Brothers Pablo and Carlos Delgado, the driving force behind Spanish workshop Valtorón, are the perfect example of this. Where others would opt to use CNC mills or fiber composites the brothers painstakingly sculpt their creations by hand before casting them using age-old sand casting techniques. By mastering these skills the Delgados have built some truly unique motorcycles and they captured the imagination of the marketing team at Ducati’s head office.
“A common characteristic of custom motorcycle building is that they all start with a motorcycle that has the potential to be transformed,” says Ducati Director of Sales and Marketing Pablo Silván. “The XDiavel was designed with this in mind, and the best way to demonstrate it was to do it.”
After commissioning the Delgado’s to customize the brand new Diavel Tank Moto interviewed the brothers for inclusion in their latest issue. The following is an extract of that interview. For the complete interview and more photos, you can purchase Tank Moto issue 13 here.
How did the XDiavel project with Ducati come about?
“Ducati Ibérica was interested in working with a Spanish builder to transform its latest model ‘XDiavel’. After asking several professionals in the area they concluded that Valtorón would be the most appropriate builder for the project. After that marketing manager, Pablo Silván contacted us and proposed the idea.”
What design concept did you develop for the bike?
“The first thing we did was to use the bike for two months in order to get to know it and to decide what we would focus on during the project. Over this time we realized the bike was muscular so we decided to turn it into a Dragster styled bike. A sportier machine, but without being a hyper sports bike. We thought that this design would allow us to take complete advantage of all the power the Diavel produced.
What was clear to us from the beginning was that the bike would use a solo seat and wear an aluminum monocoque body. With those requirements, we started developing a Valtorón styled bike without manufacturing plans, sketches or 3D models. Our work method consists of letting the shapes flow as the project evolves, the same way a sculptor works.
Another decision we made was to replace all of the bikes plastic components with parts made from aluminum.”
What techniques did you use to create the bodywork?
“As with any Valtorón project, the XDiavel was a sculptural project. We start modeling in sculptors clay, the same material used by automotive designers. After we are happy with the design, a plaster cast is made then the moulds for sand casting the aluminum. Once the parts are cast in aluminum the most important stage of the process begins, the handling and finishing of the metal surface. We do this once again by using sculpture techniques to create a sculptural patina and to give the surfaces an aged appearance.
As our riding position was totally different from the original one we manufactured custom handlebars and footpegs using a CNC. Each part was first created as a wooden 1:1 scale model for testing and fitting before the final parts were milled.”
What was the most challenging part of modifying the new X-Diavel?
“The challenges we faced can be divided into two areas. Technical and innovative.
From a technical point of view: In the beginning, we considered that the redesign should use high-quality aftermarket parts such as brakes, suspensions, carbon wheels, etc. Ducati would have happily provided us with any part we asked for, but we decided instead to take full advantage of the components of the original bike. To make the transformation based more on creativity rather than using the resources that a high budget could give us.>
From an innovative point of view: The first challenge was to create a beautiful design that was both functional and representative of Valtorón’s signature style. The original design from Ducati is exceptional and even though it is not the typical Valtorón style we considered a solution that integrated the original tail lights into our bodywork design. Another challenging aspect was to design a fairing to fit a naked bike while keeping the rather peculiar original headlight. The design of that part ended up being one of the most complicated pieces. It was a real challenge to shape a fairing that balanced with the rest of the bike.”
“As for the bikes name, La Impetuosa 1262, it is a reference to the temperament of the XDiavel. It surprised us. Ducati’s creation was totally impetuous. From our point of view, there was a contradiction between the cruiser riding position and the engine’s performance.”
I’ve had many conversations with custom enthusiasts about dying crafts. Skills that have been replaced due to advancements in technology or simply because people are happier to look for easier solutions. Though, in the pages of Tank Moto Magazine, you’ll find motorcycles that have been modified using techniques that were first developed centuries ago. Not because the builder didn’t have any other option, but because they recognize the importance of the skills and admire the dedication it takes to master them.