What I love about anything customised, or just about anything creative for that matter, is that one person’s Marmite is another’s caviar.
I’m not a huge fan of either of those salty things but I am a fan of Marlon Motorcycles for having a go at building something a bit different. Not as a willy waving exercise, sure, he needs to market himself, but for challenging his own skill set and being prepared to learn on the job.
His first two builds were tidy and well finished but Marlon fancied pushing the boat out a bit with number three, starting off with a 1000 mile road trip to Scotland to collect a decent Ducati ST2 944. Not an obvious choice given the wet L-twin’s need for a rad but he likes a challenge, saying “turning ugly bikes into something special is my thing! I wanted the bodywork to mimic the shapes of the trellis frame – hiding as much of the plumbing and wiring as possible was challenging. Plus I wanted it to be fully road legal too, not just a show bike.”
The engine was treated to a 20th birthday refresh including new timing belts, valve reshim and a thorough service. Once back in the bike it was taken to CJS Racing for a remap and dyno setup. A comfortable and safe 83bhp, 72ft-lb was unleashed from the Bolognan beast – proper numbers too, not that Wikipedia optimism.
The zorsts are pretty much straight-through with a token gesture towards baffling. Nice and loud, just how Ducati’s should be. The clutch pack is brand new, rattling and tinkling through a very open cover to add to the already angry soundtrack.
The suspension was completely overhauled and upgraded with Hyperpro springs front and rear. The stock Brembos bite well on these Ducatis so needed only a rebuild, especially with the considerably lower kerb weight. The three-spokers are stock but repainted to match the frame, Maxiss Supermaxx Sport offer a clean look with minimal tread pattern.
Motogadget’s M-Unit system has taken a degree of pain away from bike builders, freeing creative capacity to be used elsewhere. Rather than the obvious barend indicators Marlon has inserted a pair of super bright M-Blaze pin indicators into the top clamp. The switchgear is from Motone but the rest is Motogadget,including a Motoscope Mini speedo and RFID M-Lock keyless ignition. The loom itself is all-new, powered by a Shorai battery.
Some of this spare creativity was absorbed by the solution for problem that didn’t exist – getting fluid to the brake calipers. Copper pipe coiling around the offside fork leg was Marlon’s solution, and why not, the whole point of custom is doing something a bit different. Oil and clutch fluid lines were made in the same way and are now a feature.
There’s an additional section of trellis grafted-in just above the front engine mount, which extends rearward to meet the rest of the new subframe. Trying to combine curvaceous lines with pointy triangular tubing isn’t an easy task. Marlon instead embraced the awkwardness and formed a polyhedronic tank and tail from……
The burgundy paint is also a bold choice, in a sea of blues and matt blacks, but this is no ordinary burgundy but Rolls Royce Garnet Red laid down by Autoclassics of Milton Keynes, crowned with machined brass tank badges by locals Reynolds Engineering.
Marlon is the first to admit, even suggest, that this is a real Marmite build but it wouldn’t do if we all liked the same things so hat’s off to him for living the dream and making his own mark rather than following the herd, his creation certainly stood its ground when exhibited at Bike Shed London 2017 a few months ago.
If you fancy this Ducati in your collection, it’s now for sale… to fund the next project. Check here shortly.