Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II [Dutch Custom Café Racer]

“From small things, mama,” Bruce Springsteen wrote, “big things one day come.” That certainly is the case with the magnificent Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II. Built by a Dutch dealer and custom shop from the chassis of the Ducati Panigale 1199 S, the Élite II was born of inspiration provided by the modest 1959 Ducati 200 Élite.

Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II: Custom Motorcycle

“I wanted to make a tribute to an old Ducati, and the Élite was the superbike of its time. I like the old Ducatis, and the Élite, because of their small engine size, compared to the big 500s from the UK, and still the progressive techniques to get a lot of BHP out of these engines,” explains Moto Puro owner Jean-Claude Luijcx, “and, of course, the very good handling for those days and the great design.”

Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II: Custom Sportbike

Luijcx’s interest in vintage motorcycles dates back to his youth. “The first motorcycle I remember was a Norton Manx. A father of a friend on the street I was living was racing with the Manx,” he says. “I’m still in for café racers and vintage bikes, so I think it took my imagination.”

Eventually, Luijcx obtained a motorcycle of his own, and he wasn’t shy about his preference for performance. “My first bike was a Kawasaki Z650, with full race fairing, 4-into-1 exhaust, clip-ons, and race seat,” he tells us.

Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II: Custom Superbike

Immediately a dedicated rider, Luijcx quickly moved to older bikes. “I rode the bike three years without owning a car,” he says. “I liked my Kawa, but after two years, I bought my first BSA from the ’50s, and this was the start of many years restoring, riding, and racing with vintage BSAs and Nortons. I later owned a few vintage cars, but this was because I also owned vintage bikes. I still see a car as a thing to move and to move things, and a bike is fun.”

Luijcx’s journey included a six-year stint as a general manager in a Harley-Davidson dealership, where he also raced Buells for a few years. “I like one- and two-cylinder bikes, and I don’t like multi-cylinder bikes. But, I like flat trackers from the 1920s as much as the technical specs from the new 1299 Panigale or a nice bobber,” he says. While Luijcx allows that the American bikes are “also nice,” he discloses, “I like the passion of Italy more. Italian bikes still have a heart.”

Although Moto Puro is a Ducati dealership, the shop’s first custom build was a Norton for vintage sidecar racing. “We build it to run on methanol, dual spark, homemade crankshaft, stroke from 113mm. Very fast—this was good; many time blow up—this went wrong,” Luijcx says with a smile and a wink.

The Moto Puro Ducati Élite II is the desire to match the performance of the 21st century with the aesthetic appeal of the fairing-free motorcycles of the mid-20th century. “In our workshop, we build up a lot of race bikes, and when the fairing is off the bike, you can see the nice and clean engine,” Luijcx says. “The most challenging part was to make it as clean as a BSA Gold Star or Norton Manx—the only thing you see is an engine, wheels, fuel tank, and a seat. The biggest problem was where to put the computers and wiring.”

Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II: Dutch Custom Motorcycle Builder

Running the electrics through the single-sided swingarm solved the wiring issue. The process also included building a trellis subframe so the custom seat could have a home. The triple tree was also replaced, and risers allowed the installation of u-horn handlebars behind the classic round headlight.

Part of the building process is working with the rest of the Moto Puro team. Martien van Stipdonk is the Chief Mechanic and, as Luijcx will tell you, “All the stupid things I think of, he makes.” Luijcx admits that the result is that “we made a lot of homemade parts, and also put a lot of parts in the trash can if they didn’t work out.”

Luijcx views the Élite II as “a café racer old style. In the ’60s, they took a normal bike, put an aluminum fuel tank on, turn the handlebar upside down, and go the clubman races. The feeling to drive a BSA Gold Star DBD34 gives you the same feeling as driving the Élite II. We made a bike nobody expects from a Panigale.”

Highlighting the theme, all the original aluminum parts have been highly polished, adding to the Élite II’s striking appearance. The paint is from MW Designs, a Dutch company specializing in putting photorealistic images on trucks and motorcycles. Custom contributions from Italy include a QD exhaust system, as well as In-Motions’ Kineo Wheels’ amazing wire-spoked forged rims, both custom-made for the Élite II.

Having acquired admirers from all around the globe, Luijcx is not anxious to build an empire. “I worked in big dealerships, and that’s work,” he says. “I like more to stay little and make nice things with a small group of people.” Very nice work, Jean-Claude and company. Your Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II is magnificent.

We have tested the Ducati Panigale 1199

Photography by Mark Kamphuis

Moto Puro Ducati Panigale Élite II Specs

  • Motor: Ducati 1199 Panigale S
  • Exhaust: Custom by QD Exhaust; bracketry by Moto Puro
  • Suspension: Öhlins NIX 30 forks; Öhlins TTX36 shock
  • Subframe: Moto Puro trellis
  • Top triple clamp: DPNS Racing parts
  • Seat: Moto Puro
  • Wheels: Custom by Kineo Wheels
  • Paint: MW Designs
  • Footpegs and controls: DPNS Racing Parts