“Flat White” Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

A 400cc Monster with bodywork built with fireproof aerospace textile!

Max Betteridge spent his childhood in his father’s woodwork before being relegated to the family’s old hen house, where he built his first car:  a 1936 Austin 7 with a scratch-built custom body!

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

Fast forward a few years, and Max has turned to a more space-efficient hobby:  custom motorcycles. “Flat White” is his second build, featuring incredible lines, an array of subtle-yet-stunning details, and perhaps most interesting of all, bodywork molded from basalt fiber — a fireproof textile made of crushed basalt that’s being used in the aerospace and automotive industries. In fact, the black in the paint is actually exposed basalt!

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

Below, we get the full story on this caffeinated cafe racer.

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview

(Answers by Max Betteridge. Highlights by us.)

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

I am a 25 year old product designer from Auckland, New Zealand. I spent a lot of my childhood in my father’s woodwork shop, in my teens I taught myself to weld and started transforming his woodwork shop into a metalwork shop. At 15 I was kicked out of his workshop into my own work space in the old hen house where I worked on my first car, a 1936 Austin 7 special for which I scratch-built a custom body.

Since leaving home and shifting to Auckland I was forced to pick up a more space-efficient hobby so I bought my first motorcycle, a 1986 GSX 400. I bought the GSX about 3 years ago which was the beginning of my motorcycle obsession, and I converted it into a single-seat cafe racer. Shortly after finishing the GSX I sold it to fund the Ducati which I had a much more ambitious plan for.

My workshop at present is half a double garage where I also store my bike and Austin; however most of the work I do after-hours in the workshops at my work where I have access to CNC mills, waterjet, laser cutters, welders, and most typical manual machines.

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

2004 Ducati Monster 400ie

• Why was this bike built?

Flat White was a personal project. I was planning to build a second one to sell but after learning how much effort it takes I think I’ll just stick with one for now.

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

The vision was to create a subtle and minimal design with well considered details. Learner bikes in New Zealand are restricted in what you can modify, meaning that performance improvements are not usually allowed. I decided instead to focus purely on transforming the aesthetic of the bike.

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

I wanted to celebrate the identifying features of the bike (namely the frame and engine), and explore basalt fibre, a material similar to carbon fibre but with a slightly different appearance. A lot of the inspiration for this build came from the early Lotus C-01 concept renderings – I really loved its unconventional proportions and lines.

Inspiration: Lotus C-01 Concept Rendering
• What custom work was done to the bike?

Custom CNC triple clamp, headlight ears, speedo face and bezel, custom leather grips, stainless tank strap, and leather seat cushion. Aftermarket bars, mirrors, lights, Uni air filters, and relocated aftermarket exhaust.

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

The speedo enclosure, belly pan, tail, and tank were all custom designed and moulded from basalt fibre (the black in the two-tone paint is actually exposed basalt).

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer
Exposed Basalt!
• How would you classify this bike?

I call it a cafe racer. Purists probably say that’s not correct, but at the end of the day it’s main purpose is literally to get me to and from cafes on the weekend.

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

I am proud of the tank because it is by far the biggest and most technical composite part I’ve ever made. But my favourite parts of the bike are the speedo enclosure and the circular jog in the tank strap where it steps up to meet the fuel filler because these features are so over the top, yet subtle, and they really finish it off well I think.

Ducati Monster 400 Cafe Racer

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  1. This Ducati cafe race is actually a monster in itself. Wondering what it will sound like when give full raise.

  2. That b+w customised Monster400 is simply outstanding excellence
    Could there be a mod for a pillion seat
    I would think there would be any number of potential pillions keen to ride on such a sexy machine

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