2006 Ducati Monster Challenge - Family Album

Meet the motorcycle builders behind the bikes

By Jim West Wes, Photography by Stephen Leukanech, Tom Riles

If you're a regular Motorcyclist reader-or even an irregular one-you've probably already seen the "Monster Mash" article in our August, 2006 issue. While we managed to squeeze all 12 motorcycles that made the Ducati Monster Finals into the magazine, some of the photos were admittedly small and didn't do the bikes justice. Space constraints being what they are, we also weren't able to publish photos of the builders, or author Jim West's detailed descriptions of each bike. So consider the following a make-good on the magazine article, for those whose whistles were only wetted.

1st Place: Sean Kelii - 1999 Monster 900 Cromo

Sean Kelii was the overall winner of the 2006 Ducati Monster Challenge with his track-prepped 1999 Monster 900. His bike started out as a Cromo, but after a bad crash he focused his rebuild on creating the ultimate "track-day dominator." To reduce weight, the Sacramento, California, resident installed numerous carbon-fiber bits such as BST wheels, fuel tank, headlight buckets, handlebars and many more. By the time he was finished, he had reduced the bike's wet weight to just 355 pounds. Further improving handling is an Ohlins shock and a Showa fork from a Ducati 998 with Ohlins internals held by a beefy six-bolt lower triple-clamp. Braking is handled by a Brembo GP radial master cylinder actuating billet two-piece calipers that act on full-floating rotors. Engine upgrades include a 944cc kit and Keihin flat-slide carburetors that together help generate over 100 rear-wheel horsepower. Kelii has invested more than $40,000 in his award-winning machine, which sounds like a lot until you consider he took home a $9995 Ducati Monster S2R 1000 for winning.


2nd Place: Peter Hattle - 1997 Monster 900

Peter Hattle showcased his 1997 Monster 900, nicknamed "Naked Aggression." The Fergus, Ontario, Canada resident's Monster is ultra-clean-looking with a fabricated aluminum flyscreen, translucent black-painted frame, hidden wires, Ducati Performance carbon-fiber tail section and headlights and gorgeous gold powder-coated magnesium wheels. To improve handling, Hattle installed a Ducati Superbike fork and an Ohlins shock and then added radial-mounted brakes and a Rizoma master cylinder. Engine modifications include flat-slide carburetors and a Gianelli exhaust system. Hattle has over 300 hours and $20,000 invested in his Monster, which finished second at Barber, netting him an all-expenses-paid trip to the USGP at Laguna Seca.


3rd Place: Daniela Dunne - 1997 Monster 750

Daniela Dunne paid just $800 for her 1997 Monster 750, which predictably was in a sorry state of disrepair when she got it. But in just two months time, the impressive and well-spoken 18-year-old-with help from her father, Trevor, who is part-owner of Pro Italia Santa Barbara-completely transformed the bike. The pair installed a single-sided swingarm from a Ducati 916, a fork from a 998, an ultra-cool air shock from Marco Lucchinelli's 1988 factory racebike and a custom underseat exhaust made from pieces of several Multistrada pipes. The bike has a powder-coated frame and custom white-and-blue-painted bodywork that wears the number 26, signifying the year Ducati was founded. For her efforts, Dunne took home the third-place trophy plus a $1000 Ducati Performance gift certificate.


People's Choice Winner: Steve Metz - 2000 Monster 900

Steve Metz bought his 2000 Monster 900 in Boston and, less than a mile from the dealership on its maiden voyage, he crashed. That's when "El Tigre" was born. Now residing in San Francisco, California, Metz made his Monster totally unique with a one-of-a-kind, orange-and-black, tiger-stripe paint scheme-and then added a 4-foot-long tail! El Tigre's show-stopping looks helped Metz cop the People's Choice Award at Barber, but the bike also features numerous performance upgrades to back up its appearance-a 944cc engine kit, lightweight flywheel and full Termignoni exhaust system to name three. Metz has several hundred hours invested in his bike, and it shows.


Chris Platzer - 1996 Monster 900

Chris Platzer's 1996 Monster 900 was arguably the most unique bike at the finale yet inexplicably didn't finish in the top three. Platzer spent more than a year fabricating all of the custom parts with simple hand tools-drills, files, saws, etc. The front and rear fenders, handgrips and taillights were made from raw pieces of aluminum; modified fuel filters serve as clutch and brake reservoirs; and the front headlights are actually hollowed-out Cummings L10 diesel pistons chosen, the builder says, "to symbolize power." He painted the frame green because it's "the first color you think of when you hear the word monster." While Platzer's bike is a gorgeous show piece, it's also a daily commuter with over 18,000 miles on the clock. But the most impressive thing is, excluding the purchase price and the value of his time, his total cash investment was only about $300.


