Venier Customs Cagiva Gran Canyon
By Ross Sharp - 11 Oct 18
At last!! Someone has customised a Cagiva Gran Canyon. Someone proper at least. I'm of course massively biased as I have one, our Head of Retail has one too, but with the fugly front removed the GC is a belting bike. Ducati Desmo 900 power, Marzocchi fork and gold anodised rims for starters. When I saw an Instagram post from Italian custom supremo Stefano Venier a couple of years ago I knew he'd be the guy to make a pretty version of this relatively unknown and massively underrated machine. I've been a big fan of Venier's work since stumbling across his Sputafoco on these very pages some five years ago. That gorgeous Cagiva Alazurra 350 was enough for me to know I liked the cut of Stefano's jib. We've since become digital friends through our shared passion for the Italian underdog manufacturer that's punched well above its weight for decades. And finally after what seems like an eternity and teases of shots from the Venier workshop's bench here it his, the VX Traveller. Isn't it resplendent.
Despite starting with a decent donor all of the mechanicals have been refreshed. Every seal, gasket, bush and bearing has been replaced where required. Once the gawky looking two-part clamshell Acerbis tank and nose section from the stock bike were removed the GC revealed one reason why customisers have steered clear thus far. The two top frame tubes splay widely from the headstock, making tank selection a real issue. I pondered for ages with my build about gutting a BMW tank to drape over the frame but so much capacity would be lost that it wouldn't be worthwhile. Stefano isn't a bodger like me and had a fresh aluminium vessel made, just large enough to give off the adventure vibe but without looking bulbous. The 900 motor (small valve heads rather than bigger SS type) sips fuel relatively slowly for a bike of that era so the new 11.5 litre capacity will be plenty.
The notorious flakey paint on Ducati motors of this era is no more, replaced by lustrous jet black powder coat and heavy duty paint. In fact every part of the VX Traveller is now matt or gloss black, except for those lovely bronzy gold wheels, brake parts and stainless fuel lines. The tank and new side panels were painted with Fiat 500 Abarth grey to soften the darkness. Exhaust headers and the stainless collector are standard, although now matt black, and Mass Moto fabricated a pair of end cans especially for the project.
I had an issue with brake discs (same fit as Honda Africa Twin if anyone needs any) cracking and Stefano was taking no chances. New wavy discs all-round from Italian specialists Braking look the business and the OE Nissin four pots up front should work well.
The beefy subframe was shortened and a simple rear mudguard added. Motogadget Pin indicators plug the snubbed frame rails and a neat LED taillight is set into the seat base. Which is actually the original saddle with the foam reshaped and upholstered in soft leather. Motogadget barend indicators and Motoscope all-in-one speedo complete a cockpit I'd like to spend plenty of time behind. I'd overload the Kappamoto aluminium panniers and flick-flack through the Dolomites, the Apennines and beyond.
Sadly I'll not get the chance to take the Stefano's VX Traveller for a spin, but you could..... it's now for sale. Check the advert here.
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Images by Ikon Productions