If you live in mainland Europe and ride a motorcycle, you’ve probably bought parts or accessories from a company called Louis. The Hamburg-based company is Europe’s largest moto retailer, and it’s just celebrated its 75th anniversary.
To mark the occasion, Louis commissioned Marcus Walz to build a custom bike—and asked for ‘a machine that combines tradition and the future.’ It was also a collaborative project with Louis’ customers: In five stages, votes were taken on Facebook regarding the basic concept, the wheels, handlebar, instruments and the finish.
A Ducati Sport 1000 was chosen as the starting point. Walz rejigged the sheet metal to create a slim and wiry look: The tank, seat unit and rear bodywork were beaten by hand out of aluminum, and the rear frame was redesigned. Even the housing of the fuel pump is custom-built, also machined from aluminum and hidden from view by integrating it into the tank. An 800-gram lithium-ion battery is now concealed underneath the seat hump.
An Öhlins fork (from a Ducati 999R) is used at the front, and a custom-built height-adjustable suspension is used at the rear. The triple tree is made from billet aluminium: it weighs around 1.5 kg less than the original, and is three times as stable. The braking system is state-of-the-art, too: Brembo monoblocks together with Lucas ‘Wave’ discs.
The controls are from LSL—from the bars and grips to the clutch and brake levers. Brake fluid reservoirs now sit on their own specially developed mounts, tightly and inconspicuously up against the triple tree. The V-Rod-style headlight (from Louis’ own range) adds to the compact feel of the front end. Walz foot controls, machined from aluminium, are adjustable in all directions. The wheels have Akront flat shoulder rims, and are shod with Metzeler Racetec K3 tires.
The inner workings of the Sport 1000 engine are untouched, with the exception of a light Ergal clutch basket and an SBK clutch. But engine output is up by eight horsepower, thanks to the titanium exhaust system developed by Akrapovic. And to give the engine a tidier appearance, Walz replaced the original oil lines with those from a Ducati Hypermotard—which do not run over the belt cover.
With the help of further mods such as an ultra-light wiring harness, the Ducati lost almost 20 kg in weight in the course of the rebuild. The finish is a special paint from the Ducati factory called “Anniversario Rosso,” used exclusively for anniversary and presentation models. It’s covered by a matt clear varnish that Walz describes as a secret mixture—smooth and low-maintenance like a gloss varnish, but with a subtle degree of matting.
The Jubiläumsbike will soon go on tour around Louis’ stores, and then it’ll be auctioned off with the proceeds donated to a good cause. Any bidders?