First Ride: Ducati’s e-mtb, the MIG-RRArmani Moffatt
Bridging the gap between motorcycles and bicycles, Ducati has teamed up with Italian company Thok to bring electric-assist mountain biking into the motorcycle world.
Cycling and motorcycling are two sports that have long complimented each other, both in terms of the skill set required and the thrills they deliver. From motorcycle outriders on the Tour de France, to MotoGP racers like Cal Crutchlow using cycling for training, there has always been a crossover between the two disciplines. So it’s no surprise that motorcycle manufacturers such as Ducati have bicycles in their range, although they’re often tucked away in the accessory catalogue. But while bicycles are perfect for pro motorcycle racers to use for fitness training, for those who simply ride motorcycles for enjoyment, the thought of puffing and panting up a local muddy hill isn’t always that appealing.
Electronic-assist bicycles are a relatively new trend, but one that is gathering momentum fast. From town and country style bicycles through road bikes to full-on mountain bikes; adding a battery-powered push to your pedaling is proving incredibly effective. The basic principle is simple, a small motor and battery on the bicycle provide extra power to the rear wheel when you pedal, it’s like having a loan of Chris Hoy’s legs when you go out for a ride. The result is more fun, more miles on the bike and more of that same buzzy feeling we get from riding motorcycles.
Ducati’s new e-mtb comes from a partnership with Italian brand Thok, masterminded by BMW and Downhill champion Stefano Migliorini. It is a high-spec electronic-assist mountain bike, furnished with top quality components. Brands like Fox and RaceFace might mean nothing to those outside the mountain bike world, but they’re the pedal-powered equivalent of Öhlins and Brembo in terms of prestige and quality.
Out on the trail the MIG-RR gets riders of all abilities to the top of the same hills, leveling the playing field for those who don’t have the time or the inclination to train their fitness to make cycling enjoyable. In situations where the trail is too muddy, too rocky or simply too steep for most riders, the electronic assistance helps power you through, keeping momentum up through the trickiest of conditions. With three levels of support (Eco, Trail and Boost) selectable through the handlebar-mounted switch, you can reserve battery power for when you really need that extra shove. Or just stick it in Boost mode and charge around flat out everywhere. A three-hour ride in muddy, sloppy conditions used 60 – 70 percent of the battery charge, depending on the rider.
The new Ducati Mig-RR is the lowest-priced bike in the Ducati range, costing £5,500 and available from all Ducati dealers now. In terms of e-mtb pricing, that pitches it against the best bicycle manufacturers around, with machines like the Specialized Kinevo costing around the same amount. If you’re used to a £150 bicycle from the supermarket, then that’s going to seem like an insane amount of money, but that’s like comparing a Christmas-cracker watch to a Rolex. Both will tell you the time on the day you get them, but that’s where the similarity ends. E-assist bikes are making cycling more accessible and more fun for everyone and by including the MIG-RR in their range, Ducati is looking to tempt motorcyclists in to some pedal-powered fun. And boy is this thing fun.