The MotoWorks Ducati MD1

The passion for Bolognese bicylindrical finds more and more admirers often far from the land where they were born is so that Sean Pelletier after having worked for years on Japanese motorcycles fell in love with these means with a strong character

Where are you coming from?
Rochester NY USA
Who else worked with you?
One man operation with two team mates
How can you describe yourself (or your team)?
I started The Motoworks as a fabrication shop, specializing in vintage aluminum bodywork, but soon incorporated machined racing components, as well as lightweight carbon fiber parts designed to improve performance further. In 2015, I outfitted my shop with state of the art HAAS CNC milling and turning tools, enabling my advanced and lightweight designs to be produced in-house. My friend Toby does some of the engine work, and Mike, our Social Media / Photographer just came on board.

What inspired you to start building the bike?
I've historically built Japanese vintage bikes, but when I started playing with Italian v-twins, I fell in love with the way they make power and the no frills design. This was an exercise in reducing weight and seeing what I could build in-house.

Where did it come from?
The donor was a 2001-model 900SS, with an older motor wedged in. The previous owner liked wheelies and hated routine maintenance so it needed going-through.
What's the donor bike, make, model, year?
Ducati Model 900SS 2001

What was your vision/plan?
The vision was to build the lightest bike I possibly could.
What did you do to the bike?
Team member Toby stripped the 900's motor, inspected everything, and replaced anything that wasn't within spec. I got a lot of info from Bruce Meyers about those motors not in the shop manuals. So I would consider it a semi-blueprinted engine built to be ridden pretty hard. The cylinders were re-bored and plated, and fitted with 94mm Pistal Racing pistons—pushing the displacement out to 944 cc. We installed new valves, re-cut the seats, then installed a Barnett clutch assembly. We built covers for the clutch, belt and sprocket out of carbon fiber, and ditched the air box in favor of a pair of pod filters. The frame was a a Walt Siegl Leggero frame. His shop is about five miles from where I grew up, and I went to high school with his lead fabricator. I visited, and was really impressed with how light and small the Leggero was. All that was needed now was a redesigned subframe to hold the tail section I planned to build. I welded on two side frame mounts and brazed on some weld nuts and that was it. Working with Walt's frame was so much nicer than spending hours grinding pounds of steel tabs and mounts off stock frames.
If you've upgraded parts, what make did you choose and where from?
I hooked the chassis up to a set of Suzuki GSX-R750 forks, using custom triples CNC machined in-house. The forks were re-sprung and fitted with Race Tech 'Gold' valves.

The 900SS's stock Öhlins shock felt great out the box, so it was left alone. And the donor bike came with upgraded front brakes, so there was no need to swap those out either. I simply switched the master cylinders for Brembo units, to improve braking feel.
Any interesting challenges, unconfident, or mistakes?
All the bodywork is my handiwork. I started with the carbon fiber fairing and tail section. It's the first time I had ever shaped with carbon fiber, and that meant a steep learning curve. I found to make nice, light parts, you need to build them in a flawless mold.

Step one was to mock up the shapes with steel wire and a MIG welder ("sort of sketching in 3D"). Then I took photos and measurements, used 3D software to create the final design, and CNC cut molds from high-density urethane foam. Then I coated the molds in primer, polished them, and shaped up a final set of molds from fiberglass. The carbon was then vacuum infused. Aside from the design time, building patterns this way is much faster than older techniques and hand carving. Ironically though, weeks before going to the 2017 Handbuilt Show in Austin TX, I got an itch that the front fairing wasn't shaped the way it should be. So I reworked the patterns with thickened Bondo, wood carving tools, and sandpaper. I didn't want to completely throw away what I already had done. So the bike is still a mix of old and new techniques
Tell us about the finish/logos/design?
Its a modern bike but I also wanted it to have a vintage feel. More or less paying homage to the old Moto GP bikes.

Any unique features?
I machined up a whole bunch of aluminum parts, including the gas cap, rear-set hangers, heel guards, muffler caps and fairing mount bracket. The exhaust has hand-made stainless steel headers, flowing into hand-made mufflers, wrapped in carbon fiber with a high heat resin. The custom clip-ons can be adjusted up and down just by rotating them. And the foot controls were built with a locating pin, which can be moved to adjust the angle in 12-degree increments. The handlebar switches are also custom, with the throttle reel integrated into the right side cluster. And there's an RFID keyless ignition from Motogadget integrated into the top triple clamp. If I can find something on the market that I really like, I use it without fail. But when that doesn't happen, I wind up spending (probably a bit too much) time making my own.

For the Ducati's new speedo I had a really specific look in mind and couldn't find something off-the-shelf to match it. So I built my own housing, designed the circuitry, and programmed an Arduino microcontroller kit to drive an analog needle and run the LCD display. I also tackled the upholstery and paint too. I get to use this cool old Singer 29-4 treadle machine I got from my grandfather. He used it to repair saddles and it works like a charm for thick vinyl and leather. I also did the paint—there weren't any available bike painters in town. My shop is hardly clean enough to do A-plus work, but at a pinch, I can do it. Then wet sand and polish out any bugs that land in the clear.

How would you describe your bike?
Street Legal Track Bike
How does the bike ride?
It's quite a blast on the track, I love how well it handles, the light weight helps keep the speed up through corners and chicanes.
What will you do next? New projects?
I'm now planning on building a dedicated track bike based on this design, with a more developed engine and lighter weight. I estimate I can get the track bike down to less than 300 lbs. (136 Kilograms)

Motoworks | Web | Facebook | Instagram photo by Mike Hanlon 


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