Modern Meets Classic: Ronaldo Ferreti’s Ducati 1098 Café Racer…
In 2007, Ducati unveiled their new 1098 superbike, boasting a 160-bhp Testastretta Evoluzione engine — the most powerful production V-twin ever made at the time. It was said to combine the agility and beauty of the beloved 916 with the stability of the 999, and soon earned a reputation as one of the greatest sportbikes ever made.
“Stunning to look at and absolutely pure in its purpose. It was a long time coming but Ducati had finally built a sports bike that could run with the best — pure unadulterated sports bike heaven.” –MCN
Enter our new friend Ronaldo Ferreti (@enriquecubano), a New York native who grew up in Cuba, where his father was an aircraft designer who rode everywhere on a motorcycle:
“I remember the smell of gasoline more than the details of the bike but his red 1950’s Jawa from Czechoslovakia was a big deal in Cuba — it must’ve felt like owning my Ducati today.”
More than two decades later, Ron rode a motorcycle for the first time — an experience that was nothing short of an epiphany:
“All the sudden I remembered the smell of gasoline from my dad’s motorcycle. I felt home and till now I had not made that connection, but riding that old half-broken bike felt so natural, as soon as I took off the wind hit my face and I was a happy kid back in Cuba — that was the moment I knew I had to get my own bike, and so I did.”
Nearly 10 bikes later, Ron decided he wanted something truly unique, a custom build that would speak to his personality, passion, and Cuban roots — an island where necessity is the mother of invention:
“I was determined to build my bike, with no shop, no tools, or bike, I only had my ideas and skills, and so I went and got my 2007 Ducati 1098 superbike in yellow, rented a community garage where I could use their tools, and started my build only two weeks after I bought the bike.”
More than two years and 250 hours later, the Ducati 1098 café racer you see here was complete. Ron gives us the full scoop on the build and modifications below, but suffice to say that nearly every last component was rebuilt, replaced, modified, and/or custom-finished. The bike looks incredible, and Ronaldo says it performs even better:
“With weight reduction and increased horsepower, this bike is capable of 190MPH — a very powerful Ducati with no ABS or traction control, just RAW POWER.”
Our favorite detail? The signatures and names inscribed on the tank and fairing in 23k gold-leaf paint, written in the hand of someone very special:
“The names are in cursive handwriting from my mother, in gratitude for all her love and hard work.”
Below, Ronaldo gives us the full story on the build, as well as thanks for the folks who helped him with the build. Photos: @Z_motophoto.
Ferreti “Unica”: In the Builder’s Words…
I was and still am a car guy, but I was always around motorcycles and airplanes since I was a child, now this goes back to Cuba. My father was an aviation engineer and always used a motorcycle to get around town. I remember the smell of gasoline more than the details of the bike but his red 1950’s Jawa from Czechoslovakia was a big deal in Cuba — it must’ve felt like owning my Ducati today.
I bought my first motorcycle when I was 31 years old because of a good friend who bought a 1980s Honda and called me to go with him to get it. He asked me if I could ride it because he did not feel comfortable as a new rider, and me, well, I had never ridden a motorcycle before in my life at that point, so I got on the bike, started it, and all the sudden I remembered the smell of gasoline from my dad’s motorcycle. I felt home and till now I had not made that connection, but riding that old half-broken bike felt so natural, as soon as I took off the wind hit my face and I was a happy kid back in Cuba — that was the moment I knew I had to get my own bike, and so I did.
I think a week later, after looking at hundreds of bikes, I found the bike that marked my path; it was a 2006 tangerine red Ducati Monster S2R 800cc — this was the most beautiful naked bike I have ever seen then.
I have had 9 bikes now, and always wanted to own something different, something that would represent who am I, my passion for bikes and where I come from — a father who designed planes and had so much creativity to make anything functional in his shop and around the house — in Cuba necessity is the mother of invention. I was determined to build my bike, with no shop, no tools, or bike, I only had my ideas and skills, and so I went and got my 2007 Ducati 1098 superbike in yellow, rented a community garage where I could use their tools, and started my build only two weeks after I bought the bike.
