Faves: Ducati 860 GT Cafe Racer


Most of us think of motorcycle riding as a thing to do in warm weather. There is even a huge symbiotic relationship between motorcycles and surfers. Definitely a relationship that screams for the type of weather you see in California or Australia, right? The surf/moto symbiosis is taking root in an unusual place: Sweden. Given that the average summer temperature barely reaches the mid-60s, one would not expect to find many bikers, let alone a single surfer, but Bike Exif found both.

Johann Orrestedt was riding the moto/surf scene in Stockholm (I am still struggling with connecting Swedish cities to surf) when a garage came open under his business. So, what is a fella to do? Open a custom shop, obviously! Along with fellow riders slash friends Daniel Jakoabssen and Johan Nordin, Orrestedt opened 6/5/4 Motors: a custom shop with a ”pay-to-wrench” shop included. Hey, why not give other riders a hand, too?

The most recent build from the shop is a tight-as-hell Ducati 860 GT. The boys had some very clear ideas for the project so the 860 GT seemed to be the only sensible bike to build from. Apparently:

”The spectacular engine with its alien v-twin design, the iconic tank and that flat frame line were too good to overlook.”

As hard as it may seem, finding a Ducati 860 GT is not an easy task in the barren landscape of Sweden. It took the team a month of serious legwork to find a single mid-70s GTS, even then it was not easy to convince the owner to part with the rotting hulk in his barn. The owner being a diehard Ducatisita, he demanded the bike remain in a near to original state. That is not an easy demand for a custom shop to meet!

The team vision ”was a streamlined, stripped down bike. With less weight, but a genuine feel.” How do you achieve that and put the right colors on your build without a lot of wasted time? Photoshop, like nearly every other builder out there. Makes you wonder how a custom bike was ever built before computers, doesn’t it? Builders probably lived in caves and used charcoal or something equally prehistoric. Anyway, the colors stumped the intrepid trio until one night the solution was literally lifted up to Orrestedt’s eyes. The green of his beer can seemed to be the perfect color. Who says drinking never solved anyone’s problems? With green in mind, a brown seat and a gray frame just seemed to be right.

With the design inked, the 860 was stripped bare. The engine was dismantled and overhauled: valves adjusted; gaskets, nuts, bolts, filter…all replaced. The airbox was replaced with a pair of filters, then a set of Dunstall-ish mufflers where attached to the Ducati headers.

With that done, the frame came under fire. The unique side covers were kept intact, but the base frame was trimmed. The rear has a new loop, while custom mounts had to be added for the new seat and modern electrical components. Remember the seat, well it’s a custom build itself. It sits on an aluminum frame that is covered in Swedish washed leather thanks to the Tarnsjo tannery. Under the seat, 6/5/4 mounted a smaller battery to open the area. The stock rectifier was replaced with a m-Lock ignition system from Motogadget and the entire bike was rewired to handle the new electrical load.


The original suspension seemed a great building block, so it was retained…with a few tweaks. The front forks-ends were flipped around for a neater line. The wheels now feature stainless steel spokes and modern bearings for safety. No bike is complete without a cockpit that catches the eye. The team outfitted the 860 with mini-switches integrated into the handlebars. The original speedo had to be kept in all its austere iconography. The only changes to it are a fresh coat of paint and a custom mounting bracket to fit the overall aesthetics of the bike. Everything else had to go: grips, levers, cables, headlight, taillight…all in a waste bin somewhere. With all of that laying at the bottom of a trash heap, Tarozzi clip-ons and rearsets were added to the Tommaselli throttle to help finish the build.

The result is a minimal bike that begs to be ridden to the beach. I am still trying to puzzle out who in their right mind surfs in water that never reaches above 60 degrees, but the Scandinavians, being descendants of Vikings, probably wonder how anyone could surf in water that never gets that cold.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *