In 40 years I have owned something in the region of 30 bikes. Seeing as it started with a Fantic 200 at the age of 11, that’s almost one a year. In that time I have gone through pretty much every genre of motorcycle. Jap 600 sports bikes, Supermotos, BM's, naked bikes, small trail bikes, etc, etc. And although I regret selling a few of them (a GSX400 which took me everywhere in my teens, a mark one Speed Triple, and the Fantic of course) None of the others had what it took to stick around in my front yard for good.
Then, in 2009 I found a bog standard GT1000 lurking unloved at the back of a Triumph showroom. Back then no one wanted one, and judging by the fact that this one had done 96 miles in 3 years, I guess the previous owner didn't really want one either.
Like many a GT owner, the satisfaction I got from chosing the more practical model in the sport classic range, soon gave way to a craving for the impractical good looks of the other two. To hell with comfort, this is a Ducati.
As everyone knows, the 3 bikes are practically identical underneath so pretty much everything is interchangeable and you don't need to be a mechanical god to do it. The American based forum, Ducati.MS gave me all the info I needed to do what I have done to date, which I didn't think was a great deal. Until I sat down and added it all up…
Standard exhausts were replaced with shiny Conti replicas from Keihan here in the UK. The bars got lower and flatter before becoming clip-ons from the SC Biposto (I haven’t got the guts or indeed wrist strength to fit the lower ones from the Monoposto). The forks became Showa's from an ST2. I replaced the shocks with Hagon Nitros. The Diopa solo seat came from Germany and was graced with a paint design idea from the Spirit boys (thanks Kev). I took the plunge, dug deep into the wallet and got some gorgeous tubeless spoked wheels from Alpina in Italy.Then it was other smaller bits and pieces which together add up to something a little bit special. Little brackets to make the clocks sit flatter. Tiny, exquisite Watsen indicators from JCPakBikes in the US. A tail chop kit. A lovely little black handlebar mirror from Oberon, Dutch's black headlight rim and various brackets powder coated in satin black. Oh and the front mudguard was chopped and the side panels ditched after much deliberation (still haven't had the balls to chop the lugs off the frame though). In fact, although much has changed, it could be swapped back to its original set up if I really wanted to.
Of course she's not finished and never will be. I'm still not happy with the suspension - the ride is a bit harsh, so that will be the next thing to sort. Then after that its the usual wishful thinking stuff : alloy tank, tailor made exhaust pipe (those Contis are just a little too long to my eye) and so it goes on...
The sport classic has done three things for me. It stopped the insane cycle of bike swapping and changing that I just couldn't seem to stop, which was beginning to make me miserable. It re-introduced me to the joy of tinkering that was such a big part of what I loved about bikes in the first place. And it led to me meeting Dutch, which led to the forming of the BSMC, which has led to me meeting a whole load of new, interesting, like - minded motorcyclists who have become good friends of mine. This bike has literally changed my life, I guess that makes her, 'a keeper'.If you have a Ducati the Sport Classic or admire the range, there's loads more info and pics of standard and custom Sport 1000s, all HERE.