Sitting at the top of the tree, the Panigale V4 has made Ducati the king of the superbike class, and their current dominance in the MotoGP category hasn’t hurt sales either. But the Bologna-based company has had a rocky road in the fast bike class over the journey and there have definitely been dark days. Two machines in the last fifty years that didn’t let the side down however, were the original 900SS and the blistering 1098 that finally brought the company kicking and literally screaming into the modern age. So, for lover of all things automotive, Ronaldo Ferreti, the Cuban native who now calls the Big Apple home, decided to merge these two magnificent machines. And the result is a beautiful black beast dripping in gold, that has the go to match the show.

As a child in Cuba, Ronaldo watched his father use his brilliant and inventive mind as an aviation engineer, to overcome the challenges faced by the country’s political position to build and design aircraft. And how did his Dad get around at the time? On a bright red ’50s Jawa that must have been the talk of the town. But Ronaldo never really got into bikes, he was more of a car guy, until a friend asked him to ride a half broken old Honda he’d just purchased. That first time on two wheels lit a fire in Ronaldo’s heart, and took him back to the simple and sweet memories of his childhood; he had to get a bike of his own.

First, he started out with a stunning S2R Ducati Monster and over the journey he’s owned nine bikes all up. But he wanted to create something that was beautiful to honour his mother and her love and sacrifices, as well as pay tribute to his father’s creative ability to make just about anything function on an airplane. The bike’s name ‘Unica Ferreti’ wouldn’t come until later in the build when it was time for the graphics, but is a combination of the Italian word for unique and his mother’s maiden name. But before any gold graphics could be laid down, a bike had to be built, and it all started with a stock 1098 in yellow.

As with any superbike, unless it’s sat in someone’s living room, it is going to need a little tender loving care to get it back to its best. This is where Ducati NYC came in handy, supplying all of the replacement OEM parts to ensure perfect functionality. But before our budding builder could fit these bits, he needed somewhere to rip the bike apart, and a community workshop with plenty of tools to use was the perfect place. The first port of call on the bike was with the suspension and the front Showa forks and rear Ohlins shock have been completely rebuilt. The Brembo brakes get the same treatment and add new lines and carbon fibre CRG levers.

To get the bike rolling Ronaldo wanted to do something truly special and nothing does that like a set of carbon fibre BST wheels. To really set them off, they’ve been finished in a stunning satin gold, and to make the most of the weight saving, each end uses ceramic bearings. To help further reduce the weight, more carbon goodies were sourced and can be seen serving as the engine covers, sprocket cover, rear hugger and front fender. The wiring harness has been completely rebuilt and a small lithium battery strips some further kilos. The last of the weight savings are seen in the Vortex rearsets, and the new Probolt package, and then it was time to get serious with the looks.

The first step in the visual transformation was to create a “new custom rear subframe that can be detached from the original frame with four bolts, carrying the rear of the fuel tank bracket and the new seat.” The looks are heavily inspired by the 900SS, and not just in the colour scheme, and over the top of the new subframe goes a custom tail section with plenty of sexy ’70s curves. This clearly wouldn’t work with the stock fuel tank, so a modern classic solution needed to be found and to the rescue comes the gorgeous tank from a Sport Classic GT1000. The front fairing is from the good folks at Motoforza, and with a custom bracket, fits beautifully on the modern metal frame.

David at Slag Kustom was tasked with the paint job and what an absolutely stunning result, with the look of a 900SS simply taken to the extreme. With help from Luis at Higher Coats, who took care of all of the black powder and cerakote finishing, the black and gold runs throughout. From the stunning gloss on the tins to the matte finish over the forks and brakes, no area has been left untouched. Then there is that gold, “Anthony Di Liberto made the 23k gold leaf by hand for all the striping, letters, and signature.” It simply looks incredible and is then mimicked across the bike in areas from the sprocket carrier, to the frame and even the pressure plate.

That gold plate spins behind a black cage to keep the dry clutch safe and a new stack and spring set keeps the pressure at the lever spot on. The rapid four-valve Desmo twin is kept cool with a new radiator and oil-cooler that are protected by CNC covers. Before the power is given a serious kick in the pants thanks to a full custom exhaust system that would be right at home in the GP paddock, and a complete ECU remap by Ducati NYC.

To add to the fun factor, it’s all brought to life by a remote keyless start and Ronaldo was ready to roll. The weight is down, the power is up and the whole package is filled with alchemic appeal, let the Ducatisti rejoice.

[ Ronaldo Ferreti | Photography by Zoltan Suhay ]