Pete Juzl, otherwise known as Cutter and posting as The Chicken Shack Ducati has been around since the start of The Bike Shed, and it’s shed builders like Pete that inspired us to make the BSMC what it is.
This simple but beautiful home-build is exactly the kind of bike we love: On the one hand it’s familiar and achievable, but it’s also remarkable enough to grace the lofty pages of Bike EXIF and be featured in blogs and mags around the world.
Builds in this genre need a mixture of good taste, vision, patience and hard work, and this bike has all of these in spades.
But to tell the story properly it’s probably best to let Pete do his own talking…
My name’s Pete, but I blogged my build at chickenshackducati.blogspot.com as Cutter. I grew up reading Custom Car and Superbike as a young kid, and used to go to watch a lot of motor racing, including drag racing with my dad. At 17 I got my first bike, a GT250 that after a couple of years got turned into a cafe racer of sorts. I was always into anything tastefully customised, especially anything “performance retro” but never had the confidence or the mechanical chops to do it myself. Finally after 30 years biking I decided that, as I could afford a project bike to butcher rather than breaking my daily ride, I had nothing to lose.
Laine, my lovely Ducati riding missus helped my break up hard-core, and build a frame for poured concrete in the back yard. She also helped me push her bike through the house to prove we could get a Monster or similar through as there’s no other access to the rear. Then I got a man to come round and put a big shed up. My missus insisted on recompense in the form of a chicken hutch and two hens called Betty and Wilma. This nestles up against the workshop, so the build became the Chicken Shack Project.
I narrowed down choice of donor to an air-cooled rubber band Ducati due to the built in charisma, handling and performance potential they provide at a lowish price point. It was just down to whether a suitable 900 Monster or 900SS turned up first. In the meantime I spent hours trawling the blogosphere for inspiration and lore. When I got a running 1996 Il Monstro for £800 the game was on.
The Monster presented a problem as it didn’t have the flat frame rails of a classic cafe racer. Plus the monster is very distinctive and it’s hard to change it without losing it’s charm, especially if you don’t have advanced engineering skills to chop frames about. My philosophy was to try and enhance the bike’s looks as tastefully as possible, but to also take on some performance improvements, plus some first tentative steps at hand crafted brackets and so on. I felt that getting these three elements in balance was the way to go to ease me into builds, and avoid the Bolt-on Bertie thing. The result came out better than I expected, and I got a fantastic reaction to the bike.
I stripped it down completely and fitted a light-weight flywheel, Keihin Flatside carbs and few other bits to the engine. The frame was tail-chopped and powder coated. A damaged swingarm was replaced as were most bearings, A Cycle Cat top yoke and Motogadget speedo were fitted, Mivv x-cone exhausts etc. I made up brackets for exhausts, speedo, 916 mudguard, and speed sensor, from 4mm and 2mm ally. Lots of other cycle parts where changed such as master cylinders, levers, clutch slave cylinder, front mudguard, rear-sets and so on. Air box was modified, wiring changed around etc.
The most important change was the paint job and the seat design. This had to nod to Italian heritage, look different from stock, and evoke a cafe racer vibe, rather than the 90’s look the monster achieves with it’s colour matched tail cowl. I had the seat done twice because my original design looked wrong. It was done by Lee at Viking Seats and came out brilliantly. The tank was painted to my design by Don at Boyz Toyz. I chose dark metallic colours for the stripes so that the tricolore scheme wouldn’t look to “pizza box”. Everyone seems to love it.
All in all I was pleased with it as a first attempt. I want to move my skills on, but my core thing is the design aesthetic. I’m going to try and keep things balanced by learning more metal-working skills as I go along. What’s next? Well another project this time with Laine, involved in the build too. In fact two projects. Possibly a CB400F based cafe-racer, although it depends on what donors I see, another Ducati, a Beemer, A V50 Guzzi, maybe even a Trumpet. Nothing is out of bounds, inspiration plus bargain donor is what will swing it…
Plus a resto-mod of an 80’s XL185 which will probably go for a 70’s dirt bike meets street tracker look. Watch out for ‘shack updates!
Pete – whatever you do next, we wanna see it. Keep on Shedding.
Photo Credits to Adam at ITALIAN MOTOR and there’s a full feature of Cutter’s Duc in Issue 5 of Italian Motor Magazine