Bike Of The Month: 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale
I always hear people ask our Owner/Operator Justin Klashorst if he rides, what he rides and which bikes has he had a soft spot for over the years so we thought this month we would mix it up a little and run a Q&A with Justin so you can get to know the man working on the bikes a bit better and see how Pro Twin Australia came to be.
BST Carbon Wheels With Ceramic Bearings
Brembo Upgraded Discs
Ohlins NIX FRGT214 Black Front Forks
Ohlinx TTX GP Rear Shock
14T Front Sprocket
46T Rear Sprocket
Akrapovic Full Titanium Exhaust
Tuneboy Unlock, Cruise Control, Launch Control & Full Dyno Tune
Tuneboy Quickshifter/Auto Blip Down Shifter
Rizoma Bar Ends
Rizoma RRC Levers
Rizoma Next Fluid Tanks
Rizoma Veloce Mirrors
Rizoma Gas Cap
Rizoma Tail Tidy
Rizoma Action Indicators
Rizoma Frame Plugs
Rizoma Clutch Protection
Rizoma RRC Rearset
How long have you been working with Motorcycles? 25 Years.
How did Pro Twin Australia come to be? When I was 15 I had the opportunity to do a week of work experience at Vee Two Australia, at the end of the week they offered me an apprenticeship and I jumped at the opportunity as I had really enjoyed the challenge of working on bikes. I started a fitter machinist apprenticeship the following week which would lead to me spending the next 15 years manufacturing parts, building motors and dyno tuning, I think my record was 37 motors in 12 months. In 2006 Vee Two changed hands and direction and I wasn't sure if the position was right for me. I decided to take my long service leave so I could weigh up my options, I had the option to continue working on bikes or go work on the mines but my heart was in continuing with bikes. Fraser's had advertised a position so I walked in and spoke with the then manager and asked if I would be consider for the position and fortunately I was knocked back. During my long service period my phone didn't stop ringing as Vee Two had decided to pass my number on to my previous clientele and Pro Twin Australia was born.
Best part of the job? The awesome selection of bikes I've been fortunate enough to work on over the years, the friendships formed and there's always a soft spot for dyno tuning because you can always hear the excitement in the customers voice after he's ridden the bike post tune.
Favourite bike you've owned? The 916. It was a massive turning point for Ducati as far as styling and will forever go down as one of the greatest. As far as current bikes that I own, it would have to be my Ducati 1098R. In my opinion it's a race bike that can be legally ridden on the road. I'm a massive fan of the Panigale range but I feel with the 1098/1198 being the last of the non fly by wire driven motorcycles it was dependent on the riders ability and the riders input, it has torque and horsepower from low down throughout the entire RPM range where as I find the Panigale characteristics are more of an engine that wants to be revved to maximise the power.
People are often surprised that you ride an 899. What is it that you love about the 899? As far as a road bike goes it's a very capable bike and a lot of fun. It's a lot friendlier and easier to use the power on the road. It's not a bike that's over the top when it comes to horsepower but with the upgrades it has great handling, braking and still has a lot of personality.
Let's be honest, in 25 years there has to have been a couple of bikes that you've grown attached too? I love a well kept bevel drive because nothing beats that old raw sound and they are great cruisers, still very smooth. When you ride a bevel it's just you, the bike and the road. There's something that's really enjoyable about the simplicity of that era. As far as modern bikes I fell in love with a Triumph 675 that we did a substantial amount of work on a few years back and it was really hard to hand it back at the end, fortunately, we still maintain it but if it ever went up for sale I think I'd be in a world of trouble. I found the Ducati Desmosedici impressive to ride due to the sound alone but from 7000rpm up is where it really comes alive and you can really start to appreciate the V4 engineering. I've been fortunate enough to work on some incredibly rare bikes including 1/67 Ducati Supermono's in the world, we did a complete rebuild and throughout the entire build I just couldn't believe that out of 67 there was one in WA and neither could Ducati Italy when we told them we had one in the shop.
Best experience? Working with Troy Bayliss and Mike Jones. I've never met 2 guys that are so accomplished but so down to earth. Troy had always been a legend and meeting him was dream come true, he'd also have to be one of the funniest people I've ever been in the company of and makes a mean pasta. I think Mike Jones has the capabilities to follow in his foot steps. I was also fortunate enough to work with Paul Smart and Malcolm Campbell about 15 years ago, I built the engines and maintained the bikes they were racing for a series of events they were both doing over east. Paul Smart was a very humble man. Malcolm Campbell was a gentleman but what I really liked about him was he was very much a joker and a natural entertainer.
What's next for the 899? Unfortunately, the 899 is currently being prepped for sale to make way for a new R&D bike. It's definitely a sad time.
What's next for Pro Twin? We've got some really exciting projects coming up in the next few weeks that will wrap up the year nicely and something quite rare in the new year that I think a lot of people will appreciate. I'm really excited to have a play with the new V4 in 2018. We'll also be working on an open day so we can get our clients up to see some of the bikes that we've loved so much over the years.