“You’re wasting your cash” they yell, “it’s nothing but a money pit” come the comments, and truth be told, building and owning a custom motorcycle has never been a smart financial investment. But perhaps for some, that is about to change, as the scene has matured to a new place, and the cream of the crop become collectors’ items. And never have we had a chance to find out just how true that might be, than with the auction of a legendary build from one of the industry’s best. Collecting Cars is currently offering for sale the prototype for the dB25 model range by the UK’s deBolex Engineering, and early bidding is off to a racing start.
Motorcycles being a collectable and having the potential to fetch enormous sums of money at auction is nothing new. But that market has always been dominated by the most prized machines from the vintage era, with little else making a mark. But always the innovator, the late great Bobby Haas, just might have been once again ahead of the game when he began building his incredible collection for his Texas-based Haas Moto Museum & Sculpture Gallery. It is easy to imagine a bike from the collection built by the likes of Hazan or Rodsmith up for sale at a major auction house.
So, if you’re going to head over to Collecting Cars to place a bid, exactly what has deBolex founder Calum Pryce-Tidd cooked up in crafting a keepsake worth plenty of cash? “The dB25 is the first in a number of Series projects to be developed by deBolex. Using the Ducati Monster 1200, we’ve transformed this fantastic platform into a full fairing retro racer. We’ve reimagined both the design and character with over 100 new custom components.” And the bike offered for sale is the prototype, number 1 of 25 and features something that none of the other bikes possesses.
The remainder of the series wear their stunning bodywork in a high-quality prepreg carbon fibre, but bike number 1 features the original aluminium body that first took the scene by storm and convinced Calum that this was the custom bike to craft into a signature series. And it’s not just any aluminium body, each and every panel was hand formed with a level of detail, fit and finish that required hundreds of hours and a career of practice, to leave it looking absolutely perfect. From the bulging deflectors that act as relief for the handlebars to the fit between panels and the sheer beauty of the lines, it’s an art form of old, literally hammered into 21st-century excellence.
The all-alloy bodywork is finished in a striking yellow colour scheme that screams ’70s Ducati and is beautifully contrasted in details of white and green, the later colour carried over to the flawlessly stitched seat. But underneath this is no stock Monster, starting with the rear subframe, Calum built a lightweight alloy bolt-on replacement that has an incredibly high end feel thanks to its Cerakote finish. The seat unit itself can be popped off with a clever quick-release system that reveals a neatly incorporated glovebox for your essentials. Even the fuel tank has been made to be lightweight, a trick polymer cell hiding below its cover.
The bike is a slick handling machine from the factory, but to take it a step further meant a major change to the rolling stock, and the unsprung weight is drastically reduced with a stunning set of 17in Enkei wheels in dark bronze. For suspension, the business worked with Maxton to come up with the perfect shock for the package and an RT10 unit in the rear is fully adjustable and sports a custom bracket to support the remote reservoir. The front end gets sporty with a custom machined top yoke with a set of Gilles clip-ons to lower the hand position and Magura masters feed the custom drilled brakes.
One of the many reasons Calum and his right-hand man Des chose the new Monster is the engine, and the 1198cc Testastretta L-twin is one of the best power units available. With the tweaks to follow it’s capable of 150hp, has all the useable torque you could ever want, and years of Ducati R&D to ensure trouble-free motoring. The character packed twin always comes to life with the right exhaust system, and few make an engine scream like the team at SC-Project. The yellow rocket utilises one of their GP inspired end cans, with a slash cut carbon fibre rear cone and heat shielding.
Right across the entire machine are stunning details, even the road-legal number plate holder, normally as ugly as sin on a standard machine, is finished to perfection in carbon fibre, with tiny LED lighting to keep the lines clean. The front headlight is hidden behind a signature cover that is easily removed, and all of the riding modes and factory electronic wizardry is neatly retained. Pop the quick release seat and you find the most relevant touch, the plaque that signifies this is bike 1 of 25, hand-built in the UK, the first 10 production bikes to follow sold instantly.
With six days left to run the bidding has been furious, with the deBolex masterpiece currently sitting at £35,000, and with that figure sure to rise, this could easily be the start of customs finally breaking into the world of collectables and maybe some of you out there are sitting on a gold mine.