Monster owners are probably the most fanatical about this — take a look at any of the frequent Monster Challenges and you’ll see some of the most outrageously scrumptious Ducatis in existence.
But one of the interesting things about Ducati customization is that most of the farkle is functional, and most of it is designed to make the bike faster or better in some way.
A Hugger for the GT1000
I’m not sure where the term “hugger” originated, but a hugger is usually defined as a short fender that covers the rear tire to keep mud and slime from flinging off the tire and soiling those beautiful suspension bits at the rear of the bike.
As far as I know, the use of a hugger started in motorcycle racing and quickly became popular with the sportbike crowd.
Touring or sport-touring bikes usually have some sort of rear fender to help keep the water from flinging up on to the rider, but sportbikes, with their tail-high stance, have a lot of air space over the tire and a hugger not only looks good, it serves a purpose.
The Ducati GT1000 isn’t a sportbike in the classic sense, but it does have a lot of real estate between the rear fender and the tire.
This wide open space has been criticized as one of the only styling faults of the bike, but the Ducati saddlebags on mine serve very nicely to keep it hidden.
That distance between the rear tire and the fender also gives too much room for all manner of road slime to get blown around.
Maybe it’s the condition of the roads around here, but the swingarm and the rear end of my GT1000 get dirtier than just about any other bike I’ve owned.
Apparently I’m not the only one with this problem.
Somewhere along the line, Ducati must have recognized it too, because if you look closely on the cross-member at the front of the GT1000 swingarm, you’ll see two plugs.
Pull out the plugs and lo and behold — threaded bushing inserts, right in the swingarm!
Ducati apparently had plans for a rear hugger, but I don’t see anything in the Ducati parts catalog, so perhaps they lost interest.
No problem, because if Ducati were to make a rear hugger that was anything like the one I bought for the Multistrada 620, which took almost a year to arrive and was absolutely the worst piece of … carbon fiber I’ve ever laid eyes on, well, no thanks.
If Ducati does want to offer a hugger for the GT1000 (and other dual-shock SportClassics), they need look no further than Mr. Geoffrey Rossi.
Geoff owns a GT1000 and he understood what those threaded holes were for and he got to work and designed and developed a pair of very nice huggers that fit the dual-shock retro Ducatis.
Geoff sent over a “Sport” and “Touring” version of his SportClassic hugger shown here. They’re designed to easily fit on the bike and they do not incorporate a chain guard, which is a good thing.
[UPDATE: (March 2017) The Rossi huggers (as they’ve come to be known) in three different sizes are now distributed by JC/Pak Bikes.]
The hugger is made from some type of ABS plastic and it’s solid black with a semi-matte texture to the surface, so it matches the stock Ducati chain guard and most of the other black plastics on the bike.
The plastic won’t chip or crack like fiberglass or carbon fiber, and it feels tough and durable and I’m sure it will last a long time.
The hugger comes with a pair of high-quality stainless steel screws an flat washers. It’s installs very easily — the hardest part is cleaning the grime off the swingarm cross-member!
Pull out the plastic plug inserts that protect the threads, slide the hugger from the rear of the bike down over the swingarm, and screw it in. Simple.
I used a small Phillips screwdriver as a guide so I could locate the threaded hole. I’d suggest using some blue Loctite on the screw, just in case.
The longer Touring hugger also comes with a cable tie.
There’s a slot on the right side of the hugger that’s designed for the cable tie; this is necessary to help keep the longer Touring hugger in place.
Threaded holes on swingarm cross-member (L); the farther hole still has the plug inserted.
The photo on the right shows the use of a screwdriver to line up the holes.
The Touring hugger has a slot for a cable tie (L). Hole plug (R).
I tried both the Sport and Touring versions of the hugger and will stick with the Sport version for now, but they’re so easy to install, literally taking less than 5 minutes, that you could buy both and have one for touring.
The black looks fine, but I’m in the process of painting mine with some “hammertone” dark gray paint, just for kicks.
I lightly sanded the surface with 400 grit, then sprayed on a coat of plastic primer and plan on putting the final coats on today.
Geoff is not a manufacturer, just a Ducati enthusiast, but he’s selling these huggers for $99.00 each with shipping fees of $21.00 to the U.S.A. and $41.00 for international delivery.