Finally, motorbike-shy Jessica Saunders rides a high-performance Ducati. However, all is not what it seems. Motoring editor Jeremy Taylor discusses the Ducati Futa e-bike.
Review: Ducati Futa e-bike
JS – Yes, I bet you thought I’d never ride a Ducati!
JT – Once I discovered Ducati was selling e-bikes, I guessed you might be tempted. I’ve seen how fast you are on a conventional bicycle but e-bikes sales are soaring – even I was excited about riding one.
Firstly, let’s get the price out of the way. My lightweight road bike powered by pedals cost £1,700 – I note the Ducati Futa is an eye-watering £7,450. That’s more than a decent secondhand car.
True, but all e-bikes are pretty expensive. There’s actually a limited edition version of the Futa at £11,990! I imagine as battery technology improves and becomes cheaper, so e-bikes prices will tumble too, just like electric cars.
So, you think we will all be saddling up on e-bikes in the near future?
I do. Even the hardcore road and mountain bike enthusiasts have cottoned on. The stigma about using a battery to supplement leg power is becoming much less of an issue.
What I really like about the Ducati is that, unlike electric mountain bikes, the Futa looks very similar to a conventional road bike. The battery pack is hidden in the frame, so you can blast past other Lycra-clad riders like Mark Cavendish late for work.
Apparently, it weighs a modest 12.4 kg and was developed by an Italian firm called Thok. Despite the battery pack, the Futa is pretty agile but more of a relaxed ride, rather than an out-and-out racer.
Yes, the tyres are quite chunky, which means the Ducati is also pretty comfortable – with a suitably squidgy seat atop that carbon frame.
It’s capable of around 50 miles, but that also depends on how heavily the rider relies on the battery. Legal restrictions say the battery will also only assist the rider up speeds of around 16 mph. After that, it’s back to the pedals.
Except we didn’t actually get anywhere near that far, did we, because our test bike had a technical issue. The electronic gear-shifter mechanism refused to work, and you had to pedal home with just one gear.
Yes, I wasn’t very happy, to be honest – if I’d paid for the bike I might have been even more upset! The battery assistance button on the handlebars is also really awkward to reach. The bike just needs a bit of fine-tuning and it would be something really special.
It is Ducati’s first road e-bike – I’d say they have done a pretty good job. The great feature of e-bikes is that it allows riders to stay out longer and travel further. Although, we were out longer and didn’t travel as far as we wanted!
Maybe I should have stuck with pedal power.
And probably the only Ducati I’ll ever ride.