Christian Klein’s Ducati 350

Ducati 350 cafe racer
Christian Klein is a skilled lathe operator and a craftsman engineer. He’s also a Ducati fan, and rides a red 900 GTS. In the cold German evenings, he drifts towards his workshop, inhabiting what he calls his ‘parallel world’.

And it was in here, a few years ago, that Klein decided to build a light and quick Ducati 350 café racer. So he created a custom frame, using high-strength, low-alloy steel. That bike is now finished, and it’s a work of art. The rear is unusually narrow, with the seat being merely two sections of foam rubber inset into milled aluminum plate. The exhaust winds through the frame under the seat unit, and was created using a home-made tube bending machine.

Ducati 350 cafe racer
The motor is from a Ducati 350 Scrambler, which Klein rebuilt and treated to a port and polish job. (It’s a very reputable motor, as far as singles go: in 1967, it was even selected to power the Swiss military’s Condor A350 motorcycle.)

Ducati 350 cafe racer
Attention to detail is everywhere, from the foot controls to the single rear (CB600-based) shock arrangement, and even the hand-made screws and locknuts. The forks, in case you’re wondering, are from a Yamaha RD. And the result is simply wunderbar.

Ducati 350 cafe racer
Images by—and thanks to—Timo Großhans of the German motorrad magazin MO.

Ducati 350 cafe racer
Ducati 350 cafe racer

  • aitchee jr

    I wonder if like many cafe racers it’s something which you can only physically ride for as long as you can endure your discomfort – it sure looks that way, but everything else is so perfect that I have to say I think looks may deceive..

    my only other comment is – how much?

    a true custom, what with the ‘home-made tube bending machine’

  • rob

    Very very sharp!

  • Thom

    Ditto: I don’t know how long I could last on that, and I don’t think I care. What’s not to like about this?

  • KIK

    motorcycles have become a fashion accessory, cant wait for this trend to go away , just like all other fads..even comfort has become obsolete in the name of “fashion”

  • Prichinello

    My favorite bike on Exif yet. Beautiful, clean, ridable and to the point. This is what bikes are all about.

  • KIK

    Ridable? to where? the corner store? i mean its beautyfull work but seriously,

  • http://www.vintagehondamotorcycle.com Scott Pargett

    Motorcycling isn’t all about comfort. This bike is pure performance. To begin to judge it worth based on how comfortable it would be is to miss everything this bike and many like it stand for, as well as the spirit of riding that draws all with it’s allure.

    Riding is about the thrill and the roar, the sheer physical explosion of acceleration and physics in high speed cornering with the wind tearing around you.

    If someone wants comfort, there’s plenty of nice cars with big cushy seats, thermostats, cup holders, and radios. Whatever happened to men toughing it out?

    My $0.02.

  • http://www.vintagehondamotorcycle.com Scott Pargett

    Btw, beautiful bike… really well done.

  • KIK

    COME ON!!! this is a bike you take to a show or sell to jay leno, it is not a “ridable” bike, as a man that has spent most his life on a motorcycle (without a car), i can attest that you can achieve comfort and style without sacrifice , ive notice this is a trend, many a young fresh mechanics have gotten on the “custom” wagon ( thanxs discovery channel) and its fine but when you forgo essential things like fenders and seat because the design did not call for them its stupid, has nobody here ever ridden in the rain without fenders? maybe designing a simple fender is a bigger challenge ?

  • Derek Larsen

    This bike doesn’t look any more unrideable than your typical cafe. However, the jewel-like precision of this build would make me wary about subjecting it to real world riding. I’m willing to bet the builder chose wisely with his materials, and it will age quite nicely.

    What’s the purpose for the eccentrically mounted lower shock pivot?

  • henrik

    wow. This is really beautiful, the attention to detail, finish and design is sure staggering. Very original. Very minimalistic. and i’m pretty sure that it sounds really great too. I love it.

  • Leston

    in love

  • John T.

    Oh Boy! This is going to turn a few heads at Ducati and probably garner the builder a few free passes to the next World Ducati Weekend. Beautiful. Desirable. Etcetera, etcetera.

  • http://www.lesoir.be MC_Kloppedie

    Nice bike
    love the speedometer
    cheerz

  • Ranj

    Fashion is definitely a big part of the motorcycle culture, even the Hells Angels sew, those patches don’t get on their jackets magically. Also cafe racers aren’t meant to be comfortable or go long distances. Oh yeah, by the way, this bike is a bloody masterpiece.

  • KIK

    i wish an Hells Angel would answer that comment….call a dentist first.

  • cormyb

    that is the kind of bike that keeps me coming back to this site. What the f**k was that honda vtr1000 all about????

  • Coreigh

    This is a beautiful bike, and a work of art. Whether you like the style or the daily practicality of such a bike or not you have to admit that is true.

    Personally I am envious of the builders obvious fabrication skills and attention to detail, not to mention he must have a hell-of-a shop to work in.

