“Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube…”
In 1995, Cycle World magazine has the very brave idea to send Gonzo himself — Hunter S. Thompson — a Ducati 900 Super Sport for review. The result would be HST’s piece “The Song of the Sausage Creature” — perhaps the greatest motorcycle review ever written. It begins like this…
“There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright-red, hunch-back, warp-speed 900cc cafe racer is one of them — but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is why they are dangerous.”
Enter Jody Millhouse, the founder of Thornton Hundred Motorcycles in Milton Keynes, UK. At just 22 years of age, Jody has already been making a name for himself in the custom motorcycle world. He first nabbed our attention with his incredible Honda CR500 flat tracker — a bike that would surely scare the hell out of HST…in the best way possible.
“Some people will tell you that slow is good – and it may be, on some days – but I am here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…” –HST
Now Jody is back with the bike that inspired such elegance from Hunter S. Thompson: the Ducati 900SS, which Cycle Magazine called “simply the best street bike Ducati has ever built.” Jody actually started this build as a personal project, but has decided to sell the bike. Below, we get the full story on this beautiful Ducati cafe racer, inspired by the Ducatis of the 70s and 80s.
Ducati 900 Super Sport Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Jody Millhouse. I live and work in Milton Keynes and I own Thornton Hundred Motorcycles which I established in January 2016. I’ve ridden and tinkered with motorcycles and bicycles since I was a child. My workshop is based in Hanslope in Milton Keynes and is fully equipped with 5 bike ramps, engine building room, paint booth and prep area and all the appropriate equipment to build pretty much anything I or my customers desire. I’m only 22 however I have gained enough skills to carry out all tasks of motorcycle building from welding/ fabrication, sheet metal work, welding/ brazing, painting and everything in between and have gained this wealth of experience through trial and error and very gentlemen helping me along the way. I believe this is a good USP for myself as a lot of people in the game are a lot older and I feel like I bring fresh ideas to my builds.
What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
2000 Ducati 900 Supersport (SS)
Why was this bike built?
This bike was actually started before I started Thornton Hundred as a personal project and has always been less of a priority over customers’ builds and building the business. However I have managed to set aside a few evenings to cobble it back together the way I initially envisioned it.
What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Classic cafe racer in black and gold darmah colours inspired by the old 70/80’s Ducati’s.
What custom work was done to the bike?
- Reworked frame/ subframe and front subframe.
- Spoked wheels
- Fibreglass tank/ seat and front fairing
- Relocated oil cooler/ fuel pump/ fuel filter to under the seat unit
- Custom dash and Motogadget equipment
- Wiring loom build from scratch
- Titanium/carbon Termignoni end can and stainless exhaust
- Custom seat and tank strap
- LED tail light/ different headlight
• How would you classify this bike?
Cafe Racer/ restomod
Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’ve learnt a lot from building this bike as it was mainly built early on in my career as a professional bike builder. To me it isn’t too much of a groundbreaking build, as my capabilities and finishing capabilities are now far superior. I like the paintwork however, finished by Thornton Hundred’s very own painter Ben Smith.