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Ducati 900S – CC Racing Garage


Posted on September 28, 2016 by Scott in Café Racer, Racer. 35 comments

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Written by Martin Hodgson.

Not every project is a smooth one, they can start and be halted for months at a time, life gets in the way, parts can be hard to find and when you finish you can still be left with doubts as to whether you’ve achieved your goal. So after years of preparation there could be no more intimidating place on the planet to debut your custom Ducati than at the annual World Ducati Week amongst the fanatical Ducatisti. But Marco Graziani needn’t have worried as his CC Racing Garage custom cafe racer took out the top prize in the Ducati Garage Contest at the 2016 WDW and also took home the trophy from the riders’ jury, consisting of Davide Giugliano, Danilo Petrucci and Eugene Laverty, who presented him with the sought-after Ducati riders’ award. It might have started life as a 2001 Ducati 900SSie, but plenty of other Bologna bombshells have donated their parts to bring this trophy winner to life.

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“The project started about two years ago, in July 2014, in the garage I had a Supersport 900 I used at the track for fun; unfortunately, since the time available to run on the track was virtually zero, the bike remained unused for long periods.” So Marco considered selling the bike but the low ball offers he got meant it was worth just keeping it on the market and parked away in the garage. Finally after it had sat and sat he gave it until the end of 2014 to sell and if it didn’t he do it up as a simple cafe racer and hope that would help it fetch a few extra euros. But custom bikes and simple, let alone just a handful of cash never go together. Surfing the net Marco kept coming back to the incredible designs of Simone Conti and decided to wait in line for his services, sure it would mean more down time but the wait would be worth it. With the Ducati in Simone’s hands by March 2015 things really started to get rolling on the build and the next time Marco would see the direction his bike was heading he realised not only was it something much more special than he first imagined, he loved it!

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The first step in the process after the design had been finalised was to take the single tubular chrome moly steel trestle frame and cut it right back, removing all the tube work that would normally support the two up seat and rear fairing. A clever new removable subframe was then fabricated that bolts to the mainframe and only consists of enough steel to support the single seat and nothing more. With all the body work off the SS, including the tank, an entire monocoque was created from aluminium to form a single piece that makes up an entirely new tank, seat and tail section. But as hard as crafting such a piece is, Simone’s design called for more than just a simple monocoque but one that incorporated both form and function in a unique cafe racer styling. The tank’s angular lines result in aggressive knee dents and sculpted pockets for the clip-ons to be allowed maximum turn. While the seat and tail piece unit incorporate traditional cafe racer elements and modern superbike aesthetics for an aggressive finish to the design.

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Still working with alloy, a neat bikini fairing was made to tightly tuck around the headlight that had been chosen for the project. And having crafted all the body work from scratch it seemed to make no sense to leave the bulbous stock front guard in place and it too is a custom piece shedding even more weight. “After that was built a new battery holder and a new recovery box for integrated oil vapours in the rear frame was made, all strictly aluminium,” explains Marco. With a bare frame and naked alloy it was over to friend and coach builder Emanuele to sort the colour out and he had some bold ideas. “Initially I was a bit sceptical, but eventually convinced” and the result is a mix of textured crinkle coat paint on the subframe, engine and swingarm. While the bodywork received some big dollar paint in the form of genuine Lamborghini Orange from their latest range of supercars, with silver accents used throughout, all broken up with black pinstripping. The unique seat pad design with separate hump support in true GP style is an all black affair with paint matched orange stitching.

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One of the reasons Marco had chosen the SS for the track was its mechanical simplicity and its brilliant handling and this has only further been improved. The standard Showa front forks have been given a total rebuild to match the new lightweight before being given a coat of black and gold anodized stanchions. The rear suspension setup is Ducati’s progressive linkage with the shock swapped out for an Ohlins unit with full adjustability, originally intended for a Ducati 1000SS. But before the suspension was reassembled Marco sought out the help of his good friend and machinist Samuel who crafted a stunning set of triple trees in his CNC machine that further reduce weight and build in extra rigidity to the front end. As a man who knows his way around the track and doesn’t mind keeping the throttle pinned Marco saw fit to bin the stock brakes in favour of a Brembo setup from a Ducati 999 S, that feature twin 320mm drilled discs and dual four piston calipers.

