Moto Studio DB900
By Gareth Charlton - 21 Jan 15
Before we indulge in the details of the distractingly beautiful and purposeful black Ducati that originally lured you to read these words it is right and proper that we extend the gentlemen behind the bike a hearty Bikeshed welcome and a thorough introduction. Moto Studio is the result of a meeting of the minds and skills of two men in Miami, they are one of those builders that we have admired from afar but until now have not had the opportunity to feature here on the Bikeshed. Bruce McQuiston and Ryan Arends met at Bike Night in their native Miami in the winter of 2013 and Moto Studio is the culmination of the ideas and ambitions they shared that night. In the early eighties, while Bruce was studying Sculpture in Pennsylvania, he was usually found on two wheels carving the idyllic country roads of the State. Soon enough this pastime led him to the race track, where as it turned out, he was rather bloody good. He won the first motorcycle race he ever entered and went on to establish himself a career on the track as a race car driver, coach and engineer. Ryan Arends is a certified mechanic from Aruba by way of Florida who alongside being an award winning bike builder has worked in the aviation industry as a technician. Oh, and he harbours a passion for electronics. If you were compiling a Harlem Globetrotter esque dream team of motorcycle builders, the lives and skills of these two men would push their names high up the team sheet. So welcome extended and introductions given lets get back to that motorcycle, the glorious, black Italian reason you are here. The donor bike was a trusty mid 90's Ducati 900ss/sp, a model that we have seen receive some remarkable transformations here on the 'Shed - it's strong L-twin motor and slinky trellis frame providing the perfect underpinnings for a special. As you may have expected from a racer and a mechanic, Bruce and Ryan were never going to be content leaving the mill's power output at its standard level. In went a set of high compression pistons along with a Yoyodyne light weight flywheel. The heads were ported and a set of custom intake manifolds were designed and matched to the ports. "The motor was modified to increase torque, this is a wheelie popping beast that is a blast to ride in the city as well as in the twisties." Keihin FCR 41 carburettors were installed and dialled to work with the custom made 2 into 1 exhaust system. Bruce invested a lot time into developing the carbon fibre reverse cone exhaust muffler which now performs flawlessly whilst producing a wailing cacophony of exhaust noise. We love the offset nature of the taillight and exhaust end cap, they combine to add a quirky wink to the end of the machine, which other motorists will likely see the most. Suspension duties were assigned to Ohlins. Once again the builders track heritage shines through in the use of the highest quality components. The front wears a set of fully adjustable Ohlins road and track forks along with radial Brembo calipers, the rear sports an Ohlins 3-way shock. In Motogadget Ryan has found a manufacturer with products that satisfy his love of electronics. Moto Studio use electrical components exclusively from Motogaget which they team with Ryan's proprietary wiring harness design. The complete absence of visible wires is rare in a Ducati and a welcome fix. The simple, single Motogadget dial and subtle bar end indicators that satisfy both fore and aft signalling are the cherries on top of the electrical design. The frame was extensively modified, not only to reduce weight but also to alter the riding position to suit the hand sculpted seat cowl and sub frame. "For Bruce performance and design are equally important, that is why he hand make all the components on the builds, the seat cowl and fairing and single rearview mirror housing are made out of carbon fibre. The paint scheme was made to accentuate the lines and curves on the body work. This bike weighs 321lbs, and the suspension settings are dialed in for the owners weight and riding style." The harlequin chequerboard tank scheme is an unusual yet effective design crowned by the glorious machined Moto Studio filler cap and the classic Giugiaro Ducati font. Choosing to finish the new rear subframe in a contrasting metal finish to the bulk of the black frame adds even greater visual lightness to its inherently minimal design. Bruce and Ryan have created a head turning retro beauty of a machine without a single compromise in outright dynamics and performance. Built to be ridden hard, its matinee idol good looks merely providing a welcome view at the end of a long blast. Everything you could want in a bike. We look forward to seeing what the pair next roll out into the Miami sun, check out their website to see the past fruits of their labour.