    Seriously you go enjoy your bike and I’ll go enjoy mine and there will be no time to fight about who’s idea of a bike is better. ;-)

  • Ethan

    Beauty. It’s always great to seem something unique. I love the color combos as well. Too bad the bike is a total failure according to motorcycle god KIK. It’s a shame really. Well, throw it on the scrap heap. NEXT.

  • rdjmp

    Spectacular!

  • Ethan

    Ok, googling has not returned any more pictures. I neeeeeeed more pictures. Someone help me out!

  • mingh

    It’s clearly not a BMW K 1200 as far as long distance running is but now you guys lost me. When some useless conehead with a welding torch posts a bobber here with hardtail frame, a 3″ wide handlebar, huge balloon tires, and a totally raked out girder fork, no-one can comment on rideability without starting a flame war.
    Anyone with half a brain can see that this bike has real suspension, tuneable and all. And then come the comments on you can’t ride that. Out of 10 ‘customs’ posted here, this one will be among the more rideable.

    as much as you may hate the idea: motorcycles = fashion. Why else the scramblers, cafe racers (that don’t do any mod save for a bulb tailpiece and checkered stripes but dead stock 400cc engines) why else the retro classics, or commuter machines made look like they came right of the podium of the dakar race. Why else the angular look on racers ……

    As far as customs go: this one’s world class. great ideas, creative solutions, fabulous craftsmanship, and a package that gets a lot further than from the trailer to the podium. There i said it.

  • Evan

    @naysayers

    Judge a bike by it’s ability to serve it’s intended purpose. If you don’t care about it’s purpose, then why bother going out of your way to complain about it?

    That said, this bike’s purpose is obviously to make me throw up in my mouth with jealousy. Mission accomplished, sir.

  • Ethan

    I keep looking over the pictures and the attention to detail is insane. I love the headlight. The master cylinder is awesome. The exhaust flange. Amazing.

  • kim of Copenhagen

    The 350 engine is nice indeed, but the Swiss military achieved its reliability by lowering the compression ratio a lot. Presumably this was so it could cope with bad gas, but undoubtedly also to discourage the conscripts from having too much fun. The result was a paltry 17 bhp.

  • KIK

    MOTORCYCLES ARE NOT FURNITURE, PERIOD. seriously,i can appreciate workmanship and craftsmanship just like everyone here but i never forget that a motorcycle is a vehicle. its gonna hit bumps, get wet and even fall of a kickstand, when ever i see a bike i appreciate it of course but i also wonder how would it feel to ride the damned thing, im truly sorry if im coming off as a know it all “god”, (never been called that by a man before) but i come here for my motorcycle fix, not for “ART”

  • KIK

    @ Ethan,..look at pic # 6 and honestly tell me you can ride this bike for more than an hour,if you can you are my god

  • prich

    KIK, you’re a downer man.

    You’re looking at this bike as if whoever owns it is going to have just it as their only bike and commute 30 hours a week to work on it in Pacific North West Weather. I have seven bikes. Some, like my Brutale and my Speed Triple are perfect for riding through the streets of Manhattan. My R1 is my GT sport bike of sorts. I recently did 3,000 miles through Europe on it in five days. My R6, fun on the track, as is my race-ready SV650. My 68 Panhead Harley? Hurts my arse, loud, shitty handling, reliability is zero, but you know what? It’s effin awesome and it has a place in my garage. When I ride it (right trip, right conditions) – It’s awesome. I don’t care that it’s not comfortable, that there’s no brake in the front and no suspension in the rear. It doesn’t matter. It’s an experience that only that bike can give me. It’s special. It’s a living, breathing animal.

    So I don’t think you can look at this bike and say it doesn’t work in the rain or it’s not good for getting the milk. If you ride the way you say you do, you should appreciate not just the craftsmanship and level of detail it has….you should appreciate the love that went into this bike. the man that built it is just like you and me, he loves bikes. He loves them enough to put everything he had into it. I bet you a 100 mile ride would give you a bruised ass for sure, but it would also recall a time when you had to arm wrestle a bike, when you had to row through the gears because it didn’t have 150 bhp to pull you through the corners. It would be a memory and you’d tell your friends about the ride I suspect.

  • Brad

    I’m with @kik

    It’s a stunning looking bike but my ass and back hurts just thinking about riding it.

    Looks Great though it’s GNDN rating
    (Goes nowhere, does nothing)

  • norman

    Knew that bike from the magazine, great to see it covered on one of my favourite sites!

    And to prich: Well said, sir.

  • Patrick

    This bike is classy. I can only imagine the feeling of satisfaction, seeing it all come together in the workshop, putting in the time and effort on each component to get it ‘just right’. The workmanship is incredible. I suspect this would have been an absolute joy to build. And we haven’t even got to riding it yet!

  • KIK

    @ prich, point well taken and i agree 100% percent with your comment ,sorry if i come across as an a hole ..as yourself i have a small stable of bikes to choose from and all have their special charm . but when i read that on this bike the exhaust runs under an aluminum seat pan i found it err um…painfull? masochistic? as i understand when you go to a gallery and look at art you are to make your own opinion, i just voice mine, never do i attack anyone, i only voice an opinion on the designated space.. i hate picasso too .why should i say i like him?, cause everyone else does?

