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Trilobite Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Men’s Jeans Hands On Review

Jeans With A Twist

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Front View

What the…??

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Side View

When I first saw the photos of the Trilobite Probut X-Factor motorcycling jeans in the MotoNation catalog I was beyond intrigued.

I’ve noticed the rising popularity of motorcycle jeans and wondered whether they’re all some people make them out to be. I jumped at the chance to test these Trilobite Probut X-Factor ones mainly because of the waterproof and 4 season claims.

That’s the kind of bragging that needs to be challenged and then either confirmed or exposed as fraudulent.

First Impressions

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Rear View

Fitment… How YOU Doin’?

Picking them up right away I noted how heavy they feel just to hold, and when worn fresh out of the box they’re very stiff and… how do I put this without sounding crude? Overly friendly with your most private areas. Yes, I said it. They ride up your butt too much, but only at first, thankfully!

I’m a size 34 waist for non-motorcycle jeans and these 34 waist Trilobite jeans fit the same way in that regard. They’re a little longer as you can see in the pictures, but I’m just a little over Hobbit height and so this is a normal problem I’ve come to accept.

I apologize for not growing enough to be a better clothing model. I’m hoping that the “Probut” moniker at least made my backside look professional in these jeans. All of you will look way better in them than I do. Have a look at these stunning models from the Trilobite website.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans As Shown on Male & Female Model

The jeans come in several men’s and women’s, regular and long sizes.

Heavy Duty

After wearing them for a few hours of riding and around the house they broke in nicely and the only thing telling me I was wearing motorcycle jeans was the weight. They feel like gravity is working twice as hard on pulling them down your legs than typical jeans.

This problem you only notice if you wear them around the house all day as I did. Once on the bike, it’s not noticeable at all and they’re more comfortable than most other riding pants I’ve tried because they’re soft and cushioned thanks to the Kevlar and thicker denim.

No Swishing

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Off-side View

One of the great benefits of riding jeans is the lack of “swishing” sounds while you walk around and the thigh material comes rubbing together with each stride.

With regular Nylon textile riding pants that noise really gets on my nerves after a while. I start to flashback to horrible days of my youth where I had to wear snow pants to school in winter and how uncomfortable they were.

Venting Ability

My main concern with riding jeans coming into this was whether they can keep the wearer cool in summer weather. I typically wear jeans while riding and know they don’t breathe well and don’t adequately protect in a slide either.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Leg and Waist Closeup

The vaguely star-shaped, vented material found in the crotch area or “crotch starfish” as I call it, immediately jumped out at me when I first laid eyes on these pants. This thin, breathable and stretchy fabric is a fantastic solution to a very sweaty and uncomfortable problem all people who like to wear jeans in the summer know well.

Don’t kid yourself, they don’t breathe as well as Trilobite seems to imply with the waterproof liner in them. Remove the liner and get moving at highway speed and VOILA! There are awesome levels of airflow over your most private of areas. I was actually a little on the cool side once temps dropped down into the 65-degree range and thought about putting the liner back in.

Trilobite has incorporated what they call “Coolmax Fibre System” which wicks moisture and heat out of the inner layer. It works, but only to a point as I definitely had to remove the waterproof liner while wearing them around the house after a couple of hours to avoid uncomfortable levels of sweating. Moving at any level of speed down the road cures this problem, and I doubt Trilobite expected people to lounge around the house in their riding jeans, to be fair…

The jeans come with a small bag to store the liner in for keeping it safe and compact, which is a nice touch.

Pleated Areas

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans on Bike

You’ll notice in the photos the obvious pleats located on the lower back and on the knees. These are pretty effective at allowing stretch when bent over in the riding position without getting a permanent stretch in the material leading to bulging and wear. The area on the back does still bulge weirdly when you bend forward and you’ll want to have a coat cover it or risk having your pants fill up with water when it rains thanks to the easy access caused by the bulging.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Closeup Backside

I’d be curious to see a pair of these jeans after a few years and whether they would have faded patches on them after a few hundred washes.

