My favorite bike build is what some call a "Cafe Racer" project. The intention of this blog post is not to insult the purists with regard to the original UK Cafe Racers but to speak to the evolution of the term "Cafe Racer" in today's world.
This more comprehensive or expanded definition of the term "Cafe Racer" now stems from racing, I believe, where every team desires every advantage whether it be an engine, suspension, frame, wheel or braking modification so that their bike the most efficient, competitive and offering the best power-to-weight ratios. However, this goal was also at the heart of the efforts of the original Cafe Racers, I believe.
I am a big fan of Pepo and his designs of the original Radical Ducatis. These bikes are timeless despite the fact that the Radical brand is now owned by a French enthusiast who remains committed to and passionate for the original design. When Toine Biggelaar suggested that we work on a joint Racer Build, I jumped at the chance as I understand that Toine and Pepo have worked together on joint projects in the past and I respect them both.
As a result, the idea of a Bii-Rad Racer Project or Biggelaar Performance and Italian Iron Classics, LLC joint venture was born. Toine (or Dr. Frankenstein in the Ducati engine world) has been getting significant HP out of the water-cooled ST3 engines with his "recipe". Interesting that the ST3 engine is the lightest modern Ducati engine made by the factory.
Combine the lightness of the ST3 engine and one of the lightest Superbike frames, the Ducati 1098, we have the making of a significantly light yet powerful "super" bike. Thanks, Nick Anglada for your help with sourcing the rolling chassis! Our goal is to get the weight down to 325 pounds "wet". We will see. However, the trellis Monster swingarm is both light and elegant.
We are currently working on completing a "Dry Fit" for all components and to get the engine running before we tear it down, grind off the remaining unnecessary tabs and have the frame powder coated Orange and the "Radical" style fiberglass bodywork painted in Dutch Orange & Blue colors. Thanks, Tom Kegeleers for the quality bodywork bits.
When building a project like this, not every part fits together properly without a bit of fabrication. It is a good thing that we have been able to use much of the 1098 rolling chassis. However, we have relocated the oil cooler in front of the steering head, found a small sportbike radiator that will fit along the frame rails and finally fitting a customized exhaust system with a cool carbon Akrapovic silencer.
Additionally, as I am now a Samco Silicon Hose Distributor, we are using the Orange Samco Hose set for this Racer and found matching orange wrap to cover our 1098 wiring loom/harness which will blend in well once the trellis Ducati frame is powder-coated in the Netherland's Orange color. TT1 fairing is from Airtech.
I am extremely fortunate to work with Bill Eley at Italian Iron Classics, LLC who is a great restorer in his own right. After serving in the US Navy as an electrician and for the state of Arizona as an elevator inspector, he is a master at wiring but is also an extremely accomplished mechanic and machinist. We have a good team here at Italian Iron and this is the best form of retirement to work for ourselves and at our own pace!! Old Guys Rule but occasionally need that nap too!
Toine mapped the 1098 ECU which we have built a mount and located near the steering head. We are making a small battery tray for our small 14 amp Lithium Battery that will mount between the two cylinder heads. Getting this ST3 engine with its own throttle bodies & injection system, but with Dual Plug heads has not been a simple "plug and play" effort with our 1098 loom. However, it has been accomplished after some headaches and head scratching. Once we can complete getting all of the connectors to fit and to carry current, then we will be ready to fire her up!! Stay tuned as we complete the "dry" build, take apart for paint and powder, reassemble and put on the Dyno!!