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CHARGING AHEAD. Hazan Motorwork’s Turbo Ducati 860GT Racer


Posted on April 21, 2017 by Andrew in Classic, Racer. 41 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

In his shop in downtown Los Angeles, Max Hazan works harder than your average prisoner of war. And his efforts show – he routinely fabricates some of the cleanest, most distinctive builds you’re ever likely to see. This time around he’s outdone himself with a turbocharged 1978 Ducati 860GT, a bike that got really interesting a few weeks into the build when he received a call from his client.

“He asked what I thought about turbocharging the bike,” The Hazan Motorworks head honcho recalls. “Before he could finish his explanation, I said ‘Done!’” As you can imagine running a turbo on a bike is no easy task, but the old 860 made it even more difficult as it was set to be kick-start only. “That meant a blow-through setup for the turbo was the best way to do it,” Max says. “I knew I’d have my work cut out for me to make a reliable and streetable bike.” And he was right.

“There were three engine rebuilds and two seized turbos,” he says. “And we had to make the clutch hydraulic for the heavier spring load. We tried three oil system configurations, four different boost reference float bowl setups, two ignition systems and about 30 jetting combinations until I was finally able to sign off on it.” If anything, he’s learnt a lot from the build. “If I had to do it again I could probably tune it in about half an hour!”

For the record the racer runs a heavy clutch, 9:1 compression pistons, a Garrett GT15 turbo, Tial gates, a Weber DCOE 40 carburetor, Holley fuel pumps & regulators, an electric oil system, Electronik Sachse ignition and stainless exhaust & intake valves. But the engine is only half of the beauty here. The rest is the frame, manufactured from scratch using chromoly steel.

“We originally planned to only modify the 860 donor engine,” he explains. “But with all of the plumbing involved – the exhaust, turbo, wastegate, blow off valve, fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, oil pump, oil cooler and all of the plumbing to connect them – it was actually better to build the whole turbo setup and then build the frame around it than to stick the turbo and parts wherever they would fit.”

“So we shortened the wheelbase about 2 inches by steepening the front end and changing the trail to elevate the heavy controls of the 860,” Max says. “And we went to a single Works Performance shock under the whole thing. From there, I did my usual foam shaping and after about five attempts got something that worked with the shape of the bike. For the plumbing it had to be function first, form second, so there was a lot of work that went into making the maze of tubing and lines easy on the eyes.”

12 o‘clock rock

Not only is the frame gorgeous, it’s functional as all hell too. Up front the Ducati has custom triples and Magura controls with the whole thing brought to a skidding stop by Wilwood calipers grabbing early GSXR rotors. At the rear the bike runs a 5.5″ Excel rim on a chromoly swing arm. It all tops off a build that handles and goes as well as it looks. But one of the neatest things about the racer is impossible to convey in photos alone.

Max boost

“My favorite thing about the Ducati is the blow off valve,” Max says. “It may be a little ‘Fast and Furious’ but it’s fucking cool to change gears on a motorcycle, hearing the spool of the turbo and the feeling of the boost. I think that noise was part of the reason I made the bike.” Guys, I’m going to start the chorus off right here by demanding that Max films the 860 in action.

“My favorite thing about the bike is the blow off valve… I think that noise was part of the reason I made the bike.”

Chalk this bike up as yet another astonishing custom ride from Max Hazan. And expect to see more in the coming years. “Although I’ve had offers to partner up, endorse and relocate, making bikes from scratch in my small shop in Downtown LA is what I love to do and what has worked for me,” he says. “The shop’s become a bit smaller after wedging in some new machinery but I still walk in the same small door on the second floor of a sewing factory at 9:30am and leave at 8PM. If I am lucky I will be doing the same thing in 10 years.”

I think we’d all be lucky.

Max gets all Fast & Furious

Hazan Motorworks – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Shaik Ridzwan ]








  • Sweet. Baby. Jesus. What an insane machine with looks that can kill. We need video for sure!

  • John in Pollock

    I think at this point, the metal just gets scared, and forms itself into the form that Max has in his mind when he walks into the room with it.

    Metallurgy by telepathy bullying.

    • It’s not bullying. The metal LOVES it…

      • John in Pollock

        Metallury master & servant. Got it.

  • aaron snyder

    f***ing witchcraft. Bravo.

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Spectacular achievement on so many levels; the custom frame, a turbo on a vee twin and the quality of the craft is staggering. A truly fantastic bike.

  • the watcher

    It’s not fair, really. Someone with that much engineering prowess should have no sense of style. If Hazan wasn’t a fellow motorcyclist you could learn to hate him. Great work, great design, great bike. Git! (Only kidding, before any twerps get on my case).

  • I think we need a down to earth, two-wheeled version of fast and furious with the likes of Max, Mule, and Walt creations, (to name a few…), but with real riding, and real riders.

    • If you’ve got a spare 50 million, we can make it happen. 😉

  • Jim Roberts

    lets start with the frame…“So we shortened the wheelbase about 2 inches by steepening the front end and changing the trail to elevate the heavy controls of the 860,”. i’ve been putting wrenches to motorcycles for 60 years and don’t have a clue as to the precise message that he’s trying to convey. i hear wheelbase, i hear trail but no mention of rake. what are the rake and trail and wheelbase figures. what bikes’ handling was he seeking to emulate and how close to those baseline numbers did he get? just looking at the pics, i’d say if you were much over 135# and 5’6 then you ain’t gonna fit…which might be just exactly right for the person who owns it…it just doesn’t appeal to me.
    as for the engine…3 rebuilds and 2 turbotrash before he’d sign off? uuuhhh, do i get a warranty? this is a hand grenade with a shiny paint job. and that exaggerated slash cut exhaust was at least spared the ignominy of being swathed in pipe wrap.
    i’ve been to the builders’ web sight and watched a video, he seems to be a nice young fellow.

