Order your copy of the Bike EXIF magazine now.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
The Ducati 900 SS is one of the great bargains in the motorcycling world. And not because it’s a bad bike. On the contrary, it’s an entertaining ride in an old school kinda way.

That makes the 900 SS an excellent donor bike for a custom job. You can pick up a good example in the USA for as little as $2,000 these days, and if you still need convincing of the Ducati’s potential, just cast your eyes over this slinky new cafe from Ad Hoc.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
It’s the first machine to roll out of David González’s new workshop. He’s now based in Sabadell, a town just outside Barcelona that’s chiefly known in the moto world for being the birthplace of racer Dani Pedrosa.

“The past year has been one of transition,” David reveals. “With the change of workshop, the projects slowed down. I wanted to tackle the most important builds with calm and a new perspective, and this Ducati is one of them.”

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
Just before he left the old Ad Hoc workshop, David stripped off the Pierre Terreblanche-designed bodywork. Then in the new shop, he started afresh and began to look for the best shapes and style.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
“We wanted a retro motorcycle: elegant, small and compact,” he says. “As opposed to the striking yellow paint and bulk of the original.” A clear inspiration emerged: the TT1 European endurance racer of the 1980s.

David cut out and reconfigured the rear part of the frame, right up to the anchor point of the Showa monoshock. (The tubing is also now chromed, like the rest of the iconic trellis frame.)

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
The rear footrests are now attached to removable hangers that secure to the frame under the seat—to get a cleaner line when the bike is in single seater mode. “When we attach the metal lid over the seat, we get an authentic monoposto. And when we remove the lid and add the footrests, we have a motorbike to enjoy with company.”

The new headlight bucket and taillight are chromed too, to match the chassis and amplify the timeless effect, and there’s a discreet Motogadget Motoscope Tiny speedo just ahead of the top yoke.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
David’s known for his angular, brightly-colored bodywork, but he’s gone for restraint with the 900 SS. He’s crafted the tank from sheet metal, leaving space for the pump, and has given it a flat top line to echo the straight lines of the frame.

The creamy paint is deliciously understated, and contrasts with the dark grey of the most minimal fuel cap we’ve ever seen. It looks like it belongs more in a high-end Japanese hotel bathroom than on a motorcycle.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
David has also replaced the air filter box with cone filters, and relocated the battery and the electrics. The engine required an overhaul, outside as well as in—since the Ducati had spent its life by the sea. But the internals are unmodified, since the booming L-twin is good for a quarter-mile time of around 12 seconds.

The exhaust is new though, with simple stainless steel headers terminating in a reverse cone silencer. David describes the sound as “elegant, in harmony with the characteristic clink of the Ducati desmo clutch.”

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
The handling of the 900 SS was excellent for its day, and it’s still fine for the roads that snake through the mountain ranges behind Barcelona. And the original Brembo brakes—with two 320mm discs and four-piston calipers at the front—remain strong. So they’ve simply been overhauled and fettled.

But the wheels were another matter: the three-spoke alloys would have to go. David has built up new wheels using Morad rims, finishing them in a satin black, and lacing them to unspecified hubs. “It’s a bit of a secret,” he says. “It costs a lot to find front hubs for double discs with the right separation!” The tires are Continental’s ContiMotion ‘sport touring’ radials.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer

The litmus test for custom builders is knowing what to change and what to leave alone, and David González has shown unerring judgment with his Ducati. He’s picked a solid, underrated base bike with excellent performance out of the box, and improved the aesthetics without compromising practicality.

If you’ve got a soft spot for thundering Italian twins, maybe it’s time to pick up a 900 SS on the cheap—before the rest of the world cottons on.

Ad Hoc Cafe Racers | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Rodrigo Yufe

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
READ NEXT