A globe-trotting Dominator from the humanitarian association Moto Taccuino.
The Honda NX650 Dominator, built from 1987-2003, is one of the best donors for a truly capable scrambler — a bike that can run long miles on rough roads or backwoods trails without breaking itself…or the rider. The 40-hp RFVC engine is similar to that of the beloved XR650, and the chassis has proven itself a rugged, all-around performer.
One man who’s put his Dominator to the test is Sardinia’s Nicola Manca (@miciogattillo). A few years ago, while riding from Sardinia to attend the Isle of Man TT, Nicola and his friend Alessio decided their next big trip should be Africa:
“I have always lived with the myth of the old Paris-Dakar, made by real men, with means that could be adjusted with a hammer and pliers.”
And not only that, they would build their bikes themselves and make the trip a humanitarian effort:
“We decided to build two scramblers in the garage (one of them was Alabama), collect medicines and money, and leave for the desert. We were able to bring the medicine and buy 12 bicycles to allow nomadic children to go to school.”
At the time, the duo did not fully realize how this trip would forever change their motorcycling lives. They wrote a book called Moto Taccuino. Dall’Isola al Sahara (“Moto Notebook. From the Island to the Sahara”), using the proceeds to fund a well in Vietnam and a motorcycle for a victim of sex trafficking, and they created a humanitarian association, Moto Taccuino, whose projects and events raise money for more humanitarian efforts.
The scrambler you see here, nicknamed “Alabama,” is Nicola’s go-to bike for these projects, originally built for the trip to Africa:
“With this bike I have been around the world for the humanitarian projects of my association, Moto Taccuino: from the Moroccan desert to the countries of central Italy hit by the earthquake, with temperatures of -12 degrees.”
The donor is a 1989 NX650 Dominator with streamlined wiring, custom-tuned Ohlins suspension at both ends, upgraded wheels/brakes/exhaust, a Guzzi Lodola tank, and a leather satchel from Moor Design that holds, in addition to other necessities like duct tape and filter cover, a spare control unit:
“Since on one of the trips, the bike decided to stop at night right in the heart of the black desert and I had forgotten the spare part.”
In case you’re interested in participating (we certainly are!), Moto Taccuino has two events coming in 2020, Dust’n Sardinia and Audax1000. Below, we get the full story on these coming events and more details on this Dominator build, along with some stunning photos from one of our very favorite moto photographers, Andrea Caredda (@andrews_diary).
“Alabama” Honda Dominator Scrambler: Owner Interview
Please tell us a little more about you, your history with motorcycles, and your association, Mototaccuino?
I’ve always had a passion for motors, from the shitty Mito with which I participated (and won) two national tuning competitions at the age of 18, to the current bikes, which I use daily, 365 days a year. However, if I had to find a turning point in my motorcycle history, this happened after a trip, aboard my Africa Twin rally raid, from Sardinia to the Isle of Man to see the TT. I was in the company of Alessio after 6000 km of travel, while we were on the ship, I proposed a new stop for the following year: Africa.
I have always lived with the myth of the old Paris-Dakar, made by real men, with means that could be adjusted with a hammer and pliers. We decided to build two scramblers in the garage (one of them was Alabama), collect medicines and money and leave for the desert. We were able to bring the medicine and buy 12 bicycles to allow nomadic children to go to school.
On our return we were not aware that this would completely change our way of living the bikes. We set up the association Moto Taccuino, told this adventure in a book whose proceeds have funded other projects: a well in Vietnam and a motorcycle to a female victim of trafficking in underage prostitutes with China.
Then again, we were with the scramblers in central Italy, in the areas affected by the earthquake to bring comfort, 12 works of art and 200 drawings from children, made to give a sign of closeness to the people. Finally, Dust’n Sardinia, an event with a limited number, for scramblers only, with which we bought a chair to allow SLA patients to bathe. And we have no intention of stopping…
When is the next Mototaccuino event, and how can readers to sign up to participate?
Dust’n Sardinia is an event for scramblers only, 80% off-road, with one night in a tented field and one night in a structure, with departure and arrival in Cagliari. The places for 2020 are almost finished and only one remains.
Audax1000 is the twin event of Dust’n Sardinia, only for cafe racers and specials, in three days, for a total of 1000 km.
In both events there’s logistics for the transport of luggage, the doctor, and the photographer. In addition, 100% of the proceeds are donated to charitable projects.
Tell us about your bike…
Based on an Honda Dominator 1st series, equipped with double electric starter and crank, with which I make all my trips, often with more parts for off-road. The tank is derived from a Guzzi Lodola, painted by Moor Design, a pastel yellow headed by the old Honda logo (no sticker).
The bike has a simplified electrical system, only two lines, one for the engine and one for the “services,” read headlights.
Ohlins front and rear suspension, telescopic from 43 to the front and rear mono with piggyback, designed and assembled by Fabrizio Corda of Powermoto – Andreani official centre.
In this way, the bike is 7 cm lower, while maintaining very good performance for off-road use. The yokes were made from scratch to accommodate the largest fork diameter, while keeping the original block in a position that would allow the use of the steering lock.
Handcrafted exhaust inspired by the 70’s, with external passage. The rims were assembled by Faba, with a solid hub in Ergal. Increased braking system with Brembo caliper.
The setup is completed by a leather bag, made by Moor Design, in which, in addition to the inevitable duct tape and wire, there’s space for a filter cover in case of rain and a spare control unit, since on one of the trips, the bike decided to stop at night right in the heart of the black desert and I had forgotten the spare part.
In short, it is a simple bike, designed and built in the garage, even with technical devices that make it a multipurpose bike with high reliability.
With this bike I have been around the world for the humanitarian projects of my association, Moto Taccuino: from the Moroccan desert to the countries of central Italy hit by the earthquake, with temperatures of -12 degrees.
It’s the bike I use to do the enduro championship in the Asphalt & Gravel team and the Dust’n Sardinia event, created and conceived by me, together with Alessio from Moto Taccuino and Tommaso from Asphalt & Gravel.
It’s a project for scramblers only, in an off-road course, to raise money for charity projects. It is a limited number event that gets sold out very quickly.
It’s name is Alabama and I’ved owned it from 6 years. It’s made in my shed.