The brilliance ofandrew’s Monster is not what you notice – but what you don’t.
Take in the basics: early 600 Monster in yellow, check; the one with the older style Ducati logo on the tank, roger that; in good, clean original condition – well, no, actually.
Yes,andrew’s Ducati is clean enough to eat your dinner off, but as for originality... something’s not quite right and it’s initially difficult to work out what, such is the clever subtlety of his reinvention.the black headlamp rim is probably the most conspicuous alteration, then maybe the numberplate bracket. But only slowly do you notice the rest: the twin disc front; a frame colour that’s different to how you remember; the black yokes, hangers and swingarm; the green belt covers; the missing side panels; the hidden wiring and much, much more.yet it’s all been so skillfully, thoroughly and subtly done the overall result is hugely impressive.
It’s something that delights and confounds evenandrew himself.“it’s pleasing and frustrating in equal measure,” he said. “Because if you take it somewhere someone goes ‘That’s stunning’. But then they don’t realize everything you’ve done because I’ve tried to do it as if Ducati had done it.”
It’s also something that needs a while to fully take in. Check out the neatly hidden wiring or the skill that’s gone into crafting the detachable grabrail or the exhaust link pipes. It’s a bike you can gaze at for a long time and wallow in the details and ingenuity.
Andrew’s Monster goes just as well – if not better – than it looks. From the outset it impresses: crisp, unhesitant, sorted and utterly defying its 20 years.the riding position and view, aftermarket ’bar-end mirrors excepted, is completely standard and familiar (you forget you somehow expect the 600 Monster to be ‘dinkier’ than the 900 but of course it’s not). ’Bars, clocks and tank
paint are all virtually as new. It fires immediately and quickly settles into an easy, burbling idle, then we’re away, weaving through the backstreets of Pontypridd.the slight cant forward is classic Monster, the ride firm and focused. It’s classic roadster but there’s that Monster aggression and attitude as well.
I’d worried beforehand that, being a 600, this Monster might feel somehow ‘less’ – but it doesn’t.that motor’s free revving, fluent and willing and the amplified bellow from the twin pipes enhances the whole experience without annoying. Better still is the rest: all the controls are crisp and work virtually as-new; the uprated twin discs are faultless, the sorted, enhanced suspension gives a ride more refined than any Monster I can remember of this era. Put all that lot together swooping through thewelsh hillsides nearandrew’s home and I had a ball. I’d never have guessed a 20-year-old 600 Monster could be so brilliant.
• Nick at Griff’s Reality Motorworks in Bristol for the powder coating • South Wales Metal Finishing for plating • My mate Robin who did the lion’s share of the link pipes.
“More refined than any Monster I can remember of this era. I had a ball swooping through the Welsh hillsides”
Skeletal hugger and number plate mount are neatness itself He chose red hose Them’s the brakes
Mouthful of grass for a kerb-cutting Mr West
So subtle, almost too subtle