Immersed in a world of stripped back minimalism I’ve had to quash an unfashionable temptation to plunder eBay’s bounty of 1980’s faired futurism. The Cagiva Freccia, Ducati Paso, Moto Morini Dart and Gilera CX have all been just a buy it know button away my grasp. Thankfully I’ve so far managed to reign-in my itchy trigger finger but the allure of the quasi space age is still strong. Now made slightly worse by this 2015 Ducati Streetfighter 848 by Smoked Garage.
As you can tell from these photos the Smoked Garage crew, headed by Nicko Eigert, don’t do things by halves – this bike is more than just a slippery bodykit. After 5 years in the game there are 15 employees across two countries (Indonesia and Australia) who undertake all tasks from concept and model making to machining, and panel beating. For this project though Nico Design were enlisted to come up with a radical design – looks like they delivered on that one!
Obviously it’d be doing this level of craftsmanship and engineering a disservice to gloss over all the detail but I’d be here all day trying to explain how the team have made a real life Transformer. Enjoy the photos (click for full size) and use your imagination.
Suffice to say the basic shape starts as a foam block before being sculpted to match 2 & 3D images. 3 months into the build and Nicko’s team got a bit carried away and started down a path of articulating the tank and seat unit. Once happy with the mechanical aspect the panel beaters took over… 7 men for 1 month on 12 hour shifts. Now that would have been worth a time-lapse video.
The hinging system, triple trees, reservoirs, in fact pretty much every here was machined in-house. To juxtapose the aluminium bodywork is a carbon fibre engine cover which shields all but the top two pulleys on the Ducati’s rear cylinderhead. This was left raw beneath the epoxy and a few coats of lacquer while seven shades of blue stripes break-up the mirror polished ally.
It sort of seems trivial to mention that the wiring harness and electrical system is all-new and powered by Motogadget’s finest magic boxes, but that’s what’s under the shiny bits. The Desmo motor hardly needs introduction either but at least it will make it’s presence heard through the big-bore, stainless exhaust.
Admittedly the SG-848X isn’t our usual fare but the engineering prowess displayed by Nicko and his team is worth a second look, especially when the custom scene can at times seem like it’s entwined in never ending rolls of pipe wrap.
Images by Arief Budiantna