Custom: Radical Ducati Mika Racer

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“It’s named Mika Racer because the nickname of the French owner is Mika and the
bike is a Café Racer,” Radical Ducati tells us. Mike must be proud because his racer is the perfect modern interpretation of a modern cafe racer. Based on a Ducati 1098 it drops weight and gains power while looking totally unique.

“It turns strong, is lighter than the original 1098 and with the modification of the airbox with new air stacks and the megaphones, the push is incredible,” continues Radical. “A real beast.”

The term “cafe racer” grew out of the performance modification scene in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Riders would race their bikes against each other or against the clock on the street and stripped every non-essential part from them in the pursuit of lightness, then modified the engines and suspension in pursuit of performance. Somewhere along the way that became more about putting clubmans on a modern Triumph Bonneville and dressing up like John Travolta in “Grease” than it was about performance or riding fast. Bikes like this are a more fitting tribute to that culture as they’re about boosting the street performance of a track bike, not just posing.

- Modified Ducati 1098
- Modified original airbox with DM mecanicca air stacks
- Shortened air funnels
- WOLFMAN 2 independents diameter 54 exhaust system
- RAD megaphones by SPARK
- TAMBURINI silicone water hoses , RAD aluminiun water tubes.
- Repositioning electrical wiring, ecu and regulator.
- RAD alluminium rear subframe with 9 Amp battery support.
- RAD alluminiun licence plate support.
- RAD Omologated led Blinkers.
- Montesa type rear light
- V Rod front light
- RAD ergal lightened upper yoke
- RAD 02 Montjuich carbon fiber solo seat
- RAD 02 Carbon fiber fuel tank
- Carbon fiber rear mudguard
- Carbon fiber front mudguard
- Carbon fiber water pump protection
- EVR ergal sprocket cover
- RIZOMA belt covers
- RIZOMA mirror
- RIZOMA inverted gear lever
- RIZOMA rear brake lever
- Mika hand made footrest

  • aristurtle

    Am I the only one here who doesn’t “get” the whole cafe racer fad that’s going on right now?

    Sure, in the fifties, pure weight reduction was a great way to improve performance. Also, in the fifties, hitting 100 MPH was a major achievement. Since then we’ve realized that aerodynamics are also important, and now every race bike has fairings, because factoring in air resistance is, as it turns out, pretty important. So what’s the point?

    • Devin

      Being out in the wind is fun and these bikes won’t be raced?

      I love the looks of naked bikes and find a fairing just makes things harder to get to and work on them. Also, around town or on the commute I find a light agile bike is a ton more fun.

      I think uniqueness is also a selling point. The majority of modern bikes do not look like a cafe racer, so the owner stands out.

      There is the fad aspect. This is a fad and you can’t totally explain them.

      • aristurtle

        No, I get the appeal of a naked bike, I just don’t understand dressing it up as a ’50s cafe racer.

        • BeastIncarnate

          The tail section looks completely out of place on this bike. I love the look on the reborn Nortons, but this is a swing and a miss.

    • Cajun58

      I hate to be the one to tell you this but the answer is: yes.

  • Devin

    Gorgeous bike, I really like it. Two things though:

    1) I don’t want my leg that close to an exhaust pipe.

    2) When I first looked at the logo on the tank, I thought it said Crap.

    RAD may want to reconfigure the target logo to look less like a C.

    • HammSammich

      I had the same thought about the exhaust.

      • slowestGSXRever

        exhaust is my only gripe with this thing. Otherwise it’s pretty cool, not super cool, but pretty cool.

  • HammSammich

    The emphasis here is clearly on the “modern interpretation” of a cafe racer, and I think this does a great job. It’s a completely modern looking bike that’s been stripped down to it’s barest performance essentials. Personally, I’m not immune to getting excited by old/retro-styled bikes, but this thing embodies “cafe-racer” without making any significant attempt toward a retro appearance, and I love it for that.

    • Patrick

      Agreed! Few things I wouldn’t have done sure, but on the whole, it’s gorgeous.

  • JonB

    Boring. Done over and over and over.

    The coolest “custom” Ducati as of late has been the Lloyd Brothers GT1000 and framer they built for AMA Pro Flat Track racing.

    Those bikes deserve full & glorious features.

    • ontheroad

      Agreed on this & the Lloyd Brothers bikes. This looks like a nice build, but not much of a departure from your standard Ducati dress-up fare. I like the fuel level sight on the tank but what’s up with that chicken wire stuck on the HC belt cover vent?

    • Wes Siler

      well, that bike’s what, Two years old and has been covered everywhere?

      • JonB

        Ok ok fine. Just feel like a different swingarm, wheel diameter, suspension choice—any of the above could have vaulted this beyond ducati island cool.

        • ontheroad

          I’m imagining a PS1000-ish swinger and some Alpinas.

      • ontheroad

        True, I wouldn’t expect you guys to cover it, I was just giving a nod to Jon’s “coolest ‘custom’ Ducati as of late” statement.

        Admittedly, they’re wholly different genres and I’m biased: I love a worked-over 2V. I’m not saying this bike isn’t fitting for a feature.

  • Ducky

    Do my eyes deceive me, or are those metal pipes connected to the radiator (with regular hoses on the ends)? Is there a purpose to that or is it just aesthetics? Why not just go hoses all the way if light weight is the priority?

    • Wes Siler

      Yeah, those are pipes and yeah, they’re likely there purely for aesthetics. I’d have gone for steel-braided lines, but that’s just me.

  • carcanal

    oooo the beautiful sound coming out of those pipes at full bore. and the see through belt cover is a nice touch for us that love the mechanicals of a bike.

  • Tommy

    Why go through all the trouble and custom parts to make this bike look so good without the fairings and then leave the fairing mounting tabs on the frame?

  • Scott-jay

    A list of mfgs & aftermarket products is not ‘specs’. I think those are called farkles.
    Shoulda-woulda: down-swept both pipes with different lengths. And, addressed frame’s unused tabs.
    It’s a mess! Mika, you better hide it in my garage.

  • RpM

    One thing for sure – I wouldn’t mind riding the piss out of it!

  • Liquidogged

    This bike has the dubious honor of placing the aesthetics above the functionality in many cases, only to fail at producing something aesthetically pleasing. That pipe is horrible and the headlight is gross. I’m sure it’s fun to ride, but so is a stock 1098.

    Cafe Racers: well, the 50′s aesthetic still looks good when done right. It hearkens to a time when motorcycles were simpler and the experience was more important than the paint’n'chrome. Of course, paying a lot of money to look like something you’re not hasn’t ever been cool, and it probably isn’t going to start being cool any time soon.

    The descendants of the cafe racers live on in outfits like NYC’s Fastest – which is sad, but I think it’s true. What, you don’t think 17 year old speed freaks in 1959 wouldn’t have lit their Bonnies on fire for a ride on the BMW S1000RR? Welp, yer wrong. They woulda done it and they would’ve gone 186mph or whatever speed their survival instinct (or lack thereof) permitted them to attain. So I guess they’d end up liking this bike. Win?

  • Shaun

    Actually. It looks like a car (sorry, auto) crash. The owner/constructor needs therapy and maybe a copy of the Deus book to thumb though…

  • jonoabq

    Needs more minimalist, less flash. I love a good naked, stripped down, arm stretcher but this one got sort of lost in the process…started getting cocky and putting on too much makeup.