In much the same way that the Ferrari and Lamborghini marques get car enthusiasts excited, Ducati holds a very special place in the heart of many motorcycle lovers. The renowned Italian brand has an air of exclusivity and refinement about it that makes many a motorcycle lover go weak in the knees. When it comes to modifying Ducati's their trellis frames and sexy 90 degree, desmodromic engines offer a great base, but in some later models the bodywork lacks the same appeal as the earlier, more stylish classics. In the 70's the 900SS was one of the hottest machines on the street, but fast forward to the 2000's and the sports bike styling trends of the nineties had taken their toll. Recognising this lapse in style, but respecting Ducati's international repute a builder in Belgium saw an opportunity to create a modern machine that celebrated Ducati's past and the results speak for themselves.
Sven, the builder of this 2001 Ducati 900 Supersport based Cafe Racer, is the co-owner of Belgium based workshop 'Barn Built Bikes'. The build began as "a project for myself as a show bike for my company", but when a customer paid the Barn Built workshop a visit during the early stages of the build all that changed. "One of my clients got interested in the bike and he asked if he could buy it once I had completed it." So the bike evolved as a joint concept with Sven leading the build and his customer adding input along the way.
"The client's main requests were the addition of the number 13 somewhere on the bike and that it should have more classically styled spoked wheels". For the wheels Sven went for a set from Alpina rims finished in satin black, which he wrapped in modern Michelin rubber. Ensuring that the structural integrity of the frame was not compromised, a new rear subframe that mimicked the original lines of the trellis frame was fabricated and welded in place.
The main design goal of Sven's Ducati Cafe Racer was to keep the bike as small and lightweight as possible so the design and construction of the tank and tail were paramount. The tank was the work of Sven's good friend Nicolas Dehert who spent 4 months forming and finishing the polyvinyl unit. In its underbelly Nicolas concealed the bikes Efi fuel pump and he even added notches at the rear for the seat pan and tail section to slot into for a more integrated finish.
In keeping with his classic racer theme a 1970's 900SS replica fairing was acquired, which Sven fit to the pointy end of the bike using custom made brackets and fasteners. Inside the cockpit he added instrumentation from Rizoma and Motogadget and inserted Mblaze Motogadget indicators into the end of the clip on handlebars. The bodywork was treated to a 3 colour, retro inspired, red, white and silver livery finished with ample coats of clear. Finally the frame and engine received a fresh coat of satin black before being reunited and the modified MCJ exhaust was coated in a matching heatproof ceramic coating.
They say 13 is lucky for some, but as it turns out it wasn't for the bikes potential buyer. After an unfortunate turn of events the client had to retract his offer and the bike remains a show piece for Sven and his Barn Built Bikes workshop. Thankfully, that's completely fine by him "I'd been loving the bike more and more during the build and couldn't wait to ride it myself... now I can enjoy riding it all the time!"
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