Passion manifests itself in many forms and for some the depth varies. I sometimes wonder how us lot behind the scenes at The Bike Shed actually manage to produce events, keep a website going and run a business when we are all so consumed by a limitless desire to enthuse about motorcycles, constantly. 1am, standing at the doorway, jackets on after a long planning meeting, eyes red and minds scrambled. Do we go home? No, we stand there for another hour discussing the lines of particular fuel tank or the potentially pointless but overwhelming desirability of a titanium frame to house an air-cooled engine.
For the second time this week a Ducati has been the subject of a customisers creativity. This time though it feels like David from Ad Hoc Café Racers in Barcelona has been either inside my head or listening in on conversations about future personal builds. Fortunately for David, his clientele are slightly better positioned to commission the bike of their dreams. Jordi Roca is regarded as the world’s finest pastry chef and co-owns the 2013 World’s Best Restaurant Award winning Celler de Can Roca. We aren’t talking Great British Bake off in a countryside marquee here, this is the Michelin Star collecting real deal.
Building for such a discerning customer always adds a little extra pressure but Ad Hoc are a dab hand at turning out wonderful machinery so David sucked it up and arranged a briefing meeting. Jordi pitched up with a relatively modern Ducati Monster 696 with a notion of it receiving the café treatment. David quashed this idea and sent Jordi packing with instructions to find a late nineties 750SS, as this would suit the flowing, flat frame lines of a potential design.
Obviously the donor was stripped completely bare and pampered with hours of detailed, loving care. The motor is stock but with painted cases, done properly as Ducati seemed to fall at this hurdle back in the day. The airbox has been modified to accommodate a battery and some wiring but essentially free flowing filters for the carbs are the only performance upgrade, well that and the Dunstall silencers mounted to modified collectors.
Like a Milanese lingerie model’s stockings, the Ducati L-twin is supported by structural wonderment, the trellis frame requiring little or no adaptation, just a light buttock tuck at the rear to ensure a clean view of David’s craftsmanship above. In this case a dual seat option. For selfish knee-down, Pyrenean blasts there is the Mike Hailwood rep (MH900) inspired fibreglass race tail with sit-in-the-bike Alcantara seat and bum pad. And when a tough week tantalising eager diner’s palettes is over Jordi can offer one of his equally talented chef brothers a lift home on the slightly humped passenger set-up; also exquisitely upholstered in black Alcantara. The silencer hangers double as pillion peg mounts, neat.
The MH900 was inspiration once more for fuel storage. With both seat units refusing compatibility with a standard tank David was forced to fabricate one from scratch, which frankly makes the bike. The internal fuel pump and original cap have been incorporated into the fairly angular but flowing shape; traditional curves meet modern panache.
A true visual reference to Mike “The Bike” Hailwood’s machinery would perhaps fall short if it didn’t in some way incorporate a degree of racing form and function. The fibreglass fairing complete with custom subframe instantly transcends decades and creates a nostalgic theme whilst keeping the clocks slightly out of sight. Tucked down, sheltered from the wind with twin Dell’Ortos howling inches from your chin; thats what motorcycling is about.
A retro touch, and rare these days, is the chrome plated frame. A welcome change from powder coating’s current proliferation. Two-tone, and in particular slabs of white, paintwork is a signature of an Ad Hoc bike and here the Strawberry Syrup red is boldly but neatly broken up at the rear of the tank; and the race-tail when fitted.
Three-spoked and distinctly nineties styled Enkei wheels have been superseded by the thin spokes from a Kawasaki stock wheel. Pop quiz as to which one. A fine detail that deals with the heavy set originals and the gap left between each spoke. Very modern Michelin Pilot Power tyres ensure Jordi can give his new toy a proper workout, and add an extra topic of conversation when the nice judges comes to visit with their briefcase of culinary stars.
As you might have gathered, I like this Adroca quite a lot. If this is the sort of bike that would cause you to wax lyrical until the early hours then head over to the Ad Hoc website for more, or follow David on Facebook.