“I am a Cafe Racer myself, on some days—and many nights for that matter—and it is one of my finest addictions,” enthused the legendary writer Hunter S. Thompson. The man of many descriptions and even more addictions wrote these words when reviewing, in his own manner, the Ducati 900SS. And he joined millions around the globe for whom a Ducati is not just a motorcycle nor a form of transport, but a passion that is as intoxicating as any drug. Two friends bitten hard by the bug are Andre Frizzarini and Justin Andrew, proprietors of Florida’s Unico Moto, and together they’ve channeled all of their skills desires for the Bologna bullets and turned out this incredible Cafe Racer from the bones of a Ducati Monster.
Founded in 2018 Unico Moto is located in the city of Orlando and the guys are intent on building the best custom Ducati’s in all of the United States. For this reason, they haven’t simply churned out a thousand bikes of reasonable quality, but taken the time to assemble only the best, and while a number of their initial builds have already sold, this is bike Unico 1GP. “Our initial collection release consists of all in-house builds, 100% financed by our own shop. We are passionate about what we are doing and believe our designs can reach the world. Our designs incorporate a vision we believe represents our brand and passion, builds that will stand the test of time regarding style, quality and drivability.”
1GP started life as a stock 1997 Ducati Monster, but very little of the factory bike remains, with the whole thing stripped back to a bare chassis. Just like Mr Thompson, they chose to select a 900SS as the powerplant for their cafe racer, but this is far more of a machine than a Monster with an SS engine conversion. With the bare trellis frame the only piece up on the bench, they could begin the process of transformation and it all starts by giving that signature frame a new back end. “Moving towards the back, the rear frame was re-designed and re-built with 304 stainless steel tubular rods to match the original vintage look.”
With that taken care of, the boxed section alloy swingarm would never do and the boys set about grafting on a single-sided solution. Taken from one of the special edition Monsters, the tube and trellis design not only works perfectly with the frame but looks a million dollars in the process. To control the new rear end a top of the line Ohlins shock takes over with extra support from “our hand-built ride height bar that provides additional adjustment for the rider.” A new sprocket carrier, rear disc, and Brembo caliper completes the task and the solution is picture perfect.
At the front end, the factory Ducati forks have been completely rebuilt to a standard better than new and slot into a SpeedyMoto CNC’d upper triple clamp. Twin floating brake discs join the party and are hard clamped by Brembo calipers that are fed by braided lines for excellent stopping power. After spoked wheels there was only one way to go for the team, “we choose top of the line built to order Italian Kineo spoked wheels, these wheels are extremely lightweight and are built to the highest standards.” Which are then wrapped up in sticky Pirelli Diablo rubber for excellent performance on and off the track.
Over the top of their new rolling chassis goes a stunning Ducati 999 Superbike fuel tank that has been adapted to fit the frame. Not only is it a dramatic improvement over the Monster piece but opens up more space to show off the mechanical elements of the machine. This is then mated brilliantly to a “Unico Moto patented lightweight custom cafe racer tail along with our handmade suede seat.” A custom blade style front fender on new mounts, matched with a carbon hugger at the rear ensures that the bodywork is both minimal and classy in the bold satin white and black finish.
The aforementioned 900SS engine fits in and is detailed within an inch of its life, you could eat off the cases! Given a refresh and tune it now breathes air through a set of pod filters that sit between the tank and the triple clamps. The look is unique, but it’s the sound of that Ducati twin intake roar that takes over, intoxicating the rider with every twist of the throttle. Although they have another good reason to keep it pinned, as the exhaust note booms out of the glorious system, handcrafted from individual pieces of stainless steel. The job by the Unico Moto team is flawless, snaking tight to the engine before exiting at the rear in the side-by-side shotgun tailpipe finish.
“In efforts to add a race-inspired stance we installed Woodcraft’s high quality adjustable clip-ons with bar end mirrors and turn signals along with CNC Ducabike adjustable rear sets.” The rest of the additions are all class too, a digital and analog GPS speedo is matched to a customised analogue tachometer with a programmable shift light. The lighting is all DOT approved and even the smallest of components are finished to the highest of standards.
The guys at Unico Moto have set themselves a lofty goal and put their money where their mouth is; the good news for Ducatisti, boy can they back it up and Unico 1GP is as good as a custom Ducati gets and like Hunter S. Thompson, we just want to drink it all in.