Alpha Moto builds a GP-inspired Monster…
By the year 2000, the air-cooled Ducati Monster 900 — the Italian factory’s best-selling machine — was growing long in the tooth, losing traction to a crop of ever more powerful rival roadsters. However, the boys from Bologna had an ace up their sleeve in the form of their liquid-cooled L-twin superbike engine, which they wedged into the Monster chassis:
“Take one ageing naked roadster, add the Ducati 916/996/998 series sportbike motor, tweak the suspension and paint it red. It’s been a winning formula for Ducati…” –MCN
Enter our friend Carlos Lopez of San Antonio, Texas, who grew up working in his father’s motorcycle shop, building his first race bike with his father when he was in fourth grade!
“From the time I could walk, my older brother and I could be found in my father’s motorcycle shop full of grease and oil climbing all over his motorcycles…but it was the opportunity to build my first road race bike that sparked a passion for custom builds. A 1990 Yamaha YSR50 was the first race bike my dad and I built to compete in CMRA racing when I was just 9 years old.”
Carlos was working as a part-time mechanic by the time he was 15, and opened his motorcycle shop straight out of high school: Alpha Moto. Last year, we featured the Honda GL650 café racer he built for a client — a bike that was featured in the 2022 Handbuilt Show.
For 2023, Carlos is back with the Ducati Monster S4 you see here, built for customer Joe Ramos of One Speed Moto (@1speedmoto). As you can probably gather from the design, Carlos was inspired by vintage GP race bikes.
The bodywork — fairing, fender, and tail — are not aftermarket fiberglass units, but hand-built from aluminum. The windshield was also custom-made, along with the slinky stainless steel exhaust. Other highlights include a cerakoted engine, OZ Racing wheels, Öhlins front suspension, Motogadget electronics, and more. The paint is an exact match to the Ducati 1299 Superleggera — the track-focused, carbon-framed, no-expense-spared superbike of Ducatisti dreams.
Nicknamed the “ONESPEED RACER,” this Ducati S4 was one of the standouts from the recent 2023 Handbuilt Show, and Carlos says it’s a torque monster on the road, too. Below, we talk to him for the full details on the build.
Ducati S4 Café Racer: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
2002 Ducati Monster S4.
• Why was this bike built?
We built for our client Joe Ramos @1speedmoto.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I have always loved the style on vintage GP race bikes.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The paint is an exact match to the Ducati 1299 Superleggera. The fairing, fender, and tail/seat are all hand-tooled aluminum. Also, the windscreen is custom-made. Custom-made stainless steel exhaust. Engine Cerakoted black. SAMCO coolant hoses. OZ Racing wheels, Front OHLINS suspension, Rear Elka shock. Brembo RCS masters. M-unit and Motogadget Chronoclassic gauge. Rear sets are black SATO Racing. All work is done by ALPHA.MOTO in San Antonio Texas.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It’s amazing to ride. “Torque monster.”
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m particularly proud of the custom fairing and tail section we custom-built from aluminum.