Dave Mucci is a rare talent. He has a boundless imagination and one of the sharpest eyes in the business, plus the ability to turn his concepts into reality. And he’s not afraid to break new ground either.
This ultra-sharp street tracker is a testament to Dave’s prowess as a motorcycle designer. Visually spry and wrapped in tasteful minimalist finishes, it has the same sort of neo-futurist vibe as Husqvarna’s Svartpilen and Vitpilen bikes. It’s been built on a distantly related base too: a 2014 KTM 300 XC-W Six Days enduro.
Not surprisingly, the client for this build reached out to Dave after seeing his totally bonkers Husqvarna TE 570 project. “He wanted something in the same vein,” says Dave, “a rowdy trail bike converted for street use. He had his go-fast sportbikes and his dedicated trail machines, and was looking for something more unique.”
The client already owned the KTM, and had gone through the difficult process of getting it plated in NY—so using it was a non-negotiable. The brief seemed simple enough at first: build a street bike with some dirt track capabilities. But as soon as Dave put pencil to paper, things escalated.
“As with all my build projects,” he explains, “I started the process in 2D, going through multiple rounds of sketching and refinement with the owner. Eventually we landed on something a bit more…extensive. Stylistically I was looking to give the bike a more street-based aesthetic, using modern forms, undoubtedly influenced by the Husqvarna ‘Pilens, and a monochromatic color scheme with small pops of gold.”
Since the KTM 300 XC-W is plenty punchy out the box, there was no need to mess with the core bike. But the wish list included reworked suspension, 19” wheels with dirt track rubber and hand-formed aluminum bodywork. And that meant a fresh challenge, because Dave has never hand-shaped metal before.
“I’m a one-man business and these projects often take over a year,” he says, “so I like to spend that time pushing my abilities and acquiring new skills. I started by reading through metal shaping forums, picking up old technical training books, and signing up for classes with that metal wizard down in Vegas, Cristian Sosa.”
“I got home from Cristian’s workshop, picked up some basic shaping tools and a pallet stacked with 3003 aluminum sheet, and started trying to turn them into motorcycle shapes. I probably built every panel on the bike five or six times before I was satisfied with the quality and fitment.”
The KTM’s new bodywork is elegant and cohesive—from the wide air ducts on the sides, to the slender fuel tank up top. The rear section is punctuated by a custom aluminum subframe, made from a combination of bent tubing and water jet-cut gussets. Dave shaped the seat pan and carved out the foam too, then handed it to Ginger McCabe at New Church Moto to wrap in black leather.
Just as Dave honed his new craft as he went, many smaller details were figured out on the fly too. The headlight housing was 3D-printed with a carbon fiber nylon composite for optimal strength, flexibility and heat resistance, and fitted with Hella internals. The taillight was machined from polycarbonate and backlit with LEDs.
To perfect the KTM’s stance, the forks and rear shock were rebuilt 2” lower with a lowering kit from Motolab, and re-sprung and re-valved for street use. Dave used a set of Husqvarna 701 Supermoto yokes to spread the forks wider, which left room for the dirt track tires he wanted to fit.
The bike now runs Maxxis DTR-1 rubber, measuring 130-19” in front, and 140-19” out back. The tires are wrapped around a pair of exquisite Roland Sands Design Del Mar flat track wheels, anodized in a satin black finish. They were matched to the KTM via custom-machined hubs.
Dave designed the front hub to carry a Brembo floating rotor from a Ducati, because its bolts are grouped tighter. “This meant the hub could be half the size; less weight and machining cost,” he explains.
Dave left the KTM’s engine internals alone, but treated it to a new exhaust. The setup includes a modified expansion chamber from Scalvini, with the header re-routed to under the tail and plated in high-temperature nickel. It terminates in a hand-made stainless steel muffler, packed with ceramic fiber baffling.
It wasn’t just a fit-and-forget job, though. With the new exhaust on, Dave sent the bike to the 2-stroke specialists, LED Performance, to dial in the KTM’s jetting on their dyno.
The rest of the build is finished off with a smattering of aftermarket parts. Dave added grips, bar-end turn signals and a tiny digital speedo from Motogadget, and rewired the bike around the German brand’s mo.unit control box. The adjustable levers are from ASV, and the kill switch is a RideENG part.
Dave also mated a Rizoma gas cap from a Ducati to the fuel tank, and added a custom sump guard and front fender. He did the paint himself, too; a satin clear coat to show off the metalwork, with a hit of gold.
We’ve followed Dave’s career as a custom motorcycle builder since day one with keen interest, but between this build and the one that inspired it, he’s really starting to play on another level. And we’re not the only ones taking notice—he’s recently taken up a post as a senior designer at Zero Motorcycles. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with there.
Moto Mucci | Instagram | Images by Jenny Linquist | Featured in issue 44 of Iron & Air Magazine, available soon.