Nicola Martini describes his workshop as a “laboratory of ideas”. And right now, the Verona-based builder is pushing the visual envelope harder than almost anyone else on the custom scene. This is his latest bike, “Flash Back”—a fearless reworking of the Ducati 1098R. To some it will be sacrilegious, but to others, it will be thought-provoking. The design is dominated by the engine shrouds, which are becoming a trademark of Mr Martini’s specials—check his 2010 Triumph Thruxton “T-Type” for a similar design.
Given that the 1098R is effectively a road-legal WSBK machine, most of the mods are to the bodywork. (The stock 1098R puts out 155 rear wheel horsepower and weighs just 422 lbs wet.) The ultra-light side fairings are carbon fiber, the wheels are BST carbon items, and the exhaust system is a mix of Zard, Ducati’s own WSBK-spec manifolds, and custom terminals. The seat, however, is a delicious throwback—it’s crafted using Connolly leather taken from a 1959 MG sports car.
It’s a provocative restyle that will no doubt create controversy. But in a world of cookie-cutter customs, it’s good to see a builder unafraid to take risks. Check out more of Nicola Martini’s work on his website.