ELBERT HUBBARD SAID “If you don’t wish to be criticized, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” For Vitaly Selyukov, owner of Balamutti Workshop, this came as more of a challenge than anything else; say something, do something, be something, and welcome the inevitable criticism that comes with it.
And if you know criticism is coming anyway, why play by anyone else’s rules? You might as well go as weird and as wild as you want. Like, say, building a custom BMX-style motorcycle with a Ducati Pantah engine.
This wild Ducati/BMX hybrid took Balamutti over three years to complete. A complex mish-mash of Ducati parts, handmade, and repurposed components, it will have even the most storied custom-bike experts scratching their heads. But there is method to Vitaly’s madness.
He claims the bike is actually the perfect bike for a “relaxing ride,” with its light weight and what he calls an “unobtrusive appearance.”
The build is named ‘Malavita’ (Italian for ‘Underworld’), and is based entirely around what was once a Ducati Pantah engine. ‘Was once,’ because this power plant has gone through a rather extreme transformation. The vertical cylinder was removed, and the remaining cylinder was over-bored, converting the L-twin to a 426 cc single.
The six-speed transmission was converted to a dry five-speed with an automatic clutch as well, using the input shaft from a Monster 600 and the output shaft off of a Hypermotard 1100. Lastly, an oil cooler was mounted to the front of the engine to help maintain a low running temp.
The welded trapezoidal frame is inspired by BMX bikes, with the engine hung on a couple of small mounts on the main frame. The one-sided dual-fork setup is arguably the most staggering design detail on Malavita. It was designed and fabricated in-house using Marzocchi components, while carbon brake parts were used to save weight.
Out back, a single-sided swingarm was borrowed from a Hypermotard 1100, and hooked up to a Penske mono-shock. The handlebars were made in-house, and the bicycle seat was taken from a roughly 70-year old pedal bike, completing the minimalist BMX aesthetic.
The front wheel is spoked, laced up by Balamutti, while the rear was taken from a Ducati 916 and fitted with Pirelli MT60 rubber. Finally, the frame, wheels, and small details were painted this unique fresh shade of green.
Malavita was clearly one builder’s vision, and as one builder’s vision, that builder can do whatever he wants with it—even if that means turning the whole bike into a rolling Scotch dispenser. No, the filler cap toward the front of the bike, and the fuel tap below the seat, are not for gas. They’re for fine Scottish malt—Vitaly’s favorite.
Fuel is actually held in a custom-made 7 liter tank, hidden inside the boxy dual-exit muffler that’s tucked under the bike. The Lithium-ion battery sits in there too, but don’t worry—the muffler’s a fake. Look closely, and you’ll see the actual exhaust exiting just in front of it.
When making something for yourself, criticism doesn’t really matter. You want to make a weirdo super-light, ultra-quick BMX motorcycle? Do it. Want it to spew Scotch? Why not.
This is exactly the sort of fun-fueled absurdity we love, and we hope it inspires more builders to take the leap and just build whatever they want—critics be damned!