Copyright WWW.DBBP.COM | updated 16-August-2004
As for a European "Street Fighter" concept you just highlighted -- I just rolled mine out to the public a few weeks ago. Not exactly Harley powered -- but it is heavily influenced by the chopper community (while still retaining most of it's Italian/Ducati heritage). It's a fun bike to ride -- the suspension and engine components are race proven and the frame has ZERO flex in it due to all the trellis-style tubing. Not exactly everyone's taste I will admit -- but it definitely is different than anything else out there.
Keep up the great work on your website!
The Story by Mark Savory:
A good friend of mine, Rachel Dwyer, had just finished the 2003 Iron Butt Rally on her Ducati Monster. After reading her journals at www.tigerracing.net, I began to wonder what a Ducati Monster would look like if it had fairings and more "eye candy” in terms of styling. Thus on September 18th, 2003, I began the initial image concepts that became the basis of all of this. (see www.marksavory.com under [motorcycles]) Sometime later, I started seeing my Ducati concept images appearing across the Internet internationally. After seeing the response that my Ducati concept images were creating, I decided to create some more for the fun of it. What I tagged as the “Tigre Rapido” in honor of my friend Rachel in Seattle was thus created and posted on my website. Almost immediately, I determined that given the response, I had actually better start building one for myself before someone else does. The artwork evolved again to a more refined product moving away from the Ducati seat/cowl structure. Ultimately I decided to design a Bimota influenced one-piece bodywork to differentiate it from the standard Ducati and Harley bodywork.
The prototype stage – let’s just say that we mocked up various concepts and built numerous frames until we derived a frame design that actually worked (and looked good with a rider on it). After playing in the backyard and small shop and building prototypes there, I figured that if I was going to do this right, I had better get a real shop and move my tools (and buy more equipment) and do this at a professional level ala my vintage Ferrari and IMSA GTP racing background. The first thing that we did was spend the first few weeks building a quality chassis jig that we could tweak any wheelbase, head angle and any tube location on. Although not shown (proprietary!), it now allows us to build a truly professional quality frame that is in perfect alignment at all times. We can replicate any existing Ducati chassis or build anything custom with this frame jig and it is a very important component of what we will be able to do in the future. The new bike then got underway.
With the new equipment and new frame jig, we were able to miter and make perfect cuts the first time. TIG welding was easier as the tubes fit perfectly with zero gaps. We also evolved the frame from 1 inch main tubes with ¾ inch cross tubes to 1 ¼ inch main tubes with 1 inch cross tubing – partly for strength reasons but to also to keep our frame from being misidentified as a standard Ducati Monster frame. Then came the bodywork. Since the stock Monster fuel tank design in the past hadn’t worked, we decided to build our own from scratch. Somewhere along the line, we decided to try a shortcut and utilize a 996 biposto seat. After many days of consternation and frustration in creating a rear cowl design that looked good, we finally ditched the seat and went back to the original seat concept. One of the primary missions behind this project was not to utilize typical aftermarket parts or Harley catalog parts on this motorcycle. Thus everything was designed and built from scratch.
Also at times this project has sounded like a Discovery Channel Biker Build off show in terms of what could go wrong. The seat upholster created a seat that didn’t fit the bike. We came home and tore it apart in the hopes of trying to salvage something . We built our own instead the day before the show! We had major problems with the motor that had been gone through only a few weeks before. Our paintwork had major problems just hours before the show – originally all the black was a deep gloss black across the body, headlight, front fender and taillight. Literally hours before loading the bike for the show, we ended up repainting all the gloss black paint to a semi-flat black color. Hours before leaving for the show, I pushed the bike outside for some quick pictures. This is the first time we actually had seen the bike with paint and partially assembled. Friday night at 11:57pm, the bike is loaded onto the trailer finally even though it is not fully finished!! We head off from Phoenix, Arizona to Long Beach, California for our debut of the bike. We get to the Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show at the Queen Mary grounds at 7:48am. At just a bit after 8:00am, we roll onto the grounds and start setting up the display and roll the bike off the trailer. My brother is still in the Suburban attaching the seat for the first time to the bodywork. To put it mildly, we are dead tired. After spending literally days being awake and then driving all through the night, we just want to get some sleep. But the gates open at noon and the crowd starts coming in.
The look and comments from the people enlivened us almost immediately. We are truly surprised at the favorable comments we get – from the crowd, from the publishing media, but also from the big name Harley custom bike builders that are there. (More details in the future as there are some surprises!!!) The comment we received a lot at the show was – look at what they did to a Ducati Monster! And the first thing we casually mentioned back was that the only true Ducati Monster part on this entire bike is the front fender itself. The front and rear suspensions are originally 996 components. The engine is actually a 900SS motor. The only actual aftermarket part on the entire bike is the FCR carburetors. We made the rest: the frame, the component locations and packaging structures thereof, the bodywork, the rearsets, the clutch cover, the exhaust system, the taillight, the headlight and so much more. We built it all to not only be different – but also in the hopes of inspiring others to take note and to build something different themselves. Sunday night and the show debut is finally over. We are exhausted. The bike is loaded and back to Phoenix we come.
In looking back, we thought there might be a small amount of interest in a “sport cruiser” that utilized the strong hallmark design attributes of Miguel Galluzzi while at Ducati and utilizing Ducati’s race proven and tested engine and suspension components but with a bit of American whimsical flair thrown in also. We were wrong in that assumption. There is actually a big interest in what we created and the direction we are headed in the custom cruiser aftermarket. Hopefully this is just a blip on the radar screen of big things to come – from us, from the industry, and from other fellow enthusiasts around the world. Upon arriving home, we unloaded was has become now known as the “LA Show Bike”. We rolled it outside and took a few detail pictures. Then we rolled it inside and rolled up our sleeves.
A chain is going on the sprockets. The wiring harness is being installed. The fuel pump and fuel lines are being installed. The custom rear shock we are still awaiting from Penske. Our custom triple clamps never got finished – they will be underway shortly to address the large steering trail problem. This will also address our clamping system for our handlebars. Custom brake lines need to be made and installed. The bike will be on the road here shortly like the earlier prototype and also be back in the Los Angeles area for photoshoots and magazine roadtests here shortly. Then it’s off down the highway for a couple of more custom motorcycle events and to be ridden by customers. And yes – this bike will be ridden -- I guarantee that fact!