What’s in a name? For the reboot of the Ducati Scrambler which was released to the public in 2015, the name was all about conjuring up the glorious model of days gone by. Those bikes from the ’60s and ’70s were, however, actually damn good for scrambles racing and the new bike is much more of a pure modern classic for the road. But if you were to pick a new Scrambler for its best use for a custom project, a street tracker would definitely be it, and it’s no surprise that the man once behind the Radical Ducati brand has built exactly that. These days he builds his bikes under the XTR Pepo brand, and a dab hand at creating race rockets for the road, Pepo Rosell has turned this Scrambler into a true slayer of the Spanish streets.
Originally from France, Pepo started his career in Spain as a biologist before the motorcycle bug bit hard and he earned a crust at two different Ducati importers. But his need for speed had him shifting gear and for five years he built race bikes and extreme road rockets, before opening the famous outfit the world came to know as Radical Ducati. There he produced perhaps more extreme Ducati custom creations than any other man who has ever lived on this earth. But even such a talent eventually needs a break and after some time to smell the roses, Pepo was ready for another stint as a custom bike building master and XTR Pepo allows him the chance to build extreme two-wheeled creations of absolutely any and all varieties.
Which is to say, this man knows both his Ducati’s and his custom bikes backwards, so why wouldn’t a customer pick him for such a build! Named ‘Makoki’ after the famed Spanish comic book series, the fun, anti-hero styling is obvious and merges seamlessly with the unmistakable look of an XTR build. But as always, Pepo first concentrates on creating a motorcycle that will perform and for this to be achieved, the 2017 had to be stripped right back. At the front end, the factory Kayaba forks do a sound job, and with a 24° steering head angle, handling is sharp.
So, picking a quality tyre was the main concern and having a relationship with Continental saw him select a Conti Sport Attack 4, for its sticky compound and quick warm-up times. But the rear end was going to need some more work, the swingarm is a nice bit of kit, but the factory shock lets things down. A call was made to the guys at YSS, who came back with one of their top spec shocks just for the job, which includes rebound adjustment, a remote res for improved oil cooling, and both low and high-speed compression adjustment. To beef up the braking, the radial-mounted Brembo caliper is now fed via Fren Tubo lines, with power boosted by a 900SS master cylinder.
Now the looks could be tricked out and there is just no mistaking the signature appearance of a bike that’s had Pepo wave the wand over it. The front mudguard is taken from a Scrambler Classic for its more minimalist appearance, and the stanchion covers let you know exactly who supplied the tyres. The factory fuel tank remains in place, as the trellis chassis makes a replacement almost more work than it’s really worth. But to capture the street tracker vibe, Pepo utilised one of his own XTR Dirt Track tail sections and has customised the rear subframe to make it fit.
The side covers are a neat touch, made from carbon fibre they add almost zero weight, allow for the addition of race numbers, and the left-hand side has been neatly cut out to let the YSS shock fit into place. The painting as always is handled by Artenruta, based on an XTR design and the black is contrasted by silver graphics with a serious amount of metal flake thrown into the mix. Gold is used for the pinstripe, while it’s a combination of red and white for the Ducati logo and the side covers. The front end gets hit with an eye-popping yellow and more of that silver flake, and the swingarm is dressed up in Castrol green and the famous oil company’s graphics.
There is a hell of a lot going on, and yet it somehow all works together and really captures the XTR vibe of a race-bred machine for the road. The seat itself is in the minimalist tradition of a tracker, and the upholstery is done in-house. The look is finished out with a small Mash headlight on custom mounts at the front end, and a neat taillight assembly hidden up under the seat for the rear. But then Pepo turns to another area, like tyres, which is too often overlooked; rider ergonomics. The overhaul starts with a set of Rizoma bars that give the rider the leverage to rip the ride around any turn, with Domino grips and quick action throttle to match.
The controls come in for a change too, with XTR CNC’d levers allowing the rider to tailor the amount of reach to their needs, and Ducabike rearsets to really get locked in. The 2-valve engine punches out some healthy power, but to take the figure over 80bhp, a DNA filter lets the throttle body breathe and the muffler is an XTR by Sparks piece, another signature touch. To keep things reliable, an XTR oil cooler guard goes on and the plastic chain guard from the factory is swapped out for another XTR part.
The end result is a true two-pot screamer, that not only looks the part but has all the ingredients you need for spicy riding on the tight suburban streets of Spain.
[ XTR Pepo ]