A 120-whp / 320-lb Ducati from Scales Studio…
Introduced in 2002, the Ducati 1000SS was the newest evolution of Bologna’s Super Sport family. We only received a handful of the machines here in the States, where racers quickly got their hands on them, turning them into purpose-built machines for the lightweight twins class.
For the build you see here, however, a 2005 Ducati 1000SS donor was only a jumping off point. Says builder Trever Scales of Miami’s Scales Studio:
“About the only factory pieces left are the swingarm and half of the frame.”
Trever has quite an incredible resume. He’s built custom show cars for the Mercedes Benz factory, restored the very first unit Triumph off the assembly line, created aluminum / carbon fiber sculptures, built a carbon fiber Subaru, and he’s currently working on a 600-hp widebody Acura NSX! The Scales Studio 1200SS you see here is one of four he plans to build:
“This was a commissioned build and I am offering a series of four of this bike. After that no more will be built. The customer essentially wanted a rideable sculpture.”
For the design, Trever says they want to go with a retro race bike look, taking inspiration from 70s-80s Ducati and MV Agusta race bikes:
“I don’t render or plan projects too much. I prefer a more organic form of building where one part affects the next during the design process. I think too many people get stuck on trying to make the bike look like a computer image, when it might not translate well in reality.”
The custom work is nothing short of staggering. The bike is running a 2008 Hypermotard 1100 Evo engine punched out to 1200cc with pistol pistons, ported big valve heads, NCR race cams, balanced bottom end, NCR oil cooler, titanium intakes, computer-tuned exhaust, and Ducabike slipper clutch.
Speedy Moto triples secure the Öhlins forks, sourced from a Ducati 1098S, and Trever estimates he has 300 hours alone in building the custom carbon fiber tank. The bike is also running BST carbon fiber wheels, and those tires aren’t just for show:
“The bike has been ridden at the Circuit of the Americas and the edges of the slicks were used up, proving that the bike is very confidence inspiring. The idea of building bikes that sit in houses doesn’t excite me much, having done it.”
Overall, Trever guesses he has some 1400 total hours in the build. Below, we talk to Trever for the full story on this Scales Studio 1200SS. All photos by Trever except where noted.
Scales Studio 1200SS: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Trever Scales and I run Scales Studio. I do every piece of the builds from fabrication to paint work to final assembly. We build high-end custom cars as well. At the moment I’m building a 600hp widebody NSX. I recently restored the very first unit Triumph off the assembly line (matching numbers 21-H1). I also recently built a fully carbon fiber Subaru.
Aside from cars and bikes I have started building Aluminum and Carbon fiber Sculptures and commissioning custom/ minimalist furniture. Previous to owning the shop, I was building show cars for the Mercedes Benz factory for their LA, Detroit, Shanghai, and Geneva auto shows. Before that I was building 150-400k dollar classic cars.
For fun, you can catch me surfing, skating pools, rippin country roads, or meditating next to a creek. Psychology/sociology interest me greatly and with building these types of machines, I like to play off the subconscious. Creating definition and muscular power like a bodybuilder would. I love building the most refined pieces I can.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The bike started as a 2005 Ducati 1000SS. Roughly 80 were sent to the US and half of them were turned into race bikes because they fit into the lightweight twins class well. The engine is from a 2008 Hypermotard 1100 Evo.
• Why was this bike built?
This was a commissioned build and I am offering a series of four of this bike. After that no more will be built. The customer essentially wanted a rideable sculpture. We tossed around with the idea of starting with a BMW R nineT, but ended up going the Ducati route instead, as they have more passion behind them.
Initially we were going to use more original pieces of the bike, but then the owner said that he wanted to go all-out and I replied, “Now we need a race motor and carbon fiber wheels wrapped in slicks.” About the only factory pieces left is the swingarm and half of the frame.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
We were going for a minimalist, sexy, retro race bike look. With refined touches. The bike takes some design cues from 70s-80s Ducati and MV Agusta race bikes. I don’t render or plan projects too much. I prefer a more organic form of building where one part affects the next during the design process. I think too many people get stuck on trying to make the bike look like a computer image, when it might not translate well in reality.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The list of custom fabrication is rather long. The Ohlins forks are from a 1098S and are held on with Speedy Moto triple clamps. The rear subframe is handmade along with the chromoly fairing mount. The carbon fiber gas tank was made from scratch.
We used a computer program to “tune the exhaust”. All the engine parameters from bore/ stroke, cam duration, etc. etc. were considered when determining the optimal tubing diameters and the merging point of the exhaust gases from the front and rear cylinders. Essentially you don’t want the exhaust gases from the two cylinders meeting at the merge point at the same time because this causes back pressure. You want one exhaust pulse pulling the next one forward.
BST carbon fiber wheels help keep the rotating mass down. All the electronics were relocated on the bike to be hidden away and keep the motor “see through.” Titanium intakes feed air to the motor. A microtec ECU takes care of the fueling and spark.
The motor has been punched to 1200cc with pistol pistons, ported big valve heads, NCR race cams, balanced bottom end with a Ducabike slipper clutch to make sure the rear tire doesn’t want to lock up during hard downshifts. An NCR oil cooler keeps temps in check. Narrow head titanium fasteners are scattered throughout the bike.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Scales Studio 1200ss.
• Any idea of horsepower and weight numbers?
120whp and 320lbs in weight.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
The bike is exhilarating to ride. Rowdy is the best way to describe the motor. It really packs a punch and you can feel every exhaust pulse. Braking and suspension are what you would expect from a modern sport bike. The bike is incredibly light and turns in with no effort. The cockpit is tight and comfortable like a race kart. Third gear power wheelies are achieved with a quick crack of the 1/4 turn Domino throttle. No clutch action needed. The bike has been ridden at the Circuit of the Americas and the edges of the slicks were used up, proving that the bike is very confidence inspiring. The idea of building bikes that sit in houses doesn’t excite me much, having done it.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
As a whole, I’m proud of the entire bike. I feel it’s cohesive. There were roughly 1,400 hours invested in building the bike with about 300 hours of labor in the tank building process alone, starting with building the plug from styrofoam, covering in fiberglass, body working and painting, then pulling a 14-layer, two-piece mold off the plug, then finally pulling the carbon piece out of the mold. Naturally I love the color as I mixed it, by eye.
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Photo Credit: Trever Scales