Union Motorcycle Classics is the kind of shop we love to hear about. It’s based in a 100-year-old barn in the 19th century railroad town of Nampa, Idaho, where Mike Watanabe and Luke Ransom fettle and restore classic British and European machinery.
This recent build is giving us a serious case of envy. It’s Ducati Monza Super belonging to Kurt Bergquist—a man of impeccable taste who uses a 1969 VW Double Cab Pick-up to transport his bikes.
The Monza was a ‘narrowcase’ 250 cc single built in the mid 60s. It’s one of Bologna’s lesser-known models, designed in response to a request from a British Ducati dealer.
“The Ducati arrived incomplete, in boxes,” Mike recalls. “Kurt had bought a Ducati Scrambler, and he got the Monza with it as a spares bike.”
“He brought it in and asked what could be done. The only constraint he gave was ‘It can’t be red’.”
The stock Monza is not the prettiest of bikes, with a bulbous tank and bread loaf seat. So Mike and Luke started from scratch, shaping a racy new seat and fiberglass fairing and tank. The tank is reminiscent of the classic Ducati 750 Sport unit: if you like it, you can get a replica from the bodywork supplier Glass From The Past.
There’s a substantial amount of metal fabrication and machining too. Alongside the mandatory rearsets and brackets for the instruments and fairing, there’s also a practical center stand.
The elegant exhaust piping is hand-made too, flowing seamlessly into a classic reverse cone muffler.
The front end is completely custom, built using parts from several orphaned forks that were lying around the shop. After freshening up the motor and wheels with new parts, it was time for the paint and polish.
“It took a while to convince Kurt that gold would work,” says Mike. “But hey, it’s not red, is it?” We reckon it looks just perfect.
When Kurt arrived in his Volkswagen to collect the bike, Mike and Luke whipped out the cameras to capture the moment.
“He originally dropped the Ducati off with it. We thought it was only fitting that he pick it up in the same rig.”
Seeing dozens of bikes a day inevitably leaves us jaded, but this set-up has given us a huge case of moto-lust.
If you’re within range of the northwestern US, it’s worth paying Union Motorcycle a visit. Especially if you’re into old British iron: the next build is going to be a pre-War Norton.
Just make sure you leave your checkbook at home.