John Offenhartz - 2001 Monster 900 Cromo

"This is what happens when your wife makes you smoke in the garage," says John Offenhartz of his customized 2001 Monster 900 Cromo. As the former owner of a Ducati 900SS ("killed by a bus-don't ask"), the San Francisco, California, resident wanted to make his Monster a more-aggressive performer. He started by installing the front end from a Ducati 748, clip-ons and Marvic wheels. Engine work came next in the form of a 944cc piston kit, ported-and-polished cylinder heads, a machined lightweight flywheel and a Paulimoto clutch basket. Ducati Performance gauges and Sato rearsets capped off the mechanical mods, after which he spent eons polishing his masterpiece to a high sheen. Offenhartz went to great lengths to avoid the "off-the-shelf" custom look, investing several hundred hours and over $6000 into modifying his M900. Yet despite the beauty of this showpiece, the bike is a daily rider.


Gene Giorgini - 1999 Monster 900

Gene Giorgini stuck to a retro theme in customizing his 1999 Monster 900. The Westwood, New Jersey, resident's bike features wire-spoke wheels, a cool underbody exhaust that exits under the left-side footpeg and a heavily modified conventional fork in lieu of the stock upside-down unit. Giorgini personally manufactured all of the custom billet pieces and installed a 944cc stroker motor. In total, he has about 300 hours and $30,000 invested in his ride.


Rhonda Hoffman - 1998 Monster 900

Rhonda Hoffman is our kind of girl. Why? Because she stores her 1998 Monster 900 in the kitchen of her log-cabin home! This should not be surprising given the beauty of her bike's paint job, which she completed herself. The Smithfield, Virginia, resident initially attended college intending to become an accountant, but after several years transferred to art school. She installed a Termignoni exhaust and a jet kit to improve her bike's performance, and even traveled to Italy to buy a Wide Glide fork and dual-headlight assembly that wasn't available in the states.


Steve Perry - 2000 Monster 900

Steve Perry built his 2000 Monster 900 to be ridden in comfort. The personable retired minister, known as "The Rev," rented a heated garage from his barber in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to assemble and complete his bike. The Italian-flag paint scheme is strikingly beautiful, and serves as a tribute to Ducati's racing history. Aftermarket bits include a Remus exhaust, Cycle Cat rearsets, Zero Gravity windscreen and Sargent seat. "The Rev" credits his local dealer BCM Performance as his inspiration to participate in the Monster Challenge and has "too many hours to count" and nearly $17,000 invested in his bike.


Kyle Brussich - 2000 Monster 900

Kyle Brussich went to great lengths to customize her 2000 Ducati Monster 900. The Houston, Texas, resident didn't intend for it to become a show bike, but while she was recovering from back surgery boredom took over-and she and her husband began mapping out potential modifications. Today, her custom Monster features a hand-hammered aluminum fuel tank and seat cowling from Roadracing SRL of Varese, Italy. Her bike also sports polished and painted Dymag wheels, Rizoma mirrors and rearsets and Leo Vinci silencers. With over 2 years of time and $25,000 invested, Brussich's Monster turned out beautiful.


Lance Coffel - 1995 Monster 900

Lance Coffel finished customizing his 1995 Monster 900 over six years ago. In fact, the Portland, Oregon, resident initially didn't plan on entering the Monster Challenge, but did so on a whim. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his Monster are the perfectly smooth, painted frame welds, which he spent over 50 hours filing and sanding. Another eye-catching feature is the "Monster" paint scheme on the fuel tank. From a distance, it looks somewhat normal; however, up close the monster appears to jump out at you! Coffel's focus when customizing his bike was to keep with the original theme, which he did beautifully. To enhance performance, he installed ST2 cams and forged pistons. The suspension was improved by installing an Ohlins rear shock and Ohlins internals in the stock Showa fork. Coffel has nearly 300 hours and over.


Steve Fowler - 2004 Monster S4R

Steve Fowler had the newest bike at this year's Monster Challenge Finale, a 2004 Monster S4R. The Seattle, Washington, resident's focus was to create clean geometry, which he obviously achieved with the bike's polished cases, Ducati Performance carbon-fiber case covers, belly pan, front fender and sleek Harley-Davidson V-Rod headlight. Fowler also polished and painted the stock Marchesini wheels to coordinate with the stock paint job. To increase performance, he installed a full Arrow exhaust system (which he had ceramic-coated) and installed a Dynojet Power Commander fuel-injection module. Fowler claims his S4R produces 113 horsepower at the rear wheel, and says he has over 250 hours and nearly $17,000 invested in it.

By Jim West Wes
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