  • mack-o-matik

    no kik, ’cause he still is one of the greatest artists – if one knows about his art. It is obviously not easy for anyone to recognize superbe art, especially when it’s combinated with genius and craftmanship. I agree with Evan’s naysayer comment in that way.

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    Prich has summed up exactly what this site is about. A lot of the bikes won’t be rideable or particularly practical. Some will have tiny seats, knobbly tires or contorted bars. But others might be very rideable indeed, and have been chosen because they’re interesting in some other way.

    Some commenters are now becoming so predictable that when I see a machine that could be Bike EXIF material, I know exactly what they are going to say: “The seat’s impractical”, “There are no fenders”, “You couldn’t ride it any further than five miles” or “The tank’s too small”.

    If you are visiting this site looking for bikes that will transport you 100 miles in comfort, you are reading the wrong site. It’s not about comfort or practicality and never has been. It’s about originality, innovation, quality and ‘interestingness’.

    Which is why the only bikes you won’t see on here are contemporary OCC-style Harley-Davidson choppers and suchlike.

  • http://knsweb.net Kumo

    I’m almots 100% agree with @KIK

    But, anyway the bike is awensome done. Nice colors and details.

  • http://www.popmag.com.au Rick

    A work of art. Great quality and workmanship, to me that is what Bike EXIF is all about. I don’t think it’d be that uncomfortable. A lightweight 350, it’d be a lot of fun I reckon. My next bike is a Ducati for sure.

  • Dave

    The exhaust routing is perfect for cold mornings, and the lack of padding is trivially addressed by stuffing foam rubber in your underwear.

    I’ll take two of them.

  • Bald Shaun

    Wow. The term minimalist doesn’t even do it justice. I’d prefer seeing a more classic round headlamp or a cafe fairing up front. But personal preference aside, this is a great build. The craftsmanship is undeniable. Extremely well executed.

  • bogdan d

    a very nice retro-modern cafe-racer
    thx bikeexif, a good week so far :)

  • vernon marsh

    Lots of beautiful things are impractical. I would love to take it for a ride.

  • Woody

    This one raises the bar.

  • badams

    Whenever a “custom” is presented in the vein of performance, its receives high praise from posts; seems anything built outside the “performance” genre is subject to ridicule.

    Why?

    As a custom, its neat, caveat is that Its also been done 1000x before. But so what, its another interpretation of someone’s vision and that deserves applause. As far as being able to ride, its not going to make it up the 5 from LA to SF. Just like any custom that’s not what its intended to do.

  • Revdub

    A true work of art.

  • http://www.kieranscottphotography.com sandy1979

    I dig it – Beautiful engineering – but could never imagine riding it – but I guess it’s not designed to be an everyday ride. ( maybe it’s all about “the making of” and “creative thinking”.. if so – then that’ll do. )

  • Anton 3000

    The level of detail and finish on this is astounding – and such an unique style.
    A true custom. Beautiful.

    It’s a shame about the Killjoy In Komments…

  • db

    Love it.

    If the first thing you think of when you see it is how uncomfortable the seat would be YOU ARE TOO OLD.

  • db

    WAY

    TOO

    OLD

  • Dave Kent

    Vernon Marsh said “Lot’s of beautiful things are impractical.” This bike is like the breathtakingly beautiful, totally self centered, impossibly demanding bitch of a homecoming queen we all knew in high school. Nobody really wanted to spend any serious time with her, but we all wanted to own her for a while, and to make sure that our buddies knew we did. Beautiful bike!

  • Lew

    Sorry I agree with KIK.

    This bike is an absolute inspirational work of art, it’s like a Swiss watch. I love it. But one thing it isn’t is a ride-able worthwhile motorcycle. Sure it can be converted, would a well upholstered leather seat and nicely made mud-guards or a mirror to make it look uglier or mud-guards make it look bad? It could have been comfortable and usable. Shame. I do over 20,000 miles a year on my bikes, motorized and not. Worn-out, beaten-up and loved. When I see a machine like this it makes me suspect that it will be merely added to a selfish millionaire celebrity’s collection of un-ridden masterpieces, it makes my blood boil.

    Sorry Chris, I love function over form, and I still love Bike EXIF for all the real world ride-able Guzzi’s and CB750s customs etc on here. Bikes that people actually ride.

  • Deez

    Fugg’n awesome

  • bryguy9

    I am stunned by the level of engineering and craftsmanship in this bike. I would love to own it and if I did, I would ride it madly.

    The exhaust is a gorgeous feat of metallurgy. All the detail in the work of the stainless a/o billet parts has me drooling.

    But I have to give a nod in KIK’s direction. I don’t understand the seat. Can someone explain the seat pan without a seat concept to me? Has anyone ever ridden a bike with a buttshelf like that? Honestly, I am asking, what is it really like to ride?

    Anyway, there seem to be a few bikes on this site with no seat, just a pan. I don’t understand what that is trying to accomplish? What problem did a seat pose that this solves?

    I haven’t really questioned it before. But as KIK points out, that sinuous exhaust runs right underneath the aluminum cheekplatter. Hotseat?

