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Custom '97 Ducati M900 Monster

Ride of the Week

Custom ’97 Ducati M900 Monster

Many motorcycle builders have a specialty or specific genre they stick to in their builds. And for anyone who doesn’t know the infamous Craig Rodsmith, hand-crafted aluminum and metal bodywork is the name of the game for him. Many of his creations don the metallic finish, to the point where getting blinded on a bright, sunny day is a real possibility.

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The shiny bikes contrast well with his often-touted black leather jacket and “punk rock” attitude that is self-described on his website. Rodsmith is a master builder, fabricator, painter, and designer with over 25 years of experience crafting impressive motorcycles that have been tearing up roads across the world. His shop, Rodsmith Motorcycles, has pumped out several crazy ground-up builds over the years, including three that have earned spots at The Haas Motorsports Museum in Dallas, TX.

When we attended the Mama Tried Custom Bike Show, Rodsmith greeted us by showing his remarkable “everyday rider” – a 1997 Ducati M900 Monster. The motorcycle looks almost unrecognizable from the stock form, as the only thing he didn’t alter was the engine.

The 66-horsepower V-twin outputs more than enough power for most people, but that wasn’t enough for Rodsmith. The engine is not only supercharged, but also has nitrous oxide, although he told us he’s never engaged it. Now that he’s seeing some warmer weather in the Midwest, he’ll be able to utilize his extraordinarily fast everyday rider.

“It all started when I got a leaking fork seal, and I started to fix that,” Craigsmith says. “And now the only original thing left on the bike is the engine. I put a Ducati 998 frame on it, a single side swing arm, and made some handmade aluminum body work.”

While the bike has a number of upgrades, the focal point that draws attention is once again, the hand-crafted aluminum work. The process of fabricating each piece is time-consuming to say the least. The first gas tank Rodsmith crafted took him around 120 hours to fabricate, only for him to disapprove of the piece and smash it with a hammer. The second and final attempt took another 80-100 hours.

Another feature that Rodsmith loves to brag about are the Kineo wheels he added, with beautiful Italian spokes that complement the rest of the bike. These pair with a set of tubeless tires that allow for a very light and agile feel, making the bike perfectly suited for winding roads that require precise maneuverability.

“It’s a pretty bike, but it’s meant to be ridden,” he says. “It’s a ton of fun to ride.”

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected]

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