This motorcycle has been in the building phase for almost two years. In between covid, buying a home, and planning a wedding, this project was finally finished just weeks ago in April 2023.
With over 250 hours of work and hundreds of screws, this bike was taking down to the bone, all seals, bearings, gaskets, replaced only by OEM Ducati parts thanks to Ducati NY. I worked on the engine, front and rear shocks, swingarm, wheels, headtube, wiring harness, etc… practically every piece of this motorcycle has been disassembled, refurnished, powder coated, cerakoted, painted and/or even plated. All Italian aftermarket parts combined with OEM parts for reliability and some other parts designed and built custom specifically for this motorcycle.
Engine / Performance:
High flow Intake, custom full exhaust (with titanium cerakote), ECU remap by Ducati NYC, rebuilt front Showa and rear Öhlins shocks (front fork cerakoted Black).
New Brembo brake calipers (cerakote gray with Ferreti signature in gold), new front and rear disc brakes (front powder-coated black, brake pads still eating through the powder coat leaving all areas not in contact with the brake pads protected) with new brake lines, Brembo master cylinders and carbon fiber CRG levers, new clutch plates, springs and springs caps, clutch slave, frame covers from Ducabike, pressure plate and open clutch cover from Speedymoto.
All new gold screws from ProBolt USA, new OEM radiator and oil cooler (with CNC Racing covers), Votex rearsets that can be adjusted to the rider’s preferences, new carbon fiber wheels by BST Custom in satin gold with ceramic bearings.
It has a fully new custom rear subframe that can be detached from the original frame by 4 bolts, supporting the rear of the fuel tank bracket and the new seat.
The fuel tank is taken from a Ducati Sport Classic GT1000. Front fairing with custom brackets hold a new modern LED headlamp with integrated signals. The custom rear tail has a storage compartment that can be detached with one push of a button. All new relocated wiring harness with lithium battery, ECU, voltage regulator, and relays seated on a custom plate under the fuel tank / over the airbox (this whole plate can be easily put on the side to give access to the airbox with a push of a button), giving a very clean look to the bike by hiding most of the electronics for that classic motorcycle clean and simple look.
BST carbon fiber wheels, other carbon fiber components from Shift Tech such as engine covers, fenders and levers, keyless entry with two beepers that can be easily switched between proximity or push to start button, front and rear LED lights, lighter components.
Black and Gold was the key, inspired by the 1979 Ducati 900ss in black with gold lines and gold wheels, front fairing, and solo seat (monoposto).The black paint on the body parts combined with Italian (Giusto Manetti) 23k gold leaf made by hand for all the striping, letters, and signature. Black-out on most of other parts to really make that gold frame pop.
Just like an architect, the best way to hide structural elements is by exaggerating them. Long front fairing from Motoforza to give it a little bit of visual weight in the front, combined with a real Ducati sport classic fuel tank and a custom monoposto seat. For the final touch, I went with BST wheels in bronze carbon fiber, giving it that modern look and keeping the weight down.
With weight reduction and increased horsepower, this bike is capable of 190MPH — a very powerful Ducati with no ABS or traction control, just RAW POWER.
This motorcycle was tagged as the “Ducati GT1100s” for its GT tank and 1100cc engine from the 1098. Now, I never named the bike until it was almost completely done, I wanted to see it, to ride it and have the other people’s impressions.
Still the name did not pop into my head until one day talking to a very good Italian friend, who said, “This bike is Unica, (means unique in English) you should call her Unica and so I did.”
Ferreti is my last name from my mother’s side. It’s actually Ferret but in English, ferret is a very cute small animal, so I started looking for the root of the name Ferret and found out it comes from Ferreti, a perfect Italian name for a unique Italian bike.
The names are in cursive handwriting from my mother, in gratitude for all her love and hard work.
Follow the Designer / Builder
Ronaldo Ferreti: @enriquecubano
Builder Thanks / Credits
He did all the powder coating and cerakote of all the parts.
He did metal fabrication, welding and body paint.
All the videos and short clips.