The Delicate Beauty Of Max Hazan's Custom Ducati 860 Turbo

There's nothing simple about building a bike around a 43-year-old, turbo Ducati engine

Ducati 860 Turbo custom
Max Hazan’s Ducati 860 Turbo custom.Shaik Ridzwan

"I realized early on that it was a pain in the ass to build bikes around an existing design," says Max Hazan, the 35-year-old craftsman behind Hazan Motorworks in Los Angeles. "Especially with this bike, with the turbo, we had to build the bike around the engine." He's referring to the 1974 Ducati 860 Turbo mill, the heart of this build. Hazan starts by setting an engine and wheels on the workbench, then lets his creation grow from there. "I spend a lot more time staring and thinking than bending and welding. Making the shapes is easy; it's coming up with the shapes that's difficult."

Hazan’s bikes are handmade, from the chrome-moly tube frames he welds together to the fenders he shapes from sheet metal on an old English wheel in an upstairs workshop in the Fashion District.

Just six years and 15 or so bikes into his career, Hazan’s motorcycles have won him several awards and a recent seat on a design panel alongside industry legend Miguel Galuzzi. And while his motorcycles could be exhibited as sculpture, Hazan insists they’re meant to be ridden. “If it doesn’t run, if you can’t ride it, it doesn’t count.”

“This Ducati is currently in France, and the owner rides it quite a bit,” says Hazan. Making sure this 43-year-old turbocharged Ducati engine starts, idles, and runs smoothly was paramount, and it didn’t happen easily. “Getting the engine running right was a pain, but it’s really cool to ride. It has a blowoff valve that we vented out, so every time you shift you hear that psssshhh.”