Suffering from a serious case of neglect, this little 1967 Ducati 350 Sebring received a new lease on life thanks to its owner, and maybe a few shots of espresso.
Caffeinated-beverage enthusiasts walking into a Waves Coffee House in British Columbia or Alberta can order a Café Canadiano. It’s a “patriotic take” on a classic version of espresso coffee – and nothing like the Ducati café racer gracing these pages that creator Kevin Brown of Calgary has himself patriotically dubbed Café Canadiano.
Its full name, really, is the Café Canadiano Ducati MR348, for reasons you’ll soon learn. Brown has been interested in motorcycles for more than 50 years. As a youngster, his family had land just west of Sundre, Alta., and he’d ride a 50 cc Tohatsu street/trail bike around the property. He graduated to a Honda CT70, and when the Brown family moved to England in 1974, he bought a 125 cc Kawasaki enduro. While living in England, Brown was introduced to the café motorcycle scene, and when he moved back to Alberta, he bought a Yamaha TX500.
“When I returned from England in 1976 and purchased the Yamaha TX500,” Brown explains, “I ‘caféd’ it, and installed clubman bars and rear sets, because that was the style in England. I have loved café-style bikes ever since.”
In the Mix
Now, Brown has a stable of machines with a mix of new and old. He tours aboard some of his newer motorcycles, while he enjoys tinkering with the old stuff. When it comes to vintage motorcycles, he doesn’t so much restore them as modify them.
Take Café Canadiano. The donor motorcycle was a 1967 Ducati 350 Sebring he bought from Dave Anderson at Anderwerks Motorrad Spezialist in Calgary. Anderson had taken the single-cylinder Ducati in on trade, and when Brown laid eyes on it, he knew exactly what he wanted to do.
“Years ago I’d seen a magazine article about a single-cylinder Ducati café racer, and while I thought the builder had done a good job, I thought I could put my own spin on it, with a more aggressive race-oriented approach,” he says.
The Ducati that Brown read about had been modified with a Benelli Mojave gas tank, and he immediately went on the hunt for the exact same tank. In fact, he had the Mojave tank long before he even bought his own project Ducati.
As purchased, the Ducati Sebring was “tired.” The engine was seized, and to get started on the build, Brown broke the Ducati down into large pieces. He entrusted the engine – minus both side covers – to local Ducati enthusiast Damien McFadyen. Brown’s theme for the build was Modern Retro; hence, the MR in the title he’s given the Café Canadiano. “It’s in homage to Ducati 998s and 848s,” Brown says. “I wanted this to look retro with plenty of modern features.”
While the engine was being stripped down, he took the frame, fork and wheels to Derek Pauletto at Calgary’s Trillion Industries. Brown wanted a more aggressive stance, and Pauletto started by fabricating a new rear frame loop that moved the top of the new Works Performance piggyback shocks farther forward so they were at the same angle as the front frame downtube. Also, the rear loop was made such that the bottom of the seat, and the tank when it was mounted, would match the “angle of the engine cylinder and cylinder head fins.
Pauletto formed the aluminum seat pan and rear cowl, and also built the lower belly pan. To help make the swingarm look more modern, he added reinforcing tubes to the bottom of the rear fork. Rear-set foot pegs and
controls were sourced from Moto Guzzino (guzzino.com), and are pieces built in the U.K. specifically for single-cylinder Ducatis.
Rolling stock consists of the original Ducati scalloped hubs, which were polished and treated to new bearings and brake shoes. Anderson then laced them into 18-inch Excel aluminum rims with stainless steel spokes sourced from Buchanan’s. The new Avon AM26 tires are much wider than original specification, with a 90/90-18 up front and a 120/80-18 at the rear.
Brown rebuilt the forks and had the stanchions hard-chromed and ground by Alberta Chrome & Grinding Ltd. The lower sliders were powder-coated black, and the springs left exposed as everything slid into the stock Ducati lower triple and an aftermarket upper. Control is provided by a set of Novelli racing clip-ons that have been modified with micro-switch buttons and lights – on the left, horn and high beam; on the right, a kill switch and light to indicate power on. Keeping the front end uncluttered is a wireless digital bicycle speedometer, mounted on a simple yet elegant stainless steel bracket.
To continue putting the “modern” in the Ducati, all the electronics have been upgraded from 6-volt to 12-volt and front and rear lights are much brighter LEDs. A dry cell battery is located under the seat cowl, and a charging port was custom-wired into the bracket under the headlight – accessed by flipping down what is actually a Ducati clutch inspection cover. Calgary wiring guru Bob Klassen spent hours running all of the lines and making the electrical connections.
“It’s got a keyless ignition system under the seat,” Brown explains, “so all I have to do is walk up to it and, if I’ve got the fob with me, it will power up and the green light on the right clip-on will glow when it’s set up and ready to go.”
In regard to the overhead cam engine, McFadyen split the cases and added fresh bearings. The cylinder was bored oversized, taking the capacity from
340 cc to 348 cc (that adds the “348” to the title of the bike), and compression was raised from 7.5:1 to 8.5:1. While it was apart, the cylinder was powder-
coated black, while the cleaned aluminum bits, with the exception of the cam and rocker box covers and side covers, were treated to clear powdercoat. Those other alloy components were polished to a high lustre.
Mike Satink at Nostalgic Refinishes applied the white paint with a gold pearlescence on the tank and cowl, and red on the belly pan, while Andrea Briggs of Powersport Seats cut the foam and stitched a vinyl cover for the seat.
Instead of putting Café Canadiano together with cadmium-plated fasteners, Brown had many of the bolts, and even the kick-start lever, coated in a special thin black film at Top Gun Coatings in Calgary. This company also ceramic-coated the Ducati’s exhaust pipe.
The frame, swingarm, fork lowers and fork springs were powder-coated black by Rite-Way Powder Coating. Brown designed all the decals and badges. The Café Canadiano tank badges started out as 3 mm-thick stainless steel, and were cut by Laser Equation Ltd.
Although Café Canadiano has been running, Brown has yet to add many kilometres.
“I wanted to keep it clean for the bike show early in 2016, but after that, it’s going to get ridden,” he says. “All of my bikes are meant to be ridden.”
Brown might just fire up the Café Canadiano and take a spin to a Waves Coffee House in Calgary this spring if he can find time to break away from his next project – a salt-flats racing-inspired two-stroke 1975 Suzuki 100.