When Andrea d’Acunto spent his life savings at 15 on a used Vespa 50 Special, it launched him on a trajectory of custom building that has reached a stunning apogee.
Wasting no time as an Italian teenager, d’Acunto stripped the old white Vespa down and boosted it to 90cc and added FMF Lamellar injection.
Eventually, d’Acunto landed on a much-loved Triumph Speed Triple 995, and then his life changed again — he switched to Ducati, owning a 749R, 1098S, and a full-carbon 999S built on an RS frame. He was hooked.
Also figuring into this story is BRT Prototipi in Rome, which began in 1999 as a collaborative effort with Ducati to correct errors in its manufacturing process. Gianluca Berardo, who owns BRT with Lorenzo Buongarzoni, has a history of creating Ducati and Bimota specials, following an Italian SuperTwin champion- ship in 1998.
d’Acunto, a business consultant, met Berardo in 2005 as a customer — he brought his 749R into BRT for normal maintenance. A friendship sparked, and they began working together on custom bikes, bringing us to the Bimota DB5-based Sebulba Project.
Inspiration for the bike came from a computer rendering of a concept bike he discovered while surfing the web late one night; the name Sebulba comes from a pod racer in the Star Wars Trilogy, which had a running sound that reminded d’Acunto of a Ducati dry clutch.
Sebulba is stark and athletic, and at the same time slight and robust. Self-limited to the basics for a motorcycle, the quality of its components and design invoke an emphatic richness.
“Why to start with a DB5?” d’Acunto ponders. “Because we wanted to create something really unique. Have you ever seen a Bimota DB café racer? I guess not! Bimota is the absolute state of the art; nothing can be compared to their bikes.”
The goal of d’Acunto and Berardo was simple. “We wanted to realize a bike with a classic café look, but capable of riding like a superbike.”
Getting there, of course, is always a challenge.
“The bike has been built around a Bimota DB5 frame and swingarm that has been stripped of all the fairing connections,” d’Acunto explains. “We decided to keep all factory dimensions in order to maintain standard dynamic performance as set from Bimota.”
Despite having a standard frame and swingarm, the motor and the powerplant received major attention. “The engine is a Ducati 1100 2-valve with a lightened flywheel, CNC pulleys, racing cams from the Ducati Performance catalogue, dedicated ECU ignition, and STM Evo slipper clutch,” d’Acunto recounts. “This dramatically changes the curve and the power — 104 horsepower at peak—giving to the bike a racing spirit with real explosion after 4000 rpm.”
The custom pipe, which d’Acunto determined had to exit on the right side of the motor, was a particular challenge. Once the curves were set, the exhaust required thermal insulation.
“The suspension set is completely new with the enormous Marzocchi RAC 50mm front fork and Double System rear shock,” d’Acunto says. “That gives the bike much more rigidity and precision in braking and turns. Sebulba’s riding experience is strongly different when compared to the stock DB5.”
As Sebulba is much quicker than a stock DB5, d’Acunto dipped into the aluminum parts bin for improved braking for the Marchesini magnesium wheels. Up front, there are billet calipers by Discacciati Brake Systems, which grasp 320mm Braking discs. On the bars, the Discacciati master cylinder and clutch pump are billet, as well.
The sheer number of trick parts on Sebulba is staggering. Simone Lecca, owner of Metalbike Garage in Turin, is renowned for his aluminium bodywork creations, and he contributed greatly to the project.
Formed by Lecca’s own hands, imperfections are intentionally visible, testifying to the artisan’s personal stamp on the tail section, tank, and café fairing. Adding to the visual delight, the bespoke hand-stitched seat is from Teknoselle, and mounted on a Triumph Speed Triple 1050 rear subframe.
Behind the fairing—which sports LED headlights with custom billet bodies—sit analog displays from Autometer, as well as a shift light. The wiring loom was reworked to stealth perfection.
For some, any project is never complete. d’Acunto has additional plans for Sebulba. “I know that Sebulba will have some other evolutions,” he says, “The first will be to design and realize a second seat, to ride with my daughter, and we will probably add the possibility to mount a single rounded front light to replace the current twin lights.”
Future plans notwithstanding, Andrea d’Acunto is pleased with the fruits of his team’s effort. “I’m 100-percent satisfied with the result of Sebulba Project. My friends like to call me 'motopornografer’. Now, I have the perfect garage of my imagination — a Bimota DB7 only for track fun, and this DB5 Sebulba. I just need a Vyrus/Bimota Tesi to complete my dreams!”
Bimota DB5 Sebulba by BRT Specs:
Engine: Ducati Hypermotard 1100
Exhaust: Fresco, modified by BRT
Clutch: STM EVO Slipper
Subframe: Triumph Speed Triple 1050
Suspension: Front, Marzocchi RAC 50mm forks; Rear, Double system rear shock Wheels: Marchesini Braking Systems
Fairing: Aluminum, handmade by Metalbike Garage
Seat:custom by Teknoselle
Fenders and Plat Holder: Custom by BRT
Paint: Buz Design
Engineering: BRT Prototipi
Photography by Paolo Grana
This story is featured in the July/August 2013 issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine — available on newsstands and good bookstores everywhere. The issue is also available free to readers on Apple Newsstand (for iOS devices) and Google Play (Android). To subscribe to the print edition, please visit our Subscriber Services page.