Analog Motorcycles Custom Bimota Mantra

Transforming weird into wonderful.

Analog Motorcycles Custom Bimota Mantra 3/4 view

The true art of the motorcycle may never have been so elegantly expressed as it has been by Italy's Bimota. The boutique manufacturer builds incredible chassis and equips them with high-performance engines from various manufacturers for a string of passion-inciting low-production hits.

But Bimota blew it at least once. The Mantra, introduced in 1995, was a Ducati 900 Super Sport-powered machine that, frankly, puzzled everyone with its bizarre looks.

Luckily, underneath it was pure Bimota, based on the stellar DB2, but with a gorgeous oval-tube aluminum frame (instead of steel) and with a claimed dry weight of just 381 pounds.

In other words, the perfect Bimota to customize. “Yeah, it’s one of the ugliest bikes they ever made,” builder Tony Prust of Chicago’s Analog Motorcycles says of the bike also known as the DB3. “I don’t know what they were thinking. But I wasn’t really ‘saving it’ so much as I liked that nobody customizes Bimotas. They’re rare. For me, it was a bit of a sacrilegious thing to do. And there were a few quirky things on this particular bike, a leaky tank and high mileage, etc., that made it okay to customize.”

Prust has a varied background that includes fine woodworking and sound work for the band Chevelle, the drummer for which, Sam Loeffler, is a good friend and motorcycle fanatic.

“Sam asked me to find something crazy to do a build on,” Prust says. “I sent him pics of the ’96 Mantra I found for sale. He couldn’t see the potential: ‘No way. That thing is too ugly.’” But not long after, Loeffler bought a Tesi 3D and became a Bimota fan. The project was launched.

Analog Motorcycles Custom Bimota Mantra side view

“That chassis was one of the best that Bimota ever made, so I wanted to stick with that,” Prust reveals. “But I knew that I wanted to change the rear section from a bolt-on subframe to a continuous aluminum-trellis style frame. I researched and found the necessary material I could use to match the factory frame.”

The retro look he was after demanded wire-spoke wheels, and after quite a bit of digging, he landed a set of Italian-made Alpinas for an early Monster that could be modified to fit the Bimota swingarm and Paioli fork.

Bodywork was next. “I wanted it to have a classic Ducati ’70s Super Sport appearance,” Prust says. “But the frame of the DB3 was a much different shape. I started by making a wood buck and carving out the idea as part of my vision.” He subbed out the metal shaping to Mike Ardito, who also formed the tailsection.

Meanwhile, the air-cooled mill was treated to a rebuild by Ducati Milwaukee and punched out to 944cc. Keihin FCR carbs feed those bigger cylinders, while handmade exhausts with 3-inch baffles and Biltwell tips set the glorious noise free.

Lower adjustable Speedy Moto clip-ons carry ISR controls (radial brake master working on six-piston front calipers and custom floating discs), and the rearsets are exquisite Rizoma pieces adapted from a Kawasaki application.

Final touch was getting the Analog name spelled in the Bimota font.

“After all was said and done, we came up with the name ‘DB3.5,’ ” he explains. “There already is a DB4, and 3.1 made it seem like it wasn’t enough of a revision!”

Studio front 3/4 left-side view.

Studio right-side view.

Studio left-side view.

Studio front view.

Studio left-side view.

Studio rear view.

Studio rear 3/4 right-side view.

Front wheel / brake.

Headlight / handlebar.

Cockpit view.

Left grip / clutch lever.

Engine.

Engine close-up.

Name badge.

Seat (left view).

Seat (right view).

Taillight.

Exhaust pipe.