Kris's M900 Green Machine
By Ross Sharp - 18 Dec 14
What is it about Ducatis? Surely they're just like any other motorcycle? OK so the Bolognan Bullets have owned the WSBK championship since its inception and have never finished lower than third in the MotoGP championship but looking further back through the annuals of history there are other manufacturers that eclipse Ducati's success. Away from the circuit Ducati's have produced some truly handsome machinery, and a few seriously questionable ones but something remains true, they are just that bit different. The refusal to adopt water cooling until the EU regulators got nasty, valve actuation different to that employed by every other manufacturer, continued use of that clattery dry clutch all housed in a trellis frame that's about as modern as a .... Apologies, for the digression, but you either get Ducati's or you don't. And here in the Bike Shed we do, in fact there are as many Ducati's owned as there are members; we've nearly all got one, an engine from one or plans to build one. So when Kris Reniers from Belgium sent this latest build in there was a bit of a scrabble to write it up. Kris has been building café racers for five years and has completed fifteen bikes thus far. Not bad considering he has a normal day job as an electrician in a stainless steel factory. The ubiquitous Honda CBs came first, then a Laverda 1200, all of which were given a good seeing to around the local circuit of Spa Francorchamps. Hobby has morphed into business with the creation of a small workshop called Deep Creek Cycleworks, which has necessitated evening classes to gain the appropriate qualifications to offer a commercial service. This 1996 Ducat Monster, AKA The Green Machine, shares its name with a track by Californian heavy metal band, Kyuss. Loud, aggressive and fast paced - perfect. And green isn't a colour seen all that often on Ducati's so Kris went for a stand-out scheme loosely based on the PBM MotoGP bike from this season. As any Ducatista will point out, the air-cooled 900cc lump has been superseded by the wet version. A 916 SPS had its Desmoquattro unit liberated and was slotted into the Monster's frame. Anyone who's lifted the tank on one of these will know that the stock battery is large enough to turn the world on its axis so finding a bit more real estate for the heavier breathing motor was always going to prove a bit of a problem. The underside has been cut and re-welded to accommodate the 916 airbox Spoked wheels are from a Paul Smart version of the Sport Classic, and therefore are the lightweight alloy rims, not the plated steel ones from a GT. Sorry, have hijacked the story to prove to Dutch that we are engaged when he waxes lyrical about his Paul Smart. The tail hump was fabricated from scrap and retro-fied (probably not a real word) with a simple stop lamp from a 1960s car. The sliver of a seat is more for sliding around on, transferring weight between corners, rather than designed for cruising comfort. The front mudguard also utilises old materials and has been recycled from another project. An Acewell speedo keeps the dash tidy and mirrors the slightly classic rear light, although there probably won't be a great deal of attention paid to either of these things once the vintage gripped throttle is wound open. Track-spec rear sets ensure Kris's feet stay planted during apex hunting. To let everyone know he's on a hot lap, there's a custom exhaust system running into Laser Extreme mufflers, for a proper Desmo-howl. Squat, muscular and well executed. Monster based café racers aren't a new thing but they can often look slightly compromised. I'd happily turn up to our weekly meeting on this one and bore the rest of the gang with the benefits of water cooling, over their agricultural 2-valve steeds. We look forward to seeing Kris's next build and in the meantime look out for the soon to be live Deep Creek Cycleworks Facebook page.