Most customs are a compromise between form and function. Michael Woolaway is firmly on the side of function—so we’re guessing this new build from Deus’ LA workshop is a blast to ride.
The vibe is raw and mechanical. “I wanted to recreate the feel of a 1960s Ferrari, or the Chevys that I grew up with,” says Woolie. “When you opened up the hood, all you found was a motor, coils, distributor, and a battery. Just what you need, and no more.”
A quick look at the engine casings of ‘Dreamliner’ will reveal Ducati power. But the rest of the bike is a ground-up build.
“I asked the customer how he wanted to use the bike, and what performance and ergonomics he expected,” says Woolie. “The first brand that came to mind was Ducati.”
The client wasn’t after heaps of horsepower, though. So Woolie went with an older, 750cc two-valve motor for its simplicity.
The air-cooled, 90-degree desmo V-twin has been rebuilt from the ground up. Woolie’s also modified the intake manifolds, so he could replace the usual 38 mm Mikunis with a set of Keihin FCR flatslides.
The exhaust headers are custom, inspired by the 1970s Imola Desmo racebike, and hooked up to a pair of Cone Engineering mufflers.
The frame itself is incredibly light—a one-off chromoly unit—and attached to a set of conventional Öhlins forks. They’ve been re-valved by Ed Sorbo at Lindemann Engineering, and adjusted for the owner’s weight. The rear shock is a custom-built item from former flat track racer Jimmy Wood at Race Tech.
Handling is sporty, as you’d expect from a builder who owns only race bikes, and no road bikes. “The geometry is very similar to the Ducati 916RS,” says Woolie. “It has a 24-degree head angle, a 56-inch wheelbase and fully adjustable swingarm angles.”
For the bodywork, Woolie rolled the tank and seat out of 1100 aluminum alloy. He’s used Kushitani waterproof leather for the seat pad, and finished it off with double tuck stitching.
Woolie likes to use USA-made parts as much as possible, and to support people he knows. “Just as I was scratching my head about what wheels to use, into the shop walks Sandy Kosman from Kosman Specialties.
“I hadn’t seen him since 1978 ,when he built a wheel for my Norton 850 road racer—and here he was, dropping by for a visit! Sandy ended up building me a set of 17-inch tubeless spoke wheels with full floating rotors.”
The triple clamps are from Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles, another old friend from Woolie’s flat track days. Rizoma provided the rear-sets and a mirror, while LSL supplied the clip-ons. The speedo is a digital Acewell item.
When breaking in the bike, Woolie used Michelin Pilot Power One race rubber. He’s now switched to more practical (but still grippy) Pilot Power 3 road tires.
Grip is important, because the Dreamliner is no slowcoach. “She’s small and rides like a 250 GP bike—tight and able to take input well, with 70hp and a bit of an attitude.”
If you’re lucky enough to live within riding distance of LA, clear your diary for Saturday 24 January. The Ducati will be the star of the Randuno Ducati event at the Deus store in Venice Beach.