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‘Black Paw’ Ducati Monster 1000 – XTR Pepo

Posted on February 9, 2017 by Andrew in Racer. 17 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

Motorcycle builders often draw inspiration from unusual places. And sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face as they wax lyrical. They might reference Cold-war era fighter jets, 80’s Formula One cars or the contents of the local pub’s toilet to explain the curves, colours and context of their latest build. But here’s a refreshingly straightforward one for you – an endurance race-inspired 2003 Ducati Monster 1000 by Madrid’s XTR Pepo.

XTR is headed by Pepo Rosell and he’s no stranger to Dukes. His previous shop, ‘Radical Ducati’ specialised in – wait for it – radical Ducatis. It’s a curiously simple name from someone whose own narrative has more twists than the circuit de Monaco – Pepo is French-born, resides in Spain and in a prior life used to be a fish biologist. After stepping away from his old shop for a year he’s opened a new custom house with a less restricting moniker; XTR Pepo.

While that means Pepo can work on other marquees it does seem Señor Rosell has an obsession with Bologna’s finest. Hell, he’s even done a few hard years working for a Ducati importer in Spain. And that’s where this donor bike came from, Pepo actually sold the bike to its first owner back in 2003 and the customer returned to sell him the motorcycle for this project. That’ll be the first time a Ducati customer has returned to his dealer, years later, without the express intention of punching him in the balls.

With the donor bike sourced, Rosell went to work. And he goes about his business without CAD drawings, sketches or photographs of discolored urinals. The form of the build is entirely in his head.

We like high butts

The beginning of the process had the old Monster torn down and engine removed for a complete overhaul. The L-twin had all new bearings pressed in, porting work and an Ergal light flywheel fitted to help spin the high-compression pistons up quicker. All the surfaces were blasted clear of their detritus and reassembled with new pant-pinching open clutch and belt covers.

Then attention turned to the frame. The bulbous Monster tank was swapped out for one from a slimmer Ducati 749. And in keeping with Pepo’s love of endurance racing, a distinctive quick-fill gas cap was mounted on top.


The subframe was modified at the rear, cut down to accommodate the new solo seat and buttock-warming SuperMario exhaust. Around the front, brackets were machined by XTR Pepo to mount a half fairing that runs lights reminiscent of the old 750 Ducati F1 factory racers.

Getting’ busy

In-house manufactured controls are mated to a suspension set up more serious than a night shift coroner. The front forks are taken from the Monsters’ upspec S4RS sibling while Frentubo brake lines control the Discacciati radial brake reservoir and floating front disc. At the rear there’s a product of similar quality with a big ol’ Ohlins shock controlling the compression and rebound of the lighter rear end.

Tail unit holds battery isolation switch

The only thing that Pepo struggled with was getting the electronics working perfectly, which isn’t an easy task when you consider the reputation Ducati has for it’s wiring in standard trim. Getting the Aviacompositi dashboard and Mycrotech ECU synced proved no easy venture, but after plenty of careful work they had everything running smoothly.

And the end result is worth it. All the cutting and fabricating and splicing comes together under a paint job provided by Artenruta, with just the right amount of fleck and faux-sponsorship stickers. The livery tops off the whole build, which has to be one of the nicest Ducati’s I’ve seen on Pipeburn in a long time. I guess it’s no surprise given Pepo’s long history with the brand. And while I know the name XTR frees Señor Rosell to work with other bikes… I don’t know if I want him to. The man can sure make a mean looking Duke.

[XTR Pepo – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Cesar Godoy]

  • the watcher

    Oh dear Christ! That’s screwed it; all those people who yip “bike of the year” or “looks like a hoot to ride” or any of the other daft ways of saying sod all, you’re gonna have to try a little harder with this bugger. Only thing is, could I get my 32″ inside leg over? Do your own have.

    • Jim Roberts

      And i’d have too agree…this is an eleven year olds’ fantasy. you just
      passed Rossi and Stoner in the same corner…on the outside! and as you leave them farther and farther behind you listen to the exhaust
      cacophony challenge, pocketa pocketa pocketa…..
      to focused for day-to-day real world…it’s like looking at a tool box drawer full of nicely arranged snap-on wrenches

    • Agreed. It has some archetypal kinda thing going on, don’t it? It’s like every cool racing bike you’ve ever seen all combined into one giant wet dream. LOVE IT.

  • Bruce Harris

    Just the thing to pop down the shops for a litre of milk…

    • The milk would be churned into butter by the time you got home.

  • guvnor67

    Wow!! Sadly, unless I took a step ladder with me I’m not gonna mount up, let alone touch the ground! Bloody cool bike though, gets the adrenaline pumping just lookin at it! Takes me way back to when I watched videos (!) of Mike Hailwood, or Barry Sheene at Spa Francorchamps, “gotta get a bike, hey mum, look at this bloke go!”.

    • C‘mon! Don’t sell yourself short! (I’ll be here all week, folks…)

      • guvnor67

        HAAAAAAA!! That reply just dwarfed all previous replies!!

  • Keith T Robinson

    it hurts my eyes. a stock monster is better looking.

  • Jim Roberts

    it’s like seeing a beautiful petite drag queen…you think that’s just what you want, but it’s ’cause you don’t know what’s up, lol

    • guvnor67


  • I love how red and busy this thing is! However, the exaggerated seat angle starts heading this this in the negative direction. And I get the battery sticking out of the tail section, endurance bike thing, but it doesn’t need to stick up so high with 2 feet of clearance underneath to the rear tire, no? It would take Bruce Lee to swing a leg over the seat.

    • the watcher

      Most of the piccies are showing the bike on a paddock stand, the last one is the best to judge from. Ever see Gaston Rahier standing next to his Paris-Dakar mount? Where there’s a will there’s a way and God knows, I have the will (if not the means).

  • Andy Rappold

    That crazy Pepo stuff is really growing on me ! Please do more !

  • AB

    Hmmm. Usually a big fan but I see a almost cartoon like version of his previous Ducati builds. It’s a visual onslaught of colour and bits, and that seat height/angle is getting Euro-trash-streetfighter like. And the fry your meatballs pipe ….. Sorry Bud. Not working for a fan. I’ll go back to my happy place (even if it roasts my leg)

  • agoldfish

    GREAT!!! It looks tightly wound and ready to pounce!

    I LOVE IT!