Motor Valley Missile: Ducati 1000SS


Simone Conti Motorcycles builds an alloy-clad Italian rocket… 

Italy’s “Motor Valley” — aka Terra dei Motori (Land of Motors) — boasts an incredibly high concentration of iconic car, motorcycle, and motorsports names: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati, Imola, Misano, and more. As Enzo Ferrari famously said of the region:

“You can’t describe the passion, you can only experience it.”


Our new friend Simone Conti of Simone Conti Motorcycles not only grew up in Motor Valley, but his father and brother both own workshops in the area, where Simone has always worked.

“I have always liked to invent, to build, I always played with Lego Technic. For me to build a bike, a unique bike, and to build it all alone, with my own design, for me it is priceless.”


The bike he chose for this project was a 2003 Ducati 1000SS, the company’s evolution of the venerable 900SS, for which Hunter S. Thompson wrote his famous ode “Song of the Sausage Creature”:

“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.”

A Ducati 1000SS in stock trim.

The 992cc Ducati SuperSport engine made 84 horsepower at the rear wheel — 10 more than the 900SS — but it wasn’t the Italian V-twin’s raw numbers that made such an impression, but the character and power delivery:

“It is the best road going twin cylinder engine I have ever used…on the road this engine is an absolute pearler. Positive proof that the mettle of an engine for the road is found by covering plenty of kilometres on the road, and not by just looking at dyno charts.” —MCNews


Simone set out to make this 2003 1000SS uniquely his own. He fabricated a new aluminum subframe, shaped all of the bodywork out of aluminum, built the exhaust himself, modified the swingarm — the list goes on. The result is a one-of-a-kind Ducati that will not only fit in, but stand out among the exotic machines that call Motor Valley home.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

Below, we talk to Simone for the full details on the machine.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer: Builder Interview

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

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

I grew up with motorcycles. My brother, he is a lover of Ducati, and I’d always ridden a Ducati, love the racing design.

My father has a mechanical workshop, my brother a motorcycle workshop, and me, I always worked in both one and the other.

I have always liked to invent, to build — I always played with Lego Technic. For me to build a bike, a unique bike, and to build it all alone, with my own design, for me it is priceless.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

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

The bike is a Ducati 1000SS from 2003.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

• Why was this bike built?

This is my personal bike and I built it because I liked the idea to ride a special bike.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

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

My design is influenced by all things sporting. I live in Motor Valley, and I grew up among the best cars and bikes in the world.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

• What custom work was done to the bike?

I have cut and modified the original frame, built a new rear aluminium subframe. I shaped all of the aluminium bodywork, built the exhaust, and I have modified the rear swingarm.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

• Does the bike have a nickname?

No nickname, I never thought about it.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe Racer

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?

It’s beautiful, it’s a Ducati. The soul remained the same — it’s only a more racing-like riding position.

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

I’m particularly proud of the exhaust. I like it a lot.

Ducati 1000SS Cafe RacerDUCATI 1000SS CAFE RACER

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  1. This is an absolute winner on so many different levels.
    – I’ve seen so many Ducati customs, they mostly are cookie cutter. The engine is predictable, and regardless of what’s done with the bodywork they rarely stand out. This one everything is compacted: the bellypan exhaust, the radiator and oil cooler, and the tank and tail fill in all the voids in the middle, making the thing look compact and purposeful.
    – Seen many short tails, and most just don’t do much or fail, altogether. This one matches the angle and curves of the front, and the unusual downward “beak” is unique and spectacular.
    – Love the pie-cut headers. Very purposeful, instead of the ones that use 80 cut sections per inch and are completely overboard.
    – Love that the donor bike is so ugly. Some of those early 2000’s Ducati’s made me completely unfollow Ducati for more than a few years, those bikes were so whacked and ugly styling-wise. Yeah, donor is ugly, this thing is a real transformation, bravo!
    – Every piece of bodywork on this thing is too cool.

    Bottom line: this is a head-turner, and pleasurable to look at from every different angle for more than a few minutes. Spectacular, and definitely would be at minimum a top-ten contender for BOTT on most sites.

  2. Richard Horton

    Second the above

  3. Ill third it

  4. At least the shock won’t get cold!

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