Ducati 999 Special
Tekst by BikeBrewers.
A Special Story
It is common for us to write about a motorcycle with a special story, and in a way, they are all very personal. Still, this might be the most special motorcycle we have covered to date. This is a story about a man that does not compromise.
Let’s start with the bike we have at hand. It started out its life as a Ducati 999; a controversial motorcycle designed by the famous Pierre Terblanche and produced in the Ducati factory from 2003 till 2006. Why was it controversial? Well, first off, Terblanche superseded Massimo Tamburini, the man that designed the magnificent Ducati 916, among others. Tamburini designed motorcycles for Cagiva, Ducati, MV Agusta and even founded Bimota. All of his designs were basically iconic. Does are some pretty big shoes to fill for Terblanche.
Terblanche had his own style, which wasn’t always liked by everyone. Despite the odd looking double stacked headlight, and sharp lines of the original 999 and its smaller displaced 749 sibling, Terblanche’s design grew a cult following. Also because the 999 was an incredibly capable sport bike, with various victories in the Superbike World Championship. Compared to today’s figures one might not be impressed with the specs. However, nearly 20 years ago, it was a totally different story. So far the history lesson.
A man from Twello
So how did this Ducati 999 end up in the workshop of the dynamic Dutch duo Moto Adonis? Well, THAT’S an interesting story! This may sound like a story you would hear in a bar. Maybe one to take with a pinch of salt. Not this one. So here goes.
A few years ago, a man from Twello, a small town in the Eastern part of the Netherlands, had a traumatic accident. As a matter of fact, it was so bad, that he lost his left lower leg. Since then, he learned how to use a prosthetic leg and moved on with his life. This man had a vivid dream. He dreamt that one day he would be able to ride a sports bike. Not any sports bike, but a Ducati 999 nonetheless. He was so focused on achieving his dream, that he purchased a 999, bought a retro styled fairing kit, and tried to build the bike he had dreamt of. There was one major issue though: his leg. No matter how you look at it, a left leg and foot is needed to control the gearbox. Despite this setback, he kept moving forward, and found the boys of Moto Adonis. Together they came up with a plan.
We’ll cut straight to the chase. To deal with the gear shifting challenge, a pneumatically actuated manual shifter was created, which allows the rider to shift gears with the push of 2 buttons on the left clip-on. To give the prosthetic leg a safe place to rest, and to keep the motorcycle in balance, a modified floorboard was created from scratch. This is what engineering is about! To make the 999 look like a million bucks, the fairing kit got customized to suit and the side panels were ditched. The tank got modified to flow with the rest of the design, which as you can see, is heavily inspired by 1970’s race bikes. The subframe had to be modified and now houses the battery.
The seat was custom made and designed to look like a horse saddle; courtesy of Miller Kustom Upholstery. Looking closer and you will see an LED taillight, which is actually of a Yamaha XSR700. A round 7” headlight adds to the classic look, as well as the round Motogadget speedo. To custom paint job really pops when you see the Ducati, with a Moto Adonis unique twist to the Italian Tri-Colori. Not red, white and green, but red, gold and blue. Ohlins suspension ensure proper tractability, and the SC Project silencers add to the audible character of the liquid cooled L-twin from Bologna. Combined with the unique, classic Ducati logo on the tank, we think this is the best looking 999 in the world!
There is a little bit more to this story that we would like to share with you. The original prosthetic leg had to get irreversibly modified to allow the owner to sit properly on the motorcycle. This was a bit of a problem because he only had 1 prosthetic leg, and another one would cost a fortune. Also, not one single prosthetists was willing to modify a leg for motorcycle riding. Fortunately, the guys from Moto Adonis were willing to do the modification, provided a leg was available. When word got around, another motorcycle rider with a modified motorcycle and a prosthetic leg offered a spare prosthetic leg. Legend has it that both are now riding buddies and have become close friends. Now that is a story worth telling.