Return of the Cafe Racers - Remodelling a Motard – Ducati 796 HyperCafe

Remodelling a Motard – Ducati 796 HyperCafe

This year marks the 10th birthday of Ducati’s Hypermotard. Back in 2007, I was huddled around a computer screen with a bunch of workmates, jaws dropped to the floor as we watched Ruben Xaus drift the new 1100cc Hypermotard around a track. It was the ultimate hooligan motorcycle, ready to deliver a white-knuckled riding experience to whoever was willing to put their nerves to the test.


While a Motard style motorcycle may not seem like the obvious choice for a cafe racer conversion Jochen Diefke of Garage 667 will happily argue otherwise. The German builder believes cafe racers should be, at their core, performance focused machines, so when he got his hands on a 796 version of Ducati’s Hypermotard he knew exactly what to do.

Two years after the release of the 1100 Hypermotard Ducati released the 796 version, a slightly lower powered, less aggressive package that delivered all the thrills of the 1100, but in a more manageable fashion. Jochen’s 796 was a completely stock example, still wearing the angular factory plastics, awkwardly wide bar end mirrors and tail mounted twin mufflers. Converting this naked Motard styled Ducati into a retro style cafe racer wasn’t out of the question, but it wasn’t going to be easy.

After stripping away the plastic bodywork Jochen began the transformation by retrofitting a new fuel tank to the bike. The Hyper’s standard unit blended into the trellis frame too much for his liking so a bulkier example was sourced from a 1098 Ducati. Unfortunately, significant differences in the new tanks geometry and mounting system meant that fitting it to the bike became the most complex aspect of the build.

To sit the 1098 tank snugly on the frame Jochen relocated all of the electronic components sitting atop the engine. Knowing that removing the airbox wasn’t an option, he redesigned it to open up the space required to fit the tank without drastically affecting the flow of air to the engine.

With the 1098 tank in place, work then began on the tail. After unbolting the stock subframe Jochen bent up a custom subframe that followed the lines of the new tank. A new cafe racer style cowl and moulded rubber seat were then fabricated from scratch along with a set of small side covers to disguise where the rear of the tank fixes to the frame. With the revisions to the rear-end complete the twin pipe exhaust was no longer appropriate, so Jochen replaced it with a stainless 2-into-1 system wearing a throaty Arrow muffler.

To keep the tail free of clutter, tiny, ultrabright LEDs were integrated into the new subframe with all of their wiring run internally. A side mount for the license plate was also bolted to the Ducati’s single sided swingarm.

For a more appropriate cafe racer riding stance, clip on bars have been slid onto the forks. Between the fork legs is a rather unexpected Harley V-Rod headlight that ties in well with the lines of the Ducati and the original dash has been custom mounted to the top clamp.

To finish his ‘HyperCafe’ project Jochen applied a liberal coat of suitably aggressive satin black to the entire bike. It’s the evil icing on his beastly cafe racer cake and judging by the action photos he sent us, he now enjoys pushing his HyperCafe to its limits.

The Garage 667 HyperCafe is yet another example of how modern sportbikes are utilised for cafe racer conversions and it’s a trend we definitely hope continues.


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