  • Shep

    I appreciate the design, engineering and execution. That one guy in his garage had the time, skill, dedication and ability to build a bike of such quality is inspirational. Sure, it is not practical and it could never be registered to ride on a public street, but, unlike a lot of other bikes, the ‘excellence’ is more than apparent. Perhaps, it is like that model car, plane or that ‘ship in a bottle’ whatever you built as a kid … something to appreciate – that you made it.

    Could I do it? Not likely. Would I like to own it? Perhaps. Would I ride it? May be. Do I like it? Oh, Yes.

  • evilgiles

    I would ride this till the cops caught me or I fell off with a hugh grin on my dial. I don’t care if I couldn’t walk for a week after riding this… I think my pants just got tighter!

    Chris… Thankyou for saying the very thing I was thinking…

    Top work.

  • rex havoc

    I’m shocked and stunned at the level of detail, the beauty and the thought that went into this bike. Great work.

    True inspiration

  • CaptMike – Shawnee, KS

    Think of some of the most beautiful bikes of the last 20 years: The Ducati 916, the Moto-Guzzi 1000S, the Britten, most any Aprilia, (your choice here), (your choice here), and look what they have in common. Stunning good looks for one. Basic practicality (a seat, handgrips you can reach, electric starter, lights, horn, etc.) Engineering at a level high enough to thrill you while not leaving you stranded on a daily basis.

    To me, the most important attribute is “look-back appeal” — is the bike so essentially beautiful and visually compelling that you can’t walk away from it without stopping, turning, and looking-back for at least a moment.

    This bike was obviously built by a guy who knows his way around a metal shop, a Bridgeport milling machine, and maybe a CNC setup. But he lacks the true artist gene, so maybe he needs to partner up with an artist / stylist. Man — together, they could blow us all away.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if the builder checked in here and said, “Uh, guys, I didn’t finish the seat and fenders in time for the photo shoot, but they’re done now and I’ll send you the new pictures…” Just a thought.

  • kevin

    I would put that in my living room … and just look it for hours

  • http://larry@meticulouspaint.com Larry Pearson

    First and foremost, that bike is truly a masterpiece of understated intricacy. That thing blows me away. The fact that it’s also so visually pleasing to the eye is just a bonus. I’ve been fortunate enough to have three of my bikes featured on this site, and it’s an honor to be included. You do open yourself up to criticism. As an artist, you can have a thin skin sometimes. As a rider, though, I totally get this bike. It’s (as mentioned by others) not one that’s going to be a daily rider. My XL250 is a perfect urban blaster, but that’s it. If the day is nice, I take my 550F out on the back road twisties, and flat tear it up on that thing..for about 2 hours, then I peel myself off from it’s cramped, cafe’-rear sets-clip ons-riding position, but, with a shit-eating grin that won’t go away for another 2 hrs. The GS1000S, I’d take cross country and wouldn’t even think twice about it. All these bikes have their own heart and soul. Each with an intended purpose, and each leaving me wanting more. I believe people who build bikes like this Ducati, know that, and don’t care about whether it’s comfortable for the long haul, or if yer butt gets a bit warm from the exhaust. Sometimes it just looks so damn cool..it just has to be that way. This bike is a perfect example of why I come here every day.

  • badams

    What hypocrisy. The Mark Drews Triumph bike was bashed to bits from postings which is a true a custom, just like this bike. Both are cool in their own vein. The caveat is this one postures as a “performance” custom.

    If this is based around “performance”, lets see the results from letting factory test rider put it through the paces on the track. My guess is it would be a similar outcome as if the same rider rode Drews bike…..prototype problems and headaches.

    Bottom line its a custom that can be ridden. As far as amazing fab work…. ahh….. its a 2 on a design difficulty scale of 1-10. Again, its neat for what it is; a simple bike with some little handmade and modified parts. For all the store bought riders and fixie riders gone cafe bike, mods like this have been going on in the V-Twin/ Triumph scene for the last 50 years.

  • http://www.FastDates.com Jim Gianatsis

    “This bike is pure performance” ?! x%!
    Where’s the brakes? Where’s the horsepower? Where’s the aerodynamics? More like riding a fence rail powered by a Briggs & Stratton. Its a meticulous build, granted, but now the bike is worth less than if it was left stock.

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    A stock 350 Scrambler in reasonable condition for its age would probably sell for US$5-6,000 today. I’d wager that there are people who would pay more for the Christian Klein bike.

  • Skip W

    Totally spec-freaking-tacular.

  • Ben McC

    Have to agree, I’d more for this than the stock item, and I own a 250 Scrambler myself. Now I can’t stop dreaming about what it could become! Thanks Chris, this thing is beautiful.

    I’m also an Upholsterer, and there’s plenty of high quality, high density foams that would make this thing plenty comfortable out back, also have to agree with db’s comment.

  • John T.

    @ badams-

    If this bike is a 2 on a design scale of 10, why don’t you give us some examples of a 6, 8, or 10. Wait- don’t bother. You’re the guy with the billet wheels with 3D skulls that spin and have red LED’s in the eye sockets. Awesome, dude. Automatic 10.

