Custom Ducati tracker

Custom Ducati tracker
Despite all the expensive machinery we occasionally feature here, there’s something to be said for a back-to-the-basics classic built on a shoestring budget. And Peter Koren’s Ducati ‘XR900′ is a great example. In 2003, Koren stumbled across an abandoned Ducati 900 GTS project in the UK. The bike was a non-runner and Koren bought it to cannibalize for his 750GT and 900SS. But the GTS turned out to be mechanically sound, so he left it intact in his garage for a couple of years. After mulling over his options, he decided to turn it into a flat tracker. “One weekend while my father was staying I made a mock-up XR750 tank and seat out of Cellotex, a polyurethane insulation foam that is really fast to work,” says Koren. “Dad sat in the sun drawing the tank graphics and my son helped paint. I liked the result and decided to proceed with certain parameters: I would try to build it as if it came out of the Ducati factory—which would determine many of the details—and the budget was set at £500 (US$720) plus tires and chain. The budget was low because it would always be a bitsa and also because of fear of failure: I wasn’t sure it was going to work, and I’ve seen plenty of modified bevels that make me shudder.”

Koren bought a replica seat base and handlebars from the USA and made a wooden buck for the tank. “I had a sheet of aluminum, made a sand bag and cut down one of the kids’ croquet mallets and started bashing. Then I had to learn how to gas weld aluminum, which was tricky, and weld up the bits.” After making side panels and straightening out kinks in the frame tubes, Koren steepened the steering angle by five degrees to get the look of the XR900 just right. Next came the exhaust: “I had loads of old headers to cut up, but found I needed a tighter bend under the front cylinder and eventually found a grab handle as used in toilets for the disabled. (For the record, I did not steal one!) The silencers have cutouts for the rear shock—like the Imola high-level pipes—so they sit nice and close to the frame.” The speedo and tacho housings are in the style of Scrambler ‘Beer cans’, which meant compromise on the handlebars and switches, even though the wiring is run through the bars. “I wheeled it out of the garage, put in some fuel, and kicked it over a few times with ignition off to get fuel in the cylinders,” says Koren, “and it started first kick. Brilliant reward after three years, and the cheap far-eastern silencers sound amazing with a really deep thump.” [Via DucCutters and Eurobike Maine. More pictures on Peter Koren’s Flickr page.]

Custom Ducati tracker
Custom Ducati tracker

  • Corey

    Great project. Great story; fun to hear the behind-the-scenes perspective.

  • mingh

    great work!
    graphix are nice too, but it deserves to stand out more than an XR replica with a different engine. Burning sand flake and large ducati lettering would do it more justice

  • Simon

    That is superb. Perfect lines. Not a chequebook special. Love it!

  • esskay

    this is amazing! on a shoestring budget too, just awesome

  • Tinman

    Now even Ducatis are trying to look like Harleys, Great Improvement. LOL. I do like the bike but I think a Red paint job would look more natural. Im old school I still like my Yamis Yellow, Kows Green and Beemers Silver. Italians need to be Red!!

  • johnly

    thanks Chris for bringing this story of honest DIY builder.. This is very encouraging

    i would like to see similiar story

  • Backhome77

    Sex on wheels.

  • Rex Havoc

    I much prefer this to the Darwin Brawler that was before it. Very cool

  • Dawg

    A lovely looking bike.

    Just checked the Flickr pics and I think it looked pretty good with the old Contis, were they knackered?

  • Jason

    Lovely, lovely bike and background. Thanks! Would love to hear riding impressions.

  • AK

    Are bevel heads that bad of an engine? I’ve seen featured bikes here as conversions from belt drive, and the little I’ve read says that the gears are actually more precise than belts. Is it poor build quality or poor design that makes so many cringe at the effort involved with Bevel heads?

  • DnA

    I had to do a double take when I saw this. Beautiful bike.

  • Mike Cecchini

    What a great story…….and what a great rider this bike must be.

    Wonderful workanship and finished product Peter Koren !!!

    My best.

    Mike Cecchini

  • benjy

    different,clever,simple,practical,fun.the essence of what abike should be