Just over a year ago, Speedtractor boss Matthew Roberts was tapped on the shoulder to become the head wrench for the Japanese outpost of a certain global custom brand.
We were big fans of Speedtractor’s off-kilter builds, and sadly assumed we’d see no more. But amazingly, the man finds the energy to wear two hats. And the proof is right here, with this razor-sharp custom Ducati M900 Monster.
It’s a one-of-a-kind bike with a unusual pseudo-military vibe. “The client was looking for something unique and something Ducati,” Matthew tells us. “A blend of scrambler and tracker elements, with a bit of a retro nod, but more timeless in design and execution than Ducati’s current models.”
The original plan was to lightly modify a new Scrambler Ducati. But as the discovery phase progressed, Speedtractor realized that not many of the Scrambler’s attributes were on the client’s ‘must keep’ list. A growing desire for a truly bespoke machine began to emerge.
“We’ve nothing against Ducati’s recent offerings,” explains Matthew. “But we felt there’s was a good reason to explore the design potential of the early Monster M900.”
“The L-twin lump and the deep ‘V’ of the trellis frame are a sound basis to work from. And when it’s stripped of its tank and panels, it’s close to a blank moto-canvas.”
Speedtractor pulled no punches with the M900, replacing all of the bodywork with a monocoque unit inspired by the angles of the frame tubes. The new setup is made from a carbon fiber, woven glass and epoxy composite, and varies in thickness according to areas of stress concentration.
Hiding under the eye-catching bodywork is the fuel cell, air filter, a Shorai LiFe battery, and all the electrics. The seat’s been covered in Alcantara, and now sits 80mm higher than stock. It’s been angled a little forward too, to keep the rider planted under acceleration.
The tail section’s been braced with a hefty steel subframe, allowing it to double up as a luggage rack. Tucked into the back is a one-off LED taillight and turn signal combo. Speedtractor also added threaded mounts into the ends of the frame rails, to function as multi-use attachment points.
Preferring spoked wheels over alloy numbers—but wanting to keep it in the family—Matthew shoehorned in a set of meaty Ducati Paul Smart wheels. Brembo four-pot brake calipers were then carefully massaged to make sure they cleared the spokes.
Other chassis upgrades include adjustable 41mm Showa forks from a Ducati 900SS, and an Öhlins shock out back. There are carbon fiber fenders at both ends, and the alloy side covers on each side of the seat are removable.
We’re suckers for a well thought-out cockpit, and this one’s pretty special. The owner requested “a simple and uncluttered cockpit, with a factory feel and just a nod to the past.” So Speedtractor fabricated a new alloy top bridge, which now houses a classically styled Daytona speedo—plus all of the ‘idiot’ lights.
Rounding out the setup are low-rise tracker bars, a quick action throttle and an alloy surround for the ignition key. A small alloy fly screen—integrated into the headlight shell—holds it all together visually. The front turn signals are a pair of experimental (“hopefully legal”) LEDs, mounted in the headlight reflector itself.
Items like the stock brake and clutch master cylinders were left alone. “They work,” says Matthew, “and when budgets come knocking, we focused resources on the high impact elements.”
To finish off the M900, Speedtractor liberated the frame of any unneeded tabs, before treating everything to a green and white livery, with dark grey striping. A little clear anodizing in all the right places helped cap things off.
Of course, the project wasn’t without its snags. Partway through, the M900’s destination changed from Tokyo to Europe. So Matthew had to retrofit all the necessary Euro 3 equipment. “It was doable,” he says, “but a tight squeeze!”
The change clearly didn’t hamper him in any way—this Monster rides the line between edgy and timeless, yet it’s still utterly capable of functioning as a daily rider. Good to see the Speedtractor flag still flying high.
Credits: Saddle suede work by Miauchi-san, mean green application by Nakata-san, moving pictures by William Greenawalt