Bringing you the world's best café racers, bobbers and custom motorcycles

1978 Ducati 900 GTS


Posted on December 1st, by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 9 comments

The motorcycle industry needs more people like Rene Waters. Not in it for the money, but simply for the love of motorcycles. Rene runs the very impressive Ducati Meccanica, which is a website for Ducati enthusiasts. The site has one of the greatest collections of Ducati workshop and owners manuals, photographs and pretty much anything else that will help inspire you to build, buy or restore a Duc. The best thing is, he gives it all away for free, “no money is made, no ads are sold, nothing is for sale… just enjoy it” Rene says.

Now you know a little about Rene’s background you can understand why his 1978 Ducati 900 GTS looks the way it does – stunning. This yellow beauty has been completely rebuilt, very little in fact hasn’t been modified or changed. Because of this, I thought it would be best if Rene shares the finer details:

“The bike started life as a 1978 Ducati 900GTS… mods include: extensive frame modifications to accommodate and fit the 1974 Ducati 750GT tank, and 900ss style replica seat and side covers.  43 mm Showa upside down front forks with custom triple clamps. Ducati ST3 bar risers with custom bars, fitted with modern controls and Brembo master cylinders levers etc. A custom fabricated hydraulic clutch system was designed, fabricated and fitted. The wheels are Ducati Sport Classic spoked rims with 180/55-R17 rear 120/70-R17 front  Michelin Pilot Classics.  Rotors are Brembo 320 mm dual front with a 245mm single rear disc.  A custom swing arm was fabricated to fit the rear wheel, under swing arm rear caliper mount and Ducati Sport Classic dual shocks. The fenders are from modern Ducatis – 1000 Sport front and 1000GT rear. The headlight is period but the signal lights and tail light are modern Ducati units. The speedo and tach are from a Ducati S4 Monster, the tach being driven from a DMC programable electronic ignition unit, and the speedo electronically from the rear wheel. A complete wiring harness was fabricated, and all the electrics run off a bank of relays under the tank. Regulator rectifier moved to the front of the bike under the tank for better cooling. The bike is kick start only, so a small dry cell battery was fitted in a modern Ducati Sport Classic battery box under the seat. The 860cc L-twin motor has bevel gear driven cams, a glass viewing port was fitted so that you can observe the gears doing their work. The motor was completely rebuilt, adding high compression pistons, custom made oversized valves, and a lightened flywheel. A set of original Conti mufflers were found and the mounts on the frame modified to make them fit properly. K&N high flow air filters were fitted to the 32mm DellOrto carbs, which were re-jetted and tuned to take advantage of the increased air flow that they and the Conti’s provide. Rear sets and linkage were fabricated, and frame mounts welded in position to provide the perfect riding position. A custom rear sprocket carrier had to be fabricated along with an offset spacer for the front sprocket in order for the sprockets to line up and the chain to run true (the increase in wheel size from 100 to 180 made this necessary). The 42 tooth rear sprocket originally on the rear wheel was replaced with a 37 tooth to better take advantage of the classic V twin engine’s torque. The frame and swing arm are powder coated black. Lastly the yellow and black paint scheme replicates the classic Ducati 750 Sport of 1973.”

After reading about that impressive build you can understand why this Ducati is no stranger to the spotlight. Appearing in various publications around the world and most recently awarded the prestigious title of ‘Miss June’ in the classy new 2011 BikeEXIF Calendar – now I’m sure there’s a joke about exposing all her private parts, but I’m not going there.

If you’re like me and you want to see more of ‘Miss June’, there’s a ton of quality photographs on Rene’s website. Enjoy responsibly.





  • Dave in Kalifornia

    Now, this is what "retro-mod" classics should be like. Keep all of the character/visual appeal of the 'original'… and add modern advances in braking/suspension/electrics. My '78 CB750 is much the same, minus only the usd forks… Opted for CBR1000 cartridges inside stock legs/sliders instead- to keep the front proportions in check.

    Very nice bike. worthy of 'Miss June'.

  • Ken

    Style, workmanship, substance and you can actually ride it! What a concept! Gorgeous!

  • Jimmy C.

    One of the best ducs I've seen. Nice one Rene.

  • KIK

    amazing, beautiful ,..but i'd loose the rear fender..

  • Phil Peacock

    SWEET! I'll take one!

  • XcaptainXbloodX

    those "custom triple clamps" look an awful lot like the stock ones on a 1000 sport…

    which is just fine by me! this bike is exactly what ducati should have released when they went for a retro bike. oldschool proportion/aesthetics with modern tech

  • DarmahBum

    Gorgeous – Italian sex on 2 wheels. Owned one and sold it back in 1984 – man am I still kicking myself -

  • Rene

    XcaptainXbloodX

    You are right about the triple clamps… they were indeed from a 1000 Sport, the custom bit is really the steering stem not the triple itself. I had to fabricate a stem to accommodate a bearing size suitable for the bevel frame head stock while still fitting the bottom triple required for the USD forks… the tricky bit was that I still wanted to use the 1000 Sport top nut to provide head tension (and because it looks nice) but on a steering stem much smaller than that of a modern Ducati. Didn't mean to imply that I built the top triple. Sorry.

    All the best, and thanks for all the kind comments about the bike.

    Rene

  • Elwood

    This bike has been around forever in different guises but in the press a lot lately. The sagging tail light, gaseous front fender and too chubby tires still spoil the lines of it for me. Just bolting on Sport Classic parts and painting it to mimic a 750 Sport is a bit timid, but the owner started with a boring bike and built it into what he wanted, and an object of desire for others, and that's the true heart of custom building. Enjoy Rene's website a lot, good resource for fans of the old Ducks.