I had planned to post a couple of new blogs this weekend, but the untimely death of the brilliant rising star, Marco Simonceli, at this weekend's MotoGP in Sepang totally robbed me of the will to write anything about bikes that wasn't a tribute to him, his personality, his raw talent and his unique character. The grid will be a lesser place without him...

But there are other places for all this (to which I've already contributed) - so for now, I guess life has to go on. Meanwhile, my thoughts are with his family, friends, crew and fellow riders, especially Vale and Colin... All weekend I've been caught up in this ongoing debate with myself: To recap; ..My Ducati SC1000 - the bike that was supposed to be my summer plaything - has turned out to be a brilliant all rounder, and apart from my fears over Ducati's engine paint quality, it does make a pretty good all-season, everyday bike. This has made my Superduke rather redundant. The over-engineered tonker-toy from KTM should have been my modern reliable stalwart transport - with attitude - while the Duc stayed at home waiting for sunny days and gentle cruising, but the smooth and confidence-inspiring Duc has turned my angry, punch-drunk Duke into a bike I'd rather leave at home, unless I'm feeling rude and nasty and want to upset cyclists and scare old ladies. You also may have noticed that I saw - and fell in love with - the looks and vibe of the Union 900ss. Not so much because it's a Ducati 900ss in a retro fairing, but because ever since I saw a Ducati Paul Smart in the flesh, I've secretly wished I had a cafe racer with a half fairing, and the Union bike's execution is just so damn pretty. Anyway, you've read all this before. Spending my KTM cash on an another version of the bike I already have is probably insane (but I might still do it anyway), and I would need a fairing for either bike, so in the meantime I wanted to check out a fairing supplier recommended to me by Adam from Untitled M/C. Edgar is the man behind FlatRacer - who made a couple of lovely BMW CRs featured on Bike EXIF.

The original Batcycle was a little more restrained

His work in creating the tanks, seat units and fairings for his Beemers led him into specialising in producing these for other BMW owners, and so I went to visit him at the Ace Cafe to look at the 900ss inspired half-fairing he has been producing - which seems to have identical lines to the one used on the Union bikes.

Monza 900ss with 7inch headlamp opening

We met over breakfast on a surprisingly warm and sunny October day. Edgar seems to share my OCD when it comes to quality parts and finish, and was keen to show me in great detail exactly how well made and well thought out his fairings are - and he was absolutely right. The fibreglass is twice the thickness of many aftermarket products I've seen before, the molding is smooth, and the outside was extremely well finished (although he said it needed more polishing), plus the screen fixings used expanding rubber inserts, with a rubber washer to isolate the screen from rubbing or vibrating. All in all, it was a high quality item - and I'd certainly be happy to recommend any of Edgar’s bodywork products to anyone, at least from what I saw. I also liked the way the headlight was kept flush with the fairing (he does 7 inch and 8 inch versions), and you can add a perspex protector screen, which can be swapped out for a trackday number. Cool.

This fairing has clearances that suit late 70s BMWs, but it was based on a Ducati, so I was happy to see that despite the unfortunate location of my newly relocated reservoirs, which meant we had to offer it up on a tilt, it looked like it might be an achievable fit without too much hassle. The one thing that has put me off though, is that adding this fairing to my current Duc might require me to lower my clipons, and this is a bit of an issue: As the SC is such a great day to day bike with it's current setup, I don’t really want to make it lower at the front, as I'm happy with my body/wrist/neck angles, and don’t really want to change them. It would be fine for a weekend bike ridden mainly in the twisties, but I also want this bike to be truly usable, two-up, in-town, and for all -day errands and play. This could be a deal breaker, unless my "other bike" becomes the practical one... So I'm kinda back to where I started; looking at the feasibility of building a Union-like 900ss, probably using Edgar's fairing, and maybe some other FlatRacer bodyparts... hopefully with help from Tim & Kevin at Spirit.
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