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Ducati makes folding ebikes now, but do they have the superbike spirit?

They don't have that Ducati-ness about them

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Say the name Ducati, and you’ll conjure up images of aggressively styled, super fast, and undeniably exciting motorbikes. But now, with the company’s latest announcement, you should also think of folding ebikes.

In collaboration with renowned styling house Italdesign, the Italian motorbike company recently unveiled the Urban-E, SCR-E and the SCR-E Sport folding ebikes. While they look like perfectly fine and usable bikes on the surface, they just don’t seem to capture that Ducati spirit or sex appeal the company is known for.

ducati, ebikes, folding, bike, motorbikes
Credit: Italdesign
As far as folding ebikes go, I’ll give the Ducatis some credit. They are nicely styled, with the swan neck rear fender, and elegant red flashes. But they don’t get my motor running.

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The topline stats are as you’d expect of a folding ebike. The Ducati lineup starts with 378 Wh battery, capable of powering the two-wheeler for up to 45 miles (about 70 km).

The frame is designed by Ducati and features an easy folding mechanism which allows the bike to effectively fold in half.

bike, ebike, ducati, folding
Credit: Italdesign
The ebikes can be folded in half using an “easy fold” mechanism. They’re a good choice if part of your commute is on train, or you’re limited on space.

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Other features worth mentioning are the suspension and tyres. One of the downsides to small wheeled folding bikes is they can ride quite harshly. Small wheels don’t roll over bumps as well as larger wheels do. But with wide tires and suspension, it should cope with rough terrain or potholes much better than it would otherwise.

All that sounds great, but for me, one thing is missing. I’m not sure what it’s called, or where it comes from, but it’s the thing that makes a Ducati, a Ducati.

Perhaps it’s their Italian flamboyance, their elegant yet focused styling, or maybe it’s that luscious red paint work. Whatever it is, these folding ebikes don’t have it.

ducati, 916, motorbikes
Credit: Wikimedia - CC
The Ducati 916 is one of the best known motorbikes, not just for Ducati but in the whole industry.

Take the Ducati 916 for example, it represents the very pinnacle of what Ducati is capable of. Some even go so far as to say it’s the most beautiful motorbike ever made.

I asked some of TNW’s Italians in residence for their thoughts. My colleague Gianluca summed it up perfectly: “Loris Capirossi on a Ducati was goosebumps,” he said.

“I like me a Ducati,” he added.

My other colleague Flavia, who openly admitted to “not knowing much about this field” said “Ducati is definitely the fanciest.”

Perhaps that’s the thing with these machines, or maybe it’s a symptom of folding ebikes more generally. I doubt anyone will get goosebumps on seeing one, nor will anyone ever describe them as being the fanciest. To be honest, we should give some credit to Ducati for trying to make folding ebikes alluring.

Even so, for fans of Ducati — and there are plenty — a folding ebike might be a neat little addition to the garage if they need something a little less noisy to get to the shops on.

Oh, and all this is being said without actually getting my hands on one. Maybe they look better in the flesh.

HT – Designboom

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Published August 19, 2020 — 15:06 UTC