Useless Back Pockets

These pleats, unfortunately, forced the manufacturer to lower the pockets on the back so low that they ride right on the curve of your butt cheeks, rendering them useless for carrying anything thicker than a small piece of cardboard.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Rear View

I usually carry my “George Costanza-esque” wallet in my right rear pocket, but that’s impossible with these jeans and I had to move it to my jacket pocket instead. Annoying, but not a deal breaker.

Level Of Protection

These are not your average pair of Levis.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Protection Diagram

They’re constructed of Cordura Denim which I’m told is four times more abrasion resistant than run of the mill denim of the same thickness. This combined with the Kevlar reinforced knees, hips and backside area results in a pair of pants that bring a lot of peace of mind if ever you find yourself sliding down the road at 60 mph without your motorcycle under you.

I opted not to test the abrasion resistance. I’ll take the manufacturer’s word for it on this one.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Abrasion Resistance Comparison Chart

Armor Pockets

There are pockets in each knee and hip area that you can buy armor of your choosing for or use the CE Level B pads that come with the jeans.

I didn’t receive the Trilobite Armor with my test jeans initially.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Armor Insert Placed in Jeans

I happened to have some Rukka D30 CE Level 2 pads on hand and decided to see whether I could fit them in. They’re very thick and long armor, designed for dirt biking pants, but surprisingly I managed to get them in the jeans successfully as you can see in the photos.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Armor in Jeans

UPDATE On Trilobite Armor

I contacted MotoNation to inquire about the missing armor. They confirmed the armor should have been included and put sent some to me right away.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Armor Included

I received them about a week later. They’re unusual looking but also stand out as decent protection of CE Level B quality. The pads are constructed of a triple layer of foam with venting holes to allow for breathability.

The knee pads come encased in a thin cotton fabric sheath with a strip of Velcro down the back to hold the knee pads in position when installed in the jeans’ pockets.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Closeup Armor

I like the added touch of the Trilobite logo branded on the Armor. It doesn’t affect the performance of course, but it’s a nice touch all the same on the hip armor pictured below.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Branded Armor

They fit in the jeans much better than the Rukka ones for obvious reasons.

Cell Phone Pocket?

Speaking of pockets, there’s a great one on the right thigh that fits an iPhone X perfectly. The velcro strap holds it in there firmly too.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Small Side Pocket

My only gripe about this pocket is that it isn’t waterproof. In fact, none of the pockets on these jeans are waterproof in any way.

Wet Weather Riding

In my quest for truth, I will go to great lengths to give you the straight goods.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Waterproof Test

In the spirit of what we do here at WebBikeWorld, I decided to test how waterproof these jeans are by getting doused with the garden hose for 5 minutes. My wife was just a little too eager to help with this part, to be honest.

The jeans didn’t miss a beat and came through the test with flying colors. Not only was I completely dry underneath the waterproof liner, but I was still warm despite the very cold water hitting me.

Wet Denim

The denim definitely held water for a long time after. Having said that, if you’re flying along at highway speed that water would leave the denim pretty efficiently based on the testing I did. That is a feature of these jeans the manufacturer pointedly brags about. I have to give them full credit on the waterproofing. It’s as good as they say it is. I fully expected to get wet, but didn’t. It doesn’t dry off as fast as GoreTex does, but it’s good!

Trilobite Crash Program

Trilobite wants to hear from you if you crash wearing their jeans so they can analyze the fallout and better improve their product. They may even send you a replacement pair for your cooperation.

See this link for contact details

After The Washing Machine

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Closeup of Ankle Cuffs

I washed the jeans as directed in cold water and then hung them to dry. They cleaned up nicely and actually fit me a little better after the fact too.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Closeup of Material and Stitching

I did notice some of the stitching around the left front pocket letting go, and the reflective material at the bottom of the left leg has cracked and started peeling off. That’s very disappointing to see since I really like these jeans and wanted them to last.

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Reflective Material

I sent an email to MotoNation asking if this defect would be covered under warranty from Trilobite. They confirmed it would be covered through Trilobite warranty.

Final Verdict?

Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Full View on Motorcycle

I really like these Trilobite Probut X-Factor jeans, a lot!

Despite the bizarre name and odd, yet charming brand logo consisting of an extinct marine arachnomorph arthropod this product is appealing and fairly solid.

