By Anthony van Someren - 12 Oct 11
Ducati Panigale Superquadro engine will only work because of the advances in ECU-controlled fuel injection. Put carbs on it, and it wouldn't even idle. Like the Eurofighter: Turn off the computer and it's not aerodynamic enough to even glide. So, where am I today? I've joined some of my wiser friends in the world of the timeless bike. The cafe racer / flat tracker / streetbike - whatever you want to call it. It's all about the simple basic bike, with no sell by date......Like a cartoon motorcyle drawn by someone who knows nothing about bikes, except how they should look.It's a vehicle of cliche parts; a twin-cylinder, finned, aircooled engine with twin exhausts either side of the wire-spoked rear wheel, mounted on twin-shocks, fronted by a round headlight and white-faced analogue clocks - and nothing attached that doesn't need to be there.
Oddly enough my 'old school' pride and joy was born a little late - in 2009 - a Ducati Sport Classic 1000, but it's air-coooled, tube-framed roots begin with the Ducati 750ss and the eras of Mike Hailwood and Paul Smart. I could have been more of a purist and got something more fragile, with skinny wheels and a couple of oil leaks, but I'm not ready for that just yet. I'm very drawn to those gorgeous 70s and 80s conversions of Japanese and European bikes from the likes of Sprirt of the Seventies, Wrench Monkees, Untitled Motorcycles, Deus and Co, and would love to own something so precious and bespoke... ...but what really counts is making your ride your own.