Monday, January 16, 2006
What makes a motorycle cool? Looks? Power? Handling? Comfort?
All four, according to Ken Hall. He owns Superbike Italia in Lyons, Ill., and his job is to make customers' motorcycles as cool as possible with just the right combination of the four charactristics.
With those qualities in mind, the bike shown here is one cool machine. The 2001 Ducati M900 was built by Hall for Jason Zelenik of Darien, Illl. "Jason mainlly wanted his bike to handle better," Hall said. "It turned out right on because he's very happy with the way it rides."
Modifications to the 370-pound bike were started two years ago and finished last july. To the $10,000 was spent on modifying it. A good chunk of change was put into the suspension with Ohlins front fork, steering damper, and rear shock.
"A bike with Ohlins components is going to handle like a dream," said Hall, whose business is a Midwest Ohlins service center. "Overall, though, I don't let a person buy the wrong or cheap components. He's going to end up buying twice because the first time the parts were wrong."
With Ducati's success in super bike racing, the chassis on Zelenik's motorcycle did not need further work. The stock aluminum swing arm, 17-inch wheels, and Michelin tires were retained, as were the Brembo brakes.
The two-cylinder V-twin engine was enlarged from 904 to 944cc and boosted to horsepower from 88 to 96, aided by high-compression pistons on stock rods and crank. Ported two-valve Desmo heads top the cylinders.
More power was gained by remapping the fuel injection and adding a Termingnoni exxhaust system. The racing-style clutch, with Sure Flex sintered discs, is from RCM in Italy. Actuation is by a Yoyodyne unit. The transmission is the stock six-speed.
Not only does the Ducati go fast and handle smoothly, it looks sharp due to the liberal use of carbon fiber and anodized pieces. Powder-coating was done by Pro Tech in Lemont, Ill., and painting by Custom Cars in La Grange, Ill.
Although Hall, 36, is partial to Ducatis calling them "the Ferraris of motorcycles," he works on any brand at his shop. He started it in January 2002 after working eight years in the service and sales departments at a Chicago-area motorcycle dealership.
Hall became interested in motorcycles while serving in the military in 1989-93 as a crewman on jets who did repair and maintenance. "Being in jets built up a lot of excitemet. It was hard to replace when on the ground, but motorcycles did that with their speed," Hall said. "I was a top-notch mechanic, so working on motorcycles came second nature to me."
Superbike Italia also is staffed by Hall's wife Holly, who handles the receptionist and bookkeeping duties, and Joel Caloncagon, apprentice mechanic. Work is done in a 2,000-square-foot building.
The firm also sells driver accessories such as helmets, pants, jackets, and gloves. The sales contribute to the 30-percent growth annually. Income also comes from Hall's assisting motorcyclists with dialing in their machines during Sport Bike Track Time events at events in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan.
"A lot of my work is attention to detail," Hall said. "Balance and well-planned integration in a motorcycle are important. Each component has to reflect on the next component.
"I try to do things right because each customer''s motorcycle is special to him, and he deserves the best service," Hall said. "My greatest satisfaction comes from my customers and when they are pleased with their bikes."
For more information call Superbike Italia at (708)447-5110.
Article By Fred Noer - Photo Doug Mitchell Courtesy- Chicago Motorsport News