Turbocharged Superbike: Ducati 848 Turbo

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

Turbocharged Ducati superbike from two best friends…

The Ducati 848 superbike, introduced in 2008, featured a 134-hp “Testastretta” V-twin, a trellis frame developed in conjuction with the company’s racing division, and in a surprising move for Ducati, a wet clutch — after all, the chatter of a dry clutch is a signature of the brand. The middleweight superbike garnered largely rave reviews, and in 2011, an 848 Evo took Ducati’s first-ever Daytona 200 win.

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

Enter Dylan Johnson (@dyno_dylan), a cardiac sonographer who learned his love of motorcycles from his grandfather, who’s been riding for more than five decades. Back in 2014, Dylan and his best friend, Matt Sarale (@8o8wrx) — a pair who share “a mutual love of things that go fast” — began work on this 2008 Ducati 848, intending to build their own take on a modern cafe racer.

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

These two builders have a history with the Subaru WRX, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they decided on forced induction as the way to go, basing the build around a polished GT17 turbo. After some five years of work, with multiple design changes and not a few all-nighters, Dylan and Matt had the bike ready for the 2019 One Moto Show. Says Dylan:

“The final product is our take on a modern cafe racer. Aggressive, but clean.”

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

The bike made our list of favorite cafe racers from the 2019 Handbuilt Show, and today we’re thrilled to feature it. Below, we get more information from Dylan himself.

Turbocharged Ducati 848: Builder Interview

Ducati 848 Turbo
Photo: Brandon LaJoie / Revival Cycles / Handbuilt Show
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

My name is Dylan Johnson, and I’m a Cardiac Sonographer with the Heart Institute at University of Washington Medical Center. I fell in love with motorcycles because of my grandfather. He’s been riding for over 50 years with likely hundreds of thousands of miles on two wheels. The bike was built in my best friend Matt Sarale’s home shop. We became friends through our mutual love of things that go fast! Matt has taught me everything I know over the last seven years or so, from everything he’s learned in his lifetime.

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

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

The bike is a 2008 Ducati 848 Superbike.

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

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

We decided to start this build back in late 2014 when we were getting wind of the cafe racer scene that had been making a comeback. Many, many design changes and life events delayed progress. The final product is our take on a modern cafe racer. Aggressive, but clean. Almost every custom piece was truly “handmade” and we avoided the hype of highly funded builders who CNC make everything, as if it were a production bike.

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

• What custom work was done to the bike?
  • Cafe style rear subframe with leather/alcantara seat.
  • Integrated tail light/turn signals.
  • Carbon fiber under tail cover.
  • Polished GT17 Turbo with external wastegate. Tear drop pipes into rear wheel.
  • Aluminum intake plenum
  • Aluminum fuel rail with -AN fittings.
  • Turbowerx scavenge pump for turbo oil drain.
  • M-unit/Microtec electronic management.
  • Cafe style headlight.
  • “Wrench” reservoir brackets with Rizoma reservoirs.
  • Polished aluminum coolant overflow.
  • Carbon fiber front fender, key cover, front sprocket cover, and swing arm cover.
  • Nardo Grey Tank
  • Powder coated & de-tabbed frame.
  • Woodcraft rear sets.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

Turbo Ducati 848 Superbike

I think overall my favorite bit is the exhaust. Many hours and a few all-nighters, I am very proud of it. We loved the raw design if multiple pie cut exhausts while still incorporating mandrel bends. The tear drop exits have earned a lot of attention (and concern ?).

Follow the Builder: @Dyno_Dylan




  1. Chris Howe

    Awesome! I’d love to take it for a ride, but I’m afraid I may need Mr Johnson’s cardiac services afterwards!

  2. Mark Schnauzermann

    Turbo lag? Hmmmm …

  3. I love the shotgun style “tear drops”. Hey, if you’re concerned with your bike stabbing you in the case of a get-off, maybe you should consider snow boarding instead.

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