CR&S DUU | First Ride

Just DUU It!

Automotive innovators like Carroll Shelby have long combined American horsepower with European design to create iconic vehicles like the AC Cobra. Roberto Crepaldi and his cohorts at Milan-based CR&S; Motorcycles follow that formula in a two-wheeled format, combining a 117-cubic-inch S&S; X-Wedge V-twin with a sophisticated steel-and-aluminum composite chassis to create the impressive, imposing DUU (twin in the distinctive Milanese dialect). Finished with sportbike suspension and minimalist bodywork taking cues from both the custom and café-racer worlds, the DUU is one of the most striking production motorcycles available today.

“I wanted to make a big-engine bike that looks muscular and aggressive, but also beautiful,” says Donato Cannatello, the 38-year old former Aprilia stylist who designed the DUU. Exposed metal, carbon-fiber and exquisite details like a flip-up fuel filler that looks nicked from an Aston Martin present a luxurious, high-end allure, while the massive S&S heart screams brute force.

The riding position is nearly as brutal as the styling. A long transmission pushes the footpegs quite far back and the protruding air-filter housing forces your right knee outward at an unusual and uncomfortable angle. The tubular handlebar is well placed and the seat is surprisingly spacious and comfortable, though neither provides much relief for cramped legs. Like many cruisers, it's best to grin and bear it.

The non-counterbalanced X-Wedge rattles and shakes at idle like any other such air-cooled V-twin, but smoothes out in the happy zone between 1500 and 3500 rpm. The unique, three-cam (two exhaust, one intake) V-twin is said to produce an earth-shaking 117 lb.-ft. of torque. Ample thrust is available anytime you twist the throttle, making the DUU a great bike for close-quartered traffic combat. The light-action clutch is a surprise, but the standard five-speed Baker gearbox is harsh compared to the optional six-speed unit.

The well-balanced DUU isn’t only a point-and-squirt device. It won’t out-handle an Aprilia Tuono V4R, but it will hustle through turns admirably thanks to good leverage from the wide handlebar and excellent cornering clearance. Unlike the similarly styled Confederate Wraith, which leaves nothing for your knees to grip, the DUU offers enough contact area to control the bike. It stops brilliantly too, with highly effective Brembo brakes and a stiffly sprung Sachs fork that doesn’t dive, even under the bike's claimed 539-lb. weight.

There’s no such thing as a series-production DUU—buyers are encouraged to customize their bikes before taking delivery using the company’s online motorcycle configurator. There are a variety of options including different seating arrangements, finishes and performance upgrades to ensure the final product is exclusive and unique. The first year’s production of 200 motorcycles is already sold out, at a retail price of €19,000 (approx. $27,000). The DUU is only available in Europe at present, though the company hopes to expand to Australia, Japan and even the United States if demand is there. It could happen—50 years later, the AC Cobra is still one of the most desired cars in America!

Tech Spec

||| |---|---| | Price| $27,000 | | Engine type| a-c 56-deg. V-twin| | Valve train| OHV, 4v| | Displacement| 1916cc| | Transmission| 5-speed| | Claimed horsepower| 97 bhp @ 5100 rpm| | Claimed torque| 117 lb.-ft. @ 4300 rpm| | Frame| Tubular steel backbone| | Front suspension| Sachs 48mm fork with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping| | Rear suspension| Sachs shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping| | Front brake| Dual Brembo radial-mount four-piston calipers, 320mm discs| | Rear brake| Brembo two-piston caliper, 260mm disc| | Front tire| 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II| | Rear tire| 190/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II| | Seat height| 31.5 in.| | Wheelbase| 62.0 in.| | Fuel capacity| 4.1 gal.| | Claimed curb weight| 539 lbs. | | Contact| www.crs-motorcycles.com| | Verdict| 3.5 out of 5 stars.| **All the power, style and discomfort of a Confederate Wraith at one-third the price! **

CR&S; stands for Cafe Racers & Superbikes, and influences from both camps are clear in the design of the DUU. Even a V-Max looks boring beside this bike.
They say: "Ogni CR&S e' assemblata a mano ed e' unica."
We say: "A unique, hand-built, power cruiser."