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Custom of the Week: Ducati ST2 by Marlon Motorcycles




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.

This article was first published on The Bike Shed; It’s republished here with permission.

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Custom of the Week: Yamaha SR500 ‘Scrambler’ by Daniel Peter




SCRAMBLERS ARE A HOT TOPIC. Build one, and you’re sure to be judged solely by how well equipped it is for hardcore off-piste use.

But that’s not all that scramblers are about. Daniel Peter compares his latest build to his childhood BMX—and it’s pretty much how we feel about modern-day scramblers too.

“When I was four years old, my BMX bike became my life,” he explains. “It was so simple, yet so fun. Just wheels, pedals and brakes. I’d ride it to the beach, jump a few curbs along the way, race my friends. Those were the good days.”

“30 years later, I set out to build a motorcycle based on the same principles. There’s nothing on this bike that doesn’t need to be there. It has wheels, a punchy engine and great brakes. I didn’t even put a speedo on it, because I never looked at the one on my last bike.”

Daniel works as a photographer in Chicago, but wrenches during the winter to keep his passion for riding alive. He keeps a workshop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, outfitted with a tool cabinet, a welder, and a 1940s South Bend lathe.

This 1978-model Yamaha SR500 is the fourth Yamaha 500 he’s built to date. “It’s the most simple, yet the most thorough, of the bunch,” he says.

The motor’s been bumped to 540 cc, with a grocery list of go-fast bits that includes a lighter XT500 crank, a new piston from JE and a Megacycle cam for better torque down low.

R&D valve springs with titanium caps, a Powerdynamo ignition and a high-flow oil pump from Kedo round out the package.

Hoos Racing refreshed the crank and cut new valve seats for Daniel, but he tackled the rest of the rebuild himself. Every single bearing and seal was replaced along the way too. As for the carb, it’s been swapped out for a 39 mm Keihin FCR flatslide number, fed by a fat K&N filter.

The exhaust system is a combination of a custom made stainless steel header, and a Cone Engineering muffler.

The SR rolls on 17” supermoto wheels, borrowed from a KTM (front) and a Honda CRF450 (rear). They’re wrapped in Pirelli MT60 Corsa tread; a 120 up front, and a chunky 160 on the 5” rear rim. (“It juuust fits,” says Daniel.)

The brakes have been upgraded with a mix of Brembo and Beringer parts, with an RCS 14 radial master cylinder up front.

On top is an aluminum Yamaha XT500 fuel tank, wrapped in a paint scheme “inspired by an unforgettable riding trip through Baja.” Just behind it is a new saddle from MotoLanna, with a new kicked-up subframe loop.

It’s just about spring in Chicago, so Daniel must be itching to rack up the miles on his SR500. And we’re betting it’s going to be impossible to get him off it.

A version of this article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here with permission.

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Icon claim back the streets in their latest, epic video



Street’s Not Dead.

Regular readers will know that we eagerly await anything released from the US streetwear firm Icon Motorsports. So the moment that a video drops from the Portland firm we’re bound to pay attention.

That’s an interest piqued double when they post it alongside what is essentially a call to arms…

“Street’s not dead. If you think it went away, you’d be wrong. Street’s still here undermining pompous authority, rejecting standards, and bucking the status quo..”

And they’re not kidding either. With the Icon clad rider thrashing their Kawasaki ZX-10R through city streets, car parks and even a public fountain at one point, there’s a lot to take in.

Couple that with their usual loud, Icon style and you’ve certainly got a statement of intent.

(Don’t try this at home kids).



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