The Ducati “Tribute” — a modern re-imagining of the famous 900 MHe
At the dawn of the 21st century, Ducati unveiled their limited production MH900e, a 74-hp retro sport bike built in homage to the race bike on which the legendary Mike Hailwood won the 1978 Isle of Man TT. The “MH” stand for Mike Hailwood’s initials, while the “e” stands for evoluzione. Befitting the year 2000, only 2000 units of the Ducati 900 MHe were ever produced. Famously, the first thousand sold out on www.ducati.com in the first 31 minutes of the new century. Designed by Pierre Terblanche, father of the Supermono, the MHe has become one of the most collectible Ducatis of the modern age.
Enter one of our favorite up-and-coming shops, Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles of Lisbon, Portugal. Recently, we were lucky enough to take a scouting trip to this nation of famous maritime navigators and explorers to visit some of our favorite builders and take the pulse of Portuguese custom moto culture. On on our very first morning in country, we set out to visit Unik Edition in person. Founders Luís Costa and Tiago Gonçalves embarked on their first build back in 2016 and have since “gone pro,” opening a new garage, bike dealership, and moto accessory shop in the Moscavide neighborhood of Lisbon.
We were met by Luís, already hard at work in the garage. The shop was full of bikes in various stages of completion, as well as a few completed builds we recognized. However, in the middle of the garage, standing out like a bloodred bullet, was this Ducati 750SS “Tribute” cafe racer. The owner is a diehard Ducatista, and the concept for the build started with one simple question:
“If Mr. Pierre Terblanche designed the Ducati 900 MHe today, what would it look like?”
Unik Edition purhcased a 1994 Ducati 750SS as the donor, retrofitting the machine with the competition-spec forks and swingarm from a Monster S4R and MHe bodywork. The bike is truly staggering in person. We particularly loved the louvered tail section with integrated lighting, which recalls the window louvers of old fastback muscle cars and was done in metal as opposed to fiberglass.
At the time of our visit, we kept our photos of the build under wraps, as Unik Edition was not ready to unveil the build. Today, we’re thrilled to showcase this Ducati “Tribute” cafe racer and the story of the people who built it, along with a killer deck of photos from Nelson Oliveira (@no.photo.on.two.wheels).
Ducati “Tribute” Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Ducati 750SS – 1994 + Ducati monster S4R + Ducati MHe
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Our client is a “Ducatista”, so he really wanted something that screamed Ducati.
The initial question from the client was: If Mr. Pierre Terblanche designed the Ducati 900 MHe today, what would it look like?
Of course we had a limited budget, so buying a Ducati 900MHe was out of question. After some debates, we decided to go for the real true cafe racer spirit: get an old bike, and from that donor start a new project.
We decided to buy a cheap 750SS, upgrade with wheels and swing arm from Ducati monster S4R and a MHe fairings kit.
At the end we would have three Ducati bikes in one!
• What custom work was done to the bike?
– Fitting the swing arm and the shock was really tricky, because it has to look good and drive well.
– Then we had to make all the adjustments for the fairings kit to fit the Ducati 750 tank. The Ducati MHe, it is narrow, so fitment was a problem, both front and rear. Several times we thought that it was not going to happen, but after many hours, it was done!
– The headlight was another challenge.
– The rear section under the fairing is a structure that was done four times, two in cardboard and two in metal, until we achieved this final look.
– Many many subtle electronic and mechanical changes.
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
After all we accomplished to have three bikes in one bike, so we are really proud of the general look and achievement.
Tail Section in Action
Shop Visit Photos
Follow the Builder
Credits to photographer
Nelson Oliveira of @no.photo.on.two.wheels