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In The Raw: Simone Conti’s Ducati cafe fighter

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
Most cultures have their own versions of Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time available.” It’s especially applicable when building a bike, because without a brief, things tend to veer off course—or take years to complete.

Simone Conti knows this well. He became well acquainted with the Law while customizing this Ducati SuperSport, but the incredible result was worth the pain.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
Simone’s not a professional builder in the strictest sense—though he hopes to be, one day. For now, he works in his family’s ceramic filter business in Sassuolo, near Modena in Italy, and wrenches in his spare time in his brother’s workshop.

He’s completed six builds so far under the banner of Simone Conti Motorcycles (or ‘SCM’), and four more currently on the bench. But he’s built this Ducati for himself.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
The donor was a 2003 Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS, bought specifically for this project. The original idea was to create a classic café racer, but somewhere between Simone’s original sketches and his cardboard mockups, it morphed into the futuristic café-fighter you see here.

“Before I build,” says Simone, “I always make a small drawing with pencil and paper. But nine times out of ten, I change the idea.” You can almost see the Italian shrug.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
All the Ducati’s bodywork is now custom—from the fairing and front fender to the tank and tail. Simone has fashioned the aggressive ‘cafe fighter’ curves from aluminum, using classic metal-shaping techniques with hammers and an English wheel.

There’s some trick detailing going on too. The headlight cutouts up front are reminiscent of current sport bikes, and are equipped with low-profile LED strips. There’s a similar treatment at the back, with a pair of taillight LEDs poking out through the grooves cut into the tail section.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
Simone adapted a windshield from another Ducati to fit his fairing. The fuel tank’s been designed to sit over the original airbox, so there was no need to remove or modify it. It’s been kitted with the gas cap from a Ducati 1098.

The tail section is perched on a custom-built subframe—made with a trellis design that complements the SuperSport’s main frame. Up top is a bare-bones saddle, amplifying the bike’s racer appeal.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
Moving to the suspension, Simone has plugged a set of Ducati 998 forks into custom triples. Since the SuperSport came stock with an Öhlins rear shock, he’s left that alone. But he did redesign the swing arm, to make space for wider rubber and give it a boxier vibe.

A wheel swap was on the cards, but Simone had trouble fitting the Alpina Carbon Pro Matrix rims he had set aside. So he kept the SuperSport’s OEM wheels—but upgraded the brakes with Brembo bits. It wasn’t a simple plug-n-play job either; the new swing arm design meant that a custom mount had to be fabbed up for the rear brake.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
If you’re wondering what that belly-pan under the bike is for: it’s the exhaust, and one of our favorite features on this build. Simone fabricated a box silencer out of aluminum, then built an intricate two-into-one stainless steel header arrangement, flowing into it.

We’re betting it sounds fantastic, and it also hints at the under-the-hood work. This SuperSport’s been bumped up to 1,100 cc, and upgraded with a new controller and a slipper clutch. So it goes like stink.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
There’s also a full complement of carbon engine covers, and an open clutch cover from EVR. You might also spot a carbon snorkel; it came off a race-spec Ducati SuperSport, and was altered to work here.

Simone’s sprinkled the SuperSport with some tasty off-the-shelf ‘go fast’ bits too. The grips, bar-end mirrors and fluid reservoirs are all from Rizoma.

Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter
Other than a splash of black on the subframe and swing arm, the red-framed Duc is devoid of paint and graphics. Which is just perfetto.

With Simone’s magnificent metalwork on full display, no-one will mistake this for a stock sportbike out on the autostrada.

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Simone Conti’s Ducati SuperSport 1000 DS cafe fighter

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