  • http://cafebmw.blogspot.com O

    kik, get lost! this blog is not for you! this is only for real women and men! for those who have a tough butt and an open mind…

  • Ben-bot

    This machine is exquisite. Beautiful lines, tight workmanship and a pleasure to look at. I’d love to see it in motion, especially between my legs. As for rideability, if it hurts too much then maybe you need to harden the f— up!

  • buzzard

    does anyone really care what you turds think about these bikes? Does it matter? You have pathetic lives. Just look at the bikes then come back tomorrow and look again. Quit crying

  • Aerion

    This bike is inspiring some strong feelings. I do admire the builder’s talent, perseverance, and guts in submitting to popular review.

    From my perspective, the most attractive portions of the bike are the engine and the front end. The hand controls and fork bridges are beautifully designed and made. The rounded and tapered lines of those controls and bridges complement the similar lines of the engine. The brake reservoir even mirrors the tower shaft in an oblique way. In contrast, the foot controls, frame lines, tank shape, seat shape, exhaust route, and to a lesser extent the shock mount, appear more two dimensional. Flat. Maybe that contrast was an aim of the designer. Maybe not. Regardless of whether the seat is sufficiently ergonomic or not for the bike’s intended purpose, I don’t care for its or the tank’s aesthetics.

    It does however seem as though those contrasting themes are reflecting in very contrasting reviews. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe we could just agree to disagree and leave it at that.

  • MaSK

    High Art.

    Nothing more. Nothing less.

  • el vencejo

    “What’s the purpose for the eccentrically mounted lower shock pivot?”
    Instant ride-height adjustment for the back end, which allows small changes in steering geometry…

    I’d ride the thing here: Andalucian mountains, bend after bend, arse would be constantly moving for balance, little discomfort. ;) So little rain, easy to avoid wet rides.
    Low bars are great for uphill :) not so good on steep downhills, a pain in the neck :(

  • el vencejo

    Have to get those slicks cut though, cops might notice!

  • el vencejo

    Sorry, back again…
    for those who say “power, brakes?”
    My Honda 644cc in a modified and lightened chassis is much quicker through the twisties than my XB9R.

  • http://gonepenguin.com Carlo

    I’m sorry everybody, and I want to apologize already to all of you!!! Nobody here went to school at NASA, or the MIT, me neither, but I do understand why everybody actually most of it… keep having comments on every bike and in a such a critical way. Wake up, are you “guys” all so good at building a bike at home?? Mr Klein made a missile, and obviously is tailored, yes tailored to certain roads…. I’m pretty sure, that Mr. Klein , as a good german probably rode at list at one elefantreffen (I’m sure very few of you know what is…?) but that’s not the point. The point is that the bike is beautiful, and if you guys look better:
    has 2 disk break
    has a Ducati 350 engine… sorry but the original Scrambler are still running around!!
    the engine is rebuilt!!
    if you really look better, the carburetor is a new Dell ‘Orto
    has a mono shock
    a more recent fork of an RD
    and I’m not to finishe!! sorry again….. but the Bike is probably very LIGHT!!!
    I believe that on certain mountain road, any GSXR 600, 750, 1000 or R1 or 2 or 4 cylinder… will have few problems keeping up with this Ducati Klein.
    Maybe I forgot to mention….look better… but the rear swing arm can also regulate the hight… ooohhh ullalla…
    C mon guys, think of some mountain road, let’s say a good climb. I guarantee that this bike would make you think that you’re Valentino Rossi or Casey Stoner and if I have to battle against any of you, probably the bike I would pick, would be the RD 400 I saw on this same website:
    http://www.bikeexif.com/yamaha-rd400-custom
    Yeaay I would go 2 stroke 2 cylinder against $ stroke Mono… That would be a fun battle. Ride people, ride and don’t brag at everything!!! This bike, like a lot of others that thanks to Mr. Bikeexif (Chris right?), we’re able to share almost daily, are awesome, some ride better, some not, but if you don’t like it and in all the comments above nobody mention even a minimal technical reference, maybe is better being honest to yourself and admit that you’re better on a big enduro because you’re tall, or get a Harley beacause you’re to fat… Well to finish, I just wanted to say that the seat on this Ducati Klein is like any other seat on a racing bike, just with no foam… I would ride it with a pillow!! Well I apologize again to all of you professors and megamotorcyclist, I’m pretty sure that the ones that llook at this website and did a Dakar Rally or a TT man or a long distance ride, don’t need to say or judge any bike, they all know each bike has a soul…you got to match it with the right road!
    Think people.

  • thomason

    Lovely work. The photos are all very nice and arty and black and white but none of them really show the bike. A few more please?

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    @thomason There’s a whole photo album on our Facebook page.

  • mack-o-matik

    ok ladies, have a look here: http://kleinanzeigen.ebay.de/anzeigen/s-anzeige/ducati-eigenbau/15073910
    And in case there’s some german understanding readers here, get the mo magazine nbr.8, August 10 – and read. Then you’ll get the point of Mr. Klein’s philosophy. 300hrs of work behind that machine. Simply astonishing, I’d need 2 lifes for that.

