Paint it Black: Unico Moto builds a Monster S4R café racer…
The Ducati Monster S4R Testastretta brought the Italian brand’s experience in the World Superbike Championship to the ever-popular Monster platform. The race-tested L-twin Testastretta (“narrow head”) engine boasted 130 bhp, making for a 3.1-sec trip to 60 mph and a quarter-mile time of 10.7 seconds — superbike territory.
“The L-twin Testastretta engine is a milestone on the historic journey of sports motorcycles. Testastretta technology allows a reduced angle between the intake and exhaust valves. The result is a clean, compact combustion chamber that is also highly efficient.” —The Kneeslider
The character of the new power plant was as much a part of the S4R’s allure as the innovative technology:
“This Testastretta mill acts more like a 999 than a Monster. More racehorse than workhorse, the latest four-valve twin balks at a quick handful of throttle below 4000 rpm. Who cares? Not us. The new engine revs so much quicker than the old 996, it’s tough to spend much time down there anyway…. By 6000, the front Michelin loses interest in the pavement. Take corrective measures or oncoming traffic gets a good look at that deep-sump drain plug.” —Motorcyclist, 2006
Recently, we heard from Andre and Justin of Florida’s Unico Moto, lifelong friends with a shared love of cars and motorcycles, especially Ducatis.
“Initially, we started modifying our own Ducatis and that captured the attention of the people who would see our personal bikes and later in the shows we used to take them to. That’s where the idea all came from.”
Last year, their “Ducati 1GP” cafe racer was featured on Pipeburn, and now the duo is back with the “Unico Stealth” — a Ducati S4R Testastretta transformed inside their Orlando-based workshop:
“Our initial build idea for the Unico Stealth was to maintain a retro/modern approach while incorporating a raw and industrial look by using materials, colors, and choices which would represent that. We knew from the beginning we would be using Satin Black as our main color. From that initial choice, we designed and chose the elements that would best contrast and showcase the stealth satin paint job.”
They stripped the Monster down to the bare frame and rebuilt it from the ground up. Highlights include a new stainless steel subframe to underpin the custom tail and seat, repainted and refinished engine, ECU relocation, tuning module, updated lighting and controls, and much more. The custom-mounted tank is from a Ducati 749, and a set of custom see-through grilles show off the L-twin’s open belts while protecting the rider from contact.
One of the signature Unico elements is the custom-built dual filter intake system, which Andre and Justin try to incorporate into all of their builds:
“The filters in the throttle bodies are right on top of the gas tank, so when you go into a tucked race position, you can really hear the motorcycle breathe as it sucks in the air into the engine…. It really makes you one with the machine as you hear it breathing while pulling on the throttle.”
Below, we talk to Andre and Justin for the full details on this stunning S4R café racer.
Monster S4R Café Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourselves, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Myself and Justin have been lifelong friends, we grew up together always appreciating cars and motorcycles, especially modifying them. Justin’s ability to build, manufacture and make ideas comes to life was always one of his biggest talents; Andre always had an eye for the aesthetics, how lines met together when it comes to design drawing, colors, materials, and how they are going to make you feel during the ride experience, what they represent and how they make you feel.
Initially, we started modifying our own Ducati’s and that captured the attention of the people who would see our personal bikes and later in the shows we used to take them to. That’s where the idea all came from.
Behind the Build
Our initial build idea for the Unico Stealth was to maintain a retro/modern approach while incorporating a raw and industrial look by using materials, colors, and choices which would represent that. We knew from the beginning we would be using Satin Black as our main color. From that initial choice, we designed and chose the elements that would best contrast and showcase the stealth satin paint job. We started by stripping our original 2007 Ducati Monster S4R Testastretta down to the frame, from there we started the the build process.
- Engine repainted and refinished.
- Clutch plate and springs replaced with aftermarket kit.
- Ducabike clutch cover, customized to satin black to match bike
- Open belt cover with refinished surrounding areas for clean look.
