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46Works turns the first-gen Multistrada into a looker

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
The incomparable Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show went down this past weekend, and as usual the brightest stars of the Japanese custom scene pulled out all the stops. We weren’t there in person this time, but thanks to social media we’ve already earmarked our favorite builds from the show. Here’s the first: a genre-defying Ducati Multistrada from 46Works.

46Works is the current project of Shiro Nakajima, the original founder of the Japanese powerhouse Ritmo Sereno. He now lives a quieter life at the base of the Yatsugatake Mountain range, in a gorgeous wooden building that also contains his home workshop.

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
Nakajima-san spends a lot of his weekends either on the track, or on a multitude of nearby B-roads, on two wheels and four. So he has a thing for building machines that are actually good runners.

That ethos is on full display in this 2005 Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS. The older Multistrada’s a bit of a sleeper, offering pretty decent performance, albeit at the expense of gawky looks. Shiro traded the donor from one of his customers, and had something very special in mind for it.

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
“I traveled to the USA about 25 years ago with a red Ducati 750GT,” he tells us. “It was a very memorable motorcycle, but now the ‘roundcase’ Ducati is very expensive.”

“So I decided to make a modern version of the 750GT with the 2005 Multistrada. The concept is not a cafe racer, scrambler or cruiser—it is a simple and classic ‘road sport’ with no fairing.”

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
The visual changes to the Ducati’s overall silhouette are obvious, but one of Shiro’s first tasks was to tweak its stance. “I chose narrow 18” tires,” he says, “for light handling on the winding roads.”

To achieve this, a set of of Excel rims was laced up to a Yamaha hub in front, and a Kawasaki hub at the rear. The new setup was never going to be compatible with the Multistrada’s unique swing arm and inboard rear brake, so Shiro fabricated his own swingarm.

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
He also built a new brake setup, grafting on a Honda rotor and custom-made parts to work with the OEM Brembo brake. He’s made a sprocket spacer too, so that the sprocket will still line up with the narrower-than-stock rear wheel.

As for the suspension, there was no need to upgrade the Multistrada’s stock Öhlins forks. Shiro simply re-sprung the 43 mm USD forks to suit his needs, and refinished them in black. He also converted the rear to a twin shock setup, with a pair of matching Öhlins shocks.

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
And then there’s the in-your-face stuff; all the Pierre Terblanche-designed bodywork is gone, replaced by a far more compact arrangement of parts. That unmistakable trellis frame is still in play up front, but out back there’s a completely custom subframe with a classic kick in the tail.

Shiro fabricated a new fuel tank and seat pan out of aluminum, then called in RazzleDazzle to stitch up a new saddle. Stupid Crown handled the spectacular tank paint.

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
There’s a lot to appreciate; the way the tank’s form perfectly tucks into the frame, that pin stripe flowing into the line of the seat, and those classic Ducati logos.

Shiro also built new side panels, and small air funnels to replace those on the Multistrada’s old fairing. And he added fenders at both ends.

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
The cockpit’s adorned with a set of chromed high-rise bars, clutch and brake controls from Frando, and a Motogadget speedo and bar-end turn signals. There’s a small Bates-style headlight up front, sitting on custom brackets, and tail light from Chaft out back.

For the exhaust, Shiro bent up a set of titanium two-into-one headers—resorting to cutting and welding only in the tighter spots. The muffler’s actually from a BMW, and hangs off a hand-made hangar. Little one-off parts are sprinkled all over this build—like the neat custom foot controls.

Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works
There’s a lot to love here. Shiro’s tightened up the ergonomics for more aggressive riding, given the Multistrada a wholly unique and utterly retro look, and probably shaved a few pounds off it too.

And in the process, he hasn’t sacrificed an ounce of rideablity. Because, as he puts it, “All customs are for fun riding on the winding road, and for the pleasure of owning.”

Amen to that.

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Custom Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS by 46works

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