This Italian job didn’t have time for exercise and in turn rolled out fat and stretched with a 240 rear and 6-over stock single sided swingarm—nothing wrong with putting some meat on these skinny exotic bones.
Believe it or not, this guage cluster inidcates when a wannabe racer is nearby and about to make a judgemental comment about this bike’s newfound form over function.
If you stare into the dizzying windscreen long enough a 3D image of Rossi chained to Ducati will appear.
A Duc already runs hot but now the spinning brake rotor could also burn your leg with one wrong move. Cool look nonetheless.
One-off wheels and rotors add a new element of design that is right at home on a bike celebrated for its Hollywood looks.
Not a jackshaft setup but don’t expect the throttle response to be much better.
If it weren’t for Sam Morris’ previous work featured in SSB, no one would believe that this barely legal kid could finish an all original, Italian wide-tire custom in just under a month with nothing more than a Red Bull high and his family to keep him going. Luckily, his college professors gave him a break on his homework so he could pull off this last minute project just in time for Daytona Bike Week.
Sam’s long time friend, Jo Oplotnik, approached him about a month before Daytona with the idea of building a one-off, crazy Ducati. Sam’s only restriction was it had to be fully faired, orange, white and black.
Shortly after, Sam grabbed a brand new 2009 Ducati 848 from the dealership and thus the fabricating began. Having full reign over design, he created a computer rendering of the bike and, with Jo’s approval, got to work with the goal of having the bike ready in time for the week of biker insanity that converges on the sunny streets of Daytona, Florida each year.
“We wanted to keep the bike super clean, but engineer the hell out of it,” Sam said. “So I picked up the phone and started making calls. After reviewing the details I sketched it out; it was obvious every part on this bike had some sort of unique aspect to it.” A few long phone calls later it was apparent that outrageous deadlines would have to be met in order to get the parts in time for mock-up, refinishing and assembly.
Hellbent on a unique build, Sam knew mail order parts were not an option. “I machined some very special one-of-a-kind wheels that in no way resembled tribal and chrome off-the-shelf hoops that could be found on other custom bikes,” Sam said. “We also cut and indexed the same pattern as the wheels into full-floating front brake discs so they would almost disappear into the front wheel when viewed from the side.”
Just as Sam got down and dirty with machining, so did he insist on slamming the Duc and fitting it with trick AirFX custom machined front air ride cartridges and polished rear shock kit. But to get super low, the AirFX system took a little tweaking.
On the same note, making the single-sided swingarm with just days to spare was a formidable challenge. Factory Ducati components were utilized and the rear wheel centered as close as possible using the factory chain location. This subtle change required the rear subframe, tail, seat and tank to be relocated approximately half-an-inch to perfectly align the bodywork with the rear wheel. This minute shift made the bike appear perfectly balanced, leaving no detail overlooked for the sake of flawless symmetry.
To keep the brake disc clear of the rear wheel, a full-floating rear brake disc was machined and mounted on a shaft in front of the rear wheel. Driven by sprockets running on the chain, the rear brake setup seems aesthetic at best, but is actually an efficient full functioning system. “It definitely makes a hell of a statement when you see the rear brake disc spinning along with the clutch and wheels,” Sam said. “The rear brake disc is the ethos of this bike and it makes a subtle yet understated impact.” It was all about subtle touches. Just like the brake disc, additional focus was put on components peeking out from the plastics since the 848’s engine is mostly hidden. For example, the clutch cover’s transparent window offered a look into the spinning mechanics and added a show touch.
No Ducati would be complete without some extra power, so Braille Battery company hooked it up with its pre-production top-of-the-line Carbon Fiber Lithium Ion Ml9c+ battery, replacing it’s lead acid older brother with four pounds of concentrated energy powerful enough to start a truck. Saddlemen also provided a custom seat designed explicitly for the Duc and 1CarbonTech contributed a textured windscreen weaved in orange, white and carbon/kevlar with a front fender too. With the billet goodies from Slingshot Racing, the twin was almost complete.
Since the remaining parts didn’t arrive to the shop until a week before Daytona IMS, there was no time for the traditional separate mock-up, tear down, refinish or assembly stages. The crew was scheduled to arrive in Daytona on Wednesday afternoon, but four days prior, they were still in Kansas going all out to complete two months worth of painting, anodizing and building. Jo drove the aluminum parts to the anodize specialists four hours away in Oklahoma while Sam stayed in the workshop to finish the bodywork and wiring.
By Sunday night, the bike was in the paint booth. A 72-hour bender with no sleep commenced. Before dawn Tuesday morning, Sam was bending pipes and welding the exhaust to finalize the build. The bike was finished at 9:00 AM and with not a second to spare the fat tire Italian job was loaded into the van and off to Daytona. “This bike was the most intense build I’ve ever undertaken. What a month.” Sam said. With all the pride, pain and perseverance that went into this hurried project, Snow White was no doubt amongst dwarves at the Daytona IMS event.
**2009 Ducati 848
Front End: AirFX air ride kit, Slingshot Racing axle nut set, Driven Racing clip-ons, D3 grips and bar ends, Gooichi Motorsports (GM) Diamond 18’’ wheel, top fork yoke and full-floating brake discs, Dunlop Sportmax tire, Brembo brake calipers and master cylinders, HEL Performance brake lines, ASV levers
Rear End: AirFX air ride shock absorber, GM Diamond 18’’ wheel, 240mm six-inch over swingarm, transmission-mounted brake disc and caliper mount assembly, Pirelli Diablo tire, Brembo brake caliper and master cylinder, Hel Performance brake line, Slingshot Racing cap, hub & axle kit, EK 520 chain, Driven Racing sprocket kit, modified subframe
Motor: Dynojet Power Commander 5, GM custom stainless steel exhaust system, modified wiring harness, Braille Battery ML9c+ battery
Accessories: Slingshot Racing frame plugs, gas cap, reservoir plugs, alternator cover and kickstand, Driven Racing D-Axis rearsets, modified wiring harness, HID headlight kit, relocated turn signals, MotoLenzo integrated taillight, GM clutch cover and exhaust heat shield, ProBolt fastener kit, 1Carbontech windscreen and front fender, SharkSkinz tail section, Saddlemen seat
Paint: Patterson’s Artworks, Performance Coatings, Precision Anodizing
Builder: Sam Morris, Gooichi Motorsports
Owner: Jo Oplotnik