Ex-Piaggio designer reinvents the Monster

Published: 13 May 2001

French firm Reflex Group has come up with this new take on the Ducati Monster, the Fast Forward – or FFWD.

It is the work of ex-Piaggio stylist Jean-Michel Tarallo. French specialist Yves Kerlo will produce the bike in extremely limited numbers towards the end of this year.

While the prototype pictured here is based on an air-cooled Monster 750, the first production version of the FFWD will use the more powerful Monster S4 – with its 916cc water-cooled Desmoquattro engine – as its base. However, customers will be able to order the bike based on any Monster – the 600, 750, 900 or S4.

Kerlo said: " We don’t intend to make any modifications to the mechanical parts of the bike – it’s purely a design exercise. "

All of the original Ducati body parts have been consigned to the tip and replaced with some of the most unusual designs ever seen on the bike. Although Tarallo has been involved with mainstream bike design with Piaggio, where he designed the Vespa ET, Voxan – designing the Roadster – and Suzuki in the past, he chose to ignore convention and create something totally new.

Tarallo said: " For the FFWD, my aim was to balance the streamlined form of the bodywork with the exposed engine and technical structure. The upper half is simple and light, and stands in contrast with the heavy, compact and complex lower half. "

He believes most modern bikes lack the originality they need to stand out from the crowd. He said: " Except for scooters and concept bikes, where the design is creative, the motorcycle market is very often based on nostalgia for customs and roadsters, while most Japanese sportsbikes are copies. Only a few bikes like BMW’s CI, MV with the F4, Triumph’s Daytona and Speed Triple, KTM’s Duke and most of Aprilia’s models, try to explore new concepts in production.

The only modification to the original Ducati frame on the FFWD is the seat subframe, with is cut down to accept the slimmer tail unit. The rear light comes from an Aprilia scooter, while the tiny headlights are pinched from a Ford Puma car.

The fuel tank is modified from the original Ducati part, while the rest of the bodywork is specially made from glass-fibre and resin. The mirrors are from Ducati’s own aftermarket range, while the distinctive exhaust, exiting in front of the rear wheel, comes from Italian firm Road Racing.

Initially, five S4-based bikes have been commissioned, with others being made as and when orders are received. But despite the cost-cutting measures, the bike isn’t cheap – the S4 version costs £18,500. At that price, the FFWD is destined to stay exclusive.