|Ducati CEO Michael Lock|
Of course, winding your way past beautiful beaches and through the hilly, golden terrain of northern California on a 1000cc motorcycle isn't exactly your typical way to get to work, either.
A native of London, Lock is the CEO of Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati (DMH), and his preferred mode of commuting is in the saddle of a Ducati Monster S4R S Testastretta.
TheStreet.com had a chance this week to sit down and talk with Lock about trends in the motorcycle market and the unveiling of two new
My first question for Lock concerns consumer choice: When a rider decides to purchase a motorcycle, why would he or she go to a Ducati dealer when it's possible to find an inexpensive, mass-produced Japanese motorcycle that has -- on the surface, at least -- similar specs?
His response is hard to refute. "People don't buy motorcycles for rational reasons. You can take the subway, it's probably quicker to get uptown ... and probably safer than a motorcycle. But actually, the safest thing of all would be to stay at home, and then no one has a life," Lock reasons.
It's Lock's belief that his company's motorcycles offer an emotional pull on riders, something unique to European motorcycles and Ducati in particular that competitors simply cannot match."It verges on the irrational. I think there's no easier way of putting it than that. It's an emotional decision rather than a practical one," Lock says. However, he is quick to point out that Ducati, though a small company, is driven by its racing heritage, and what it gleans from that experience is brought directly to its street bikes. Therefore, any motorcycle you buy from Ducati has a real-world, track-tested pedigree -- this is not an instance of style over substance.