After two weeks of waiting a huge, much anticipated box turned up at the office filled with two little bundles of joy from Diopa in Germany: Imola seat units for me and Ian H, and our totally spoiled Ducati Sport Classics.

When I first got the Duc I loved it's bulbous rear end, with a seat wide enough for Susan Boyle and no room for lights or indies, but over time, the more I saw original 750ss & 900ss Ducs with their proper L-shaped seat and skinny tail the more the OEM rear end started to look a little overweight and not really in keeping with the rest of the bike. It needed sorting.

The Ducs Cunning Camoflage was let down by it's loud pipes.

Besides, for a bike to be a proper shed-made special it needs some custom-looking body parts, so when I saw this stunning Ducati on the Sport Classic forum, owned by MojoDuc, I knew I'd seen the seat unit I wanted for my little Duc.
What finally sealed the deal was getting to see one of the Diopa seats in the flesh on Ian W's bike at Brands Hatch. Once I'd seen it on a Sport Classic it was hard to imagine any other seat unit on the bike. The fat OEM unit suddenly looked plain wrong.

Louis the Lid thought he'd found the perfect hiding place.

What I really like is the way it sits on the frame instead of enveloping it, keeping true to the original 750ss lines. The OEM looks clumsy side by side, and it weighs a ton. I knew the Diopa seat was going to come un-painted, but I didn't know they were made of red impregnated fibreglass. As it happens, I had already planned to paint the whole bike, cos I didn't want to wrap the new rear-end in black vinyl. Matt black may look good but it's a nightmare to keep clean, and in most light it hides the lines of some beautiful bodywork. I fancied Silver with Black stripe or maybe a White with Black &Gold stripes.
So, one way or the other, the wrap would have to come off, leaving the tank red again, and this meant that if I stripped the wrap off now, I could ride around with the imola seat on the bike for a while before getting it painted. Result! ...Time to get the wife's hair dryer out. Unwrapping the bike from it's thick black n gold vinyl cocoon was a pain in the arse though...

Stripping was never LESS fun

...Warren at Wrap My Bike did an amazing job getting wrap into every nook and cranny, and I now realise he must have removed and drained the tank to flip it over and add black wrap panels to the underside. I've been picking bits off for whole day. Good job Warren! Fitting the seat was next, but it wasn't exactly plug and play. The quality of the fibreglass in the Diopa seat is very good, and the design looks just right, but there are a few imperfections in the mould (or is it a cast?). In terms of fitting, underneath the seat there are four sturdy rubber pillars that sit on the frame and stop anything rubbing. There is some kind of indestructible-looking machined plastic for the front locator hooks, and at the back there is a very butch-looking machined latch pin. The problem is the latch pin wasn't fitted in the true centre of the seat, which was obvious to the eye on both units the minute I looked at them. This seems like a very easy thing to get right and I'm annoyed by this oversight. When I tried both seats on the bike it was obvious that the latch was about 4mm too far back and another 4mm off centre. What a load of rubbish. Come on Diopa! ...I used a thin round file to start a new hole, and soon ended up with a figure-8 hole with one opening in the correct spot. I needed to remove the spacing washers under the four rubber pillars to bring the seat a couple of mm closer to the frame, and I had to add 4 stacked washers to the underside of the latch so it reached far enough down to engage with the latch itself. I'm surprised all this wasn't sorted by Diopa. Are the Ducs all different when they come out of the factory? I doubt it. It was a bit fiddly, but the end result is perfection - in fact it's easier to get on and off than the OEM unit is, and feels just as secure, if not more so. So... I have a new pretty a rear end, but suddenly I also have a red wanker's bike again...

...But now that all the chrome is gone, and I've anodised the wheels and brackets black - leaving the front fender in matt black too - it actually looks ok in red. This morning I rode the bike over to the Ace Cafe to watch the BBC's Matt Roberts lead out some charity ride, and in it's restored red, my bike drew more attention than anything else in the packed car park. Later on I slipped into Soho for a quick coffee at Bar Italia, and ended up being flanked by four bike cops who all decided they wanted a Sport Classic, so I spent 20 mins telling them where to look for one and what mods they needed, while tourists stopped and took photos of the bike, as though it was part of some Bar Italia pavement display. It's amazing what dressing like a tart does for your popularity... As a reminder, here she was before I even got her home and started modding.

Daisy Duke knew she needed to go on a diet or get some major surgery

And here she is now...

A few trips to the surgeon later, and daisy is looking forward to bikini weather

So pretty it hurts my eyes... But what colour should she be? Ducati Silver? White with Black & Gold?

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