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Red Hot: deBolex’s Ducati Scrambler Racer

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
There’s always some trepidation when you meet a custom motorcycle builder for the first time. Is their work really that good in the metal? Or do they rely on expensive photographers and Photoshop to hide hack-jobs and shortcuts?

I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with Calum Pryce-Tidd of deBolex Engineering in south London a few times now. But it wasn’t until he took along a couple of his bikes to the Wildays festival in Italy that I finally saw deBolex’s work in the clear light of a crisp Mediterranean day.

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
When Calum rolled this alluring Ducati racer out of the van, I was gobsmacked. And I wasn’t the only one—the Duc stopped passersby in their tracks, all weekend long.

It started life as an 803 cc Ducati Scrambler, booked in by a very relaxed client. “We had full freedom on the project,” says Calum, “so it was a chance to build a bike that was true to our style.”

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
“We found a distinct style while building our Ducati 749 project. Since then, we’ve honed in on this, and carried some of the fundamental design elements through to our Thruxton build, and now onto this recent Ducati.”

Calum and his partner, Des Francis, are methodical and traditional in their approach. Their bodywork is always hand-formed from aluminum using age-old metalworking techniques, and they even do their own paint and upholstery.

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
“We’re forever inspired by classic race machines,” says Calum. “And we always had one direction planned for this project: a full fairing.”

“This diverted us away from our distinctive belly pan and radiator cowling design. And required a re-think on how we could incorporate more intricate elements, such as the oil cooler and air intake openings, using similar build techniques.”

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
That full fairing is undoubtedly the star of the show—mostly because deBolex got every last angle and contour just right. Though it encapsulates the Ducati’s motor, there are openings to channel air to where it needs to go.

The sides pop on and off in record time for easy maintenance, and are fitted via rubber rivnuts to help keep vibrations down.

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
The fuel tank’s another aluminum one-off, and traces a stylish retro racer line. Out back is a custom-built tail section and seat pan, complete with a signature deBolex mod. Using a combination of a custom-made latch and the original key lock, the seat pops right off, giving the rider access to the electronic components under it…just like on a stock bike.

Sitting underneath the new tail is a fully custom subframe. deBolex tweaked the main frame too—adding tabs in to mount the fairings. Every part is tasteful and harmonious—like that criss-cross on the new subframe.

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
The exhaust is another perfect fit. It’s a full, custom-made stainless steel system, front to back, and it complements the rest of the bike’s lines. Even the bracket that secures it to the tail is an exquisite little piece of engineering.

On the performance side, deBolex boosted the Scrambler’s suspension with Andreani fork cartridges up front, and a Maxton shock at the back.

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
The wheels are now matching 17s, with new rims laced to the stock hubs via stainless steel spokes. They’re shod with Metzler RaceTec RR rubber.

The controls are well sorted too. There’s a set of Renthal clip-ons and grips, sporting a Domino clutch lever assembly, and a brake master cylinder, throttle and switches from Accossato. The brake lines are from Venhill, and the rear-sets are Rizoma items.

Red Hot: DeBolex deliberately left off a headlight, tail light or turn signals, to maximize the race vibe of the bike. But it is 'daytime' street legal in the UK, so hopefully it'll get out regularly.  A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
Peek behind the fairing, and you’ll spot the Scrambler’s stock speedo, mounted on a custom bracket. Calum explains the reasoning: “We used the stock dial mainly because it looks great—it’s simple, clean and does the job it’s there to do.”

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
And it’s in daylight that this svelte racer really glimmers, with an almost-all-red livery that draws inspiration from cars like the Ferrari 250LM.

The all-red Alcantara seat’s a nod to classic racing MV Agustas, and the racing roundel on the nose has become a common theme in deBolex’s race-inspired projects.

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
The Scrambler wears a classic Ducati logotype on the tank, and deBolex’s ‘1/1’ motif on the tail, signifying that only one of its kind will ever be made. That’s their usual approach to projects, but Calum tells us that they’ll be branching out into limited series builds soon.

“With a new series run on the horizon this emblem will become less frequently seen,” he explains. “Using the fabrication and design skills we have perfected on the specials, we’ll be creating a unique (and customizable) limited edition run.”

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
If those bikes are even a frazione as cool as this incredible one-off, we’re predicting they’ll sell like hotcakes. Please form an orderly queue behind us.

deBolex Engineering | Facebook | Instagram | Photography by Tom Horna from Autohouse London
Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering

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