FrontRunners: Rocket Technology

<< Back to Robb Report, February 2007

    The small engines that brothers Adriano and Marcello Ducati of Bologna, Italy, attached to bicycles in the 1940s produced short bursts of exhaust that earned the vehicles the name Cucciolo (Italian for “little puppy”). A few years later the Ducati company (www.ducati.com) was making motorcycles that achieved 40 mph, and by the 1960s its Mach 1 road bike was reaching 60 mph. Now the company has introduced the Ducati 1098 Superbike, a 160 hp, 381-pound machine that soars to 175 mph. “Our street-bike engineers work closely with our racing people,” notes Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America. “In the end, all our technology originates on the racetrack.” The Superbike comes in three versions: the 1098 Biposto ($15,000); the 1098 S ($20,000), which features an enhanced suspension system and lighter wheels; and the red, white, and green 1098 S Tricolore ($25,000), which adds a race-bike exhaust system. . . . Those preparing to push a Superbike to 175 mph might consider wearing Esquad jeans (www.esquad-jeans.com) during the ride. The jeans, developed by motorcyclist and textile designer Pierre-Henry Servajean, are produced from a fabric that is stronger than leather but has the appearance and the breathability of denim. Servajean created the fabric, called Armalith, by weaving cotton thread with a high-tech fiber that originally was designed for bulletproof vests and spacecraft parts. During strength tests, the jeans survived 60 mph skids and lifted a 4-ton Hummer off the ground. Prices start at about $440 per pair.

    Photo by Gerald Farber Photography
    The pebble beach Concours d’Elegance and the surrounding four days of automotive auctions (...
    Photo by Patrick Ernzen/RM Sotheby's
    RM Sotheby’s has assembled a special sale of approximately 30 postwar sports cars dubbed the...
    Ferrari 488 Spider front quarter panel view
    The $275,000 open-air roadster can lower its top in 14 seconds and hit 62 mph in 3 seconds…
    Photo by Basem Wasef
    The new edition features a striking monochromatic color scheme and carbon fiber accents…
    A half-century after its historic victory in Europe, Shelby’s iconic racer returns to celebrate…
    Today’s german auto museums are much more than vaults filled with old cars: They are structural...
    Battery pack improvements give the car the ability to go from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds…
    Classic Ferraris and Porsches will be on display in all of their glory…
    In addition to the Ferraris, rare cars from DuPont and Carrozzeria Touring will also be spotlighted…
    The Porsche Cayman GTS is a serious sports car with a long, low profile...