    • Jim. Max wrote us the answers to our interview questions after a long day while in the passenger seat of a van driving to the Handbuilt Show in Austin, Texas. I think we can probably forgive him if he didn’t have things like the trail and rake figures at hand.

      • Jim Roberts

        and we both know that raw data by itself isn’t of much value, that’s why i asked what particular bikes’ handling characteristics he was shooting for.
        generally the only thing that i hope someone gleans from what they might consider to be an overly harsh critique is that it’s an honest opinion formed by experience. there’ll be people who visit this site and be inspired to try their hand at turning daydreams into appreciative nods. to those folks i’d say, look at the pretty pics and read all the posts and try to remember not to confuse paint and chrome with sound engineering

        • Real Moto Co.

          That wasn’t self indulgent at all.

          • Jim Roberts

            probably more like self inflicted (see above post)

        • chrisb

          Bet you’re a hoot to go out drinking with Jim :-/

          • Jim Roberts

            lol…i don’t drink, but i got some home grown that a couple of hits will make even an old ducati seem reasonable

    • AB

      These old Ducatis had ‘relaxed’ geometry – long wheel base, kicked out forks compared to the modern thinking. Super stable on the open road and wide fast sweepers – needed some muscle in the tight stuff. A tweak will only make it more flickable.

  • AB

    A good chance of seeing this bike at Christmas in the bikes of the year list.

  • guvnor67

    Oh my word! The way the exhaust follows the frame line, the kick at the rear of the exhaust mimics the curve at the front of the frame. The lines are faultless, the stance is perfect, it’s a turbo Ducati, It’s another example of Sir Hazan’s genius that makes me want to throw angry expletetives at him, mainly ‘cos I’m jealous as Hell! Damn.

  • Thoughts about putting a headlight behind the fairing? Yes or No? Better or Worse?

    • AB

      I’m most impressed with the fairing. Lights behind a ‘cover’ have been around for ages in some form like a headlight cover on a car – if the lights set up correctly no issue. And lights – meh – it’s rare for me to ride at night.

    • Don Arnold

      I have a BMW with a replica Peel fairing. It’s no problem if you keep the lense clean, but its plastic and needs particular care.

    • John Forsythe

      If it can be done cleanly, yes. In the states, at least, you can’t ride without one, even in the day.

      And I’m in love with that frame. The turbo, meh. But dang, she is a looker.

  • Sanjay Lohar

    Came here to read about the bike, which is truly a work of art, but I got distracted by the opening sentence.

    “Hazan works harder than your average prisoner of war” probably isn’t a way you want to start off any article..

    • AB

      Good point – some of those prisoners just sit on their arse all day – this builder works hard.

    • That’s the way we wanted to start the article. That’s what we love about free speech. Unlike other sites we are not exactly PC. The world has gone crazy on political correct shit. Please, let’s focus on the bike.

      • John Forsythe

        Free speech all you want, but show a modicum of respect for the tens of thousands that were worked to death in WW2 and other wars. It was poor taste in an otherwise well written article.

        • the watcher

          Taste, respect, subjective. Free speech is absolute. Not that I disagree with you, but your argument is bogus.

      • the watcher

        Ah ha!!!

      • brownroundtown

        Free speech you say? Does that mean we can have HTW back or is he still banned?!?

  • Tirapop

    This is just typical of Max’s builds: immaculate construction, beautiful lines, tons of exquisite details. It looks almost too precious to ride. If I were in the income bracket to afford this bike, I would risk it.

  • Len Farquharson

    The first Ducati I ever rode was my brother’s 860. i can still feel the raw excitement that that the V twin Italian conjures up. I can understand that adding a turbo and upgrading the frame takes this machine to its highest and best use. Magnificent Max! Thank you!

  • Marek Kazmierski

    possibly the first ever build i would change nothing on. add nothing. tweak nothing. and credit to the photographer for showing it in appropriate light. will keep coming back to these shots just to drool in time

  • Patriccio

    Jesus Tits what a nice fucking bike. Fucking swingarm. Fucking underbelly shock. Sleek. Badass. Tach. It’s several magnitudes better than, say, the hood ornament of a Mack truck. I would prefer a tank indent for the testicles, please.

    • the watcher

      Just do what I do; keep them in a padded velvet bag and leave the tank alone.

  • Motomanic

    Hmmm. I like the Tacho. I am also very fond of his ethics. I like the approach and the dedication and the tenacity. I just cannot for the love
    of it understand the excitement about the finished thing. It’s as if loving the work of the Mule and Hazan’s bikes were mutually exclusive fetishes…I can’t put my finger on it but there’s underlying steam punked vibe in his builds that makes them seem from some ‘City of lost Children’ foregone time. Which is where Max looses me…when it comes to bikes, that is (loved the film).

    As for the POW reference I don’t think that’s particularly off at all, especially not if the journalism generally stands for pluralism (with the exception of Firestones and pipe wrap maybe). If anything it gives us an idea how bloody hard Max is working. Lastly, his intention to keep steady output without focusing on growth is absolutely admirable, that alone makes him special because it’s really really hard to do that!!!

  • Andy Rappold

    Never been a big fan of duke builds but this bike is a thing of beauty! Daring idea to slap a turbo on it and it looks amazing afterwards. Really impressed!

  • Michael Kork.

    Any idea on the horse power gained with the turbo? Ultra-mega-boost I guess. No words to describe the build.. I just hope I once have the money to buy a build from Max. #neverGonnaHappen