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The reason for that extra stopping power becomes obvious when you realise this is no stock air cooled L-Twin. The short stroke 904cc engine with desmodromic two valve cylinder heads has been given a full rebuild with all gaskets, seals and consumables replaced and restored to factory specifications. With the engine apart the cylinder heads have been ported for increased flow and the valve seats cut to his engine builder’s secret specifications. In the bottom end of the engine everything has been rebalanced, coated and new bearings fitted along with a lightened flywheel. Before the short block was bolted back together a Ducati Performance slipper clutch was fitted up, that being a dry unit is on display for all to see. But the externals didn’t escape attention either with better breathing throttle bodies from a Ducati ST2 and the full electronics package from a Ducati 916 wired in. With the wiring normally stored under the seat and tank and that room no longer available a drastic simplification of the loom was required, made easier with Ducati’s high quality fittings.

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But you simply cannot talk about the engine without bowing down on ones knees and worshipping at the feet of the man who pieced together that exhaust. The masterpiece is the work of Italian exhaust manufacturers Ajko who brilliantly assembled the large assortment of lobster cut pieces with some of the most beautiful welds you are ever likely to see. The whole two into one system finishes out in a hand crafted muffler with an extreme slash cut that is shielded off with meshed stainless. With a final tune of the ECU and the engine pumping out considerably more power over stock Marco had RC Racing manufacturer him a new and larger oil cooler to his specs to be on the safe side. Helping him punch through the gears more cleanly is a new set of rearsets that feature the same crinkle coat paint as the engine on the supports and heel guards. While up front the factory switchblocks sit on a new set of clip-ons that also wear a set of CNC’d fluid reservoirs for the hydraulic clutch and Brembo master cylinder with a pair of adjustable levers feeding in the power.

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To give the bike at least the semblance of road legality a pair of bar end mirrors have been fitted up that also act as lever guards should the cafe racer hit the track. For the last piece of the puzzle Marco decided to save up something very special, a set of genuine WSBK Marchesini magnesium wheels from a Ducati 888 wrapped in the obligatory Pirelli Diablos. Along with those mentioned the build wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Ducati wizards like Gianluca Azzocchi and Fausto Mattei; and after two years of hard slog and nearly giving up on the build early on, it’s appropriate that when it was all finished and ready for show Marco named his new girl “Grit”. Clearly it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears as it’s a once in a life time experience to have the Ducatisti and some of the factories best riders agree yours is the best of bikes for the year 2016 and now Marco can relax and truly enjoy the fruits of his labour.

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  • SteaminSteven

    Someone point me in the right direction, I need that oil cooler on my Monster.

    • Jim Stuart

      I was thinking the exact same thing.

    • I think you have to check for Febur radiators. Top notch Italian products 😉

  • guvnor67

    Oh hell yer!! Lookin at it makes me drunk with happiness! Reading about it makes me salivate like a rabid dog that’s eaten a kilo of sherbet! Another sleepless night comin up.

  • John in Pollock

    Exhaust of the year

  • the watcher

    Absolutely bloody gorgeous. No surprise that in most of the web-material surrounding WDW this little honey looms loud and orangely proud. Particularly like the crinkle black finish and the exhaust (not usually a big fan of the “tartan” look, but here, oooh). Only moan is the lack of power figures (we gave up hoping for wet/dry weights long ago) but I’m surprised they refrained from a teensy boast.

  • Aloha Terry

    Very nice!

  • MotoTrooper

    Spot on? Yes, very much so! Wonderful reinterpretation of a second gen 900ss. It all looks great, though the front header is a bit of a hangnail. Just have to remind myself to wear shoes with no laces near that dry clutch!

  • Sometimes it’s the sum of the parts that make a build special, other times it’s the stance, or its design, or the striking but not exaggerated colors perhaps. When all these factors align together in total harmony the result is a bike like this one, bellissimo!

  • cab305

    Reminds me of Radical Ducati…. now put on some pants you squid!

    • the watcher

      I’d ride the fucker naked if that was the only way he’d give me the key. lol

  • Len Farquharson

    A visual and aural symphony! Put on the hits of Andrea Bocelli, starting with Nessun Dorma and ending with Con te Partiro, then head for the Stelvio Pass. Splendera! Vincero! Thank you sir!

  • Andy Rappold

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! From the exhaust to the triples and the colour sceme…just love it !!!

  • Cam

    does anybody know why the exhaust is welded rather rolled? Do you think that is an alloy that would be stressed if it was bent? It looks good but must have been a huge amount of work

    • Darrick B

      There’s no “technical” reason for using pie cuts to build exhaust. It’s done because it looks cool. 🙂

      • Cam

        thx.

