At the Southern end of New Zealand which is a stone throw from the snow-capped Southern Alps sits a small city called Christchurch. It’s home to some stunning scenery and a guy called Lee Cavalier who likes to transform good solid bikes into cafe racers. Until 2007, Lee wasn’t the typical motorcycle guy that started riding two wheels and an engine in his childhood. No, he was traveling through Thailand with his wife in 2007 and, like a lot of tourists do, he rented a scooter. And from the moment he started riding this little machine down the road, he was hooked with two wheels. Once back in New Zealand, his motorcycle career took off with buying a Honda Joker. But soon he bought a vintage Vespa and started working on this machine to improve the looks and performance. After having lots of fun on the Vespa, he started buying bigger bikes and modified them and suddenly he was in the middle of the cafe racer scene.
Lee: “This time around I’ve diversified and produced what I think is my stunningly simple cafe racer, based on a 2004 Ducati Monster 1000S IE. I wanted to steer away from the Triumph and Japanese bikes and go for some great Italian style. This lead me to the Ducati which delighted a couple of my mates who own Ducati’s. Providing they’ve been serviced, old two-valve Ducati’s are reliable, handle really well and offer usable power for the street. I purchased the Monster from a dealer down in Dunedin and road it back home from a place from Timaru and loved every minute of it”.
The bike has been clipped at the back with a new loop, parts trimmed, cleaned and powder coated and painted before being put back on the bike. Some bespoke parts were added, along with some after market parts added to cap it off. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well the ideas seemed relatively straightforward, but the build threw out a challenge or two. The most difficult part was the seat. The frame on the Ducati is angled and the seat need to cover these different angles. Making the seat pan became a task out of his league (that’s what Lee said, he wanted it to be perfect…) , so he enlisted the help from a very talented man ‘Corey Taylor’ from Davinci Steel Craft in Christchurch. Corey made the in-house from ali, which took a while to get right. The result may be called fantastic.
Whilst getting the tank painted it was highlighted that the inside of the tank was in really poor shape. The inside of the tank was completely rusty. It took a lot of time to clean, prep and repaint the inside of the tank. He had to replace the fuel pump and filter, as they knackered and absorbed with rust and sludge. So the budget for the tank blew out some what. The new pipes were added, but they did require some extra piping and he had to get some baffles made up, as the noise was simply too loud.
Lee again: “The bike needed a quick tune as it wasn’t running that well… The rear coil was replaced, and the TPS was cleaned and reset. And now the bike performance is amazing and it sounds the nutts! Its fantastic to ride around the twistys of the port hills and other country roads. Its light and nimble and believe it or not comfortable to ride with the drop bars. I actually think this is my best project so far. Would I sell it. At this point no. But who knows I will get itchy feet to produce another custom bike – so watch this space. Thanks goes out to Corey Talyor for welding and seat pan, Muzza at Muzza Bikes for Painting and tuning, and Stacey Cavalier for the photography.
I look forward to see more coming from Christchurch! Well done Lee!
Follow Lee: https://dupoint9caferacers.wordpress.com/