The eclectic field of companies attracted to the burgeoning e-bike segment grows on a monthly basis. Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati reaffirmed its interest in the sector by unveiling three electric bicycles during an event held in Rimini, Italy. Digital Trends was on location to check them out in person.
Ducati earned the motorcycle world’s respect through racing, so branching out into bikes sounds a little bit random at first, but the heritage is certainly there. The company got its start in 1950 by selling a motorized bicycle powered by a single-cylinder, two-stroke engine with a displacement of 48 cubic centimeters. Fast-forward to 2019, and its bicycle range runs exclusively on electricity. It now includes two mountain bikes called MIG-RR and MIG-S and one city bike named the E-Scrambler, a nameplate that echoes one of the company’s best-known motorcycles.
New for the 2020 model year, the MIG-S is a more affordable version of the MIG-RR that can nonetheless hold its own on the trail. Power comes from a Shimano Steps E8000 motor and a 504-watt-hour battery pack positioned under the down tube for increased stability. The drivetrain provides an acceleration boost while going uphill and offers three levels of assistance, but it doesn’t replace the rider’s muscles. It’s not a dirt bike; if you don’t pedal, you’re not going to get very far on it. Riders can configure how much boost the motor provides by using a purpose-designed smartphone app.
The rest of the specifications sheet reads like a high-end mountain bike’s. The MIG-S has a single chaingear and 12 speeds out back, so riders spend less time shifting. Disc brakes on both wheels handle stopping duties, while front and rear suspension systems make the MIG-S more comfortable while improving traction on loose terrain. It rolls on a huge 29-inch front tire and a slightly smaller 27.5-inch rear tire, so plan accordingly when packing spare inner tubes.
Positioned at the other end of the e-bike spectrum, the E-Scrambler (shown above) wasn’t designed for hardcore off-road riding. It can handle light off-roading, and its mudflaps will keep your clothes clean, but its 27.5-inch Pirelli Cycle-e GT tires are happier in urban environments. It has lights on both ends, and a luggage rack designed to carry side bags. It’s equipped with the same Shimano-sourced battery as the MIG-S, but it was developed to ride like a normal, muscle-powered bike.
Finally, the MIG-RR unveiled in 2018 gains a limited-edition model for the 2020 model year. Inspired by the company’s racing motorcycles, the limited-edition model receives a suspension designed by automotive company Öhlins, carbon wheels to keep weight in check, an electronic gearbox, and edition-specific graphics. It’s limited to 50 units worldwide.
Ducati’s full range of e-bikes will be available in the United States in 2020. The MIG-RR Limited Edition, the MIG-S, and the E-Scrambler will go on sale in February, while the standard MIG-RR is already available through the company’s dealerships. Pricing information for the American market hasn’t been announced yet, but keep in mind the E-Scrambler starts at 3,699 euros (about $ 4,100 U.S.) in its home country of Italy, and it’s the cheapest of the bunch.