- Custom breather filter
- Battery and ECU relocation
- Custom built dual filter intake system
- ECU tuning module
Cutting the frame from center back to rebuild it to fit our custom tail and seat. All frame work done in stainless steel using the same tubular specs and materials as the OEM sizes. We built a new rear frame, which runs under the seat to support our custom UNICO MOTO tail and suede seat design. Custom tabs on the frame were added to hold our UNICO custom stainless steel speed grills. These start with a hand-built tubular frame, which holds stainless steel perforated grills.
The grills are molded following the natural design of the tank and frame contour and are a two-piece accessory, which mounts to the frame of the bike. This not only adds to the look of the bike but also functionality — being practically a see-through part, this allows us to see the beauty of the motorcycle engine’s open belts while protecting the rider from any contact during riding.
Front Forks and Tree
- Upgrade triple tree from Speedy moto
- Adjustable clip on handlebars by Woodcraft
- Domino GP1 racing grips
- Upgraded racing adjustable short brake and clutch levers
- Upgraded CNC brake and clutch reservoirs
- Upgraded front fork springs for a lower front end positing.
- Hand-painted brake calipers and detailed
- Upgraded LED lighting
- Custom intake filter plate with minimal indicator lighting
- Custom end bar mirrors and turn signal lights
- Custom made UNICO MOTO blade style front fender, hand built with minimal tubular frame hardware and powder coated flat back
Tank and Tail
Our tank and tail combo incorporates a tank from a Ducati 749 custom-mounted to new brackets on the frame along with a middle bridge. The tank also has a CNC gas cap.
The tail design borrows lines and inspiration from the new tank and it perfectly contours the tank along with a very comfortable suede seat with red stitching. The tail also incorporates all LED lights that are sleek yet bright to meet street legal standards.
OEM foot controls were rebuilt, upgraded, and customized with a new paint job, CNC brake reservoirs, new parts, and custom carbon fiber heel guards for a modern look and better functionality due to the new more aggressive seating position.
The OEM swingarm got a new paint job in flat black to match the color scheme and received a new powder-coated sprocket, chain, and chain guard along with other upgraded parts which add to the look of the rear end.
Tires and Wheels
Wheels are OEM forged Marchesini wheels with a new gloss black paint job in order to contrast the flat black tail and tank of the bike. We then wrapped them with Pirelli Racing tires for a great ride and grip.
Our approach to this exhaust was to use the space already designed for it but to push the limits when it came to sizing and output while keeping everything tucked under the engine. We wanted the side and rear end of this build to be fully exposed, taking a box style approach to the exhaust system and cutting the pipes at an aggressive angle giving this exhaust a different look from every position that you look at it from.
To finish off the build, we also added a carbon fiber rear fender along with custom-made decals in flat black, flat grey, and metallic finishes to accentuate the UNICO MOTO and the unforgettable Ducati brand legacy, which holds so much appreciation and passion all around the world.
• Can you tell us what the Unico Stealth is like to ride?
This bike is a one-of-a-kind experience to ride. First of all, we removed about 30 pounds in weight reduction. The sitting position is very race-oriented but very comfortable with a thick padded seat, which is the perfect combination between sport in luxury and comfort when it comes to this kind of motorcycle. The motorcycle is extremely nimble, corners very well, and has a responsive throttle.
One of the most unique things about our bike is our one-of-a-kind intake system. The filters in the throttle bodies are right on top of the gas tank, so when you go into a tucked race position, you can really hear the motorcycle breathe as it sucks in the air into the engine, providing its power. This is a design we created and incorporate into all of our motorcycles, because we really believe it brings a unique riding experience like no other bike. It really makes you one with the machine as you hear it breathing while pulling on the throttle.
Follow the Builder
All Photo credit and video on the Unico Stealth goes to our in-house Unico Moto Productions Team.
For video and photos that include our white Ducati cafe racer, the Unico 1Gp, thecredit goes to Unico Moto Productions and The Tillmans.