Limited-Series Ducati 1098S Evo Racer Presents No Shortage of Neo-Retro Cafe Charm

Motorcycle customization firms are primarily about their one-off exploits, but some of these builds become so popular that they demand further incarnations. Thus, limited-production series are often created to satisfy demand, and this has proven to be a lucrative endeavor for many artisans who gave it a go. Sure enough, David Widmann’s NCT Motorcycles really struck gold with their Evo Racer line.
Ducati 1098S Evo Racer 9 photos
Photo: Peter Pegam via Return of the Cafe Racers
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Right from the get-go, their aim was to kick off a captivating series of projects that, albeit highly similar to one another, would still pack heaps of authenticity. In terms of donor bikes, the Austrian shop picked a Ducati trio comprising the 848, 1098, and 1198 – three very potent crotch rockets from Borgo Panigale. A total of 70 iterations were planned for assembly in the following years, ten based on the 1198 and 30 on each of the models.

Stylistically, Evo Racers are all about chic cafe racer elements and tight proportions, but they remain fairly close to stock from a mechanical standpoint. That’s perfectly reasonable, of course, because Ducati’s titans come with abundant power and premium running gear straight from the factory. I mean, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, right?

Pictured in this article’s photo gallery is the very first machine put together by David and his crew as part of their Evo Racer program. The bike had previously been a 1098S from the model-year 2009, which acted as a proving ground for NCT’s ideas and was finalized in 2022. They scored the Italian sport bike from a nearby dealer, took it back to the shop, and had it dismantled to figure out how their transformation would unfold.

It all eventually began at the rear end, where you will now spot a custom subframe creating a straight, cafe-style bone line. The motorcycle’s reworked posture is undeniably ferocious, even more so than a stock 1098’s already-aggressive stance. Atop the new subframe, the Austrian workshop fitted a bespoke seat pan and tail section, both made of carbon fiber in-house.

Ducati 1098S Evo Racer
Photo: Peter Pegam via Return of the Cafe Racers
Look closely at the tail’s southernmost tip, and you’ll notice an inconspicuous LED lighting module – discreet when turned off but otherwise sufficiently bright. Although it’s been taken off for visual effect during the photoshoot, a compact license plate bracket with built-in turn signals can also be attached to keep things street-legal.

NCT’s specialists placed a handmade leather saddle right ahead of the cafe racer tail we’ve mentioned above. This fresh seat is flanked by pointy side panels, which were also shaped from scratch with some good old carbon fiber. The same material appears in various other places, too, in the form of replacement timing belt covers and a tailor-made chain guard.

As you can imagine, the removal of this 1098’s fairing revealed some of its ugly electronics, and these have all been relocated behind the CFRP side covers. NCT then installed an aftermarket LED headlight by way of custom-built mounting hardware, before moving southward to the Duc’s cockpit area. There they added a pair of billet aluminum fluid reservoirs that look infinitely better than the factory parts.

In addition, we come across adjustable control levers and bar-end blinkers, the latter hailing from Motogadget’s inventory. Just like the license plate holder, Rizoma mirrors were sourced for the project but kept off while photographer Peter Pegam was working his magic with the camera. Everything else in the rider’s view remains stock, including the instrument cluster, clip-on handlebars, and fuel tank.

Ducati 1098S Evo Racer
Photo: Peter Pegam via Return of the Cafe Racers
With 160 Bolognese stallions and 90 pound-feet (122 Nm) of torque at its disposal, the donor’s 1,099cc desmodromic L-twin didn’t exactly need any additional grunt. Still, Herr Widmann’s connoisseurs were keen on unlocking some more potential out of this liquid-cooled heart, and they did so with a complete high-performance exhaust system from Akrapovic.

An ECU remap was carried out once the pipework had been secured in place, enabling the twin-cylinder motor to make the most of its new exhaust. The engine is said to have gained an additional 20 hp at the crank following the whole procedure, thus putting a total of 180 ponies in its stable. Impressive though this figure may be, it’s only one part of the equation.

The other has to do with weight, and this particular Evo Racer tips the scales at a mere 345 pounds (156 kg) on an empty stomach. That gives it an insane power-to-weight ratio, but the stunning color scheme is what makes everything come together nicely. It’s a tasteful mixture of British Racing Green, black, and gold highlights complemented by the Ohlins suspension.

Lastly, NCT hasn’t revealed any pricing information on their Evo commissions, so interested parties will need to get in touch through the firm’s website to find out more. Regardless of the cost, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth from these Austrian gurus, and worldwide shipping is also a rather convenient detail to top it all off.
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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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