Many custom motorcycles have a short shelf life. They’re a snapshot of a moment in time, or of a particular style. And a couple of years later, they look dated. But some bikes endure, and this is one of them. I missed the Steffano-Ducati Cafe9 first time round, back in 2007, but it still looks just as good today. And I’m not the only one that feels that way—earlier this year, the Ducati was invited to appear at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK.
It’s the creation of Robert Steffano, who runs the Windsor, CA based motorcycle fabrication company Kosman Specialties. The base machine is a Ducati 999, transformed into a 21st century café racer. The stock motor is plenty powerful enough, offering around 140 bhp and 80 ft lb of torque, but the chassis has been modified to accommodate carbon fiber bodywork that helps reduce the weight by 20 lbs over a stock 999. Leo Vince SBK headers are matched to an extraordinary hand-formed aluminum exhaust system; at first glance, it appears to be part of the body at the rear. A BrakeTech Axis full-floating brake system is hooked up to Brembo monoblocs for maximum stopping power, and the wheels are PVM forged alloy. The rearsets are Cycle Cat solid billet aluminum items.
Steffano’s objective was to create a café racer with timeless styling and a museum-quality finish. With the rare benefit of hindsight, it’s safe to say that he succeeded.