Nick's Ducati Club Racer - Detroit
By Ali Latimer - 15 Oct 14
This absolutely lovely Ducati 900ss has been built by Nick; originally from Detroit but now residing in Cologne. Being from Detroit, Nick felt the need to get customising, but first needed a man-space. Once a garage was sorted the desire to cut, weld, grind and generally make a noise needed to be fulfilled; but unlike his mother land, certain areas in Cologne don't care for man-noise. Residents like to listen to the subdued sound of the breeze and birds gently singing which meant that there was actually a restriction to when you can make the required noise that customising bikes generates, it turns out that Saturday afternoons, Sundays and after 8pm throughout the week you can't break the sound barrier or even come close. So Nick needed to find somewhere limitless for his needs and you don't rock up at JvB Moto with a Ducati project and get met with any limits! Turns out when Nick got in touch with Jvb Moto to see if they might have a little corner he could rent from them, they had more in common than custom Ducati's, in fact Nick used to work with some of Jens old college chums, so a few months on and Nick managed to move into JvB's workshop. Nick assures us that he already had an idea and parts for the build; his main inspiration being the Hotrod scene from Detroit, but looking at what he's achieved, it definitely looks like JvB had a little influence in places, here in the Shed we absolutely love JvB's builds, so much so that Dutch and I chatted about their 750ss for weeks and Dutch even spoke to Jens to see if it was for sale, to see what we mean check out their 750ss here. The main focus on this build was one of usability, something that could do everything that Nick wants from a bike; it needed to be a capable street bike able to carry a pillion during the week and have the talent to do a trackday at the weekend. The bike was stripped to its bare minimum, essentials stay, everything else to the parts bin! The result is a bike that is light at just 152kg dry and skinny for greater lean angle. A low seat height makes for a more pleasurable pillion ride and reduces any aggressive feel that the ultra-low clip-ons may otherwise offer. Nick calls her 'Detroit' as he feels she sums up the raw and no-nonsense approach of his home town. Now this build wasn't achieved by just stripping bits off, pretty much everything has been reworked, a 916 front end speeds up steering also assisted with PVM forged alloys, the Ohlins forks have been de-anodised and given a full 999 brake set up. The tank is an ETI Carbon/Kevlar unit, it's the Sprinter version and has a similar silhouette to the standard tank but without the daft rubber ball saver and the top sits flusher, but most importantly, it's much lighter and still holds about 19 litres of fuel. Monster rearsets were modified with rigid pegs, a BMW oil cooler is tucked up front directly behind the forks, DucShop CNC velocity stacks (for the 1100) with K&N Filters and equal length headers were fabricated to the underslung and heavily narrowed Quat D silencer. Out front she has a completely reworked Monster headlight, but now using only a single bulb; yet holding the electronic connectors behind the top cover and a KTM enduro speedo. She's a true European melting pot with all these different Ducati parts and a bit of BMW and KTM mixed in; but moulded by an American, both in form and function, the colour scheme is subtle yet bold; powder coated off white frame and matching stripes compliment the matt black and bare alloy finish, and the yellow coated spring doesn't look out of place when the number boards replace the pillion pegs. 900 clearly lets everyone know that this isn't the baby of the crop but the punchiest of the brood. All of the aluminium parts were formed by hand along with the carbon number plates, and headlight upper. The rear frame was cut down and then reformed to get the proper lines at the rear and as mentioned, the pillion pegs are removable, but the number boards aren't there to hide nasty fixings left behind, as the rear hangers are mounted to the inside of the frame, keeping the flow all the way to the tail, the choice of black hangers allows them to go pretty much unnoticed when attached. I could ramble on about details on this build and the little things I spot within the pictures, but it doesn't need it, I recommend you don't just skim over the images, but enlarge them and absorb what actually stands before you, this is what most bikers need from their machines; plenty of poke for the most of us, race handling and light weight, yet still useable everyday; it's even got a proper front fender, so readers; my recommendation to you is to return to this feature, take a bit in each time and let it settle; and then maybe, just maybe... more of us can get it this right! I applaud you Nick, you've done a great a job, I have a 900ss custom myself and it's far from multi purpose, it's barely single purpose with it's lack of comfort. A job well done... and I understand this is your 3rd build; I'm sure I speak for many when I say we thoroughly look forward to seeing the 4th, although with so many boxes ticked with this build I'm not sure you need to make a 4th... maybe you need to do a dirt bike; not a scrambler though; JvB already did a better job than Ducati at that!