Moto Brilliance:

Not a single bolt or component out of place - just pure, understated cool

Sometimes a bike comes along that really moves my soul, but it tends to be from the usual suspects at places like Wrench Monkees, Spirit of the Seventies or Deus, and has already done the rounds with EXIF, Pipeburn and elsewhere, however - this beautiful creation is the work of Geoff Rossi from the Ducati Sport Classic forum, and I've been following the build online for months waiting for Geoff to get the finishing touches done and stop test-riding the thing long enough to take some half decent pictures.

If this is "build 43" on Geoff's notes, are there another 42?

To the a non-Ducatista it looks a lot like a Sport Classic 1000, with perhaps a few aftermarket parts, like the tank and seat, but although it has that spirit in its DNA it's actually built from the ground up and is not something you can just bolt together from the Ducati parts bin.

Geoff's not completely happy with the seat. I'll post new pics when he updates this.

The design brief has been to create a light, minimal bike with classic lines and strong performance. Geoff's starting point was a Ducati 1000 DS motor from a Paul Smart, stripped of the ECU as he wanted an old-school carbed setup with MSD ignition and FCR41 flatside carbs. The swingarm and suspension came from a SS1000DS, with a 70's Imola style tank and tail, with GSXR fully adjustable front end with radial brakes and BST carbon wheels - all stitched together by a custom-built frame using the headstock from a 999, with a ride-height adjustor at the top of the shock and adjustable rearset mounts, making it a bike that can be quickly reconfigured for road or track use. The frame design is a cross between a Pierobon frame and a 70's 900ss frame - with parallel spars from the bottom of the headstock under the tank down to the rear motor mounts and a backbone from the top of the headstock to the shock mount above the vertical cylinder head.

The rear subframe is a bolt-on aluminum unit that can be modified to work with different seat/tail units, and the custom exhaust is a 2-1-2 with a baffled collector box under the seat.

I assume the plate is designed to be read by sleeping policemen?

As you can see from the pics of the finished bike above, the end result of Geoff's labours is the kind of bike Ducati should be building in the first place - but then I guess it would be boring and we wouldn't have this story to tell. There is a very long thread on the Ducati Sport Classic forum which documents the whole build in some detail, with comments, hundreds more pics of every phase of the build, and plenty of video too. Below I've posted a selection of pics taken from that thread, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. The original thread is very well illustrated plus there's plenty of humour and personality to read through, so if you're inspired by what you see here, do take the time to read more. Besides, I'm sure the story is not yet over. The Journey began here...

From the drawing board...

Delicate work

Nothing wrong with Geoff's imagination

The rolling chassis gets an engine

Steel scorpion?

Trigger housing

Rearset assembly

Trigger housing installed

There's always a lot to hide when you want that minimalist look...

...job done though

Motogadget goodness - and check out the machined-in switchgear

Ready for the First test ride - with the tank bungeed on!

Time to finish that tank properly and lose the bungee

Waiting for assembly

Mockup graphics - and the seat needs a little work!

Final paintjob done - and ready to rebuild

Weighing-in at around 150kg - fuelled!

What I love most about this bike is that it's not just built to be pretty or to slavishly reflect a bygone era of biking. It's in fact a very modern build using old school thinking and attitude, but plenty of modern components and engineering knwoledge, to create a bike that you could take to Brand Hatch on any trackday and show a few guys on R1s and CBR1000s the fastest way around Druids. There's much more on the Ducati Sport Classic (Cafe Racer) forum here... ...Meanwhile Geoff has threatened me with the idea of building these stunning bikes to-order, or creating kits so that people can do it themselves. I for one would love a bike exactly like this in my garage. I think it's about as perfect as a Duc-based cafe racer could possibly get and is worthy of sitting alongside any other custom build. If the price is right I may have to sell the wife and kids. Hmmm.... Anyway, I'm sure this bike isn't finished just yet, and that we'll see plenty more from Geoff, but meanwhile I'm very chuffed to have got this bike out there. Guys like Geoff are exactly what this site is all about.