Yellowjacket: A waspish Ducati GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto

Ducati GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto
The Ducati SportClassic range is universally adored, but some SportClassic models get more love than others. The limited edition, Öhlins-equipped Paul Smart is the pick of the bunch—provided you have deep pockets and can actually find one. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the Ducati SportClassic GT1000.

To the uninitiated, the GT1000 is just another SportClassic. But put it side-by-side with its siblings, and you’ll spot a number of obvious differences. Designed as a practical variant of the café racer-like SportClassic, it wears riser handlebars instead of clip-ons, a chunkier seat, and a different fuel tank with generous knee cutouts.

Ducati SportClassic GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto
It’s also distinguishable by its twin rear shocks, and its chromed exhausts that sit on either side of the bike, rather than being stacked together. But while it might not have quite the same appeal as sportier SportClassic models, it has the same bones and is no less attractive. You still get a 992 cc desmodromic L-twin engine, a trellis frame, and oodles of retro charm.

Tom Gilroy, founder of Purpose Built Moto on Australia’s Gold Coast, is a fan of the Ducati GT1000. As far as he’s concerned, it’s a great bike that only gets better the more you tweak it. And Purpose Built Moto sure knows how to tweak it.

Ducati SportClassic GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto
The owner of this 2008-model GT1000 brought it in for a makeover, with only a handful of specific requests. He wanted the GT1000’s basic suspension and heavy wheels upgraded, and he wanted an under-tail exhaust system. As for the rest of the brief, PBM was asked to modernize the GT1000’s looks without ditching its distinct fuel tank.

With those principles guiding the project, Tom and his crew got to work stripping the Ducati down and ordering the parts they’d need. The custom café racer that they envisioned would call for some top-shelf parts, an array of handmade bits, and a radical paint job.


Sorting out the suspension and wheels was an easy win—once the parts finally arrived. PBM swapped the forks out for the Öhlins setup from a Ducati Monster 1200R, then installed a pair of GT1000-specific Öhlins rear shocks. Brembo brakes add extra stopping power.

The GT1000’s hefty steel rims had to go, so PBM ordered a set of exotic Jonich M9 hoops. Using carbon-wrapped aluminum hoops, they not only look spicy but are a heck of a lot lighter too (Tom reports that the difference is tangible out on the road). They’re wrapped in Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV rubber, with a chunky 200/55-17” tire at the back.


In between ordering those parts and fitting them, PBM got to work on a slew of fabrication jobs. The subframe was trimmed back a little, effectively shortening and narrowing the bike’s tail, while also making space for the new exhaust system.

Tom had to start fabricating the exhaust before the subframe was done, because he wasn’t exactly sure how the two components would work with each other. He designed a two-into-one-into-two system with a collector that passes through the gap in the swingarm, before splitting into the two mufflers that sit under the tail. With the exhaust finished, it was time to finalize the subframe and move to the bodywork.

Ducati SportClassic GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto
A new tail cowl was shaped out of sheet metal, designed to hug the twin mufflers while picking up several design cues from the OEM tank. The details are subtle but incredibly well-judged. The top of the tail bump traces the same line as the top of the tank, while the curved cutaways at the back echo the tank’s knee indents.

Notice how the edges of the tail dip below the line of the subframe? That’s a throwback to the GT1000’s original seat design.

Ducati SportClassic GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto
Peek around the back, and you’ll spot a custom diamond-shaped taillight, tucked neatly between the silencers. Tiny LED turn signals are Frenched into the back of the cowl too; they’re prototype units that PBM will be adding to their online store soon. The Ducati’s electronics are now housed inside the tail unit, with multiple layers of heat-shield material to stave off heat from the exhausts.

With the Ducati slowly taking shape, Tom felt inspired to push the design a little further. So he built a sharp chin spoiler to complement the motor, with cutouts to accommodate the exhaust system. A removable mesh cover at the front offers quick access to the battery and regulator/rectifier.

Ducati SportClassic GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto
Next, Tom turned his attention to the bike’s new headlight nacelle. It houses one of the shop’s own LED headlights, with LED turn signals stealthily used as headlight mounting bolts. Lower down, PBM staffer Dylan fabricated an aluminum fender, with a unique ‘twin wall’ look.

Before they wrapped the project up, PBM dragged their client into the shop to test fit his bike. He’s a tall guy, so the team ended up making custom brackets to lower the foot pegs and create more legroom. The cockpit wears LSL bars with Brembo levers, wrapped grips, and PBM switches and mirrors. There’s an aftermarket speedo, too, mounted where the ignition barrel used to sit.


Nearing the finish line, PBM finished the Ducati off with a few more handmade details. New side covers hide the ugly fuel pump, but still offer quick access to the fuel hoses, while custom belt covers adorn the engine. A swingarm-mounted license plate bracket does duty at the back.

The striking black and yellow livery combines classic lines with modern hues—but it took some doing to execute. Tom turned to regular PBM collaborator, Justin at PopBang Classics, to lay it down, but he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted until Justin started painting. The two spent hours in the shop laying down strips of tape and fine-tuning the design—and it paid off.

Ducati SportClassic GT1000 by Purpose Built Moto
We’d be perfectly happy with a stock SportClassic in our garage, but this custom Ducati GT1000 ups the ante. Lighter, tighter, and better equipped before, it scores high on both form and function.

Purpose Built Moto | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Brandan Trudinger

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