Custom Ducati 1198S Corse Swaps Superbike Garments for a Lean Cafe Racer Attire

With a name like Radical Ducati, the workshop run by Yann Thomas over in France doesn’t keep any secrets about its modus operandi. Yann and his team have undertaken some of the wildest custom projects based on Bologna’s machines, never afraid to break new ground and do things differently. Sometimes, that means customizing a top-spec model few other builders would ever think of touching.
Custom Ducati 1198S Corse 9 photos
Photo: Radical Ducati via Pipeburn
Custom Ducati 1198S CorseCustom Ducati 1198S CorseCustom Ducati 1198S CorseCustom Ducati 1198S CorseCustom Ducati 1198S CorseCustom Ducati 1198S CorseCustom Ducati 1198S CorseCustom Ducati 1198S Corse
A model, perhaps, like the special-edition Ducati 1198S Corse released for the model-year 2010. It marked the Italian brand’s racing successes from the 2009 season of World Superbike and Superstock, when they took home the Manufacturers’ Title for both classes. And, because it’s Ducati we’re talking about here, the occasion clearly had to be celebrated with some sort of limited-edition release.

That came in the form of two Corse variants, one for the 1198S and the other for its R-rated sibling. It is not known how many copies have been built, but you can be sure they’re not easy to come by and will cost a small fortune. This hasn’t deterred the Frenchmen over at Radical Ducati whatsoever, though, because they’ve taken an 1198S Corse and had it transformed into a beastly cafe racer with looks to die for.

Right off the bat, we can say this custom Duc is bound to make a lot of purists very angry for obvious reasons, but let's not judge it based on that. The truth is: Yann’s bike-modding gurus have built one hell of a machine, and a little bit of controversy won’t change this fact. Of course, the biggest visual difference you’ll see here is the lack of any fairings to conceal the motorcycle’s trellis frame and ruthless L-twin engine.

As a matter of fact, all the stock bodywork besides the fuel tank and front fender was removed to make way for a bespoke attire. Starting with the Duc’s rear end, we now see a tailor-made aluminum subframe built from scratch. Above it lies a svelte cafe-style tail and seat pan combo, seamlessly joining up with the factory fuel tank a bit further ahead. There's also a stylish two-piece saddle placed in between the tank and tail.

Custom Ducati 1198S Corse
Photo: Radical Ducati via Pipeburn
It was put together in-house using high-density padding and brown leather upholstery, while the gas tank has been topped with a quick-action aftermarket filler cap. As for the license plate, it now lives down low on a swingarm-mounted trellis bracket, so as to keep the rear end as clean as possible up top. At the front, this modded 1198S is even more of a departure from the original configuration.

Where its gorgeous front fairing and accompanying magnesium bracket had once been, you’ll see a bright aftermarket LED headlamp fitted on custom mounting hardware. Most of the equipment in the cockpit area remains stock, except for a pair of bar-end mirrors that keep the bike’s profile nice and low. Some brown grips to match the seat upholstery would’ve been a cool addition, but the standard ones still suit the overall aesthetic just fine.

Needless to say, there was no need for Radical to perform any sort of upgrades to the 1198’s running gear. Still, they did treat its premium Brembo brakes to a trio of higher-spec floating rotors, while leaving all the Ohlins suspension goodies completely untouched. The S variant came with TiN-coated 43 mm (1.7-inch) forks and a state-of-the-art TTX monoshock straight off the assembly line, so it made sense to keep these as they were.

Custom Ducati 1198S Corse
Photo: Radical Ducati via Pipeburn
The same goes for its 1,198cc Testastretta Evoluzione powerplant, which holds a whopping 170 ponies and 97 pound-feet (132 Nm) of torque at its disposal. However, the engine’s exterior looked a little messy since it was meant to be fully hidden behind the bodywork. Removing the fairings left it exposed, and the Frenchmen had to tidy it up before going any further.

They added transparent clutch and timing belt covers in the process, while plumbing the radiator back up with red silicone hoses from Samco. As with any self-respecting custom build, some refreshing updates to the exhaust pipework were of utmost importance. To address this, Radical went with a high-performance setup developed by SC-Project.

Its header was heat-wrapped prior to installation for improved temperature management, and the whole ordeal ends in a race-spec muffler on the right-hand side. Some saucy carbon fiber add-ons take this 1198S cafe racer across the finish line, comprising a small rear wheel hugger, a snazzy swingarm cover, and an all-new front sprocket encasement.

Radical Ducati chose not to cover the fuel tank and tail in any paint, instead opting for a brushed alloy finish that looks the part. This draws extra attention to the Duc’s red trestle skeleton, and the Samco coolant hoses are a very nice touch, as well. Now, the motorcycle we’ve just looked at may come across as polarizing, but what else do you expect from a workshop with the word “radical” in its name?
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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