Soulmoto – El Chupacabra
By James McCombe - 27 Nov 14
Even in today's fully networked, surveillanced world, many countries and cultures have mythical creatures said to roam deep in forests or lakes. Only seen in brief glimpses, they always seem to be captured on something with the photographic capability of a Kodak Brownie dropped in treacle. The US has Bigfoot, Scotland, the Loch Ness Monster and England has the fearsome School-Run-Mums. Puerto-Rico spawned the reptilian Chupacabra, or "goat sucker" as it amusingly translates. Purportedly a heavy set creature the size of a bear, it has a penchant for drinking the blood of livestock and perhaps weary tourists. A row of spikes from nose to tail down it's back and some big 'ol googly eyes round out it's apparent appearance. Yet this gruesome sounding creature lends it's name to this stunning neo-classic Ducati cafe racer built by SoulMoto. SoulMoto was founded by Jens Abel, a man with so much creativity running through his blood there are simply not enough outlets in this world. Not content with his work as video and lighting technician for a theatre company, his spare time is filled with photography, creating music and of course riding, building and living motorcycles. A quarter century spent riding every bike under the sun, Ducatis made a big mark on Jens's mind. First a 900ss then a 916, 20 years later it was the air cooled bike that found it's way back into the garage. After a thorough service it was soon put to work in it's natural habitat, rumbling around the Alps, Dolomites and Tyrols; and barely anything fell off! Bliss. With a smile on his face, back in Stuttgart ideas were forming and Jens woke the next morning knowing what had to be done. The bike was soon in bits... Chassis and engine were completely torn down. Knowing he had the support of his boss to use workshop facilities, this was going to be more than a quick spit and polish. With the engine in pieces and assessed, the top end received a thorough going over. New piston rings, rebuilt heads and polished ports smooth the air flow. The carbs were swapped out for a pair of Kehin FCRs transforming the bike's fueling, says Jens. With the airbox removed and running open bellmouths, a battery box was fabricated in it's place to hold the tiny 700g LiPo snugly. The flywheel was replaced with a superlight aluminium item for a snappier response on the twisties. It's easy to understand why the bike wears a set of Michelin Pilot Race tyres; be sure that this Duc gets used as Miguel Galuzzi intended. The electrical system was built from scratch to be as simple as possible but implement some great functionality. The cockpit is a tech-fest featuring both a Motoscope multifunction digital speedo and a Samsung Tablet for, well basically anything you need; Satnav, telemetry, maybe a movie. Handlebar switches have also been replaced with minimalist items. Lighting is taken care of by a hefty projector bulb at the front peeking asymmetrically through the fairing, and looking wonderfully endurance-bike-like. A tiny LED strip tucked under the seat hump at the rear provides lighting and braking duties, whilst still somehow conforming to TÜV standards. An Ignitech Ignition system provides a solid reliable spark, taking away the uncertainty of those early 90's electrics. To match the go, now came some serious show. A classic 70's Ducati style fairing was mounted to the front on custom bracketry. The melding of different decades of styling works extremely effectively and is tied together by the metallic flecked satin green paint and subtle pinstriping. The rear subframe was completely revised and a classic cafe-style seat unit hovers beautifully above the trellis frame, matching the shadow gap of the tank. Rear indicators were buried in the end of the frame tubes and are looked down upon by an illuminated 'DESMO' cutout in the seat base. The seat itself has been covered in brown tuck and roll suede, contrasting the paintwork beautifully. Whilst a short carbon fibre front mudguard sits slinkily above the powdercoated original 3-spoke wheels. Stainless brake lines front and rear firm the brakes up, and have been linked up to matching Brembo Radial master brake and clutch cylinders. The calipers have been stripped and painted silver to take the gold quotient down a little. Suspension was rebuilt and given a freshen up but didn't require major surgery, the bike carries itself well as is. Other little touches about the bike include the bar-end mirrors coupled with Motogadget Cone indicators. These final touches bring the whole bike together and give a smattering of everyday function. The engine looks fantastically mechanical in it's raw finish sitting in the powdercoated trellis frame. The brushed rather than polished or painted finish is a great contrast. With the finish line in sight, the 2014 Glemseck 101 was the target. After a frantic last night, finishing the electrics and setting up the carbs, the bike was wheeled out on the Saturday morning ready to go. Jens lives just 10km from the show and for 9km the bike behaved beautifully... Thanks to the Motoscope dash he could see the voltage dropping, bit by bit. The bike started to misfire and eventually coughed it's last. So close! A quick backie on his friend Rene's Vespa got him to the show where the Stuttgart Ducati Riders and Andy from Desmo Fellbach offered help and advice. A missing ground cable from the regulator turned out to be culprit and a glourious 13.4V was soon charging through the circuit. She's been faultless since and according to Jens feels like a new bike. With 85 Italian stallions on tap and weighing a lithe 170kg, the Chupacabra should be a riot on any road; Autobahn to Alpine pass. After 14 months of work and toil, the stunning results speak for themselves. So maybe keep an eye out for this mythical beast roaming the roads of Southern Germany, though thankfully for us it's been captured in glorious HD. Remember to click on the pictures for a closer look, it's truly worth your time. See more from SoulMoto on Facebook.