Ten years ago, the Multistrada was the odd man out in the Ducati line-up. For starters, it looked very strange indeed—and was likened by one magazine to a “wet cat with a large forehead.”
As a bike to ride, though, it was pretty good. As long as you didn’t take it off-road. So it’s the classic candidate for a custom job, and that was the thinking of London-based Paul Berry, who wanted to turn his 2004-spec Multistrada 1000 DS into a light and sporty ride suitable for tight city streets.
Berry shipped the bike over to David Gonzalez of Ad Hoc Café Racers in Spain. Gonzalez’ style is offbeat and original, and his workmanship is top class. But even he was stumped at first. “The initial idea was to adapt a Hypermotard fuel tank and modify the rear of the bike to match,” he recalls. “But that didn’t work. So we went back to sketching out alternative approaches on paper for several weeks.”
Gonzalez built a clay mold for a new tank, and from those stubby, angular beginnings, a new bike began to take shape. Under the tank is a new tubular frame section, maintaining the traditional Ducati aesthetic but taking it in a fresh direction. To keep the bike looking clean, the fuel pump is now inside the steel tank unit and the battery has been relocated, with a simplified wiring loom. The original airbox is gone and the engine new breathes through simpler filters.
The overall look is strikingly original, and well thought out, too. Take those fork shrouds—they mimic the powdercoated framework, and add to the coherent feel. The headlight surround and rectangular lamp match the squared-off vibe of the frame, and can be easily interchanged for different setups. The cockpit is dominated by wide, 35mm Easton bars.
The bike is currently configured with a single seat, but there is a dual option that fits easily into the new subframe. The taillight is a very discreet LED strip built into the frame. And in case there’s any doubt that this is a bike to be ridden, the tires are grippy Michelin Anakee 3s.
As a builder, David Gonzalez is now hitting his prime, with a solid reputation and a distinctive, off-kilter aesthetic. He feels it’s time to take the next step. “I want to create a line of motorcycles,” he says, “that can be configured with different colors and aesthetics.”
Multistradas are not hard to find in Europe, and earlier examples are available for pretty reasonable prices. Any takers out there?