EB848 - 2008 Ducati 848
A Ducati 748/749 with bigger muscles or a trimmed down 1098? The Ducati 848 was a new bike in the Italians lineup for 2008 and we’ve found that 10 years later it might just be one of the perfect donor bikes for a custom build.
When released the 848 was lighter and more powerful than the 748/749, but it wasn’t as ‘hard edged’ as the smaller bikes or as aggressive as the bigger 1098. Ducati had designed it to be an ‘easy to ride’ superbike capable of dragging riders across from Japanese super sports, or bringing new riders into this market. They even swapped out the noisy dry clutch (those Ducati’s you hear rattling at the traffic lights) in favour of a wet clutch system as found on most other bikes, noting that some riders they wanted to attract from other brands didn't like the traditional rattle sound.
A superbike is always going to make for a pretty wild custom ride, so for us the 848 is a nice option with it’s lightly ‘toned down’ aggressive riding style and quiet clutch, whilst retaining all the Ducati design elements we know and love from a bike of this era.
Enter Simon with this 2008 example which he found on Bikesales and pried out of the hands of a ‘geezer in Gladstone’. He purchased the bike purely to use as a donor for a custom build and shared our vision for the underlying Ducati elements that could be worked with.
As with any full fairing bikes, when it first rolled in the aim was to get all the panel work off and assess exactly what we were working with underneath. Doing a custom on a full fairing bike usually involves a little more work to hide all the bits and pieces that are usually hidden, so some creative thinking and remounting is always in order to get the now bare bike looking tidy again.
With the ugly items hidden, replaced or relocated all of the unused tabs and brackets were removed from the main frame to get things looking super clean. The classic Ducati trellis frame now becomes a feature of this 848 build.
A huge amount of attention was paid to the seat, rear subframe and exhaust on this bike. The stock subframe was shortened and modified to suit the desired lines before new some gussets, tabs and nuts were welded on.
The plan was for a really tidy rear end. To this end the exhaust restrictor valves were removed and from there it now enters a tight-fitting collector box up under the seat before exiting between the frame members on both sides via hidden dump pipes. Shrouding the new exhaust exits are some outlet bezels that both seal up the under seat compartment and match the angled aesthetic of the frame.
On the top, a generous custom heat insulation mat was installed before the metal seat pan was bent up, the foam shaped and then wrapped in Simon’s specified brown leather.
Up front the stock gear was removed in favour of a custom made headlight housing that holds a new LED headlight. The stock gauge is a nice unit and relocates onto a custom mount tight against the top triple tree. Some machining was required on the top and bottom triple trees to get it all fitting the way we liked, before a factory look scour finish was applied.
A trim custom front guard now takes place of the stock unit. Up in the riders cockpit a pair of aftermarket mirrors identify those falling behind while some Rizoma brake and clutch reservoirs keep all the vital hydraulic fluid contained.
Now that a majority of the previously unseen bike is on show a whole host of stock items were removed, repainted, polished or replaced to ensure they look the part. The stock intake scoops were cut down and stainless mesh inserts added to prevent anything unwanted entering the airbox.
Motogadget M Blaze indicators were wired in - Disc style being used for the bar ends, while out back the Pin style units now sit in trick CNC machined polycarbonate light diffusers. A flexible LED tail light was frenched into the rear frame to keep things neat and a customised Ninja Star tail tidy keeps things legal with plate position, lighting and a rear reflector.
With the air intake mods and custom exhaust a new tune was required, so when everything was said and done on our end it was sent over to Theo at Bike Therapy for an ECU remap and new tune.
There was a stack of small custom, cleaning and problem solving items on this bike that don’t even rate a mention here but are a timely reminder of what can lay beneath when undressing a full fairing machine for a custom build. Being flexible to achieve a result is also key when the build plan evolves after the custom work has begun.
In the end it is definitely worth it though... and to think that Ducati hid most of this bike under the (albeit good looking) fairings!
Simon now has a ‘modern cafe’ 848 that retains its original ride, sound and aesthetic but now also boasts a tight new custom look.
Albums we listened to during the build of this bike:
|1. Rufus Du Sol - Solace||2. Black Panther - The Album Soundtrack||3. Gang Of Youths - Go Farther In Lightness|
|Photos by AJ Moller Photography||As featured on Return of the Cafe Racers|
ITALIAN GIRLBy: MARK OWEN on 5 April 2019Thank you for that, I have a 2017 APRILIA shiver 900 and i love all things with two weels and italian ,you fellars , and girls down there do a great job kind regards Mark