Developing a particular style would seem to be an insurmountable task given the sheer volume of custom motorcycles on the roads, websites and social media. Building a bike completely different to one that has gone before is impossible, there’s always some form of shared visual no matter how hard someone tries to be original. That said, Marco from Matteucci Garage is set on combining a gentler, artistic aesthetic to his custom motorcycles and so far he’s produced some striking machinery without appearing to conform to a custom rulebook.
For this latest build, Alligator, Marco chose a Honda CM400 as the donor; a bike renowned for being resilient to even the most abusive of owners. Marco envisaged a nimble, minimalist steed that maintained the capability of multi-terrain use. If you’ve spent any time in Italy this won’t sound ridiculous, the whole country is sinewed by white roads which are generally unpaved and seeing as Matteucci Garage is situated between the Adriatic coast and the Apennine Mountain range he’d be crazy not to dial-in a degree of off-road fun.
It goes without saying that the donor was completely stripped down before any of the serious work could take place. While the CM was in bits a spindle was machined to carry the Ducati front end. The chunky USD fork is now bronze, matching the floating Brembo brake disc centre. All paintwork is taken care of by Marco in his workshop where he can control the quality of finish and satisfy his obsessive attention to detail. Bar risers have been flipped through 180 degrees and now face forward giving the front an even beefier stance.
A stock fuel tank was never going to be curvaceous and handsome enough, even with a decent paint job, so scallops have been hammered-out and spliced into the sides, accentuated by a bronze stripe over the flat olive green.
Micro indicators on stalks are neat, unobtrusive and multitask by holding the headlight bucket in place. At the rear though Marco has mixed things up by adding another material. The subframe has been fabricated in steel but the rear hoop is cloaked by a curve of solid wood, with indicators inset.
Marco enjoys experimenting with seat shape and this swooping leather saddle is no exception. In a world of Brat wafers this effort looks rather comfortable and sumptuous, especially as the whole lot is suspended on a pair of 970 Series shocks by Progressive Suspension.
Matt black Comstar wheels look the business combined with Heidenau dual-sport rubber, just in case the owner fancies an excursion away from the black stuff. The Brembo single floating disc required an adaptor plate and now offers far better braking performance than the CM’s original solid disc set up.
Bearing a slight resemblance to certain 400cc scrambler built up the road in Bologna it’s hard not to admire Marco’s work and his ability to stamp his style on even the humblest of donor bikes.