  • mack-o-matik

    …just for copying, in fact.

  • Skip W

    I have to say I am disappointed that some of us bikeeifers had to resort to swear words to make their point. Aside from the fact that everybody is entitled to their opinion, my young boys visit this site as they, like me when i was knee-high to a Harley, are inspired by the innumerable permutations that designers and builders can come up with using just three elements – wheels, engine & frame (and every now and again, a seat). There is no need to get into a cat-fight, or bad-mouth one another for begging to differ. That’s the beauty of motorcycling – there is a bike and a road (or a piece of dirt) to suit virtually everybody.
    In closing, I have to say that this bike is an absolute stunner and the fact that it maybe uncomfortable to ride long distance is irrelevant. I, for one, would love have a brief dalliance with a supermodel, but I’m sure she’d be difficult to manage everyday.

  • http://oldtimermusings.blogspot.com/ Kyle Pereira

    It’s funny how everybody has an opinion and mostly, it’s based on nothing. It’s funny how most motorcycle forums are filled to the brim with people who are always out to prove how big they are and how right they are; as a result, the main thing in question – the motorcycles themselves – get second placed.

    I don’t think Mr Christian Klein ever intended to use this Ducati for a jaunt to Africa. Heck, I don’t think he even thought about touring on this machine through Germany for that matter. I think he wanted to build a bike to make good use of his metal shaping skills. He wanted a motorcycle that nobody on this good Earth has and he wanted something he can call his own. And he succeeded pretty darn well and the result is absolutely gorgeous.

    I’m building a cafe racer of my own. Thing is, I’m in India and this genre of motorcycles hasn’t quite percolated here as yet. I often get asked why. They don’t get my answer – because I want to. I don’t care if it’s impractical. Heck, a motorcycle as a mode of transport in itself is impractical – you’re exposed to the weather and quite frankly, you’re better off in a car where it’s warm, snug, dry and safer in a crash. But we still choose to stick it out on two wheels. The reason? Because we want to.

    Like Chris said, this is the place I come to for bikes and builds that are off-beat. I don’t want normalcy here – I’d go somewhere else for that. I want something different and wild. Wacky even. And the best part is that most of what’s featured here is stunning too. The rest that aren’t? Well, I just close the window and wait for the next day’s motorcycle. Simple yet effective. May be some of you should try it.

  • norman

    Just to say, when i, as a student, hadn`t the time and (in this case, quite little) money to get a decent upholstery (and not the skills to do it myself) for my Yam SRX, i rode it without any of it, sitting on the bare glass fibre seat.
    For a few weeks. It wasn`t that bad, you can do it. Sometimes i even enjoyed this very direct feeling to the bike a little bit.
    And, in the german Streetfighter scene, there are a lot of guys running polished, engraved and whatever treated aluminum plates as seats – and they DO drive their bikes. It does all depend on what you like, what you want, and how much comfort you want to offer for looks.
    This bike is clearly not for everyone. But i think that it`s perfect for some people.
    I like it alot. I would love to ride it. Probably not for hours and hours, but for short blasts all the time, again and again.

  • Mingh

    @ Lew and others
    tha last thing we need here is another sticker tuned CB 750. Bike Exif has a reputation to live up to. There’s more pictures of these on the web than disposed plastic bags in an average chinese river. Nothing against them, but they’ll need to display similar creativity, vision and craftsmanship than this bike to make people miss a heartbeat.

  • tstop

    Awesome bike,
    as far as the seat is concerned, I had exactly the same amount of foam on my race bike and let me tell you it has never enter my mind during a race or open day practice that I was not comfy enough :-)
    as someone pointed earlier Harden the F up!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unkIVvjZc9Y

  • Lew

    Mingh, you’re saying that the ‘bar’ has been set higher now? We have to hover around in coffee shop galleries perusing the latest object ‘art de moto’ scratching our goatee beards. Mirrors, lights, seats, fenders, dials, appropriate tires etc…sorry, to much of distraction?

    For me, sorry I love some of the CB550s, CB750s. My favorite is the RD400, a beautiful usable bike. Love the previous Guzzi too.

  • Tael

    Very well executed, detailed and finished. Even the paintcheme appears well thought out in these pics. My only issue with it is the choice of his CHKlien logo, which at first glance appears to say CHICKEN. Rather off-putting……

  • el vencejo

    KIK said: @ Ethan,..look at pic # 6 and honestly tell me you can ride this bike for more than an hour,if you can you are my god

    I think you and Ethan are both USA. In Europe the riding position is not radical. Lots of guys ride streetfighters or race reps with just 3mm of rubber foam as a seat pad. Many EU single cylinder fans would take this for track-days on twisty circuits.

    On the other hand, most over here would never consider riding a bike with no front brake, too much traffic/too many people. And it would be completely illegal for a vehicle made since 1940’s. Someone would die within a week on the road!

