Andy's Ugly Duc-Ling
By Ali Latimer - 21 Dec 14
Andy from Mount Beauty in Australia has owned this 2002 Ducati 900ss from new, in those 12 years he's fettled with the bike several times and has also completed a couple of other builds and has a few more waiting in his kitchen (yep... he is an Aussie after all, any space is a workshop to them). More mods are planned for this bike, but they currently reside on various sheets of tracing paper and I'm sure there's a few in the depths of his imagination too. Make no mistake; no-one is trying to pass this bike off as a Café Racer, Andy says if it had to be labelled, it would be a Café Fighter as it has the soul of a Café Racer and the heart of a Street Fighter. When it comes to riding this thing, Andy says that "if a modern sports bike is like drinking a well-defined red wine produced from a century old family winery, then this bike is like having a shot of Absinthe out of a dark back street bar"; it is with out a doubt an acquired taste! If Andy is anything like his motorcycle, then we can confidently assume that he is a bold chap, what we do know about him is that he used to be a professional skier, during this time he acquired the nickname Crash Test Dummy, or more affectionately CTD, it seems he was rather good at jumping, but less so at landing, which could explain a lot with how radical this build is. In winter Andy works as a Ski Patroller in his local resort, the rest of his time is spent studying architecture. As for the bike, it's black and blue, which may be another reference to the CTD... In case you were unsure where the blue is, the frame is powder coated blue, the forks anodised blue, the mudguards, fairing, clutch and engine plates painted blue, the brake lines are braided... and blue, the single sided swing arm, light surrounds, levers and reservoir caps are blue and lastly, the HT leads are of course... red! The Donor is a 2002 Ducati 900ss, the last of them before they moved to the DS1000 motor, but Ducati seem to have used a few upgrading parts on the last generation 900's, perhaps in a test for the DS1000, alas the workshop manual that Andy had didn't incorporate these upgrades, so there was some learning along the way. The build began when Andy stripped her bare of her fairings and saw just how great these bikes look when exposed, the depth of the SS trellis frame is so full of character, it's criminal to hide it away. If it weren't for the mechanical assistance of Pier; a friend from the ski resort that is responsible for the upkeep of Snowmobiles and Piste Groomers, this bike would still be on the bench, the motor needed fully rebuilding after one of the belt guide wheels ceased, snapping the belts and dropping the valves... this understandably caused a grown man to cry... but the tears were wiped away and the motor was treated to Flowed heads by the legend Andrew Hallam, JE Hi comp pistons, TPO Beast velocity stacks with K&N filters, Lightened fly wheel and a Power Commander. The exhaust was a challenge tackled early on in the build years, Andy found it somewhat of a black art to find much information supporting the different styles and lengths, in the end he found the Ex-Box from Quad D in Italy was perfect for his needs, at the time this was done, manufacturers where still mounting exhausts to the side or under the seat, so it was pretty modern in its appearance.... unlike now of course where it makes this build look so vintage! Permanent modifications took place, mainly by cutting away the rear sub-frame; then Andy fabricated a new carbon fiber one, attached it to the tank and welded new tank mounts so the whole thing lifts up in one piece, why? Easier to work on motor... you know, just in case! The forks have been completely rebuilt, anodised and then given new triple clamps. The rear swing arm is from a 2005 Monster and is 40mm longer than the SS one, so the bike now feels more stable. She has also benefitted from a rewire and includes a digital dash, keyless start, electronic fuse box, new switch blocks, heated grips (yep, he rides in the winter) and clear water LED lighting system. Out front the fairing is made from a Multistrada wind shield, this is mounted on a new front subframe that also houses the Shorai miniature battery and all the required electrical items that were moved from under the seat and tank. The front view shows the nod to the original Ducati 900 Super Sport that gave way for this epic transformation. We asked Andy how he feels about the result, he says: ‘Happy’ is owning a bike period. I’m proud, smitten and out right in love with this bike…that is until the one on the work bench is finished! Next up for Andy is a BMW bobber/drag/cruiser/sports… He certainly enjoys blurring the lines of the conventional genres and for that we salute him, keep it up Andy, todays difference is often the norm of the future!