They work surprisingly well in the cold and wet while being decent in the hot too. They protect a rider from slides and impacts while looking hip and stylish after the dust settles. That’s like getting bonus points! Form and function all in one. It’s a winner without a doubt.

The only thing I don’t care for about the design (other than the useless rear pockets) is that the waterproof liner is on the inside and would require privacy to strip down to your skivvies for installation if you were caught in the rain without warning.

The price seems steep if you usually just buy your jeans from Costco the way I do, but these aren’t “just jeans”. If you haven’t understood that about the Trilobite Probut X Factor, you haven’t been reading carefully and should go back for a second round.


  • Stylish, designer-looking jeans don’t look like motorcycle gear
  • Large and useful front pockets and secret pocket
  • Removable waterproof liner: easy to remove/install
  • Windproof and quite warm in cold weather
  • Fit like regular jeans after break-in
  • Pockets on knee area for optional Armor
  • Kevlar lined knee, hip and backside areas
  • Crotch and thigh vents provide very good airflow
  • Reflective material on each ankle area
  • Zipper on back of waist can attach to a jacket


  • Rear pockets are situated too low to be useful
  • Waterproof liner doesn’t breathe well in high heat
  • Cordura Denim takes time to dry after getting wet
  • Heavy
  • No armor included
  • Some stitching and reflective striping failing after one wash


Trilobyte Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Jeans Image Gallery


The post Trilobite Probut X-Factor Cordura Denim Men’s Jeans Hands On Review appeared first on Web Bike World.

Berham Customs BikeExif Custom Motorcycles Other Motorcycle Blogs scrambler Yamaha motorcycles

Covert Operation: A Yamaha XT 600 goes under cover

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 scrambler by Berham Customs
Creativity is a tug-of-war between what the client wants, and the designer’s need for freedom. Building custom motorcycles is no different. In fact, some builders won’t even take on a job if they don’t have complete creative control.

Martien Delfgaauw of Berham Customs in Berlin is a little more easygoing than that. But even he was put off by the brief for this Yamaha XT 600.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
Rather than bend necks and drop jaws, this stealthy scrambler had to do the exact opposite—blend in.

The XT’s owner supplied this brief: “I’ve got a 2002 XT 600 that I’d like you to turn into a good looking bike. But it musn’t look like a custom bike. It should look stock, somehow, and has to be completely unobtrusive, with a matte black paint job.”

“Also, it mustn’t look new. It has to be perfect for the city, but also off road and long tours. A huge tank’s a must. It has to be comfortable, and it has to be lowered so that I get my feet on the ground properly. Currently it’s not running—some electrical issue. Are you up for it?”

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
Not surprisingly, Martien was less than enthusiastisch.

Berham create purpose-driven machines all the time. But even then, they go to town on the details—ditching air boxes and installing Motogadgetry everywhere. And none of that was going to be possible here.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
“It was too much of what you don’t want to get in a brief,” says Martien. He also had his hands full launching a line of parts for classic BMWs, in collaboration with KRT Framework. So he turned the project down.

But the request kept preying on Martien’s mind. “It was a challenge,” he says, “and challenges are always tempting.” So a few days later, he called his client up and offered to rebuild the XT 600—provided he had plenty of time in which to do it.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
Once the Berham crew had ditched the XT’s stock bodywork, the first step was to source a large enough fuel tank that could create a neat line. A Yamaha XS 500 unit fit the bill, but needed some serious massaging to fit the XT 600’s oil-carrying frame.

Martien had to cut the tunnel out completely and rebuild it from scratch—without losing too much capacity. “This meant hours of shaping and beating sheet metal,” he says. He also welded in new threads for fuel taps, and threaded bushings for the new tank mounts.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
Next up, the frame was cleaned up and the rear end lopped off. A new subframe was fabricated and welded in, following a more angular line than the typical rear loop design. “The frame’s angles and the need to integrate the rear light called for a bit more trickery,” explains Martien.