  • ac

    always the functionality arguement.

    comfort (to a point) is relative, as I noted on another bike I am not one to ride a slamed, rigid, raked glid but some guys (and past generations) spent hours, days, years riding hard tails and spaghetti framed bikes.

    maybe we are spoiled these days with the cushy bikes built today, Nav, heated seats and grips, big windshield, adjustable (even on the fly) suspension…

    But custom bikes like these, whether you want to ride them or not…are quiet ridable.

    I remember seeing a guy on a harley who couldn;t U-turn without letting go of one grip, still he road the bike to the shop.

    every Motorcycle is a compromise to some point…KLRs are great touring bike, but winded on the highway. R1200GSs are great back road bikes but lousy in the mud. CBR600RR are excellent on a twisty road but a mediocure touring bike….I could go on.

    I am very sure I could ride this bike all day down a twisty road, it’s rideable…it’s beautiful…it’s not comfortable.

    ridability isn’t the only reason to own bike cause you would likely end up in your cage.

  • Tinman

    What a nice piece of work, very well done!! Those who worry about a Hot seat, all it takes is a layer of heat insulation tape on the underside to negate that problem. Light weight, Beauty and good power, What a Blast this would be to ride!!

  • Jason

    Wow. Mr. Klein, I couldn’t commend you enough on this machine. I’m sure you’re very proud. For those that have something negative to say about this machine, I think you’ve missed his point. I built a ’74 RD350 in a similar fashion about 20 yrs ago. No fenders, disc brakes, no signal lights, stripped everything off that wasn’t essential. Think it came in 250-275 lbs. The seat? An afterthought: narrow, steel base covered with an inch of low-density foam and a piece of vinyl. The foam was just for looks. Loved that bike more than any I’ve owned since. Ask me if I remember how uncomfortable the seat was. It was really just a place to rest between corners anyway.

  • Griffin

    Nice job, Klein! This is the kind of work that really makes me want to learn how to work with metal. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ernest

    I do believe there was an exihibit back the the late 90″s at a little Museum Called THe Guggenheim That was titled THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE. Motorcyles Can and are art.. I would ride this bike whenever I got the chance if I owned it, and if you are worried about rain, your arse getting sore, fenders and such stay in your car, or on the couch for that matter. beatuiful bike.

  • iRivas

    This is a awesome bike. But you need some cajones to ride a bike like this.

  • iRivas

    And when your done riding you’ll need a new set of cajones!

  • GB400TT

    Wow! Lots of comments! This bike made me giggle with excitement! LOVE this DUCYADA (Ducati, Yamaha, Honda). Great selections for parts and custom additions. Great workmanship and taste. Amazing! Thanks Exif for keepin me coming back every day! (you are my homepage)

  • Joe Bagadonuts

    Wow, another stunner that totally fills the site mission. The lines, machine work and concept are all exceptional. Great execution well captured….thanks!

  • Kerry

    It’s stunning, period.
    And to all those who complain about not being able to ride it for lone periods, you’re a bunch of pussies.
    My ’47 Kuncklehead had no rear suspension and a solid iron seat pan. I ride for hundreds of miles on it.
    You talk about how this bike would hurt your ass. How about getting off your ass or talking your head out of it?

  • Bill Scannell

    One person has the creative ability and spends a 1000 hours or so to design and build a special purpose bike for himself. Another person dedicates more time and creative effort to present this work in beautiful photos and concise copy to anyone for free. Dozens of people who in all probability could not design and build a motorcycle, but are certain they are expert on the subject, dedicate a few minutes of their time to tell the world what is right and wrong with it.

    It is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. I am thankful that creative productive folks like Chris Klein and the Editor share their work.

  • kidchampion

    Top 10. It really is a work of art. And functional from cafe to cafe. I appreciate the honesty of it – esse quam videri. Bikes like the Kestrel Falcon leave me cold with the steampunk nostalgic touches that lead to outrageous expense. This is true form-follows-function and the result is beautiful.

  • badams

    @ john T.

    The thought of hooks ad barbs and screaming skulls is entertaining. Like I said, its a 2, here are a couple of 10’s.

    Krugger:
    http://www.bikeexif.com/krugger-overmile

    Britten:
    http://www.bikeexif.com/britten-v1000

    Cole Foster:
    http://www.salinasboys.com/projects/b.htm

    If you like, I can continue to bust you up all day, but would rather get out there and ride. Hope the snow and hi unemployment rate in your flyover state isnt making you think too much about climbing in the gas stove.

    Check mate dude.

  • Deez

    Bust him up all day? Flyover state? Check mate?

    Quit being a jerk.

  • John T.

