Only an Italian can build a custom motorcycle to pay tribute to a Roman goddess. Minerva, the goddess was born from Jupiter. Minerva, the bike featured here, is reborn from a 1971 Ducati Mark III 250 bought by Simone Ceccarelli from a collector. Ceccarelli is a semi professional builder whose name in not unknown since he collaborated with Abnormal Cycles on the now internationally famous Union Flathead sidecar.
During the last 10 years, it seems that almost all the world of bike building took its inspiration from antique or classic motorcycles. The lines, the parts and the themes.
In Italy, a leading small group of builders add a new twist. Customizing motorcycles using techniques borrowed from their rich history of preserving and restoring masterpieces. For this purpose, they contract with craftsmen – renaissance painters, sculptors, furniture makers, etc – who have never contributed to motorcycles but who can give their works some historic and spiritual quality.
The purpose of this feature is not about describing the Ducati restoring job, from cleaning up old parts to rebuilding an engine, but about a specific body component, the fairing made of a wood named “Padouka”, in which has been inlaid the shop RR logo (for “Ruote Rugginose” meaning “Rusted Wheels”) made of maple and ebony wood with details in mother of pearl… A technique used for classic furniture. A labor of love performed by Davide Aresi in his own classic furniture shop. Famous architect Luigi Caccia claims that if the Italians are quite simply the best at design it’s because they have more imagination, more culture, and are better mediators between the past and the future.
Will this new approach to motorcycle restoration using classic master craftsmen coming from other disciplines influence other builders outside Italy? Answer in major bike show competitions around the world. Photography of Minerva in the small medieval town of Viterbo, near Rome @ Cyril Huze.