Black Cycles Australia builds a Turbo Ducati!
In 2001, the Ducati Monster S4 was the first of Bologna’s beloved Monsters to receive a liquid-cooled L-Twin heart transplant from the superbike side of the factory, and it was a successful operation indeed:
“The idea behind the S4 was simple: stuff the all-conquering superbike engine from the 916 into a Monster chassis and create a Ducati that lives up to the name stamped on the gas tank. Thanks to retrospect we know now the bike has become a cult classic…” —Motorcycle.com
The Ducati 916 engine in the original S4 put out 97 bhp and 64 ft-lb of torque, good for quarter-mile runs of 10.8 seconds. More than that, the rip-snorting superbike engine transformed the entire character of the Monster:
“This is the bike your mum definitely won’t approve of: 916 cubic centimetres of bad attitude that will take you from 0-60 in three and a half seconds, should you happen to be in a hurry, with an exhaust capable of waking the dead. This is not the kind of bike to do your commuting on. This is the kind of bike to blitz about on, pulling wheelies and goosing traffic wardens.” —The Guardian
Recently, we heard from our friend Noel Muller of Black Cycles Australia, who’s shown a staggering range among his builds, turning out everything from a Yamaha XT500 restomod to a “Duconda 400″ cafe racer to a Triumph preunit bobber to a CBR600 street tracker — all to worldwide acclaim.
Now he’s back with one of his wildest builds yet, a 2001 Ducati S4 916 turbo! The bike is owned by a favorite client of his, Simon Lin, who bought the bike brand new more than 20 years ago. Three years ago, it developed a crack in the fuel tank, so Simon took it to a Sydney shop, where it sat for nearly two years without much work done. Says Noel:
“After finding this out, I said to Simon, ‘Let’s get it up to Brisbane and I’ll get it finished for you!'”
Noel got to work on the bike, shaping an aluminum tank and side panels while waiting for a custom Italian-made Kineo wheels to be built and delivered. That’s when the question of forced induction reared its head, and things got very interesting indeed:
“In the wait time, I mentioned to Simon (probably jokingly) that we could fit a turbo to it and make it something really special? He said, ‘Hell yeah, let’s do it!'”
The front of the aluminum “fuel tank” actually holds the plenum for the ceramic-coated Garret turbo, while the rear of the tank houses the bike’s electrics and full-size gel battery. The belly tank actually holds the fuel — 11 liters worth — as well as the fuel pump and filter.
While Noel fabricated the aluminum tanks, tail, and fender, Theo Tergiakis of Bike Therapy tore down and rebuilt the motor, lowering compression to 9:1 for the turbo. Justin from PopBang Classics made a custom loom for the Motogadget goodies, and other highlights include the 316 stainless rear sets, billet triple trees, custom overflow bottle, later model swingarm, and much more.
The bike is currently at Cube Performance Centre getting a Power Commander and dyno tune, and Noel is expecting 150-160 hp out of the mild street tune. Of course, a turbo Ducati deserves a nickname, and Noel had just the one:
“The bike has been named ‘SOFFIATO,’ which is Italian for ‘blown!'”
Perfetto! Below, Noel gives us the full rundown on this incredible Ducati turbo. Photos courtesy of Gold Coast Studio.
Monster S4 916 Turbo: Builder Interview
• Why was this bike built? (Customer project, company promotion, personal, etc.)
A great customer of mine, Simon Lin, sent me his 2001 Ducati (m4) s4 916 in September 2021. He bought the bike brand new and around three years ago, it developed a crack in the fuel tank, so Simon thought it might be a good opportunity to get some custom work done at a shop in Sydney. Nearly two years later, work started and a fibreglass tank/tail kit fitted!
After finding this out, I said to Simon, “Let’s get it up to Brisbane and I’ll get it finished for you!”
So after it arrived, I felt the retro kit didn’t fit properly or really suit the modern water-cooled bike, so we agreed to build a 1998 air-cooled 900 monster using the kit and other parts supplied and go all-out on the 916 as well.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
So for the 916, I wanted to go a bit more contemporary with the styling, so handmade aluminium tank and panels were made while we waited for the custom set of Kineo wheels to be made in Italy (which by the way ended up taking 10 months to finally arrive)…
In the wait time, I mentioned to Simon (probably jokingly) that we could fit a turbo to it and make it something really special?
He said, “Hell yeah, let’s do it!”
• What custom work was done to the bike?
So from there the build began again. The tank I had built previously, and honestly wasn’t that happy with it shape-wise, so it went in the bin!
A new ceramic-coated Garret turbo was fitted with exhaust in and out built here. A plenum was built where the front of a fuel tank would normally be, and the rear of that now houses all the electrics including full-size gel battery.
The tail was fabricated from aluminium and seat built. A belly tank was built underneath the bike, housing the fuel pump and filter and holding around 11 litres of fuel.
Front fender was fabricated, aluminium as well. The frame has had the tail end chopped to accept the tail, and other mods behind the neck to accommodate the Motogadget motoscope pro speedo and tube replaced factory brackets under the seat area to keep the lattice frame flowing.
The frame, rear spring, and single sided swing-arm (from a later model) were sent off for chrome plating, and the rear shock and other parts were polished here!
The 916 engine was taken to Theo @biketherapy to give it a tear down, freshen up, lower the compression to 9:1 for the turbo.
Side panels were fabricated to finish off the upper tins, which we painted in a pearl over white, and the other parts were covered in a rough industrial texture coating to also help keep things slightly insulated.
Justin @popbangclassics came through yet again, basically making a custom loom to work with the Motogadget speedo, buttons, m-unit blue, keyless start, m-blaze, m-tens indicators, LED headlight, etc.
We fabbed up 316 stainless rear sets, headlight mount, many other smaller brackets and mounts across the bike.
With the wheels arriving, we added Bridgestone bt01 (semi track) tyres.
HEL Performance brake and oil lines were made up for brakes and turbo oil feed.
Other parts include Italian-made billet triple trees (which were for a 996 from memory and needed mods to fit), billet clip-ons, highsider mirrors, custom-made overflow bottle, adjustable fuel regulator, and even a blow-off valve fitted under the plenum…
Adam @carmans_auto_trimmers looked after the clean and simple seat cover (I was after the rubber track seat look).
I’m sure I haven’t listed every mod or part because there are just too many & my memory sucks? ????
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
The bike hasn’t been on the road as yet because it’s currently in @cubeperformancecentre having a Power Commander fitted and dyno tune done!
• Any idea of power numbers yet?
Stock these bikes are around 106 hp; we just want a mild “street” tune done, so maybe around 150 – 160 hp would be cool?
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The bike has been named “SOFFIATO,” which is Italian for “blown”!
Thanks again to Simon (who is blown away with the end result- pardon the pun).