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Al's Harris

Back in the mid eighties, I brought 2 of these chassis' into Canada from the UK.


Originally, I built the Harris for Patti but in the end she really didn't like the way it fit. So, I traded her my 900SSD for it.


I rode the Harris for several years then in 1992 Ducati came out with a revized 851 and well I just had to have one. 


The Harris was moth-balled for many years until Al walked into my garage one day and asked me, "What's that over in the corner".

"Well, that my Harris and...,", I answered.

His reply was, "Do you want to sell it"?


And so a new project begins... This is a very lengthy project but the outcome is spectacular. Check back for ongoing build to this sory.

 My photography wasn't great back then, but here's what it originally looked like. 


In 1987, I really wanted to put a Mille motor in this chassis. At the time the factory wanted so much money for a new engine we just couldn't swing it. However, we did own a 1981 Hailwood and that was going to have to do. We needed everything off of the Hai;wood. Motor, forks, wheels, brakes, controls and the wiring harness.


Before I put the motor into the chassis, I took it apart because it had a few miles on it and there was a slight vibration when it ran at a certain rpm. I sent the crank to Falicon to be inspected and rebuilt. What I got back from them was a lighter, polished and dynamically balanced crank. I couldn't wait to get this back together.


I went up 1mm on the piston size and also had bigger valves put in. After having a little porting done, I was really to assemble the motor.


 It did have a horn, headlight and taillights but no signal lights. Plus, I installed a bar-en mirror on the LH clip-on. So, it was kind of legal. I got pulled over often on the Harris but never to receive a speeding ticket. Mostly, the officer just wanted to know what it was and to tell me how cool it looked.

 Al wanted to change the colour and a couple of other things. So I had to strip it down to the frame to get it ready for bead blasting. I always install bolts into anything on the frame that has threads, just to protect the threads from all the grit the bead blasting leaves behind.


Al chose the colours from the earlier 750SS and 900SS.


Not much to look at but still a trellis frame that was shorter, had a steeper steering head angle, and a mono shock on the rear. The Harris frame design made working on the motor nice because of the easy access to the heads. If I want to remove the heads and cylinders I didn't have to drop the motor like the OEM Ducati.

 In the mid seventies the frame and body pieces were painted silver. The fairing and gas tank also had medium blue decals on them.

 So Al decided to have the frame painted this medium blue and the fairing, front fender, solo seat section and the wheels painted silver.


 When the crank cases were apart I bead blasted them and afterwards painted them a gloss black. I did the same to the cylinders and heads.

I also sent many pieces out to be polished including the clutch cover.



 I think the blacked out engine allows all the polished aluminum pieces and a few chromed pieces to really stand out.

 The dual headlight lights really work and gives the Ducati a very different look. The clip-ons and front fender are off of a 1993 Moto Guzzi Daytona 1000.


 This bike is definitely narrow and very light. The gas tank is a hand made aluminum piece that people just can't resist to touch. Maybe because it"s shiny and...,


 I had this bike along with several other really cool bikes at the Calgary Motorcycle Show several years ago and I thought if a put a couple of signs on the bike that read "Please  Don't Touch" that it would stop people from doing just that .

Of course, it didn't work. Go figure.


I have a friend and one of her famous sayings is, "They live among us"!

Probably didn't help that I had the Harris front and centre in our booth.

So I solved the problem, I don't do motorcycle shows any longer.

 There are a number of upgrades on the Harris now that I didn't get to enjoy when I had the bike.

For example, I put the M1R Marzocchi front forks on because I wanted forks that were adjustable externally, with bigger fork tubes.


I also installed bigger full floating Brembo rotors on the front along with 4 piston calipers. The front brake master cylinder was also off of the Daytona 1000. Now I had some real brakes on the front, with great feedback.


The rear caliper and rotor are outdated and in the near future I will install something a little more appropiate.

 It took me a long time to complete this bike! I'm sure Al has told people that it has taken an eternity.


Early last year I thought I had it done but the Vee Two tranny that I had in it would not shift out of third. In the end I found an OEM tranny and installed that into the engine. A little frustrating to say the least, but now the tranny shifts like it should. I did install some heavier clutch springs, so the clutch action is a little stiff.

Not a bike you would want to be on in city traffic.


 This bike belongs up in the mountains where the roads are interesting and fun to be on.

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