Kakugo Messages: 7175 Registered: August 2003 Location: Selling Souls at the Side...
(18) Geoff Duke
This week an Italian rag carried this very shocking (not for me, at least) bit of news.
Apparently Ducati will ditch Desmo for at least some of the entry level models manufactured in Thailand. It's also possible the new water cooled Monster will be offered in two versions, one of them cheaper and not Desmo equipped.
Why I am not surprised? Because Desmo is a thing of the past. It was conceived in the '50s to overcome the then limitations of valve spring materials at high rpm but times have moved on: in the early '90s already the Japanese were marketing road bikes which could run over 18000rpm, and reliably so. Pneumatic valves have completely eliminated the need for Desmo in racing applications and if you really want something fancy electromagnetically controlled valves are an intriguing possibility, though not without their practical issues.
With manufacturers desperately scrambling to cut costs in face of unreported inflation, it only makes sense for Desmo to go, at least on entry level models. Ducati fans already went up in arms when in 2003 clutch plates were changed from steel to light alloy because the bikes "sounded different", generating a cottage industry in steel plate "upgrades". It's only obvious they'll raise up in arms again, given one of the most iconic engineering features is about to get the axe...