Custom Builder The Desmo Devil

January 3, 2007
By Lindsay Gerken
Mark Savory s prototype bike the Desmo Devil is based on the Ducati Monster  but sports a lower profile  redesigned exhaust and a stretched-out rake.
Mark Savory’s prototype bike the Desmo Devil is based on the Ducati Monster, but sports a lower profile, redesigned exhaust and a stretched-out rake.

Mark Savory never dreamed of building motorcycles as a kid; all he wanted to do was design vintage cars. After earning an education in architecture, design, electrical engineering, and computer science, Mark finally got his chance at restoring one of his favorite vintage cars – a Ferrari. Conducting the restoration of many vintage Bugattis and Ferraris, Mark found a passion for meticulously classy design details. But never did he dream that his extensive background in vintage racecar restoration, combined with his design and computer knowledge, would yield an idea that would change his life dramatically and cause him to venture into a new, enthralling business.

While jogging one night in September 2003, a car ran right into Mark. Though not badly injured, Mark found he had some time on his hands to rest and ponder. Just returning from an 11,000-mile bike trip on a Ducati Monster, Mark’s friend Rachel Dwyer came to visit and mentioned that she’d rode without fairings or wind protection. Rachel’s comment sparked a grand idea and, as a joke, Mark ran his idea through Photoshop on his computer, adding fairings to a Ducati Monster just to see the outcome. Thus was born the “Desmo Devil,” a controversially different Ducati chopper that bulges eyes and draws crowds wherever it goes.

Before Mark had attempted to build a prototype bike from his Photoshop design, the image of his dream circulated around the Internet, attracting the attention of enthusiasts and even Ducati designers in Italy. While some were shocked by the “Americanized” version of the Italian bike, most reactions Mark received were astoundingly positive, causing Mark to wonder what business venture he had stumbled into, especially as journalists and potential bike buyers approached him wanting to feature and buy his custom motorcycle.

The prototype was born after painstaking fabrication, welding, molding, and part-swapping by Mark and his brother, David Savory. Debuting the Desmo Devil at the 2006 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show in July, Mark and David thought they may be unfavorably received by mainstream builders and bike enthusiasts. To their surprise, bike builders at the event bent down on their knees to examine the strange machine, and the crowd of enthusiasts that gathered made the bike impossible to see.

The Desmo Devil is based upon the Ducati Monster, but instead of being a short, tall race bike, the Desmo Devil is slammed to the ground and has a stretched-out rake while still retaining much of the handling and cornering capability of the original Italian design. Mark’s prototype incorporated Ducati racing capabilities with a cruiser-style, increasing the functionality of the bike to include boulevard cruising, long road trips, and knee-down riding.

The Desmo Devil has strength, power and agility, as its stock Ducati V-Twin has only about 360 pounds to pull around. Using 1.25-inch steel tubing, Mark welded the trellis frame that meets aircraft specifications and conforms to the original Ducati Monster look – but weighs only 12 pounds. Retaining Ducati parts such as the ’95 900CR engine, front fork, wheels and brakes, brake lines and clutch and ignition controls, Mark kept the Ducati design while modifying the rest for “pure functionality.”

With the prototype of the Desmo Devil  Savory sought to meld Ducati racing capabilities with the functional aspects of a cruiser-style bike.
With the prototype of the Desmo Devil, Savory sought to meld Ducati racing capabilities with the functional aspects of a cruiser-style bike.

On a Ducati Monster, the exhaust system travels underneath the engine. Mark intentionally re-routed the exhaust system down the left side of the engine into an “S” curve that ends suddenly under the rider’s right foot. These shorter, authoritative pipes allow a clear view of the rear wheel and can be mistaken for the sound of a small-block Chevy when fired up. Adding custom features was not a matter of wanting more decoration, but instead improving the bike’s overall design and engineering. A custom headlight bucket, fabricated from a mold made by David, resulted in a shell that was not the standard chrome bezel but a custom carbon-fiber bucket that decreased the headlight weight from 5 pounds to only 7 ounces.

Chromoly rearsets can be seen just behind the custom, twin-tube clutch cover that looks like two red hot dogs on a silver platter. When viewing the bike, photographers seem entranced by the twin-tubes adorning a clutch cover that won’t break if the Devil falls over and makes a sound like quarters rolling around in the dryer in order to finish off the “Ducati aural experience.”

When gazing upon the Desmo Devil, the color scheme intentionally tells your eyes where to focus. With a black and off-black coloring on top and blood-red lower parts, the Desmo Devil looks lower than the stock Ducati and draws your eyes to the extended rake and the lack of a bulky exhaust. Being air-cooled, the Desmo Devil has no radiator, which increases the less-is-more concept of the bike. Even the bike’s wiring system is 80% custom due to Mark relocating so many of its components. Originally aiming for a post-WWII Bobber feel, Mark wanted no excess parts or decorations to take away from the statement made by the pure design of his custom. Its clean lines are accentuated by the Ducati-source single-sided swingarm. While Mark’s creation has been bought mostly by European customers, he says more white-collar Americans are coming to him looking for something extremely different and have found it once they see and ride the Desmo Devil.

A different ideology is apparent in the design of this bike and reflects true individuality that is tastefully executed and doesn’t blend into any crowd. Mark rests assured that when his customers ride his Ducati chopper, they won’t see themselves riding down the road on a strangely similar custom bike. Instead, orders are limited yearly and the design changes every year.

Savory s bike has been making the rounds  debuting at the 2006 LA Calendar Show and shown here at Arizona s Ducati Days.
Savory’s bike has been making the rounds, debuting at the 2006 LA Calendar Show and shown here at Arizona’s Ducati Days.

If you truly want a unique custom creation, Mark’s Desmo Devil motorcycles are waiting for your order in 2007. While the ’06 models are already sold and delivered, next year’s buyers may be pleased to know that Mark intends the ’07s to be more of a hard-edge racing bike and hopes to clean up the look even more by hiding the wiring inside the handlebars.

As a talented engineer, Mark Savory has created a custom Ducati chopper that combines high-quality technology with true craftsmanship and practicality. In the spirit of “living your dreams,” Mark hopes his customers will take the Desmo Devil out on a casual Friday-evening ride down the main strip. For this feeling and for this motorcycle, there simply is no comparison.

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