I have been living and breathing motorcycles since 1972 and my son, Marios, since 1991. The Cafe Racer whirlwind that has taken the motorcycle scene by storm has hardly left us indifferent.
The idea is born.
November 2016, Milan, Italy, during the EICMA International Show, where we participate as DNA Filters, with an extensive line of performance air filters for Café Racers, Trackers, Bobbers, the idea of designing and building a ‘Café Racer’ by us, the DNA Filters R&D Team was born.
We had a year ahead of us, until the 2017 EICMA show, where this new project had to be revealed.
We wanted to mimic the style and look of the 70’s and 80’s, the DCR-017 should be frame, engine, wheels, analogue clock, no plastic covers, no carbon fiber, just simple and raw metal to encage the beast!
Yes, because under the 70’s and 80’s style and look we wanted a 2017 specs superbike beast, undercover! A Sleeper, a mean machine that would blow your mind away, with its beauty, power and handling…
Our family is in the performance filter business, so the bike had to be built around the air filter. The idea was the air filter to be the center of the ‘attention’, just as the American muscle cars of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and we had just the perfect solution!
Back in 2012 we designed and manufactured a stage 3 DNA air filter kit that would replace the air box of the KTM 990 Super Duke’s and increase torque and power. The kit proved so successful that won a reddot design award, so we decided to use that.
The engine that could accept this air filter was the LC8 990 v twin from KTM, but we wanted more! More torque and more power, so we chose the LC8 1190 v twin as used in the KTM RC8 Superbike.
Again the std version of the RC8 was not enough, so we went for the R version. The bike was outsourced and purchased at the end of December 2016 and the teardown started.
The project workflow, 3D CAD Designs and the major parts.
As we had the bike in bits and pieces, the 3d CAD design of the complete bike started. We divided the project in 2 parts, front and rear, I started working on the front and my son on the rear. The basic parts of the rear where the seat, underseat and subframe. The basic parts of the front the fuel tank and the air filter, clocks, oil cooler.
From the early beginning we had decided that the manufacturing of the parts would be done in-house, as we have a fully equipped CNC machine shop. The three basic ‘large’ parts tank, seat and underseat would be manufactured from one huge part of billet aluminum each, just the tank was 700mm X 330mm X 230mm and weighed 146 kg! The seat 60 kg and the underseat 24 kg! Not to mention all the other smaller parts.
The “Fingerprint” !
As mentioned before, we decided to CNC machine all parts, first of all because this is how we work and what we do, and secondly because we love the final texture, look and feeling the tools ‘leave’ on the metal..!
It’s called tool paths and Yes it is Sexy! To see and feel, no other surface finish can even come close to the unique tool paths produced by the CNCs! So we spent hundreds of hours, around 400 CNC machining hours, only for the 3 parts to obtain the unique “Fingerprint” texture of the DCR-017 Tank & Seat!
This unique “Fingerprint” defines the DCR-017, no painting, no polishing, no grinding; just a clear anodizing protects the parts from oxidizing and reveals the beauty of the raw metal feeling.
And it is so SEXY…..!!
The Billet Fuel Tank.
Machining the tank out of a single block of aluminum alloy, proved to be an almost impossible task…
The design of the tank externally looks like a 2 stroke race tank from the 70’s -80’s , the huge difference is that it is ‘hollow’ in the center allowing the DNA air filter to protrude from below and be exposed!
We tested 4 different finishing ‘patterns’ to finally achieve the unique ‘fingerprint’ texture of the tank and the 2mm final thickness.
Starting from a 146 kg billet block, the final part weighed 3.6 kg!
Total CNC machining hours for the tank 400!
The bottom side of the tank consists of a 2 mm plated and the CNC machined fuel pump housing. Tank, bottom plate and pump housing are all TIG welded together, in house.
Final fuel capacity 11 litres!
The “Fuel tank Cap” & the D key & NFC technology.
Again the fuel cap was a challenge for both of us, but the result will blow your mind!
CNC machined from billet aluminum with visible the ‘tool paths’, to match the fuel tank finish! To protect it from oxidation we anodized it orange. We loved the contrast that orange gave us, compared to the silver color of the tank, not to mention that it matches the DNA air filter!
