Matteucci Garage NX650 'Strato'
By Ross Sharp - 21 Sep 16
Skulls, death and destruction seem to have become affiliated with a large swathe of motorcycling and building bikes with a dark and moody influence does result in some seriously good looking customs. Marco Matteucci, founder of Italian based Matteucci Garage has built his fair share of mean machines but he's a man not afraid to explore a more playful, pastel palette. Away from the workshop Marco is a graphic designer and photographer so it's no surprise to see a more delicate aesthetic on some of his bikes. This latest project was inspired by Marco's love of guitars, a fascination he's had since childhood. Fender's Stratocaster in Daphne Blue from the 1950s is a particular favourite but seeing as he can't play one properly Marco thought he's paint a bike as an homage to this iconic instrument. There are still decent, low mileage Honda Dominators to be found in Italy and seeing as only a few parts of the country salt the roads in winter the chances of finding a rot-free minter are fairly good. Marco bought a '92 example and ripped it to pieces. The messy combination of round tube and pressed steel that make up the stock subframe was promptly removed, and replaced by a far more graceful arrangement. Rebated indicators and a tail light neatly truncate the ends. Hand-rolled mudguards fore and aft are equally svelte and carry powder blue paint to contrast with the cream frame. The saddle is a decadent combination of suede and leather, upholstered with a touch more panache than the usual black vinyl tuck 'n' roll.
Honda's NX650 Dominators left the factory with a perfectly serviceable RWU fork but Marco wanted to address performance along with cosmetics so opted for a complete front end swap. An Aprilia USD setup (my money is on late nineties Pegaso) with larger brake rotor was colour coded before joining the party.
The man who bought 'Strato' will be fighting in the gladiatorial battle that is a commute through Rome's infamous rush hour so the improved front-end has been complimented by a narrow set of bars, on the premise that if he doesn't whack his knuckles then his shoulders should fit through a gap without issue.
Steering away from the slightly herd following CG125 fuel tanks we've seen over the last few years Marco opted for one from a 1960 motocrosser that had been hanging in his workshop for a good few years. Google proved all of my guesses to be wrong....Somebody will recognise it.
The motor was given a light blast and painted to suit the rest of the colour scheme but the internals were in fine fettle so needed little more than a good check-over and service. A stainless steel 2-into-1 exhaust is Marco's handiwork with the engine note tuned slightly by an off-the-shelf silencer.
Italians aren't exactly known for being reserved, the 'Strato' and its new owner (renowned barbershop boss) are proof of that. The pair will be easy to spot carving through Rome and I'd wager that this bike will feature in the DGR Rome 2106 video. Yup, the first outing will be this Sunday.
Marco might not be able to strum a guitar but he sure knows his way around a motorcycle. Check out more from Matteucci Garage on Bike Shed Archive | Facebook | Web
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