        • Darrick B

          Pipe diameter can also be used, but equal pipe lengths is the better option.

          • Cam

            the reason I am asking is because I am considering the pipe layout for my bike which neccitates unequal lengths. I figured that if the flow calculations for the most resticted flow path were applied to the least, then the use of bends, transitions and diameter might offer a cleaner and more accessible layout… plus reduce weight. Again this refers to the last image of this thread where the pipe seems to rise, turn 180 deg then drop under the bike. From the quality and practicality of this build, I assume it is done for a purpose.

          • Darrick B

            While equal length pipes for each cylinder is ideal, the truth of the matter it doesn’t make a huge difference for your average street bike, especially if they’re relatively close in length. If maximum power is your goal, then yes, you want equal length.

          • Dan Johnston

            Buel used an idea for some time to take up length by building into a longer muffler/silencer box and taking space where a belly pan would be used. Looked weird back then. Now hardly noticed.

            Side note: Changing length of pipes on a fi engine may often change exhaust scavenging confusing the ecu. So replicate as close to factory to keep from head ache’s.

    • Usually titanium exhausts are cut and welded rather than bent due to the material being so hard to bend.

  • BobFalfa

    Not for me, Does nothing for me , and it’s Ducati

    BTW……..Just how stupid is it to ride a motorbike with shorts and no gloves?…….The correct answer is……..Incredibly

    • guvnor67

      It’s a regular occurrence round these parts when the summer hits, mostly (but not limited to, the Harley guys). I remember last year a couple on an R6, both in singlets and shorts, him in running shoes, she barefoot, both no gloves, but both wearing $1000 helmets! And … He nearly dropped it, and her, at the lights.

      • BobFalfa

        I’ve seen folk that have had an off with no protection,not pretty and a long time healing
        Here it’s the reverse H_D guy with the kit and Crotch Rockets without , every time I see one I shudder

    • the watcher

      Come on, guys! Motorcycling is surely one of the few libertarian pursuits left to peoplekind; and rule #1 of libertarianism is….. no paternalism. Folks wanna peel themselves, then to hell with ’em (and if folks wanna be “emergency” types, the hell with them, too; no point whining, eh?)

      • guvnor67

        Probably not, but the smell of burning flesh is never pretty!! But, I’d like to add, if I may, that if we as fun loving motorcyclists/bikers don’t make a reasonable attempt to protect ourselves then sadly those in power tend to or try to introduce compulsory this and that. Having said that, if someone can’t work out that kissing the road at 90 mph is gonna hurt then no amount of coaxing or legislation will fix it, IMHO.

        • BobFalfa

          You’re Not Wrong,…… .In part that’s the reason I’ve said before about the missing rear Mudguards (and the consequence of your buttocks straddling a spinning 190×17) and the lack of Chain Guard , cause a chain snapping is sore

          • the watcher

            All those things may be true (though statistically rarer than you’d think) but the vast, and I do mean vast, majority of motorcycle accidents and near-misses are caused by careless car drivers pulling out, turning across, or changing lanes, into the path of the of the motorcycle without looking properly first. Odds are they’ll get you sooner or later whatever you wear (even a hi-viz onesie), and though gravel-rash hurts, it’s sudden stopping that does you in.

          • guvnor67

            Very true sir, very true, and here we are finding that the more “driver assist” doo-dahs that are getting fitted to cars, the worse the driving is getting. Laziness, and risk compensation theory.

          • the watcher

            Yup. It’s when “I’m alright, Jack” finally becomes “and you’re dead”. The ultimate goal of many drivers, judging by their appalling complacency.

          • BobFalfa

            @ guvnor67
            I was having a play with a couple of Car Configuration and it’s increasingly hard to get one without all the tinsle, I don’t need auto lane change, auto braking couple that with all the dashboard toys,
            6 disc changer , set to random volume medium loud , and you’re sorted

            @watcher

            the car has been ” weaponised” the Mercedes emblem is now a sight, and if you happen to catch them after the event , they don’t half fill their knickers

            It pisses me right off…….

            Steady there big man “you’re heading into rant mode”

          • marco

            We were doing a photo shoot and not going around

          • BobFalfa

            That’s not really an excuse,in my opinion.
            It’s more an attempt towards justification

          • marco

            then you have not noticed that the bike was unmarked something much more serious no

          • BobFalfa

            Yes it is unmarked,
            The remarks I made were never meant to offend , If I have then I Unreservedly Apologise