Ducati’s trellis frame is an efficient and beautiful design, but it can be a bugger to customise successfully. It splays out wide from the headstock and the angular banana shape makes it hard to achieve an arrow straight and horizontal bone line. The best way to tackle it is to embrace the delicate scaffolding and not shy away from it’s awkward interaction with other shapes.
Satora Design from Morbihan, on France’s north west coast is owned and run by Hervé Lurton, a creative man who prides himself on undertaking nearly all custom work without outside assistance. We last saw him in the Shed with a burly R1100GS but this little Ducati ‘Monster Tracker’ proved slightly more testing.
The donor is an injected Monster 900 i.e. arguably one of the better incarnations of Miguel Galluzzi’s iconic designs, plenty of poke with all the character of the early models and less of the recalcitrance. A low mileage bike was chosen due to it’s decent condition and upgraded suspension, an adjustable fork and shock.
With the tank and seat cast aside Hervé tidied the frame, trimming off the pillion grab rails and painting in gunmetal grey for a more contemporary feel. The tank and seat are one unit, hand laid in carbon fibre to a seventies shape. He employed the proper vacuum bagging method rather than easy fibre glass soak in resin and make a mess technique. The Manx Norton-esqe silhouette is crowned with a random Italian fuel cap from a bygone era and mounted between the front frame rails. A simple transparent tube provides a level indication for the practical, 20 litre capacity which is delivered to the throttle bodies by an external pump.
The dash is minimal with just a simple array of warning lights and a mini speedo. The latter is only there to appease regulations. In this setup flat track bars are fitted but Hervé points out that a conversion to clipons wouldn’t be difficult, the Monster’s cable and hose runs are fairly adaptable without much alteration.
The Monster’s dated looking 3 spoke wheels appear, from a distance at least, solid but are in fact carbon fibre shrouds. Full race wet tyres are fitted, which like the wheels, are for style rather than function. Hervé never intends to ride this bike in the rain, so the boring “there’s no mudguard fitted” bemoaners can sit back down. The bike looks squat and mean devoid of some practicality, besides, word from the saddle is that the rubber actually lasts quite well for the coastal blasts the bike was built for.
The engine is stock internally, breathing through handmade filters and Biltwell mini exhausts, although there isn’t much silencing apparently so an upgrade might be due soon. Performance has been enhanced though by dumping weight, 30 odd kilos of it, leaving a 150kg, 80hp plaything. Hervé says it’s so light and nimble he can feel the effect of the fuel sloshing in the tank.
Including practicing the carbon fibre laying technique Hervé put more than 180 hours into the Monster Tracker before enjoying the scenic routes along the Atlantic coast, but as with all of his bikes, room must be made for the next project. Watch this space.
Photos by Charles Seguy