Bucks' Monster Ducafe
By Anthony van Someren - 22 Nov 13
Steve Hillary, proprietor of the UK’s infamous Redmax Speedshop, has been around the custom scene for a good while, and he knows his Café/Custom onions, but we also happen to know that he’s a bit of a Ducati aficionado, so it was no surprise when we saw that he was working on something rather special; a Monster-based café racer he’s dubbed the Ducafe, but there was more to the bike than a simple build & tell. So, what’s the big deal, you may ask, and it’s a fair question as there are plenty of convincing looking Ducati based café racers out there, but most modern Ducati café racers have to work around that V-shaped trellis frame that has meant re-writing the unwritten rule that says café racer tanks and seats should follow a single neat line, parallel to the road. We’re not complaining. Modern café custom Ducatis come out looking great – but nothing turns heads like an L-twin air-cooled Ducati with those bevel-head looks and flat chassis lines. So, the good news? Well, this gorgeous build came about because Steve had plans to create a Sport Classic shaped tank that could be fitted into Ducati’s Monster frame, and mated to the right seat unit, would restore those classic café lines to an engine and chassis just begging for it. The project took off in earnest when it turned into a commissioned build for a very lucky guy called Buck. The new Redmax tank sits perfectly in line with a Redmax café racer seat unit sitting on a reworked subframe, and they form the core of the build’s stance, but there’s plenty more for the eye to absorb. The flat-fronted Imola style fairing is the most obvious addition, with frenched-in stacked headlamps from a 999, neatly matched at the back in the seat unit. The donor was a 900cc Monster with a single sided swingarm from an S2R wearing five spoke wheels suspended by a 916SP shock at the rear and a pair of Ohlins up front, all provided by Ebay. The clip on bars are Renthals and between them sits a white-faced Koso digital dash. The engine was reworked with a top-end rebuild and Keihin FCR carbs fed by bellmouth intakes, but the exhaust is the component you see first, with twin shortie GP-style pipes exiting from a set of robot-welded stainless steel loops tucked under the engine and swingarm. It looks 'The Dogs' - as we like to say here in Blighty. As you pour over the bike there are plenty of other details to admire; the braided hoses, alu rear-sets, and billet brackets and fixings. What you don’t see is the new wiring from Stuey at Accutek which features Intelligent relays (apparently). We assume this is trick kit and good news when it comes to flashing lights and stuff. The colour of the bodywork on a bike like this was always going to be a big deal, and after some persuasion, Steve convinced the owner, Buck, into going with a Lamborgini Diablo three-stage metallic orange, which is mainly pearl white. The work was undertaken by Harvey at Pitlane in Winchester. Equally bold was the choice to paint the frame in a light gunmetal grey which features in other details on the bike, but most usefully it lets the orange stand out while still highlighting the trellis work in the frame and that pretty single-sided swinger. Steve’s final note was not about the build, but about the bit he likes the most – the test ride, and he reports that this bike does not disappoint. There is an old engineering adage which says, “what looks right is right” and we often throw this one around the custom scene to justify work we admire, but in the case of a build like this you just know that timeless lines and bodywork, matched with a lightweight and fairly modern 900cc engine and trellis-frame with SP & Ohlins suspension, can only turn out to go as good as it looks. We can also assume Steve's new café racer tanks will sell like hotcakes to all those who missed out on an affordable Ducati Sport classic a few years ago but can easily snap-up a previous generation Monster for a very modest price. See more from Redmax Speedshop on The Bike Shed’s Redmax pages, on their own Website and on BikeEXIF too with alternative photos and words from The Bike Shed. Big thanks to Greg Moss for the stunning photos.