There’s never been an El Solitario bike that hasn’t polarized opinion. Which is completely fine by David Borras and Co. They’re happy to march to the beat of their own drum, and even adopted “the world’s most hated motorcycles” as their unofficial slogan for a while.
But the Spanish outfit is nothing if not eclectic. While their last few builds looked like they were made to scare small children, their latest—’Mononoke’—looks like it jumped out of the pages of a story book.
Which isn’t far from the truth: “The inspiration came from my children’s favorite movie,” says David, “Hayao Miyazaki’s anime epic, Princess Mononoke.”
“It’s a beautifully realized tale of nature versus civilization, set in the Muromachi period. Princess Mononoke—along with the wolves and the gods of the forest—tries to defend nature from human greed.”
The starting point was a classic Ducati 350 ‘wide case’ from the 1970s. At its heart is a fully blueprinted, race-spec motor. It’s been rebuilt with a Phil Joy camshaft, a VMH three-piece crankshaft, a Leonti conrod and all new bearings. The head’s been ported and a high output oil pump installed.
There’s also an external camshaft feed with return pipes, a new ignition and a twin spark setup. Power’s delivered to the back wheel via a close ratio gearbox and a Mario Sassi dry clutch. A Dell’Orto PHF 36 carb’s been added for good measure, as well as a custom exhaust system.
The performance package extends to the suspension and wheels too. The front forks are 35mm, Maxton-tuned Ceriani GP units, with a set of Hagon shocks out back. Keeping things in check are a White Power steering damper and a Fontana magnesium four leading shoe brake. The wheels are from Borrani (the rear is laced to the stock Ducati hub).
The Ducati’s frame and swingarm were checked, straightened and modified where necessary. For the bodywork, El Solitario sourced an aftermarket, fiberglass Ducati race kit. The seat is as basic as it gets: a piece of nappa leather, folded up and secured to the frame via a pair of vintage leather army straps.
El Sol roped in friend and artist Osiyuyu to execute the ‘Mononoke’ artwork, in oils. The frame has been done in a contrasting red, with raw, natural tones dominating the remaining components.
There are also some finer details that may go unnoticed at first: like the engraving on the velocity stack and fork legs.
An appropriate location for this enigmatic creature.