The tail section looks like a stock part off an enduro bike, but it’s actually been hand made from fiberglass. Martien had to weld in mounts for the seat, tail, exhaust and a new electrics box.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
Alex at Weitgehend Gar in Hamburg handled the upholstery, wrapping the seat pad in a waterproof leather. It had to be waterproof, because Berham’s client will be parking the bike outside, year-round. This XT 600 is most definitely not a show pony.

That’s also why Berham had to keep the XT’s original airbox, rather than cleaning the space out and fitting open filters. Luckily they installed a modified Arrow TT exhaust, saving a little weight and helping the thumper breathe a little better.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
The rest of the bodywork is a mixed bag. The stock front fender stayed, but was reshaped to be smaller and sharper. Lucas handlebars were fitted with new Biltwell Inc. grips, but the speedo and most of the controls are still OEM.

The headlight and shroud combo is a setup that Berham has used in the past: A standard Bates-style headlight, capped with a nacelle from Spanish moped manufacturer SRS. Just behind it are new upper fork covers, whipped up on the lathe.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
Lowering the bike was part of the brief, but Martien was hesitant to lose suspension travel. So he trimmed the stock suspension as little as possible, and swapped the Yamaha’s stock 21” front wheel for a 19” CWC rim, laced to the stock hub. That did the trick, with a set of Heidenau K60 tires adding just the right amount of all-terrain ability.

With no room to breathe on the livery, the frame was refinished in its original color, and the bodywork in matte black. As for those electrical issues, Berham staffer Dennis wove a new wiring harness.

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs
With the notorious TÜV stamp of approval, the XT 600 was finally ready to return to active duty—as a stealthy, rugged daily runner. The perfect custom for a rider who likes to fly under the radar.

Berham Customs | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Exsample

A discreetly modified 2002 Yamaha XT 600 by Berham Customs

Destinations motorcycle Other Motorcycle Blogs You Must Be Trippin' - Click on the Title to View Entire Article

The Best Rides in the USA

What makes a great motorcycle ride? Great scenery, twisty roads, smooth pavement, light traffic, few intersections, and a great destination at the end of the ride. You may have a ride like this close to home, or you may need to travel to get to one. Over the years, I’ve sought out and ridden many…

Bad Winners BikeExif Custom Motorcycles Ducati Ducati Scrambler Other Motorcycle Blogs Trackers

How to turn the Ducati Scrambler into a tracker

Bad Winners reveals a brace of Ducati Scrambler flat trackers
The Ducati Scrambler is an obvious fit for ‘casual’ flat track racing. Ducati even made a ‘Flat Track Pro’ limited edition in 2016, which was essentially a new version of the Full Throttle with wide bars, a bunch of minor trim changes and a Temignoni muffler.

It looks like Ducati is now digging deeper into flat track territory: it’s commissioned a pair of flat track-style Scramblers from one of our favorite French builders, Bad Winners.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 800 flat tracker
In his Paris workshop, Bad Winners’ head honcho Walid created two bikes—a race machine based on the original Scrambler Ducati sans front brake, and a road-friendly version based on the beefier new 1100.

At the Wheels & Waves festival earlier this month, the bikes pulled in the crowds and took pole position on Ducati’s ‘Land Of Joy’ stand. We’re not surprised: we reckon the stock Scramblers are good-looking bikes, but Walid has lifted them to a whole new level.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 800 flat tracker
First, the 800. This is a bona fide flat tracker, with the front brake removed and a set of Excel 19-inch rims installed—shod with Dunlop DT3 rubber, of course. All the usual road-legal ancillary items are gone, and there’s a minimal new wiring loom that covers just the basics.

The suspension is stock, however—but should work reasonably well on the track. Most Scrambler owners would call the ride ‘firm’ anyway, and find it more comfortable when carrying a pillion.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 800 flat tracker
Ergos are taken care of with grippy Ducabike foot pegs, and Gilles Tooling risers to lift and rotate the bars a little closer to the rider.

The engine internals are standard, but K&N filters now handle the intake side and there’s a Termignoni racing exhaust on the other end. A remapped ECU takes advantage of the improved breathing, and the bike now records 83 hp on the dyno—up ten horses on the original. A Scrambler 1100 swingarm now helps get the power down smoothly.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 800 flat tracker
The new bodywork is carbon fiber, and dare we say, is a huge improvement on the typical, more retro flat track style. Especially the delicate, waspish tail.

