XTR Pepo Quattrocento
By Gareth Charlton - 27 Mar 15
Second comings are a tricky business, as the son of the Big Man himself will attest. To follow a glorious, critically acclaimed stay in the public eye with an equal or superior Act 2 has been the downfall of many. Radical Ducati were a darling of the custom world, they blended razor sharp dynamics with matinee idol at the race track aesthetics, their motorcycles were lusted after the world over and yet a little over a year ago they ceased to exist. XTR Pepo is the joyfully received second coming of Radical. If you have not yet read the recent story of the stunning XTR Pepo Suzuka then you have missed out on a feast of motorcycling nirvana and all of the details behind the closing of Radical and re-emergence of XTR Pepo, so hop over to that page for a catch up. Welcome back. (For those on a tight schedule the headline was that Pepo, the man with the skills, took a time out and is now back and with this new company, focusing not on exotica but on transforming modest motorcycles into their extreme superhero alter egos, to give them a second “special life".) We all know the cautionary tales of Sophomore Slumps, shoddy sequels and slack second albums but a man with Pepo's skills and attention to detail was never going to come unstuck so easily. Indeed this is The Godfather Part II, Hendrix - Bold as Love, Aliens and Nirvana - Nevermind all rolled up and rolling on two wheels, this is bloody good. The work is extensive, and very little is left of the starting point, a MASH 500 (get googling). First came the chassis, Radicals were always known as the sharpest tools in the custom tool box and XTR's are destined to follow that lead. The original frame has been heavily modified and fitted with a completely new rear subframe. An XTR cantilever swing arm hooked up to a Betor gas monoschock takes care of the rear rim whilst Aprilia RS 125 front forks cling to the front. A Brembo PR19 radial brake pump hauls up the front NG oversized rotor through Frentubo brake lines whilst the rear drum brake cover was modified to assist cooling. The original front and rear hubs remain, laced with stainless steel spokes to Black Excel rims. A modified Yamaha TZR 80 front mudguard hovers tightly at the front whilst at the rear the seat soars in lofty isolation. For the rider interface Tomaselli regulable clipons were chosen, paired with Ergal, Cnc machined Ducati 1098 footrests. A Suzuki Bandit clutch lever, probably a left over from the Suzuka build, also joins the multi-manufacturer party. A TT rev counter provides clear details of the quantifiable fun you are having. Up front a protruding aluminium oval plate screams race heritage whilst concealing a road ready, blue hued light. The intricate supporting structures were all crafted by Pepo. A Montesa brake light and LED blinkers provide the MOT tester with the rest of the flashing parts for his tick boxes. A tiny LIPO battery gets the brand new motor spinning whilst electronic fuel injection and a DNA race air filter deal with the combustibles. The exhaust is a Supermario two into one system with a short, stunning megaphone. Pepo's love of Ducati heritage is clearly illustrated in his choice of tank and graphic design, the swooping receptacle originally adorned a Ducati 160 Sport and was heavily modified to accept the fuel pump and gauge. Artenruta Painting applied the splendid scalloped black and orange design. The solo seat is from the RAD 02 F3 and was freshly modified with slick upholstery, all propped up with a side stand from a GSXR. The finished machine is exquisite, just the sort of dynamically capable custom machine that gets us going here in the 'Shed. We are delighted that Pepo has created new company, XTR Pepo, to showcase his undoubtable building talents. It is tremendous news for the many worldwide enthusiasts of his work. He has shown exactly how to negotiate the potentially problematic second coming, with continued brilliance. Over to you J.C.