Most of the custom motorcycles rolling out of the Lord Drake Kustoms workshop have been Harley-Davidson-based. Despite this, the Spanish workshop welcomes projects that buck that trend. One such opportunity presented itself when the owner of a 2003 Ducati 999 approached them in the hope of having his bike transformed into a modern take of a cafe racer.
“It is very strange using racing motorcycles like this to carry out motorcycle customization work,” says Lord Drake Kustoms owner, Francisco Alí Manen. “Mainly because such motorcycles come with a fairing that hides a lot of equipment that will need to be relocated.”
Despite some skepticism, Fran and his team got to work on the Ducati, stripping away all of its factory bodywork to assess how much work they had ahead of them.
Along with identifying all the wiring and components that would need to find a new home, Fran decided that the Ducati’s stock wheels weren’t going to cut it. His vision was to instead have the bike rolling on more classically styled spoked rims. The solution came with the fitment of a set of 17-inch spoked rims from DID Japan. To fit them to the bike the Lord Drake team installed specially-made hubs and then finished things off with a set of Dunlop hypersport Sportsmart rubber.
Next, they turned their attention to the bike’s stance. Again, in pursuit of a more classic demeanor, the stock suspension was tweaked to level out the bone line. Some minor adjustments to the fuel tank helped to finalize the new posture of the 999.
With the plastic tail gone the bike’s subframe was tweaked to clean things up a little, and a new tuck and roll-upholstered seat was added that leaves just enough space for a pillion. Additional bodywork changes include a slim line custom front fender and a specially-made housing to keep the relocated lithium battery out of sight.
In stock trim, the 999’s Desmodromic L Twin produces a knuckle-whitening 124 bhp. Seeing as this bike was now a tad lighter than before and only intended for street use, Lord Drake limited the engine work to the fitment of a custom exhaust. The revised system utilizes a modified 2-into-1 manifold that vents via a Supertrapp muffler. Similar to Ducati’s original design, the Supertrapp sits beneath the tail where its unorthodox appearance and loud bark are sure to turn more than a few heads.
With the changes to the tail came the removal of the stock lighting assembly. Now rear-end turn signal duties are managed by a discrete pair of frame-mounted LEDs and the brake light resides on a bespoke hugger-style license plate bracket.
At the pointy end of this project, there’s more custom lighting in the form of an V-Rod style headlamp. The front-end turn signals are bar-end units by Motogadget and they’re accompanied by a set of retro bar end mirrors. The handlebars are also sporting theme-matching red levers, red accent grips, and the triple trees have been powder-coated to match. To keep the cockpit looking clean the Ducati dials are gone, in their place is a single Motogadget mini digital gauge mounted to the front of the fuel tank.
To finish things off the 999 received a timeless red and white color scheme. At the request of the owner, a 72 resides on the engine cover which we assume relates to his year of birth. Sporting a tasteful mix of modern and classic touches the Lord Drake team fittingly coined this project their NeoRacer.