With the circus that is the World Superbike Championship wrapping up for the weekend at the Imola circuit, Ducati asked a few select journalists to stay behind. After a superlative-laden speech by Ducati supremo Claudio Domenicali, they hit the track on the brand new 2016 Ducati Panigale R. To say that they were gobsmacked would be a gross understatement. So it’s probably for the best that a certain bunch of Swiss motorcycle fanatics weren’t on hand. Undoubtedly they would be thinking that there was even more to be had from the bike. Fortunately, their absence did nothing to quell their creativity. And the result is arguably the world’s fastest cafe racer; a unique collaboration of talents that has delivered a freakishly cool animal known simply as ‘The Blue Shark’.
At the Southern end of Austria and just a yodel’s throw from the snow-capped alps sits a small town called Feldkirchen in Kärnten. It’s home to some gorgeous Austrian architecture, thousands of transient German skiers and NCT Motorcycles – a custom shop of incredible quality and impeccable taste. While they most frequently find themselves massaging bespoke BMWs, this time around they’ve diversified and produced this stunningly simple cafe racer, based on a 2001 Ducati Monster 900ie.
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.
It was the result of three great forces combining to build a beloved motorcycle that tugged at the heart-strings of the Ducatisti around the globe. The legendary feats of Mike “the Bike” Hailwood, the brilliance of head Ducati designer Pierre Terblanche and the global power of a relatively new communications tool for the masses, the internet. The result was the limited run Ducati MH900e of which only 2000 were built over a period of two years. Special edition Ducati’s have always held their value and leaving them standard is just what you’re meant to do. But Roland Sands got Italian blood boiling when he chopped up a Desmosedici and created a 200hp tracker. Now it’s Germany’s superstar builder Marcus Walz’s turn to improve on perfection, it’s the WalzWerk Racing MH900e.
When Ducati announced it was releasing the latest addition to the Scrambler family, the Sixty2, with just 400cc of displacement, many assumed that the Italian giant had finally rolled over and would produce a crappy bike for the masses. The news didn’t get much better when the launch was to be held in Barcelona – complete with hand painting and other assorted arts and crafts. But the first journalists to pin the throttle found out quickly that not only did it pack some punch, but that the Bologna built bike was no sell out. Not at all. It’s easy to forget that Ducati once built an enormous number of giant killing single cylinder machines and this is not their first rodeo in the small capacity stakes. But to really prove the Sixty2 could cut the mustard, Ducati threw a set of keys to Anvil Motociclette and told them to scramble it.
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.
The motorcycle industry is booming in Thailand with all the major Japanese manufacturers having a large presence and the Europeans have followed in recent years. With the world’s largest markets on its doorstep Thailand is the perfect place to build and assemble many of the models on offer in the global marketplace. But with this boom attention has also be turned to the local custom bike scene and in the spotlight is the country’s biggest player K-Speed Customs, with 12 locations across the country. Overseen by head honcho Eak they come with a penchant for the dark side and most of his bikes are finished in Matte Black with a sinister appeal. So it’s no surprise that when he combined forces with one of his shop owners to come up with a new build the end result is this murdered out Ducati Monster M1100 known as “Darth Mostro”.
In the sleepy town of Sandy in Bedfordshire in the UK, lives Chris Baglin, owner of Merlin Engineers Ltd. Merlin specialise in historic aviation and motorsport fabrication and repair. Around 8 years ago, one of Chris’ mates had an Egli Laverda. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Fritz Egli was a motorcycle racer turned custom frame builder. Amongst others, he built 25 Egli frames for the Laverda 750SF. Very rare and very beautiful and one of these bikes was the inspiration for what you see here.
To say the Italian’s know how to enjoy themselves and throw a party is one of the great understatements you can make, so when the 90th anniversary of the much beloved Ducati Motorcycle Company rolled around you knew the annual World Ducati Week was going to be something special. A 90 minute drive from the Bologna factory finds you in the Province of Rimini, where right next to the Adriatic Sea is the Misano World Circuit that hosts the Ducatisti from all over the world for a week of all things Ducati. From new model launches, to the endless track action with past and present GP stars ripping it up to the joys of the new Scrambler Land, just attending the event is a dream come true. But for Eduardo Iglesias of Spain’s Russell Motorcycles and his team not only were they invited by Ducati to attend the event but given a brand new Scrambler and asked to make something special to wow the crowds.
Back in the mid ’90s when Tool released their album Ænima I skipped school for the morning with a mate to grab a copy of the new CD from the local record store. We arrived back on high school grounds, me now rocking the latest Tool T-shirt, a ghoul like figure with a large syringe in his mouth…, needless to say it was straight to the principals office and this Tool inspired Ducati custom is set to get itself in just as much trouble! When client Joe Evers, a Tool fan himself, sat down with Australia’s DVMC Motorcycles to plan out this build he knew he wanted something completely different from any other custom floating around and starting with his bone stock 2002 Ducati ST2 gave plenty of scope to go in any direction. Known as Forty Six & 2 “named in reference to the Tool song with lyrics that talk about the evolutionary change in a species” this Ducati is like nothing that ever rolled out of the Bologna factory.