Join the Austin Ducatisti

GT1000.jpgWhile the rest of Austin wants you to slow down, the boys over at Mototek just want you to ride on. And you can ride in high style this weekend while Mototek is offering demo rides on their new Ducati SportClassics in addition to free refreshments, posters, and shwag-aways.

Long known as one of the nation’s top Aprilia dealerships, Mototek recently added Ducati motorcycles to the marquee after Terry Gregoricka sold the Ducati Austin dealership to focus on managing his Ducati race team. The newly conjoined dealership will soon set up shop in the 2nd Street district at 3rd and Colorado. But while they wait for final build-out, you can find Mototek and their fine Italian machines at 7535 N. Lamar (just south of 183 in the old Ducati Austin / D&L Suzuki building). The open house is scheduled for today and tomorrow, although Italian logistics had owner Jay Bernard anxiously awaiting the bikes’ arrival this morning. If you’d like to do more than look at pictures of the new GT1000, tomorrow would be the safer bet to swing by.

It’s not often that you get to toss a leg over a 12-grand Italian motorcycle without eliciting dirty looks from the sales staff, but this event is part of Ducati’s “tribal marketing” strategy that emphasizes community-building over advertising. Ducati’s take on viral marketing has gone beyond just posting an executive blog, with the company developing products such as the SportClassics and forthcoming Hypermotard concept bike based on feedback from Ducati enthusiasts (who are called “Ducatisti“). Ducati is even selling a street-legal version of their MotoGP race bike, which seems to defy the definition of prototype racing while affirming the company’s heritage and committment to fulfilling the dreams of its most stupidly-rich customers.

A few years back, I toured Northern Italy aboard a Ducati Monster and visited the factory outside Bologna. It was something akin to a religious experience, if such a thing can take place in a dirty Italian business park. The visit cemeted my love of the Ducati brand, but the temperamental behavior of my rental bike also confirmed that I’ll likely never shell out premium cash for quirky technology. Like boats and blondes, Ducatis and are best when they belong to a friend.

But if you’re OK with expensive maintenance and the requisite purchase of a new Ducati-branded wardrobe, then by all means buy into the sweet sound and supple handling of these Italian delights. With Ducati’s tribal marketing and Mototek’s exquisite collection of bikes, addiction has never been so rewarding.

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