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SS1100 Carbon: A rapid Ducati 900 SS from Moscow

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
We don’t see many customs from Russia. But Moscow-based Birdie Customs and their founder Ilya are doing their best to remedy that, with a slow but steady stream of classy performance customs.

Birdie’s Ducati 900 SS knocked us out a year ago, and they’ve just returned with an even faster 900 SS, built in a different style and taking on board lessons learnt with the previous Duc. It’s sleek and stylish, and there’s nothing else quite like it—especially in the Federation.

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
“Sadly, Russian custom culture is far behind the international community,” Ilya tells us. “Clients mostly ask for Harleys with long forks and engraving; customization of a Ducati or BMW R nineT ends with a catalog.”

“Bike EXIF has made us rethink our projects and create something new and much more ‘technological’.”

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
This bike is called ‘SS 1100 Carbon.’ Ilya and his crew started with the frame of a Ducati 900 SS i.e. from 1999 and little else—which complicated the build somewhat. But it did at least give them a clean sheet of paper.

“Our core idea was futurism—customized carbon parts, combined with Ducati superbike parts, the classic air-oil engine, and high-end electronic Motogadget components.”

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
The core of the bike is Ducati’s biggest air-oil engine, the Desmodue 1100. After squeezing it into the frame, Birdie grafted on Showa adjustable upside-down forks from an 848, using the bottom yoke from a 1098 and the upper yoke from a 999.

The heavily modified back end is now suspended with the monoshock from Monster 1100. “Based on our experience building the 900 SS ‘Red Alert’, we paid special attention to control and ergonomics,” says Ilya. The angle on this shock is less horizontal and likely to provide better bump absorption.

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
There’s an air of practicality around this build. “The wheels are from a Ducati 848,” Ilya says. “Initially, I wanted monobloc brakes—but after consultation with others, I realized that there was no point.”

“So I used the stock calipers from the 848, hooked them up to metal hoses, and used PT Performance Technology brake and clutch master cylinders.”

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
The Desmodue 1100 engine punches out around 95 hp in stock form, so Ilya has left the internals alone and freed up the breathing with a free-flowing K&N intake and a custom exhaust system with a pair of slender mufflers—no chunky end cans here.

He’s also installed a 1098R slipper clutch to avoid any dramas on mistimed downshifts

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
The mechanical boxes are all well and truly ticked, but it’s the completely custom bodywork that grabbed us first. Not least because it’s all carbon fiber, and makes an already light bike even lighter.

Unlike most carbon-based builds, the tank is ‘real’ and not a cover for another material. The low profile accentuates the trellis frame just perfectly. The wasp-like tail unit is even tinier, but caused more problems than anything else on this Ducati: “Surprisingly, it was this design that was the hardest,” Ilya reveals.

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
The frontal lighting and surrounding trim was designed in SolidWorks, and tested with polystyrene molds before the final shape was locked down. The headlight itself is a Xenon unit, also modeled in SolidWorks. Like the brake light, it was constructed using an acrylic casting.

Juice for the lighting comes from a Hypermotard wiring loom, which links a Ducati Performance ECU with a Motogadget m.unit control box and m.lock keyless ignition system. “When people hear that it can be hooked up to an iPhone for settings and diagnostics, they are shocked!”

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow
The ECU has been retuned, but it was no easy task. “We encountered difficulties with changing the firmware of the ECU,” Ilya says. “So we analyzed the software and changed it ourselves, because no one in Moscow can do it right.”

The next steps are track testing, and tuning the ECU on the dyno to create track and city modes. Ilya’s planning to show the bike at World Ducati Week 2019, along with ‘an aggressive Scrambler’ with a similar carbon tank.

Our eyes will be peeled.

Birdie Customs | Birdie Customs Facebook | Instagram | Ilya’s Instagram | Photos by Ilya Vilkov (opening photo) and Mikhail Kolotushkin

Ducati 900 SS cafe racer by Birdie Customs of Moscow

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