This edition of Speed Read is our sportiest one yet, jam-packed with custom superbikes. First, we profile a Ducati ST3 sport tourer-turned-café racer from France. Then we run through a Honda CBX1000 restomod from Dubai, Buell’s new Freedom Edition Hammerhead, and a Nicky Hayden Edition Honda RC51 that’s just popped up for sale.
Ducati ST3 by Jerem Motorcycles Despite its sport touring prowess, you could say that the Ducati ST3 is the most Honda-looking Ducati that Ducati ever made. The square-ish headlight, full fairing, and single-piece twin seat are more VFR than Desmosedici—even when painted red.
Happily, Jeremie from Jerem Motorcycles in France is back with another one of his stunning Ducati builds. He’s turned a rather vanilla-looking sport tourer into a razor-sharp café racer.
Starting with an ST3S model, Jeremie got rid of the fairing, putting Ducati’s glorious 992 cc L-twin back on full display. The original forks were refurbished and then anodized in gold. A round LED headlight from a Jeep was fitted to the front, along with a custom fender.
A pair of black spoked wheels from Kineo replaced the factory cast wheels; they look the business wrapped in sticky Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires. The ST3 frame was liberated of all superfluous bracketry and given a dose of gold powder coating (which was inspired by a Peugeot 106 hatchback, of all things).
The swingarm (which is a work of art in itself) is from a Monster S2R, as is the Öhlins rear shock absorber. New Brembo twin-piston calipers and discs were bolted on too, along with custom brake hoses from Exact. Other accouterments include clip-on bars, a new top yoke and a carbon dash from Avia Compositi.
The engine was refurbished, inside and out. The radiator is usually hidden behind a fairing, so Jeremie swapped it for the more aesthetic unit from a Ducati 749. This also let him tuck the hoses inside the frame for a cleaner look.
High-performance coolant hoses and a clear clutch cover were bolted on, along with case savers from GB Racing. The voltage regulator was relocated for better cooling, and the fusebox was moved for easy access. The belly pan is another custom part, made by Jeremie himself.
The tank is stock, but the rear end is not. With matching upholstery on the seat and tank pad (done by Yaya Brush Saddlery), it certainly cuts a fine figure. Finally, the bodywork was painted in satin grey, with the bottom section done in black to give the bike a more assertive stance.
It’s more sport than touring, and we love it. That’s another one in the bag for JeremMotorcycles. [Jerem Motorcycles]
Honda CBX1000 by Cafe Rider Custom First released in 1978, the brawny Honda CBX1000 wasn’t the first inline-six motorcycle, but it is one of the most iconic. The enormous engine sticking out either side of the fuel tank is just one reason why. Another reason was the sound (we recommend googling it, turning it up to 11, and thanking us later).
This CBX1000 from Fahim Rehman, of Cafe Rider Custom in Dubai, looks like a neatly restored original. But once you delve a little deeper into the details you’ll see that it’s far from factory.
We love a good restomod, and Fahim and his team have given us a real doozy. Like most restomods, this CBX1000 still wears its factory seat and tank. But everything else has been slightly modified—with emphasis on ‘slightly.’
The entire front end was lifted from an Aprilia, with a custom top yoke gripping the forks. The new front end allowed the Cafe Rider crew to upgrade the front brakes with a pair of new Nissin calipers and braided lines. The front fender is from a CB400 and the headlight is an aftermarket 7” unit.
Retro turn signals were fitted, and twin horns were installed below the headlight. (The original CBX came from the factory with a single horn mounted under the headlight, so this is a wonderful throwback from Cafe Rider Custom.)
The dashboard was upgraded to a fresh tacho and a GPS speedo, set into a new mounting bracket. They look flashy but don’t steal the show. The tracker-style bars, switch blocks, mirrors, and Biltwell grips are all new.
The engine received a thorough overhaul and cleaning, and the oil cooler was upgraded to a larger unit. A Motogadget mo.unit blue takes care of the brainpower, with the rest of the bike rewired from scratch with a new Lithium battery. An aftermarket six-into-six exhaust was installed—if you listen hard enough, you can hear it scream through the photos.
