Check out this awesome BevelTech Ducati 900 SS nicknamed 'Vern2' from Tony Hannagan, a stunning custom framed creation. Words by Jeff Ware, Photography by Phil Aynsley
What you see here is one very special bevel. You see, the builder, Tony Hannagan, is a legend Down Under in the secretive world of those that worship at the alter of the Bevel…
Tony owns BevelTech, Australia’s go-to Bevel expert, where over the decades, many amazing race engines have been built, original bikes restored, customs created and dreams made into reality. Great things can’t go on forever, though, and at the young age of 60, Tony decided to build his last customer creation and concentrate on engines and enjoying his own many bikes…
It just happened that at around this time, the owner of this incredible bike, Daniel Poole, was edging closer to biting the bullet and buying his dream bike, a bevel drive Ducati.
“For years I dreamed of owning a bevel and in particular, I had fallen in love with a custom bevel that was well known in the bevel community as Vern,” explained Daniel. “This was built by Tony, so I went about contacting him to find out which particular models are the best donor bikes for a project such as Vern, to which he replied, ‘Well I am building something at the moment similar to Vern but better!’
“That got my attention. We discussed the plan, the bike, and the build and then Tony offered me the opportunity to buy in before the bike is done so I could have some input into the build and ultimately at the end, purchase the bike.
“Another reason I was very keen was that Tony announced it would be his last customer custom build, so that made it extra special. Tony continues engines and pre-ordered work but this one would be his last build to sell”.
Talk about good timing. Daniel got in on the project just at the right time to have enough input to make the bike his, while leaving the main design to Tony of course.
“I had input into the paint colour and scheme, running gear like clip-ons, wheels, rearsets… but to be honest I really just wanted this build to be pretty much Tony’s influence and something that he was really proud to put his name on. He was the one that created Vern after all, which was the bike that got me hooked on bevel drive Ducatis”.
Vern is one hell of a bike. It is a worked 900SS motor in a modified 860 frame with modern running gear and 916 geometry. As you can see in the photos, Vern2 is a sibling of Vern.
Everything happens for a reason, particularly in the motorcycle world where the old six degrees of separation definitely applies. As it turns out, Tony used to be a Chef and Daniel is a bit of a celebrity Chef here in OZ, in the superyacht scene, where he travels the globe chasing the sun and cooking for the rich and famous. Food, motorcycles, bevel drives. These guys were going to work well together…
The bike is so interesting. It started life as a one-off super rare endurance frame sitting on the floor gathering dust in a shop in Italy…
“I came across a rare monoshock race frame in Imola,” says Tony, “It was designed to run in the Barcelona 24-hour race in 1975 but was banned at the last minute for being illegal. It needed a rear shock, while the rest of the bike is an amalgamation of parts I have collected over the past 40-odd years”.
The engine is a stock 1976 900SS with first oversize pistons, with a bore of 86mm and a stroke of 74.4mm. Making a modest 70hp standard, with a compression ratio of 8.5:1, stock cams, valves, just some neat port matching and careful assembly by Tony. New valve guides and seats were inserted, new valves used as well. The bottom end is completely rebuilt with new bearings, gears where needed, and a lightweight Sureflex clutch, while the crankshaft runs on new bearings and the conrods are new.
Fuelling has to be by Dell’Orto, with a pair of unfiltered 40mm suckers feeding the big two-valve cylinders, while an uprated Ducati Elettronica ignition system is used.
The exhaust is gorgeous, with Tony making the two-into-one underseat system with removable baffle for track days. The bike is tuned to run on 91-octane pump fuel and final drive is a 520 conversion.
Chassis-wise, this one-off is stunning. The 1975 Verlicchi monoshock frame is chrome moly, as is the Verlicchi swingarm. Powder-coated red, the frame has stock 900SS triple-clamps holding modified 38mm Marzocchi forks. Out the back a fully adjustable Showa shock with piggyback reservoir is used.
