Jim & Neil from Shed X have been impressing us with their Antipodean take on timeless Ducati cafe racers for a while, so we tried to impress Neil with the fact that we have several Ducati Sport Classics in the collective Bike Shed garage, but he was unmoved.
“Mate, Now before I give you the details allow me to be honest…. I know you like the Ducati Sport Classic, and many people do (Jim included ), but me… I have always disliked them. For the last 7 years I have never understood why people who have them rave about them so much. It was always a case to me of a styling exercise by Ducati which just did not work… ‘Thank God they stopped making’ them I would say.”
“Russell came to us with his Sport Classic after seeing Bastardo. He wanted us to do a ShedX revamp of the bike. It was totally stock, it even had the rear reflector still on it…. Jim got all excited and I just looked at it and thought ; ‘We need to get some serious grinding done’ “.
“Russel’s brief was open but it had a few must-keeps. The tank had to stay, the BIG headlight had to stay, the sub frame must stay and the muffler could not be higher than the swing arm bend… It had to stay a Sport Classic – which meant three of the things I hated had to be kept.”
“The strip-down began, the seat came off, the mufflers came off, the sit-up clocks came off and around the point of fitting the 999 forks and clip-ons I sat on it and thought…shit, this is such a good good bike! The further we got into the build the more I loved it, and once it was in the final stages it all made sense. That long reach across the tank and the big headlight with the flat sitting clocks suddenly took me back to the 70’s when my brother’s mates would turn up at our house on new SS’s or Le Mans, this IS a proper Ducati café racer base. They actually did get it right, unfortunately they had to comply with regulations. Jim shot it in a deep Grey Metallic with off-white panels and gold striping. We wanted to keep the Classic in Sport Classic; no name, no number, no marching band of bolt on goodies, just an honest café build.”
“So there we go, I have gained 50 kg’s because of all the humble pie I have had to eat; breakfast, lunch and dinner but I would be happy to own a Sport Classic and I will likely use one as a base for my next keeper. So to all those Sport Classic riders who for many years I have “spat in their general direction” I beg forgiveness. And to Ducati/Audi; sometimes you have to look back to go forward.”
“This build has been our hardest to date because it is our first customer build, up until now we built what we liked and sold the end result to people that liked them. On this one we had to transform somebody’s bike into what they had in their mind’s eye. Seeing Russell’s reaction when we showed him the result was a buzz . We don’t do renderings so it was ‘drop it off and come see the end result’. He loves it and so do we. We really enjoyed this build very much.”
You know we can’t say a bad thing about this build. It’s a Ducati Sport Classic that has had the neatest and most tasteful of customs jobs, with upgraded wheels and brakes, new smaller seat unit, prettier lights at the front and back, stubby GP style exhaust, remounted clocks, and a host of other improvements across the bike – and the paint is spot-on (Jim). This is how the Sport Classic should have come out of the Ducati factory in the first place.