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The Ultralight Ducati Powered Roadson 1078R Racer

Bespoke, Custom Built Racers Don’t Get Much Better Or Cheaper Than The Roadson 1078R

If you’re looking for a world-class, ultra-light race bike for less than the cost of a new Ducati Panigale V4, then allow us to introduce you to the Roadson 1078R. Helmed by Jean-Francoise Robert and Yann Bakonyi, this French race company’s mantra is Light is Right, and the company’s goal is to give already established bespoke race bike builders such as Italy’s NCR and Pierobon a run for their money. And the Roadson 1078R is their top-shelf machine.

The Roadson Story

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The Roadson story really began in 1992 when Jean-Francoise Robert firs began designing and building lightweight motorcycle race frames and machinery, but it wasn’t until he partnered with fellow engineer Yann “Bako” Bakonyi that things got serious. In 2008, the pair unveiled one of their most impressive machines: a race prepped 550cc Aprilia four stroke twin cylinder racer called the BT 550 Superleggera. Weighing in at 220 pounds, their impressive race bike would pave the way for greater feats over the next few years. However, things didn’t quite go to plan.

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Originally, the firm traded under the name “Tucson” but for bizarre reasons, Hyundai took offense to that and took the small company to court. Robert first trademarked the Tucson name back in 1994, a good nine years before the first Hyundai Tucson rolled off the production line, but as this is real life and not Hollywood, naturally the auto giant won the rights, forcing the frame makers to pay two thousand Euros, the cost of legal fees, and face a name change. Despite the injustice, the duo bravely carried on and weren’t deterred. And thank god that was the case, because now they’ve unveiled something even more impressive than before. Now trading under the “Roadson” name, this is the high-performance lightweight Roadson 1078R – a Ducati powered race machine that will make your jaw drop.

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Lightweight Ducati motorcycles might not seem like anything new since the release of Ducati’s 1199 Superleggera, but if you want a high-performance and lightweight motorcycle but don’t have Ducati money, then give Roadson a call. You see, the Roadson 1078R is a pedigree race machine. While the first Roadson 1078R appeared in 2012, it would be five years later until the bike really came into its own. It debuted in the 2017 SportTwin Cup, where rider Vincent Houssin managed to win all of the seasons twelve races onboard it. Roadson managed this feat by building a bike that focused more on lightweight components rather than trying to squeeze more performance from the engine.

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The Roadson 1078R started life as a frame and swingarm made entirely from Reynolds 631 tubing, similar to the previous Aprilia powered BT 550. The engine, an air-cooled Ducati 1100 Evo unit, didn’t get much in the way of upgrades apart from the addition of a slipper clutch and a lighter crankshaft and clutch bell, was bolted in and that was that. The rest of the bike’s performance would be largely down to the correct application of lightweight parts and accessories. Everything that could be made from carbon fiber is made from carbon fiber: the BST carbon wheels, the air intakes, the air box, the bodywork, the fenders, the engine covers, the heat shields, the brackets – you name it, it’s carbon fiber.

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Other top shelf parts include an EMC sportshock IV, Beringer brakes, and a smattering of aluminum and titanium accessories, fixings, and hardware – including the bespoke titanium exhaust system. All in, the Roadson 1078R weighs in at a svelte 302 pounds.

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The 2012 version of the Roadson 1078R wasn’t quite so svelte – but after a roaring success on crowd funding platforms and a load of determination, the pair managed to secure enough funding to design and engineer the lightweight parts necessary. And it was all worthwhile – the 2017 SportTwin Cup results speak for themselves – and the firm now has the support of sponsors such as Dunlop, Beringer, Airbus and many others. Thanks to their new found success, it won’t be long until Roadson becomes a name as renowned as Pierobon or NCR, and the company can continue building their micro-production, built-to-order, race machines for those with a need for speed.

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And the price is very reasonable. A Roadson 1078R just sold for as little as $23,000 online recently. And let’s be honest, $23k is a small amount to pay for a world-class racing motorcycle. So give Roadson a call if you want a piece of the action.

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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