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Woolie’s wild Pikes Peak hill climb racer

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
The Pikes Peak race is just two weeks away now, and the competition is getting red hot. We’ve already profiled the Zero SR/F, and Ducati has just announced that it’ll be running its Streetfighter V4 prototype.

There’s a chance that both those machines will be eclipsed by this fire-breathing monster from Deus Ex Machina, though.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
It’s the latest incarnation of ‘Beastie,’ the ongoing race bike project from Michael ‘Woolie’ Woolaway. And this time it has a 200hp Ducati 1198 R engine.

The first version of the bike debuted at Pikes Peak last year. With Woolie on board, it took second in the Exhibition class with a time of 11:40.742—beaten only by Scotsman Joseph Turner on a heavily modified Aprilia SXV.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
“Last year, I learned so much,” Woolie admits. “This is a tough event, like no other in the world. I would say it’s like mountaineering, not only in the sense that it is brutal, but also because you are left with a sense of accomplishment even if you got it all wrong.”

This time, Woolie’s determined to get it right.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
He’s used to building bikes for the likes of Orlando Bloom, Ryan Reynolds, and Bruce Springsteen, but he’s spent the last nine months mostly focusing on the Ducati.

He’ll be returning to Pikes Peak with a bike that is lighter, more powerful, and more reliable.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
Little remains of the previous incarnation. That one was based on the Hypermotard SP, but this time Woolie’s adapted a Streetfighter frame, and welded on the adjustable steering head from a 999.

The triples clamp onto modified Öhlins fully adjustable USD forks, lifted from an 1198S.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
“The shock is an Öhlins TTX,” Woolie says. “It’s shorter than the stock unit, with different valving for a longer swingarm and different link. This is all WSBK spec stuff.”

“The only parts I’ve kept are the front number plate and the seat section,” Woolie reveals. (The bare seat unit weighs less than an ounce.) “There’s a new motor and a new Nova gearbox, and the swing arm is in a different location.”

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
The RAM magnesium swingarm has a WSBK pivot link and the shorter shock means the bike now sits some four inches (ten cm) lower than before.

The gas tank is new. Fashioned out of 1100-O aluminum, it holds a little over three gallons, which is plenty enough to get up and down the 12.42 mile (19.99 km) Pikes Peak course.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
The BST carbon fiber front wheels remain unchanged, but are anchored by a high-end Brembo system with full floating rotors from BrakeTech. The Microtec ECU is unchanged too.

Woolie’s main focus was to optimize the power-to-weight ratio. As well as installing an 1198 R engine (with sand cast cases), he’s ditched 88 pounds of factory trim from the Streetfighter—replacing a lot of it with minimal carbon fiber bits.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
“It’s to combat the lower oxygen levels at the higher altitudes,” he explains. “They cause significant power loss, especially when approaching the summit.”

The Ducati now weighs 347 pounds (157 kilos) wet, with 2.5 gallons in the fuel tank. Woolie calculates that each horsepower is responsible for propelling only 1.7 pounds of motorcycle. That’s almost a MotoGP ratio, which in layman’s terms, means the bike will be crazy fast.

Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA
Disaster struck just a few weeks ago: while testing the new engine on the dyno, it sucked in the air filter and grenaded itself. Engine guru Mark Sutton had to rebuild the four-valve L-twin in double-quick time, and then Woolie took the Ducati to his friend Geoff Maloney at GP Tech and spent two days torturing the motor in 118°f (47°C) heat.

The next step is the ultimate test, in the Race To The Clouds on Saturday, 30 June. Will ‘Beastie’ triumph on the 156-turn course, climbing to almost 14,000 feet above sea level? We’ll be watching with interest.

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Pikes Peak hill climb motorcycle by Deus USA