The D from the DNA Logo is engraved on the top of the fuel cap. The fuel cap size is small and blends nicely with the tank, so minimal that hands can’t open it. To open it you need the D key, a Male D shape key that fits perfectly in the female D engraving!
The D key is made out of Derlin and besides opening the fuel cap, it is designed to start the DCR-017 using NFC technology!
The Tubular Trellis frame & Subframe.
We stripped the frame and removed/cut all parts that we didn’t need. We then designed a minimal tubular subframe that consists of 2 parts, right and left. These 2 parts connect with the underseat, using it as a stress member.
Frame and subframe are powder coated ‘Black Charcoal’ with a sand blast finish that contains metal particles. The final result is awesome to see and feel!
The Seat and under seat.
The seat design looks so common and so unique, at the same time. The design follows the ‘typical’ café racer style, with nice smooth lines. The front is narrow to blend nicely with the tank and allow the rider to hold/squeeze
the tank with his legs and feel comfortable. The rear has the same width with the tank and the space inside is designed to accept the battery, fuse box, relays and part of the harness.
Machined out of a 60 kg billet block, after 60 hours of CNC machining the final weight is 1.2 kg! and the surface has the ‘fingerprint’ finish of the tank, with visible tool paths, protected by clear anodizing.
The under seat is designed to connect with the seat using a precise male/female connection. The 2 parts blend perfectly and produce the beautiful minimal lines that ‘flow’ from the tank to the rear of the DCR-017. All the bolts that connect the Tank, seat, under seat and sub frame are nicely hidden from common view.
Again this part is out of a 24 kg billet block. The final weight of the part is 4 kg with a ‘fingerprint’ finish and clear anodizing.
The machined-from-Billet front and rear fenders.
The fenders had to look ‘old’ style. We designed a couple of prototypes and finally found out what seemed perfect for the DCR-017. Both fenders where CNC machined.
Without brushing or polishing the fenders, we sent them out for orange anodizing, leaving the tool paths visible. The aluminum orange fenders look beautiful, especially when the light reflects on them!
Front & rear lights.
The front light is LED, with High, low and day light beam. Also incorporated is a Tilt sensor, that points the beam left or right, depending on the side you lean.
The rear light, is as minimal as possible! Incorporated in a groove located at the rear of the under seat.
The engine is a KTM LC8 1.190 R’ V TWIN. We tuned the engine to SBK Specs using the KTM Power Parts race kit. We removed the secondary butterflies and installed a DNA custom MK3 Air filter. Custom mapping in house and fine tuning, increased the power to 186 wph @ 10.400 rpm and the torque 13.55 kgm @7.100 and red line 11.300rpm!
Engine was painted dark grey and a race Anti-hopping clutch installed. We also modified the oil cooling, from “water to oil” to ‘air to oil’.
The race exhaust.
The exhaust system is titanium and specially made by Akrapovic, for the DCR-017. The exhaust features Evolution 4 headers and a unique final section that comes directly from the Moto GP!
The DNA MK3 Stage 3 Air Filter.
This is the heart and the sole of the DCR-017 !
The DCR-017 is built around this filter and the beauty of this custom CNC machined and orange anodized filter is just mind blowing!
Besides the beauty the DNA air filter performs. It flows more than enough air for the engine to produce the 186 ‘ponies’!
As it is ‘very’ near to the body and heart of the rider, you feel it! You feel the ‘pulses’ you hear the ‘roar’….you feel a sensation like never before, as the beast produces his massive torque and power!
The Cable Harness….
25 pages of schematics, infinite meters of cables and sensors, 3 weeks of cutting, soldering, rewiring…our biggest nightmare.
But we did it, again the two of us, father and son, and finally we pressed the button and the ‘beast’ was alive!
And the journey just started…!
The Power to Weight ratio.
The time had come, for us to put the bike on the scale. The moment of truth…
162 kg Curb weight if you are American / Kerb weight if you are British!
186 whp, 13.55 kgm, 162 kg !!!!!
The power to weight ratio of the DCR-017 is 1.148 Whp/kg..!
Mind blowing ratio for a custom Café Racer!
The Brain Eraser.
The nickname is the result of riding the bike, touching it, staring at it!
Just forget what you knew until today, you are entering a new dimension, the Brain Eraser is here.
Dino and Mario Nikolaidis
Designers and Manufacturers of the DCR-017
PHOTOS & VIDEO: Phunxions Media