reputable sport-bike rental agencies are few and far between (something to do with the liability of renting out machines capable of doubling the national speed limit — in third gear), but ducati has joined forces with lotus tours and select dealers to offer rental bikes. currently, there are only two u.s. locations, but others are expected to open in the coming year. rates range from $100 to $150 per day. lotus also offers rentals and tours throughout europe. lotus, www.lotustours.com or (312) 943-5331

u.s. ducati rental locations: bcm motors sports, laconia, new hampshire; www.bcmducati.com or (603) 524-4898; and britalia motors, capitola, california; www.britaliatours.com or (831) 476-3663