Got a note from Randy Martin with a few photos of a Ducati Monster he's just rebuilt, or should I say, reframed. Randy opened StradaFab, a fab shop for building titanium frames and carbon fiber parts. He found a 3 year old Monster S4RS with just 600 miles for his first project, so it hardly needed a rebuild, but it was perfect as the foundation for a new titanium frame to showcase what his shop could do..
The bike was brought home and completely disassembled. The next step was to fabricate a welding jig from mild steel for the titanium frame to fit the stock Ducati frame. The titanium frame uses larger diameter tubing than the stock frame because titanium has a little more spring to it than chrome moly, so the diameter increase maintains the stiffness of the original frame plus I wanted to give the bike a beefier look. The stock frame weighs 28 lbs. and the titanium frame weighs 15 lbs., almost a 50% weight savings. The frame plugs were custom machined for the larger diameter tube.
In order to make the bike look somewhat like a café racer and save more weight I decided to make the seat pan from carbon fiber. First, foam was carved to shape then fiberglass was laid over the foam to make the mold for the carbon fiber. Four layers of carbon fiber were laid in the mold and vacuum bagged. The bracing under the seat is foam and carbon fiber which is then bolted to the frame. The seat pan and gas tank were painted Jet Black Metallic with Silver stripe.
Assembly of the bike went smoothly until I discovered that the stock headlight bracket would not work with the clip-on bars. A titanium bracket was made that allowed me to mount the gauges underneath the triple clamp and lower the headlight about two inches, one of those small things most people don’t notice that makes a custom bike. A titanium bracket for the tail light and signals was the final piece I needed to make.
Driven clip-ons and Rizoma grips and mirrors were chosen for the controls, along with CRG levers. The clutch cover is another carbon fiber piece made by StradaFab with a machined aluminum trim ring. The exhaust is a Quat-D Ex-Box and sounds great, works well with the stock ECU and saves about 10lbs. of weight. The brakes and suspension remain stock as the Brembos and Ohlins are some of the best offered. The rear-sets are from Rizoma and make the riding position more comfortable with the clip-ons.
A 14 tooth front sprocket was added to make the engine more manageable around town. To date it still has less than 900 original miles and is probably the only titanium framed S4RS in the world.
The bike weighs 364 lbs. dry, and at almost 40 lbs. less than the stock weight it doesn’t matter what RPM or gear the acceleration is amazing. The bike is truly a Monster now. I call it Mostro Della Strada, Monster of the Road.
Thanks, Randy. The work looks good and the overall effect is subtle but the weight reductions are real. Nice job.