“The idea was to use the line of the Scrambler’s tiny frame,” Walid says. “The bike is ‘tight’ and I didn’t want the usual flat track design. I wanted a twist of MotoGP style—and that’s how I arrived at the tail design.”

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 800 flat tracker
Walid started with sketches, then moved to 3D modeling. After printing out the shapes in hard paper, he cut foam to perfect the lines. The molds were made from the foam, and the results are sublime.

It’s almost too pretty to race. But race it did: at the Wheels & Waves festival earlier this month, Zoe David of Atelier Chatokhine gunned the 800 off the start line in the El Rollo series and qualified third. Unfortunately the race itself was red flagged, but the bike showed promise—enough for there to be talk of developing it for a full series of flat track racing in 2019.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 800 flat tracker
Bad Winners’ Scrambler 1100 (below) shares the same crisp yellow-and-white livery as its smaller sibling, but is a completely different machine.

This one’s road legal, with the front brake intact. “The idea for this one was to show what we can do with the Scrambler 1100 without doing a big build, and just using plug-and-play parts,” says Walid.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 1100 flat tracker kit
The new fiberglass seat unit transforms the looks, swapping the stock 1100’s long perch for a perky leather-clad solo unit that lightens the looks of the 1100 considerably.

The huge stock muffler is gone, replaced by a short and sweet silencer, hooked up to a custom stainless steel pipe that hugs the line of the rear subframe.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 1100 flat tracker kit
The stock intake system has again been replaced by K&N filters. And there are Excel rims on this machine too, along with Ducabike pegs. It’s just enough to give the big 1100 a sportier vibe without compromising the functionality—unless you like to carry una bella ragazza on the back.

The best news of all? Bad Winners will be releasing kits in October this year, so Scrambler owners can give their bikes a dash of flat track style. There’ll be road legal kits for both the 800 and 1100 Ducatis, and a race kit for the 800 only.

Bad Winners Ducati Scrambler 1100 flat tracker kit
If you’re in Europe, you can see Walid’s work up close at World Ducati Week, which will be held at the Misano circuit from 20 to July. The rest of us will just have to be content with these rather tempting images—while keeping an eye on the Bad Winners website for news of availability.

Bad Winners | Facebook | Instagram

Bad Winners reveals a brace of Ducati Scrambler flat trackers

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IXS’ Tour Glove ST-Plus Is A Swiss Army Knife Of A Touring Glove

IXS’ Tour Glove ST-Plus Is A Swiss Army Knife Of A Touring Glove

This IXS glove mixes desirable touring features with stiff protection and an innovative inner membrane

With a clunky name but an impressive list of features, the IXS Tour Glove ST-Plus might just become a staple in your touring kit.
BikeExif Bultaco cafe racer Other Motorcycle Blogs Racing Motorcycles

Split Personality: A two-tone Bultaco Alpina racer

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
We like to think our tastes are eclectic. Whether it’s an oddity out of the left field, or a classy retro race machine, as long as it’s well designed and well built, it ticks our boxes.

Mark ‘Makr’ Atkinson has played at both ends of the spectrum. His BMW concept with designer Mehmet Doruk Erdem broke the internet last year. Now he’s hit back with something completely different: a schizophrenic Bultaco Alpina-based racer, painted in contrasting colors on each side.

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
Based in Utah, Mark is a machinist by day—able to run old school manual machines and program the latest multi-axis contraptions. He spends his down time building bikes and competing in land speed racing.

He once told us he typically builds a new race engine each winter—from scratch, starting with a big billet of solid aluminum. He didn’t quite have to go to that extreme on the Bultaco, but he still had his work cut out.

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
Stylistically, this project screams ‘classic road racer.’ But it actually started life as an old scrambler—a 1975 Alpina 350.

“Even though I have exercised my competitive edge in land speed racing, I mostly love going around corners on motorcycles,” Mark tells us. “I built this Bultaco road race TSS-kinda-replica as a fun project. And it really is a reflection, at the core, of what I like to see in all motorcycles; small displacement, light weight, and the proper amount of strokes.”

