Collaboration and the orchestration of talented crafts people is a skill in itself but there’s a particular satisfaction derived from doing the whole job yourself.
Chus Valencia is a pro builder from Spain’s south coast, where he owns and runs the workshop Kacerwagen. Unique, handbuilt creativity appears to be the foundation of Chus’ business and he is keen to point out that he’ll only take on work that floats his boat – he’s not a bolt-on fly-by-night.
An existing customer pitched up with a request for a café racer, but not one based on a run of the mill donor that we’re used to seeing on these pages but a 2007 Aprilia RSV1000. An obvious choice if building a bike to appeal to one’s ear drums but eyes are a tougher judge and the Mille’s chassis isn’t the prettiest in stock form. This bike, Pili, is a successful attempt to prove that theory wrong.
Chus stripped the v-twin beast and got cracking. The ugly square section subframe has been replaced by a triangulated tubular version which supports the carbon tail section and leather saddle. Some of the myriad of electronics are housed within, as well as a decent sized lithium battery. The bodywork starts as sculpted clay forms before reverse moulds are made to accept the carbon weave which is then hand laid.
Whilst at it he made a new airbox to feed the thirsty v-twin. But not just any old box, motors like this don’t tend to work well unless particular air flow and resonance parameters are met. Earlier RSVs featured a chunky central headlight but this is the later 2007 Daniella Westbrook model which requires force feeding, Pili’s machined aluminium headlight surround now offers a far more attractive air intake solution.
Without huge fairing panels to cover-up ugly stuff the stock radiator had to go. Thicker but smaller oil and water cores have been mated to fabricated end tanks to keep the Mille looking and running cool. The exhaust is of course handmade, using sections of big bore stainless pipe, baffled by just a single Leovince silencer. I’m a fan of the 60° twin, it sounds better than the 90° clatterer from Bologna…. Oooww, controversial.
The wiring harness has been heavily modified and utilises a control unit from best-in-the-business, Motogadget. Mirrors are from Rizoma and the rest of the switchgear, levers and cockpit is stock Aprilia, which is no bad thing as the high-end model tended to be very well specced. Down below the Öhlins suspension and radial Brembos work a treat so there’s no point changing something for the sake of it.
Thankfully the carbon weave has been generously lacquered rather than hidden beneath layers of paint. And it’s not just us that think Chus has done a great job, Pili took home the silverware at Moto Madrid 2017.
I’ve seen tatty or damaged donors go for as little as £1500 (earlier non-Daniellas) so maybe it’s time we heard that wonderful Aprilia thunder emanating from beneath a better looking outfit.
This article first appeared on The Bike Shed; It’s republished here with permission.