Rind Performance streamlines the 999…
In 2001, Ducati introduced their new Testastretta (“Narrow Head”) L-twin engine, featuring narrower 25-degree angles between the inlet and exhaust valves, which corresponded with modern F1 four-valve theory. The narrow angle not only resulted in more compact and efficient combustion chambers, but left room for bigger valves.
The engines debuted in the 2001 Ducati 996R, the last of the revered 996 models, and followed in the all-new Ducati 999 — a highly controversial design from the legendary Pierre Terblanche. Though the 999’s aesthetics and construction departed sharply from previous generations, the performance was on point.
The 998cc Testrastretta engine produced 124 – 150 bhp, depending on the variant, which made for a 0-60 mph time of less than 3 seconds, and the 999 was one hell of a weapon in the corners:
“On the right racetrack, the Ducati 999 feels sublime…” –MCN
The 999 is also finding its way into the hands of customizers, for whom the controversial design is an opportunity. One such is our friend Robin Ludwig (@mr.ludolf) of Germany’s Rind Performance, whose flat-twin BMW street tracker / supermotos have been popular here on BikeBound.
Now Robin has turned his sights from Bavaria to Bologna, building himself a 2003 Ducati 999:
“My new Italian creation, the Rind Performance Ducati 999 ‘Muccastretta’ (Skinny Cow) — a name derived from the legendary Testastretta (Skinny Head) engine. Old-school design with plenty of power — we didn’t aim for a classic, underpowered cafe racer 😜”
Indeed! Robin has expanded the stretta concept to the entire bike, making it sleeker and lighter with a bespoke rear subframe and two-piece saddle, custom front fairing and side panels, minimalist LED lighting, and a hand-built 2:2 exhaust modeled after today’s MotoGP setups.
The bike is a truly visceral experience on the road, putting its 120+ ponies to the pavement without the electronic aids of the contemporary crop of superbikes:
“Pure driving without any frills like traction control or ABS.”
At the same time, Robin has retained the bike’s original ergonomics, which he already enjoyed — though like every Testastretta, this 999 remains “hot under the ass” in city traffic. His favorite part of the build is the streamlined shape of the machine, ready to knife through the air like a high-velocity projectile:
“What I really like is the smooth transition from the exhaust to the rear end and especially the slim silhouette, where she got her name “slim-cow“ (‘Muccastretta’).”
Below, we talk to Robin for the full details on the build.
Ducati 999 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Tell us about the bike.
My new Italian creation, the Rindperformance Ducati 999 “Muccastretta” (Skinny Cow) — a name derived from the legendary Testastretta (Skinny Head) engine. Old-school design with plenty of power — we didn’t aim for a classic, underpowered cafe racer 😜.
I think for some there is only one color for a Ducati, but I found this color combination quite fitting. Muccastretta is an extremely slim racing cow trimmed for lightweight performance. Pure driving without any frills like traction control or ABS.
Brutal V2 sound through the 2-into-2 GPR self-made exhaust system, copied from the current MotoGP motorcycles. The complete good ergonomics have been retained, only the exterior design has been changed 20 years back!
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Ducati 999 from 2003.
• Why was this bike built?
Because I saw a converted Ducati 749/999 on the internet, liked it so much that I decided to convert a 999 according to my ideas and for myself.
• Can you list the custom work done to the bike?
- Homemade rear frame with single underseat pipe
- Two-piece leather seat
- Homemade 2 in 2 exhaust with GPR silencers
- GFK front fairing
- LED front light
- PVC Side panels
- Air intake
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the Muccastretta?
It’s very agile and powerful, and the customizations have made the 999 lose a lot of weight. However, I was already enthusiastic about the standard 999, especially the comfort, sound, and performance. And like every Testastretta, it’s very hot under the ass, especially in city traffic. 😅
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
What I really like is the smooth transition from the exhaust to the rear end and especially the slim silhouette, where she got her name “slim-cow“ (“Muccastretta“).