Like any proper cult vehicle, the Ducati SportClassic was hugely under-appreciated when it was first released. That’s probably because it was ahead of its time—blending retro style with contemporary performance, just before modern classics were as popular as they are now.
Or maybe it’s because its looks simply didn’t gel with everyone. Most pundits think of the Terblanche-designed SportClassic as timeless and elegant—but others write it off as awkward and portly.
Take the crew at Greaser Garage in Genoa, in northern Italy. They love the bones of the GT1000 model, and reckon it has potential—but the potential is “hidden under a bulky body that makes it heavy and not very pleasant to look at.” Ouch.
Greaser Garage founder, Giorgio Pellegrino, has been working on bikes since he was fifteen. He started the shop as a sideline gig ten years ago but is now full-time with five permanent staff and two outside collaborators.
That gives the workshop the ability to tackle just about any task ‘in-house’—and that meant they could go to town on the Ducati.
“The GT1000 is built on a very flexible base,” says Giorgio, “more or less the same you can find on many air-cooled motorbikes coming out of Borgo Panigale.”
“Once you remove the fuel tank and the fat saddle, you find a good old steel tube frame, the iconic two cylinder motor and pretty much nothing else—except for a giant plastic air box.”
Greaser Garage wanted to create something special, but their client had one major request: keep the bike as usable as possible, by not screwing with the mechanics. That meant no internal engine mods and no messing with the fuel injection…so that giant plastic air box had to stay.
Undeterred, the team threw themselves into reimagining the Ducati’s bodywork first. Drawing very loose inspiration from the legendary 900 SuperSport of the mid-70s, they sourced a half-fairing that would form the basis of their design.
Using it as a guide, Greaser Garage did something they’d only done once before: clay shaping. “It was an incredibly challenging step,” Giorgio tells us, “but it allowed us to get a realistic idea of the final silhouette.”
“Our focus was to keep together two opposites: designing something classic, but in a very personal and distinctive way. The key point was the idea to connect the fuel tank and the fairing with a unique curvy line and to replicate it on the tail.”
“That specific line required hundreds of tries and a lot of re-thinking, but when we defined the ultimate one we knew it would work great.”
With the shapes defined, the crew used the clay forms to produce molds for the fairing (yip, they re-created it), tank and tail. Then they built the final parts out of carbon fiber reinforced polymer, including a second tail section with room for a pillion, which can be swapped out.
The tank and tail were finished off with a brushed aluminum section up top, an aftermarket gas cap was fitted, and the seat was done up by OV Leather. Lower down, Greaser Garage rebuilt the subframe to match the new rear section, capping it off with an integrated LED tail light and turn signals.
It’s a remarkably cohesive design, with each part’s contours flowing seamlessly into the next. That clunky air box still had to be hidden away though, so the team fabricated a pair of aluminum side covers to complement the new design.
Up front, they installed a modern LED headlight into the custom fairing, then covered it with some vintage yellow fish-eye glass. Everything’s held in place by two sets of brackets; chromed ones up top for the fairing, and blacked-out ones for the light and dash.
Behind the fairing is a Motogadget Chronoclassic speedo, a set of Tommaselli bars and Brembo levers.
Greaser Garage left the SportClassic’s stock suspension, wheels and brakes alone. But they did work in a few sweet upgrades along the way—like a Kbike dry clutch system for a Ducati 848, adjusted to work on this bike. And they replaced the stock timing belt covers with a pair of carbon fiber units, too.
The sharp two-into-one exhaust system was made by Mass Exhaust, but it’s not an off-the-shelf piece. Mass built it to order, working off Greaser Garage’s design.
With everything coming together beautifully, Giorgio began agonizing over a livery. In the end, the blue and silver combo from the 1979 900 SS turned out to be just the ticket. He admits that getting the colors to trace the unique lines of the SportClassic’s new bodywork wasn’t easy, but the final effect is a knockout.
‘SS1000’ is a reminder of how great the underlying fundamentals of the SportClassic are—and if you don’t swoon over the original, proof that there’s more than one way to cut the ‘retro’ cake.
Published at Fri, 14 Feb 2020 17:01:04 +0000