    Well, to draw your ire with that billet wheel comment was mean spirited, so I offer an apology. But to stick to your guns and continue to call this bike a 2 on a design scale of 10 is absurd. If the Krugger and the Foster bikes are 10’s (which they are, without hesitation), then the Britten is easily a 25 on a 10 scale. This Klein Ducati, entirely scratch built, easily functions on a design plane equal to that of the Krugger. The builder has taken a pure Italian form and turned it into a German masterwork. A 458 Italia into an R8, if you will. Look at the parallel lines drawn by the frame tubes and the exhaust in the side view. Look at all the subtle detail. The lightening holes, the fasteners, the pivots; nothing overdone, just all contributing to the theme and execution of the design. The visual balance is just perfect on this thing. Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb and the positive and negative space counter one another perfectly. All the colors, materials, and textures work in complete harmony here. The scale employed on this bike is just magnificent, with all the major components lying subordinate to that incredible tank. And the tank is singularly brilliant in that it is completely teutonic in its squared off form, but still manages to evoke the seductiveness of the Italian tank it replaces, with the scalloped top and the long form seen on every Italian GP machine from 1952 through 74. Think about this: Years ago, Jesse James got a supposed 250 thou to build a cafe bike for Honda. That bike made the cover of Cycle World. Except for the fact that a 350 isn’t really that marketable any more, how different is this scenario. What is this bike worth to Ducati? I’m guessing a lot.

  • honce

    100 : P

  • Andrew

    I can relate and have the utmost respect and admiration for Mr. Klein’s work. Its not a Ducati. Its a Klein. He went into his “parallel world” and dreamt it up, but beyond dreaming, he put it into metal so that when he was able, he could propell himself down a twisty road and revel in his work. The self-satisfaction must be nervana.

    He made some sketches, then he made some more formal drawings and then he found his stock and then he made innumerable set-ups. The combination of engineering and dreaming… the imagineering that went into this is amazing. He probably found himself thinking of it while at work, while walking the dog, at a dinner party. He probably was a bit more than obsessed. Every time he went into his familar shop surroundings he went into the present; no past, no future, just singleminded work in the moment. He solved engineering problems, created forms and finally had to make something. Can you imagine how many iterations on some of the parts? You only assume he’s finished with the bike. Its an outlet for his obsession and staying in the present for as long as he can.

    Those who must to do things like this know what I’m talking about. The naysayers and nit-pickers can’t be heard by the likes of Mr. Klein. Its like the din of noise at a dinner party while he’s thinking of making a set-up to position the eccentrics on the swingarm. Its a culmination of all that time spent in the present and we’re given the opportunity to bask in it… I can’t imagine standing in the presence of this bike and Mr. Klien and making some of the asinnine comments I’ve read here. But that’s the internet for ya. Thanks Chris for bringing this bike and this artisan into my home.

  • xtophr

    Very nice work! A minimalist machine beautifully executed, and isn’t that what cafe racers are all about?

  • Mule

    Sorry, but it must have a different seat. The rest of the build, design and workmanship are incredible.

    Not sure how the seat got through the design commitee. :-)

  • kik

    Does anybody notice that there’s a high heat source under an aluminum seat? A very hot pipe under your butt? that was and still is my question,sorry..

  • http://vx800-restoration.blogspot.com/ Stephen F

    My favorite build on this site for quite awhile now! Beautifully executed. Fenders aren’t an issue since who the hell would ride this bike in the rain? I have a motorcycle specifically for commuting and I still think twice before I ride it in the rain. The bikes I’m building will never be taken outside when it’s wet. Why take a fun bike out for a fun ride when it’s pouring down rain or you’ll be going through puddles?

    I’m not fond of the riding position; the seat could be at least level with the bars instead of above it. But then I find most stock sport bikes uncomfortable for longer than an hour at a time, not to mention Ducati makes production bikes that are setup like this and no one seems to flame them.

    Oh, and the speckle finish powdercoat or paint is a nice touch that I usually think looks cheesy but am now considering for my old Yamaha. It’ll probably still be cheesy on my bike though. :(

  • http://www.dirtypixel.com dirtypixel

    Beautiful bike. Stunning attention to detail.

    I have a bike that is set up almost as aggressively (and also with no front fender). I commuted on it 30 miles each way for years through a very busy American city, across a bridge and lanesharing through chock-a-block cars. So I would say that such an aggressively set up by is VERY ridable.

    I would love to be able to have the combination of vision, imagination, skill and craftsmanship that Mr. Klein has been able to tap in order to produce this amazing one of a kind piece.

    Chris, thanks for posting this one up. Definitely one of the top 5 you have showcased during the time I have been reading.
    CHEERS!

  • badams

    @ john T

    Well said, its posts like that which even a beginner can understand and appreciate. All good.

    All in all, its a cool bike, and frankly I would like to own it/ride it given just based on the powerplant alone. Keep in mind living in Socal we see all kinds of innovation and recreations, some good, some bad, regardless of the skill level in the execution. Genres in Socal are liberated based on typography; Mark Drews bike in Huntington Beach or the Klein bike on Latigo Canyon. sometimes they cross over and work, sometimes not, but they all have there place. IN my minds eye and based on what we see here, its a hollywood hills canyon cafe racer with high style. However we also have on a daily/weekly basis extreme versions of cafes, sportbikes, choppers, etc. To see an NCR Desmo isn’t shocking out here.

    In summary, your explanation on your POV allows me to look though a different lens, so it much appreciated.

    Oh and @Deez, if you spend anytime in the motorcycle world, you’d know the poking and prodding is all part of the good fun. Lighten up.