When you build the Ducati 900 that Mike Hailwood took to the 1978 Isle of Man TT winner's circle, it is difficult to know what to do for an encore.
Not concerned that such a machine could be considered an unassailable accomplishment, NCR continued to do for the next 32 years what it had done for the previous 11-build state-of-the-art Ducati-powered motorcycles with uncompromising performance and beauty.
In the hands of the Poggipolini Group since 2001 when founders Rino Caracchi and Giorgio Nepoti retired, NCR will now build-to-order a motorcycle with performance that is claimed to rival and surpass that of the Ducati MotoGP machines ridden by World Champions Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner, Troy Bayliss and now Valentino Rossi: the NCR Millona 16.
At the heart of the NCR M16 is the legendary V-4 Desmosedici powerplant. As Ducati is no longer building the 16-valve engines, NCR relies on motors from donor Ducati Desmosedici RRs, making the M16 one of the most exclusive high-performance motorcycles in history.
Dissatisfied with the nearly 200 horsepower produced by the standard Desmosedici motor, NCR adds its own electronic magic to the mix.
"The electronics use an NCR / Magnetic Marelli CPU and dash with a very sophisticated adjustable traction control system and engine management system," NCR Chief Operating Officer Joe Ippoliti told us in an exclusive interview. "It also has the ability to record engine vitals and suspension motion in very minute time intervals. It is entirely MotoGP derived."
Although one can now order an M16, like a race bike, it is an unending work in progress. "The engine is still under development to find a proper mix of performance and usability," Ippoliti tells us.
Claimed horsepower is north of 200 at the rear wheel, and there are three user-selectable maps, user-adjustable traction control, as well as constant fuel remapping based on weather conditions and fuel composition.
Motor alone, of course, is not enough to make the NCR M16 a world-class performer. "The design of the M16 is entirely NCR derived," Ippoliti says, though the company works in technical partnership with Poggipolini Titanium and the carbon fiber wizards at the ATR Group-both fellow Italian companies.
Leveraging these companies' resources, NCR has been able to produce a machine that weighs a claimed 319 pounds filled with all fluids, save gasoline. That is 11 pounds under the weight limit for four-cylinder bikes in MotoGP racing and, according to Ippoliti, the M16 is 95 pounds lighter than the stock RR.
Poggipolini Titanium is responsible for the bolts and fasteners, as well as the exhaust, rearsets, fuel cap, clutch cover, and clip-ons. Ippoliti claims that "the complete exhaust system is 5.2 pounds."
The list of carbon fiber major components is staggering-frame, swingarm, fuel tank, fairing, front fender, seat/tail subframe, and wheels. "The use of a carbon fiber frame and carbon fiber swingarm strives to minimize weight as much as possible while improving structural performance and handling," Ippoliti says.
"The chassis allows the use of NCR's integrated directed air intake system which maximizes air flow to the cylinders," Ippoliti explains. "The carbon fiber components are manufactured by NCR's partners at ATR, who have many years experience with carbon chassis such as the Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari FXX, Mercedes SLR, and Porsche GT. ATR built Randy Mamola's Cagiva's carbon fiber frame back in the early 1990s."
The Öhlins suspension is world-class, having been tuned by NCR Corse. "The suspension on the NCR M16 uses the very latest MotoGP forks and MotoGP rear shock," Ippoliti pointed out to us.
"These are not lookalikes. It is the real deal." The 43mm Öhlins FGR 000 cartridge forks have an adjustable offset via the machined billet aluminum triple clamps. In the rear, the Öhlins TTX shock is fully adjustable, including fine-tuning its length. This allows riders to adjust the attitude of the M16's chassis exactly to their own liking.
A pair of 300mm BrakeTech USA AXIS/CMC ceramic-matrix composite rotors are employed to slow things down in the front. According to BrakeTech, the rotors are not thermally sensitive, making them appropriate for street use, and weigh in at just over a pound each.
Four-piston Brembo Racing monoblock radial calipers are used in the front, and two-piston calipers on the 220mm BrakeTech rear disc. Ippoliti underscores that "the brakes are true Brembo racing monoblocks."
It is worth remembering that the Brembo calipers are designed to slow down much heavier bikes, so braking performance should be phenomenal, even without six-piston calipers in the front.
An NCR Corse slipper clutch, a lightened six-speed transmission, and Metzeler Racetec tires further enhance performance. Appearance isn't completely disregarded-the seat cover is leather and custom graphics can be designed to the customer's satisfaction.
Designed to be street going, registration of the M16 in America may place the buyer in an adversarial position with the bureaucracy. On the track, you will likely feel secure that no once else at the circuit will have a superior mount.
No price has been set by NCR for this motorcycle, though one can rest assured that demand will far outstrip supply, ensuring a world-class price to go with the world-beating performance that the extraordinary Millona 16 confidently promises.
NCR Millona 16 | M16 Motorcycle Specs
Ducati L-4, liquid-cooled, DOHC, Desmodromic, 4 vpc, gear driven camshafts
NCR w/ adjustable traction control, data acquisition, on-the-fly remapping, and Automatic Remapping System
319 pounds (no fuel)
Front: Öhlins FGR000 43mm
Rear: Öhlins TTX
BRAKES BrakeTech Axis/CMC rotors w/ Brembo monoblock
Frame, Subframe, fuel tank, swinGarm, wheels, fairing and fenders
NCR carbon fiber