Booming sales and absolute success on the racetracks of the world has Ducati at the top of its game, but it wasn’t always so rosy. The late ’70s and ’80s were an uncertain time for the Italian marque, with ownership changes and a constant lack of capital nearly killing off the brand. But with the success of the 916 and its sports bike siblings, the Ducatisti were celebrating a string of Superbike World Championships and finally, the company could relax a little and look back at their past glory days. To pay homage to that history, legendary designer Pierre Terblanche put pen to paper and came up with the gorgeous SportClassic series in 2003. Two decades on it still looks amazing but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved and Zanik Design has done just that, with this utterly stunning silver steed.
Just as the original was penned by a designer with great experience and an eye for subtle beauty, this 2006 SportClassic 1000 comes from a man with a similar philosophy. With more than 20 years experience, Tim Turbett is the head of Zanik Design, and provides high end consulting to anyone seeking to build a custom. What you get is a similar process to that you’d share with an architect, from initial concept, to design and even a curated list of all brands and products you need to bring your dream to life. Normally he works with a client throughout the process to ensure they have a completely hands-on experience, but this build was his and a dream he’d long held.
“I had this concept kicking around my head for years and when an amazing base bike came available the floodgates opened. The overall concept was to blend the Paul Smart with an ‘Eleanor’ Mustang, while keeping all the great aspects of the original. In addition to upgrading the look and performance of the bike for real-world use,” Tim explains. That perfect donor was not only a good condition, low-mileage machine, but being the single shock version (monoposto), it offers the most scope for customisation, with more room for the exhaust and an overall cleaner appearance when compared to the long twin shock model.
With less than 5,000miles on the clock and running smooth, Tim was comfortable the internals of the engine were rock solid, so the first part of the build was to extract some more power and dress up the mechanical package. Doing both in great style is the absolutely stunning full stainless exhaust from Zard. The monoshock frees up the right side of the bike to accept the twin mufflers and the tight to the frame pipes with custom heat shielding complete the system. Parts from Speedymoto, Ducabike and EVR provide the covers for belts and clutch, before a Rexxer ECU tune was undertaken to extract the maximum power and smooth the fueling curve.
The overall aesthetic had already been conceived, but the SportClassic had a host of little factory features that would detract from the lines and needed to be sorted out. The ugly twin bug eye horns that someone at Ducati thought were a good idea have been tossed, and a new item hidden behind the oil cooler which receives a new blacked-out guard. The big metal headlight was ditched and a Monster bucket swapped in, that not only allows for a Corse Dynamic LED light to go in but provides room for the front cowl and mini screen that gives the bike a racier appearance.
“The overall colour palette is silver, and black with red details. The base paint is a deep mini-flake silver, with a black SS stripe that features a subtle rainbow flake (from a Dodge Magnum) highlighted with a metal-looking red stripe to tie into all the red anodized details, that ends with a subtle nod to the Italian flag.” It’s a lovely tip of the cap to the Imola Desmo of old, while still sticking with Tim’s theme and the beautiful custom designed and built flip-up race filler is the cherry on top! “The seat was recovered to replicate the Mustang race seats with a blend of leather and Alcatera finished off with large grommets.”
With the bike looking absolutely amazing, a full rewire would be the next thing on the list to keep things looking clean. “A ton of work went into the electrical and lighting with the goal of making things as clean and stealth as possible while increasing the visibility for real-world use.” Motogadget bar-end signals, paint-matched Watson Design high-output LED signals and culminating with the Corse Dynamics “Tron” LED brake/turn signal kit that’s enhanced with a Custom Dynamics light, with a “back off” feature for those pesky tailgaters.
To finish out the bike, the suspension and rolling package got the ultimate upgrade with a set of gorgeous Kineo wheels that give the spoked look, with all of the benefits of a lightweight wheel. The front forks might look relatively stock with just a refresh to the finish, but inside they’re running Andreani cartridges for smooth as silk handling, which doubles with the fully adjustable back shock. The brake and clutch combo finishes out the build with the best bits from Brembo and Rizoma and absolutely everything is like new. Twenty years ago Mr Terblanche turned out a rip-snorting retro racer and now Tim Turbett has given it a makeover that takes the beautiful Italian to an all high.