The rear end is where things get a bit whacky (in a good way). The entire subframe was chopped off and replaced to accommodate a new mono-shock rear suspension setup—which also created space for a mean-as-heck wide rear wheel.
The seat was trimmed to match the slightly shorter design, and the large square taillight and ducktail cowl were refitted. The Honda’s stock side covers were reinstalled and the bodywork was painted in Honda red.
With original CBX decals finishing it off, it looks downright incredible. Fahim and the rest of the Cafe Rider Custom team have done an outstanding job. [Source]
Buell Freedom Edition Hammerhead Since Buell returned to the world of motorcycles, the American company has been on a mission. They plan to release 10 new models over the next few years (including the ridiculously bonkers Baja Dune Racer), and they are well on their way to reaching that goal.
They’ve just pulled the covers off their newest bike: the 40th Anniversary Freedom Edition Hammerhead. And if that’s not the most American name for a bike you’ve ever heard, we’ll eat our stetsons.
The Hammerhead 1190 is based on the older 1190 model, but it’s been thoroughly updated for 2023. It still has all the best things that Buell brought to the table all those years ago—the Rotax engine (now pumping out 185 hp), the frame that is also the fuel tank, and the amazing perimeter brake setup on the front wheel.
Weighing in dry at 416 lbs, the Hammerhead is rather svelte for a big American sportbike. Couple that with the new 72-degree Rotax V-twin, and it has a fair bit of go to match the show. The upside-down forks are fully adjustable, as is the rear shock; both are from Showa. With the fuel carried low in the frame (and the oil carried low in the swingarm), the new Hammerhead has all the makings of a great sportbike.
The 40th Anniversary Freedom Edition Hammerhead adds a red, white and blue paint job. And we have to say, the Hammerhead sure looks spiffy in stars and stripes.
It’ll be available online and at dealers from July 1st, 2023, just in time for Independence Day. Prices start at $24,990, with top-tier models available from $26,775 for anyone who wants a side of fries with their new bike. [Buell Motorcycle]
For sale: Honda RC51 Nicky Hayden Edition The Honda RC51 ranks high on the list of collectible superbikes that we’d love to own. Also known as the RVT1000R in the US, and the VTR1000 in other parts of the world, the 999 cc V-twin was launched to take Ducati on in the World Superbike Championship.
The first generation Honda RC51—the SP1—hit the scene with a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected DOHC mill, a six-speed transmission, and an aluminum twin-spar frame. It was good for 130 hp and a top speed north of 165 mph, and weighed 440 lbs, dry. The second-gen SP2 came out in 2002 with a stronger (but also lighter) frame, a longer swingarm, revised geometry, a bit more power, and a bigger windscreen.
Although it wasn’t quite as successful on track as Honda would have hoped, it managed to take Colin Edwards to two championship victories, in 2000 and 2002. It also claimed the 2002 AMA Championship, piloted by the legendary Kentucky Kid, Nicky Hayden.
Honda released a run of RC51 SP2s two years later to commemorate this victory. The Nicky Hayden Edition bikes wore a special red, white and silver livery, with white number plate areas on the fairing and tail. They also got brushed aluminum frames and swingarms, and Hayden’s signature on top of the fuel tank.
This Honda RC51 Nicky Hayden Edition is currently on auction over at Iconic Motorcycles. And it’s being sold by none other than Darren Begg at dB Customs. Darren is a regular on these pages, known for his retro Japanese superbike restomods.
Darren bought the bike eight years ago from the original owner, and, as you’d expect from him, has taken good care of it. It’s just had a service with new brake pads and tires, a brake fluid flush, an oil change, and a fresh chain and sprockets. He’s also replaced the windscreen since the old one was starting to yellow.
This particular example features a few mods too. A Power Commander V chip optimizes its power output, while an Elka rear shock, tuned by Accelerated Technologies, improves the ride quality. There’s also a carbon fiber under-tail section with integrated turn signals, and a carbon fiber rear hugger from Magical Racing Japan. Kyle Racing clip-ons, custom aluminum bar-ends, an HRC tank pad, and a full set of Pro-Bolt fasteners complete the set.
The auction only runs until the end of the week. So if this tickles your fancy, you best hurry! [Source]