Why Are Ducati Motorcycles so Expensive?

In an article about Ducati motorcycles on The Things, the difference between other bike prices and Ducati prices is posed as being the same as the difference between “I like it” and “I love it.” If you are willing to pay more for an Italian machine, you’ll end up with something fast built for long term racing speeds.

Ducati Scrambler Desert Sleds racing in the Mint 400
Ducati Scrambler Desert Sleds racing in the Mint 400 | Ducati

Ducatis are proven winners, winning countless race championships over the years. They are definitely a desirable motorcycle, but what’s up with that price tag? Why are Ducati bikes so expensive?

Ducati vs. other motorcycles

The Suzuki Hayabusa is common competition for the popular Ducati Panigale V4. In terms of performance, these bikes are both designed for the same job. They go really fast, really well. Each of these performance tuned super bikes effectively does what riders want: make a colorful blur down the track, leaning deep into chicanes and pulling off big wins.

Yet both of them have extremely different price tags. The 2020 Suzuki Hayabusa starts for $14,799, according to Web Bike World and Ultimate Motorcycling. Conversely, the comparable 2020 Ducati Panigale V4 retails in America for $28,395, according to Cycle World.

Even other European bikes retail for less in the US. The German BMW S1000RR starts at $16,995, according to Ultimate Motorcycling. So why the huge price gap?

Ducati motorcycles are handmade in Italy

Ducatis are fast, cool, and they are not produced in mass. Being a Ducati owner has gained a bit of a hipster reputation. And being that cool is not cheap. While it’s possible to find a great deal on a used Ducati motorcycle, buying one new is generally always going to cost more than other bikes.

2008 Ducati Monster S4R S Tricolore motorcycle, with a tank painted in the Italian flag's colors, against a brick wall
2008 Ducati Monster S4R S Tricolore | Bring a Trailer

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“Since 1926, Ducati has established itself as a premium brand, and people are willing to pay extra for that. For the company to maintain the premium quality standard, they must use expensive equipment to build their motorcycles. And their target market is also the high-end European market.”

Nzilili Sam | TheThings.com

According to TheThings.com, Ducati motorcycles are handmade in Italy. MoneyInc.com reports that the Ducati Headquarters are located in Bologna. In the Ducati factories, skilled line workers assemble this incredible Italian racing machines before releasing their power to the masses.

Or not the masses. Each Ducati is made in relatively limited production. This, in addition to their being handmade with precise details in Italy, is a contributing factor as to why these magnificent motorcycle machines retail for so high.

2017 Ducati 1199 Panigale R
2017 Ducati 1199 Panigale R | Ducati

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Are Ducatis expensive to maintain?

On this Adventure Rider forum the question is posed in a thread: are Ducati motorcycles more expensive to maintain than Japanese bikes? The answers vary, but it seems that there are rumors that the valves can be incredibly expensive and complicated to work on.

Some users claim that Japanese bikes are more reliable and cheaper to maintain, while other forum members argue that the high maintenance costs are a myth. Overall, however, one thing is clear. Even Ducati owners who admit their maintenance has been expensive say it’s worth it.

2018 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2
2018 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 | Ducati

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Should you buy a Ducati?

If you want a Ducati motorcycle, you should probably get one. Ducati owners all over the world have formed clubs and fan groups. The general consensus is that they are ridiculously fast, well made, prestigious, and cool––in the Italian fashion world kind of way. Also, that they are worth the extra expense.