Air-cooled motorcycles have always held a unique allure. Perhaps it is the fact that we are closer to the combustion, as air-cooled powerplants are often left open to the elements—bare for all to see. Riders are in the thick of it, as it were, feeling the thrum of an engine as they wind through mountain roads.
Not separated by conservative plastic fairings, we are reminded that we are riding a mechanism and begin to tap into that intangible, childlike appeal that motorcycles maintain. XTR Pepo is all too familiar with this air-cooled seduction, as this Madrid-based outfit is responsible for the Pata Negra—a motorcycle inspired by vintage endurance race machines such as the Ducati TT1, TT2, and F1.
Pepo Rosell, owner and operator of XTR Pepo, has been in the business of turning out beautiful custom builds for many years, and he has done in the right way—by hand. That plays into the name Pata Negra, which is also a common Spanish phrase usually associated with high-quality Iberian pork.However, as Pepo pointed out, “In Spain all that is exclusive, unique, and exceptional is said that is ‘pata negra’. When Ducati came to ride, and win, several editions of the 24 Hours of Montjuïc with the TT or F1, these factory bikes were pata negra.”The XTR Pepo Pata Negra began life as a 2003 Ducati Monster 1000 i.e. that, oddly enough, Rosell had sold to the original purchaser. After living a happy life in that owner’s care, the bike returned to Rosell to undergo its transformation.Work began with the 992cc L-twin engine by diligently refurbishing its internals, installing new bearings, high-compression pistons with an Ergal lightweight flywheel to match, and getting some porting work done. All internal surfaces were cleaned, ridding it of carbon build-up that had collected from a decade’s worth of riding. Knowing that the L-twin motor was cared for in this way, made my admiration for the Pata Negro grow by leaps and bounds.Once the engine work was complete, Rosell took to the exterior, removing its antiquated color scheme and updating it with a gold-laden case cover. Finishing embellishments to the L-twin came in the form of a red EVR outer clutch plate and matching SpeedyMoto Leggro open belt covers, with a Tamburini oil cooler rounding it all out.From there, Rosell turned his attention the Monster’s trellis frame. He began by shortening the rear subframe, grinding and welding it to accept the new solo-seat. The placard-laden square tail has a small notch cut out to make way for the XTR megaphone, which would certainly keep endurance riders nice and warm during the week hours of the morning. However, by noon, they’ll probably be sterile.The Monster’s fuel tank was left on the shop floor and traded out for a Ducati 749 tank, its lines and aesthetic blending perfectly with the overall charm of the Pata Negra. To drive the endurance racing point home, a quick-fill gas cap was installed, allowing any proverbial pilot of this vintage-inspired weapon to rip back onto the circuit without too much of a pause.Rosell doesn’t seem to be one to skimp when it comes to suspension, either. He then traded the lesser fork for the fully adjustable inverted Showa fork found on the slightly more recent Monster S4R. For the sake of continuity, he also replaced the shock with a fully adjustable Öhlins unit.Of course, a vintage racer needs to be more than simply jaw dropping; it also needs to stop on a dime. For that task, Pepo upgraded the braking system by making use of a radial master cylinder and 320mm floating brake rotors from Discacciati, complete with braided brake lines from Fren Tubo heading to Brembo calipers. In all, some serious stopping power was added to this modified Monster.Highly compelling is the design of the fairing, which was crafted by Rosell himself. Rosell minced no words when speaking to what inspired the Pata Negra. “This bike is a tribute of the first Ducati TT1 that has the colors scheme of the TT2,” he says, “which was blue and red.”With its vibrant blue trim enveloping the fairing, and vintage-styled endurance lights bolted on, the Pata Negra could have easily been lapping with the TT1, TT2, and F1 in their heydays. Everything is done tastefully, especially when we look at the faux-sponsor decals that are decidedly period correct.A motorcycle is more than a sum of its parts. The wrong combination can spell disaster, but in this case, it took someone with intimate knowledge of vintage racing to achieve such a fine balance between the new and old.Pata Negra is a name that, taken at face value, appears almost brash. But, in this context, it is colloquium used by people who truly care. The XTR Pepo Pata Negra appears natural or, rather, built by someone who has an inherent understanding of the name.Photography by Cesar GodoyXTR Pepo Pata Negra Specs:ENGINE
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends, the weekly podcast brought to you by Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Motos and Friends is brought to you by Yamaha. You can check out the amazing YZF-R7 at your local Yamaha dealer, or of course at YamahaMotorsports.com. The YZF-R7 is an amazing supersport machine that is comfortable too!
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams takes the smallest BMW ADV bike on an urban adventure in Los Angeles. The BMW G 310 GS is a full size motorcycle with a modest engine, so of course we wonder if it is a little too underpowered and might struggle. Don put it through its paces and gives us his take.
In the second segment, Neale Bayly and Kiran Ridley have returned from the Ukraine to Paris where Kiran is based.
Kiran is an award winning photojournalist, and as an accomplished documentarian, he has covered stories as diverse as drug smuggling around the Mexican border, to the devastation of the Australian Bush Fires, to the tragedy of the Mediterranean migration crisis. Neale and Kiran reminisce about their motorcycle adventure in the Ukraine, and their observations and experiences with the incredibly resilient people of Ukraine, who have been put through such brutal hardship.