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
Mark sourced the Alpina locally, then set about solving his first problem: the engine was completely locked up. “I took it apart and thought: ‘these vertically split crank cases are a pain in the ass’,” he recalls.

“So I machined an o-ring groove around the main case and primary cover, so it wouldn’t leak and I wouldn’t have to take it apart again. The rest went back together as it should.” Thanks to copious amounts of elbow grease, the engine now looks brand new. Mark fitted a flat slide carb that he found in a box, adding a curved intake to help it clear the frame.

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
The exhaust is a “stainless sheet menagerie,” with some guesswork to get the port timing right. “It seems to work OK,” he says. (Why are we not surprised?) “There is something that is uniquely Spanish about Bultacos, and I am sure the other brands from this area and era too.

“I love the work that went into them.”

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
“Bultacos get a bad rap for sometimes questionable quality—but I don’t see it. They are beautifully made, even if seen through the eyes of a non-CNC, crafted-as-you-go lens. They won many world championships in a bunch of different motorcycle racing genres, so they did a lot right.”

The tubed aluminum frame is all Mark’s handiwork, following a design he’s been sitting on for a few years. It includes a machined rear engine mount that incorporates the swing arm pivot, and ties into the upper main frame tube.

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
Two machined legs, connected by bent round tubes, form the swing arm. It’s hooked up to a new rear shock from Gears Racing.

A set of unspecified Suzuki forks do duty up front. Mark tells us that the head angle is set up pretty steep, with not much trail. “But it handles okay. It’s skittish, but at a couple hundred pounds it would be, no matter what.”

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
The wheels are a mixed bag. Mark sourced a Moto Guzzi Matador front wheel, then spooned on an old Goodyear race slick from his land speed bike. The Guzzi’s drum brake stayed in place, but apparently it has the effectiveness of a wood block. “I machined about ten pounds out it,” says Mark, “but it didn’t help much.”

Other than the motor, the rear hub’s the only piece of the original Bultaco Alpina left. It’s now laced to a raised lip Borrani rim via a set of Buchanan’s stainless spokes. The Avon Roadrider it’s wearing was dug out of a stack of random tires that Mark has amassed.

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
Moving to the bodywork, Mark fashioned a new tank from aluminum, with the angles and rear cutouts being a nod to the TSS road racers of old. He dismisses the rest of the bodywork as simply ‘bought,’ but a close look reveals some lovely touches in between everything—like the elegant fairing bracketry.

Everything’s finished in a lustrous black and red finish, split by a polished section. Mark did the paint in a DIY paint booth in the corner of the shop. The seat’s covered in the same hide as his ‘Alpha’ BMW build, and it’s been done by the same guy—Eli Scarbeary.

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
The leather grips are Mark’s own creation, as are the clip-ons they’re mounted to. “I designed ones that use one bolt to pinch the fork tube and bar,” he says. “And I machined them at 25 degree angle—like Jarno Saarinen used in his glorious heyday.”

There’s probably a ton of detail we’re missing, but the overall package has us hooked regardless. Mark’s Alpina looks tight, perfectly balanced and well judged from any angle. It’s a sign of a builder at the top of his game—but Mark’s nowhere near done learning, or experimenting.

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer
“The Bultaco came out nice—I learned a lot,” he says, with typical modesty. “But I had to Loctite everything, and even then it shakes it apart!”

“I only build bikes because they interest me and challenge me to learn new skills. I am working next on an all-carbon fiber electric motorcycle with crazy steering, and then I think I will build an airplane.”

“After thirty years of building stuff I am excited every day for the next interesting thing. I may run out of time before I build all the things in my head!”

Speed of Cheese Racing | Instagram | Images by David Arellano

Mark Atkinson's Bultaco Alpina Racer

Mark would like to thank David Tagg at Wrights Motorcycles for the wheel help, Misa Macias and Jhony Mendoza for paint correction, and all the massive talent at Luxe Auto Spa.

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Dogfight In The High Desert At The Oregon Gambler Mini Bike Enduro

Devil’s Butthole section

Want to ride a Coleman CT200U 100 miles over rugged terrain? The Oregon Gambler 100 is for you.

