The brief from customer, Gerry, was that is had to be Italian; that was it. So for us, the Ducati was a chance to let loose with few restrictions in terms of the design. We had a chance to create something very unique.
After looking through the recent Ducati range the 749 or 999 was the bike we decided to hunt down. To some its the ugly duckling of Ducati’s but its one of their best in terms of performance and frame design. We looked at a few bikes, only to be let down by poorly looked after machines. Eventually I found this bike in Lincolnshire: a 6000 mile black 749s, as clean and well looked after as they come and a perfect base for us to build from. We think it is important to start from a well-maintained machine; this improves the quality of the overall build but also reduces restoration time and allows us to focus on the customisation.
With the bike back in the workshop the ideas came quite quickly but the final details took some time. We would retain the core of the bike but totally restyle. This meant we would have to fabricate a new tank, belly pan, rear sub frame, tail section and fairing. Everything would begin with the belly pan, my favourite feature of the build. The left side holds all the electrics still in the standard position but with the battery removed and right side for the front exhaust to exit. The oil cooler in a set back position sits snuggly in the middle. It was a time-consuming piece to make and to fit around the engine neatly with even gaps. A steel mesh grill and surround was made to protect the cooler.
With the belly pan well underway attention was turned to the tank. A cardboard cut out was made of our initial tank design, from this we could measure and make our wooden buck. This buck would be used to template the tank and offer each section onto to ensure an even and symmetrical fit. One thing we wanted to achieve with the tank was to bring it over the trellis frame. This would take us away from the normal Ducati look and in our opinion, achieve much nicer lines. But this came with its complications. Bringing the tank over the frame puts us in the position of the air induction so some thought had to go into how we would make these components come together. It was a tight fit! We made the base of the fuel tank first fitting the fuel pump in the original position. We then made the top and 2 side sections over the buck; this gave us the overall shape. Fitting the top section of the tank to the bottom took just as much time as creating the overall shape.