Magura alloy clip-ons steer, with period switchgear. The front guard is a Ducati 851 replica and the front wheel a cast alloy Brembo 3.5 x 17in powdercoated black and wearing a 120/70-17 Pirelli SC2. Front rotors are cast iron, full floating Brembo race rotors squeezed by Brembo four-piston calipers and sintered pads via a Brembo master-cylinder.
Out the back, another Brembo cast alloy wheel is powdercoated black, 4.50 x 17in and wearing a 160/60-17in Pirelli SC2. The rear rotor is a solid mount Brembo squeezed by a two-piston Brembo caliper. Both ends have sintered race pads fitted and braided brake lines.
The stunning bodywork is made up from a fibreglass SS replica fuel tank, SS styled stunning single seat and tail, and SS styled fairings. Paint is by BevelTech using 2Pk and CutGraphix decals. The clocks are Veglia in a carbon-fibre surround, the tacho being a super rare 100mm white faced item worth its weight in gold.
All of the electricals are neatly placed up front behind the fairing on a custom top fairing mount and finally, giving Vern2 a face are those awesome 1970s era endurance headlamps. Like two big eyeballs, they really give Vern2 a personality of his own…
“The big thing for me,” smiles Daniel, “Is that it is a 1975 one-off frame, it will be registered as a 1975 model and I was born in 1975 so Vern2 couldn’t be more suited to me!”
BevelTech Ducati 900 SS, Vern2 Specifications
ENGINE: 1976 Ducati 900 SS, standard 86 x 74.4mm bore x stroke, 8.5:1 compression, port matched heads, stock cranks, conrods, pistons, rings, camshafts and valves, standard five-speed gearbox, Sureflex clutch, Dell’Orto 40mm carburettors stock, BevelTech Engineering headers, reverse cone megaphone muffler, engine completely rebuilt by BevelTech Engineering, uprated Ducati Elettronica ignition system.
CHASSIS: 1975 Verlicchi Monoshock Chrome Moly frame, Verlicchi monoshock swingarm, 900SS triple-clamps, Marzocchi 38mm forks with 15w oil, Showa fully adjustable shock with piggyback reservoir, Brembo cast alloy RS250 Aprilia wheels, 1988 Brembo superbike spec cast iron fully floating rotors (f), Brembo four-piston calipers (f), Brembo remote reservoir and master-cylinder, sintered brake pads, Brembo stainless-steel fixed rear rotor and two-piston caliper (r), Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II tyres, Magura aluminium handlebars, period style switches, NCR footpegs, twin endurance style 1970s era headlights, offset taillight, fibreglass replica SS fairing, fibreglass SS replica fuel tank and side covers, Ducati 851 replica front guard, SS single seat, 2Pk paint with Cut Grafix decals, 100mm white faced Veglia tacho, black faced Veglia speedo in mph.
Name: Tony Hannagan
Lives: Yarra Valley
Into Bikes: For 50-plus years
Other bikes owned? Honda 400/4, 1975 Ducati 750 SS, 1973 Ducati Sport, Royal Enfield 350, TS185, DT360, Z1000, Honda 750 Bol’Dor, RD250LC, RZ350, GS850, Triumph Bonneville, Ducati MHR, Ducati 900SS, Ducati 860 GTE, Ducati 860 GT, Ducati Condor!
Bike desired? Benelli Sei
Name: Daniel Poole
Into Bikes: Singe age 11
Other Bikes Owned? From the beginning in order of purchase, 1987 Yamaha YZ80, 1992 Kawasaki KR1S, 1988 Honda CR125, 1989 Honda CR250 (still have it, in bits), 1995 Honda CBR900RR, 1996 Kawasaki ZX7R, 2008 KTM RC8, 2002 Ducati 998 mono posto, 2002 Ducati 999R, 2009 KTM RC8R (track tricked), 1996 Kawasaki ZX7R again.
Bikes desired? EBR1190RS, Ducati 1299 Panigale R, Ducati 998R, Husqvarna 701SM, 1975 750 SS Green Frame… Then the question is, where do I stop…