The Gambler Rally uses beat-up, four-wheeled vehicles to race off road, but the Oregon Gambler 100 takes the endurance concept and does it on minibikes.
Ad Hoc Cafe Racers BikeExif cafe racer Custom Motorcycles Ducati 900 SS Ducati cafe racer Other Motorcycle Blogs

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
The Ducati 900 SS is one of the great bargains in the motorcycling world. And not because it’s a bad bike. On the contrary, it’s an entertaining ride in an old school kinda way. It’s cheap because the styling missed the mark when it was launched nearly 30 years ago, and it hasn’t aged well since.

That makes the 900 SS an excellent donor bike for a custom job. You can pick up a good example in the USA for as little as $2,000 these days, and if you still need convincing of the Ducati’s potential, just cast your eyes over this slinky new cafe from Ad Hoc.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
It’s the first machine to roll out of David Gonzalez’s new workshop. He’s now based in Sabadell, a town just outside Barcelona that’s chiefly known in the moto world for being the birthplace of racer Dani Pedrosa.

“The past year has been one of transition,” David reveals. “With the change of workshop, the projects slowed down. I wanted to tackle the most important builds with calm and a new perspective, and this Ducati is one of them.”

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
Just before he left the old Ad Hoc workshop, David stripped off the Pierre Terreblanche-designed bodywork. Then in the new shop, he started afresh and began to look for the best shapes and style.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
“We wanted a retro motorcycle: elegant, small and compact,” he says. “As opposed to the striking yellow paint and bulk of the original.” A clear inspiration emerged: the TT1 European endurance racer of the 1980s.

David cut out and reconfigured the rear part of the frame, right up to the anchor point of the Showa monoshock. (The tubing is also now chromed, like the rest of the iconic trellis frame.)

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
The rear footrests are now attached to removable hangers that secure to the frame under the seat—to get a cleaner line when the bike is in single seater mode. “When we attach the metal lid over the seat, we get an authentic monoposto. And when we remove the lid and add the footrests, we have a motorbike to enjoy with company.”

The new headlight bucket and taillight are chromed too, to match the chassis and amplify the timeless effect, and there’s a discreet Motogadget Motoscope Tiny speedo just ahead of the top yoke.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
David’s known for his angular, brightly-colored bodywork, but he’s gone for restraint with the 900 SS. He’s crafted the tank from sheet metal, leaving space for the pump, and has given it a flat top line to echo the straight lines of the frame.

The creamy paint is deliciously understated, and contrasts with the dark grey of the most minimal fuel cap we’ve ever seen. It looks like it belongs more in a high-end Japanese hotel bathroom than on a motorcycle.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
David has also replaced the air filter box with cone filters, and relocated the battery and the electrics. The engine required an overhaul, outside as well as in—since the Ducati had spent its life by the sea. But the internals are unmodified, since the booming L-twin is good for a quarter-mile time of around 12 seconds.

The exhaust is new though, with simple stainless steel headers terminating in a reverse cone silencer. David describes the sound as “elegant, in harmony with the characteristic clink of the Ducati desmo clutch.”

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer
The handling of the 900 SS was excellent for its day, and it’s still fine for the roads that snake through the mountain ranges behind Barcelona. And the original Brembo brakes—with two 320mm discs and four-piston calipers at the front—remain strong. So they’ve simply been overhauled and fettled.

But the wheels were another matter: the three-spoke alloys would have to go. David has built up new wheels using Morad rims, finishing them in a satin black, and lacing them to unspecified hubs. “It’s a bit of a secret,” he says. “It costs a lot to find front hubs for double discs with the right separation!” The tires are Continental’s ContiMotion ‘sport touring’ radials.

Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer

The litmus test for custom builders is knowing what to change and what to leave alone, and David Gonzalez has shown unerring judgment with his Ducati. He’s picked a solid, underrated base bike with excellent performance out of the box, and improved the aesthetics without compromising practicality.

If you’ve got a soft spot for thundering Italian twins, maybe it’s time to pick up a 900 SS on the cheap—before the rest of the world cottons on.

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Caffè Crema: Ad Hoc’s luscious Ducati 900 SS cafe racer

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