My life in bikes: Cristiano Silei

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‘I wanted a racy bike but got a 125 custom’

ainese CEO and former Ducati marketing boss talks about his helmetless youth and lust for a custom Scrambler 


Where did get your love of bikes?
My father had a bike when I was very young. It was a very different time and I used to go out on the back of his Moto 350 on Sundays and we would go cruising around Milan where I grew up. As I said it was a completely different time and we would ride with no protective gear and no helmets; it was just completely normal.


When did you get your own bike?
When I was 16. I had been dreaming of a Honda NSR125R, as I wanted something really racy, but I ended up with a Harley-Davidson-inspired Cagiva SST125 because that was all my family and I could afford. The NSR was my dream bike but a 125 trail bike would have been good too.

Cagiva SST125 - Nightmare
‘It was all we could afford at the time’

What came next?
Well, I got a job and I needed a car. I’d been at university and didn’t have much money, so I had some time away from bikes as I worked really hard on my career at a management consultancy. There are times when it’s unavoidable.


So what changed?
While I was working for the management consultancy I was working with Ducati as a client when it was owned by Texas Pacific Group, and the boss at the time – Federico Minoli – offered me a job. I accepted immediately, and I chose a Ducati ST2 as my first big bike and I rode that all over the place.

Ducati ST2 – First big bike
‘I rode it all over the place’

Was there a long line of Ducatis after that then?
Yes. The factory runs an employee discount scheme so most people working there were buying bikes direct from the factory. I had a succession of bikes including a 900SS, and a yellow 748. Unfortunately that one was stolen from the street and I never saw it again. I was very sad about that.


Were there any Ducatis you didn’t get to ride?
The Desmosedici RR is one that I would have loved to ride and own, but I am very modest in regard to my riding ability and I know that bike would have been too much for me really!


What was your favourite?
The Multistrada 1200; that’s just my kind of bike. I had two Pikes Peak Multistradas at different times and I loved riding that bike. It was great fun and I loved the combination of its performance with the comfort and the riding position.
I really love the Hypermotard too; both the air and water-cooled versions were perfect for me. The riding position and the nimble handling all helps to make you a better rider.


Have you got a bike at the moment?
Not right now. I ended up not having a bike when I moved from Ducati to Dainese, but I am thinking that a new Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT D-Air would be perfect for me now I am working at Dainese, so that is a probably my favourite candidate. The bike and the Dainese D-Air systems work together and it would make a perfect, fast commuter bike. I know the Multistrada very well, and would love another one. I have to commute from Bologna to Vicenza, so the Multistrada would be really good at that. I also want to build a custom bike so I can go out on a Sunday morning with my daughter on the back, just like I did with my father. Except obviously we will wear some protective riding gear now! Something based on a Harley-Davidson Forty Eight, or maybe a Ducati Scrambler.


Photos: James Archibald/Bauer Archive

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