It’s sublime. Even standing still it has the look of mercury in motion. At its heart a Ducati engine, the 1000 DS to be precise, the same engine that motivates the Multi-Strada, and that is where the resemblance pretty much ends. Because where the Multi-Strata is meant for “many roads”, this bike, the NCR Millona, is meant for only one – the track.
The Millona is a purpose-built track bike, you could say everything unneeded has been stripped away but you would be wrong – it was never there to begin with. The resulting quicksilver flow of the Aldo Drudi design is spectacular, and effective.
The racing version of the Millona was given its first shakedowns during 2003’s “Battle of the Twins” series in Italy, by rider Gian Maria Liverani. Of three races entered, three were won. The competition at Misano, Vallelunga, and Mugello all fell under the Marchesini wheels of a bike fresh from the design studio. More recently the Millona had its first outing in Misano this year, where it showed up the competition by 4 secs/lap, that sees the Millona’s maker Stefano Poggipolini going back to a factory supported” status for the entire racing season in Italy next year.
In the trained, disciplined and exacting hands of a proper racer, the NCR Millona is a weapon. It’s nothing so crude and vulgar as a gun; the Racing Edition, displacing 1200cc and tuned at NCR using racing components, delivers 105 hp. Nor is it even a knife; the Standard Edition sees a claimed output of 85 hp. This bike, the mere look of it has more finesse, panache and precision than those brutish implements. Given its output, by measure even an epee is too indelicate an analogy. This is a foil, a light, precise, and agile point weapon made of the finest element – not steel, but pure unobtainium. The bike photographed was the third of six, with only four allocated to the US.
The foil analogy is apt, the NCR Millona has the purity and lightness of such a weapon. The racing version weighs a feather 115 kg dry, and at that weight it comes close to attaining another elusive characteristic, the fabled one-to-one power ratio. Suddenly words like “light” and “agile” hardly seem to do it justice, nor do the photos.
A hand-formed aluminium tank melts organically into carbon-fibre bodywork. The chrome-molly frame, so slender as to be visually elusive, delicately wraps the Ducati 1000 DS engine. All of which flows into a hand-crafted aluminium swingarm, tied to the rear “air” suspension system by Italian firm “Double System”. Marzocchi forks grace the Millona up front. Creating the contact patch are Dunlop racing slicks mated to Marchesini wheels. Of course tying everything together is Poggipolini Titanium components. And if that isn’t enough of the A-list component crowd for you, the Sil Motor provides the single outlet titanium exhaust, an Italian company called, sensibly enough “Braking” the flower brake rotors (because “wave” is so passé) and STM the clutch. Of course all that is subject to change as this is a unique bike.
This is a hand-built racing bike and as such is assembled to the purchaser’s specifications in the NCR factory under Stefano’s guidance. It’s like having the ultimate power suit made from superior fabrics, under the watchful eye of Giorgio Armani himself. As a result, “No two Millona are identical and significant interaction with the customer will be required during the build process.” Makes it a little hard to peg down exact specifications for these elegantly sculpted motorcycles.
While there may only be unique Millonas, there are two baseline configurations, and this is where a little sticker shock might set in for those of us who think using air miles is jet setting:
MILLONA (Standard Edition) ~ 30,000 Euros depending on options
- Engine: Ducati 1000 SS (’04) with 85 hp
- Standard radial Brembo brake system
- Aluminium Marchesini wheels
MILLONE (Racing Edition) ~ 36,000 Euros depending on options
- Engine: Ducati 1000 SS (’04) with 105 hp (tuned at NCR using racing components)
- Racing radial Brembo brake system (same as World SuperSport setup)
- Magnesium Marchesini wheels
If you’re not left gasping on the floor after doing the conversion like the rest of us, both versions of the bike are available from DucatiSeattle, or the US distributor RaceMetal. And if you do get one tailored, prepare for another shock, how much of a stir it will cause. Even wheeling the Millona out for a photo shoot at Ducati Northwest attracted quite a crowd – and truth be told that is a group more than a little familiarity with extraordinary pieces of machinery.