Custom adventure motorcycles are a rare breed in the bespoke bike world. While one might think one-off ADV builds would be immensely popular considering the rise in scrambler style builds, the reality is a lot of adventure bikes don’t lend themselves particularly well to extensive customization. But with a little patience and creativity, these on/off-road tourers can make for fantastic customs, as evidenced by Venier Customs’ latest work, the “VX Traveler”.
Unlike the vast majority of Venier Customs’ builds — several of which we’ve previously featured here on Bike-urious — the VX wasn’t commissioned by a customer and instead was produced for the shop’s head honcho and namesake, Stefano Venier. Starting with a 1999 Cagiva Gran Canyon, the shop got to work stripping down the 900cc two-wheeler. With the stock bodywork in the bin, Stefano formed all new pieces from aluminum, churning out a one-off set of side-covers, front and rear fenders, and a three-gallon fuel cell.
Out back the stock subframe was removed and replaced with a one-off unit, following the lines of the bespoke, hole-punched side-covers. The stock seat — or at least part of it — is one of the few remaining (non-mechanical) stock parts. Stefano was reportedly a fan of the Cagiva’s comfy two-up saddle, so its cover was torn off and the foam/padding was reshaped before being reupholstered in a soft leather. In addition to housing the bike’s LED taillight, the new seat rests in what appears to be a carbon fiber seat-pan, and nestled between the saddle and fender are a set of Motogadget LED pin indicators which now plug the bespoke subframe.
The Cagiva’s power plant — Ducati’s trusty 900SS mill — was revamped with new seals, gaskets, bearings, etc. Carbon fiber belt covers now adorn the 904cc engine too. With everything ticking properly, the L-Twin was powdercoated in black, matching the rest of the bike’s color-scheme. With the exception of the gold anodized rims, spokes, and braking hardware, practically every surface on the VX has been adorned in a coat of matte or gloss black, other than the tank and side-covers which are coated in “Fiat 500 Abarth Grey”. The exhaust’s headers and collector were left alone, but a nifty pair of high-mount, blacked-out cans — courtesy of Mass Moto (an outfit that often supplies Venier’s exhausts) — were mounted under the seat. The pipe’s stock heat-guard remains, though it too has been hit with a coat of matte black.
Moving to the front, we have a new cockpit setup comprised of a trick Motogadget Motoscope Pro, an upswept set of aftermarket bars, wrapped in new grips and capped off with LED bar-end signals (also from Motogadget). A pair of what appears to be Rizoma mirrors were also tacked on. The stock front-end, a 45mm Marzocchi fork, was deemed to be good enough, and aside from the addition of rubber fork boots, was left alone — as was the Sachs shock in back.
The Cagiva’s Nissin four-pot calipers now bite new wave discs from the unimaginatively named Italian brake purveyors, Braking. The headlight is a custom piece, heavily reminiscent of the shop’s “Sputafoco” Ducati/Cagiva build. With the build nearly complete, a set of black Kappa Moto aluminum panniers (and mounting racks) were sourced and added to the mix.
While the VX Traveler admittedly takes things in a new direction for Venier Customs, the build is still easily recognizable as being the handiwork of the Italian outfit. I really dig how the shop opted to retain the Gran Canyon’s stock gold rims, and how they now match the gold calipers and Venier Customs logo on the tank. That said, I do have a few qualms with this build. I feel like this could have been a more rugged project that would have massively benefited from some solid crash protection, a higher front fender, longer-travel suspension, larger fuel-cell, auxiliary lighting, hand guards, and the like. Though maybe I’m just describing a rally racer? Also, it always really grinds my gears to see high-end builds that utilize cheap plastic reservoirs.
Despite having built this involved Cagiva for himself, Stefano has reportedly since purchased a brand spankin’ new Honda Africa Twin, so his Cagiva ADV custom isn’t getting much use these days and is therefore for sale. And while on the subject of custom ADV bikes I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Walt Siegl’s wildly cool, Ducati-powered adventure “L’Avventura” build. Like every other bike from Venier Customs, the VX Traveler isn’t cheap, but hey, machines featured on BikeEXIF rarely are. Plus this one also got a recent writeup on TheBikeShed.
You can find Venier Customs’ 1999 Cagiva Gran Canyon-based “VX Traveler” for sale here on TheBikeShed in Treviso, Italy with a price of $20,800 (or €18,000).
Photos by Ikon Productions