NCR's titanium-framed Ducati

Published: 02 July 2013

NCR has been tuning Ducatis since the late 60s. During the 90s and early 2000s, you’ll probably remember the black NCR Ducatis competing in World Superbike, ridden by the likes of Borja, Bontempi, Xaus, Bostrom, Laconi and Chilli.

In 2001 NCR wound down its racing activities to concentrate on building their own Ducati-engined specials and producing mouth-watering aftermarket Ducati spares.
NCR is part of the Italian Poggipolini Group.

They produce high-end mechanical and carbon fibre parts and 3D rapid prototyping for the aerospace industry, Formula 1, MotoGP and for car makers like McLaren, Pagani and Lamborghini. The carbon fibre, aluminium, steel and titanium works of art they produce are simply the mouth-watering, best of the best.

NCR has even been commissioned by Ducati to produce special projects over the years and in their workshop is an early Streetfighter concept and a prototype set of fully-titanium 998 race crankcases, which are 40% stronger than aluminium, allowing the engine to make big power figures.

Coming hot on the heels of their Desmosedici RR-engined NCR M16 (Millona 16v), the new NCR M4 (Millona 4v) café racer is their latest creation, based on their current Milona race bike.

NCR owner Michele Poggipolini explains the thinking behind the M4. “The goal was to make a street version of the lightweight  Milona racer. We started the project in 2010 with styling by my partner Joseph Ippoliti, based on the M16.

“It weighs just 130kg dry and the Ducati engine is about 60kg of that. We used our experience, expertise and knowhow from NCR and Poggipolini working with titanium to create a full titanium trellis frame. We based the geometry on the Milona – a bike that gave us a lot of results on the track.

Standard 105bhp, air-cooled V-twin Ducati 1100 Evo motor. If that’s not enough, you can upgrade to NCR’s  1200cc kit, which boosts power and saves 3-4kg. It includes 102mm pistons (up from 98mm) and a new crankshaft with a longer 73mm stroke (up from 71.3mm), NCR cams, titanium conrods.

NCR design, made by Zard with the cat hidden well away. A full titanium lightweight race exhaust available.

BST carbon fibre wheels shod with Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa SPs.

FGRT800 Ohlins forks with machined billet aluminium NCR fork bottoms and anodised yokes. Ohlins rear shock. Ohlins TTX shock with a titanium spring sold as an option. Suspension will be set-up and sprung to suit the customer.

Titanium tubes with aluminium clamps.

Brembo monobloc calipers. Brake reservoir caps in titanium.

First ever road legal titanium production frame. 32mm tubular trellis structure takes between two or three weeks to produce and weighs just 4.5kg. It’s 3kg less than an equivalent 28mm tubular chrome moly steel item. Differing grades of titanium are used throughout the frame for varying levels of rigidity and flex, for rider feel.

Fabricated aluminium swingarm with a direct suspension link is based on the NCR Milona, but you can have it in titanium, if your pockets are deep enough. 

Side stand
Aluminium side stand, but for £1400 you can have it from titanium.

Carbon fibre fuel tank and self-supporting seat unit, with faired-in LED rear light and indicators. It’s held on with five bolts and can be quickly removed to make way for a dedicated race tail, sold separately. Titanium number plate hanger can be removed with just one bolt.

LED headlight can be removed with two bolts and disconnecting one military electrical connector to make way for a full race fairing, which NCR are still developing.

Traction control, telemetry and two riding maps, developed from a Magnetti Marelli system with a lightweight NCR wiring loom. ECU, relays and fuses are all tucked away inside a carbon fibre box under the enlarged oil cooler and hooked up via a 72mm military connector. A lightweight lithium battery lives in a carbon fibre compartment on top of the airbox under the fuel tank.

The M16
As if the standard MotoGP-inspired Ducati Desmosedici RR road bike wasn’t special enough, NCR created their own carbon fibre-framed version in 2010. The M16 makes the Des seem as ordinary as a Fireblade.

This feast of carbon fibre and titanium is the first of three ever built and sold for £1750,000, minus the engine, which the owners had to source themselves. It’s back in the NCR workshop to be made even lighter and even more powerful. 

“It’s the masterpiece, like a Mclaren P1, Pagani or Ferrari - the best of the best”, Poggipolini explains. “We wanted to create a light bike with Ducati’s most powerful engine. Normally you don’t see the beautiful engine because it’s all covered, but we redesigned everything.

“All the structural parts are one-piece carbon fibre and everything from the suspension tie rods to the rearsets are titanium. It weighs 145kg, makes over 200bhp plus and we developed the electronics to give it traction control and variable power maps.

“This is a customer’s bike with a one-off shock designed by and a pressurised carbon fibre ram air system, for more power down the straights. The exhaust is loud, over 120db!”

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