from it's earliest designs to the latest racing MotoGP bikes.

The earliest item on display is a motor that fitted into a bicycle frame, complete with gearbox.
48cc "Cucciolo" Engine
Weird Valve Operation (The Valves Are "Pulled" Open)
One Of Mike Hailwood's Bike
Original Ducati 916
1971 350cc Triple
Two Cutaway Engine Displays
Cutaway Of A Head On A Testaretta Engine
MotoGP Engine
At the end of the tour, we were left in the museum and we could spend as long as we liked here. It was good being able to wander around and really get close to some of the iconic bikes of our time.

The whole tour run for nearly 2 hours and was well worth the trip.

1 comment:

  1. Three blogs in one day. Must have been raining yesterday. You were lucky to get the tour of the Ducati factory in the end.
    Shame about Lyn's stone.