Nowadays it seems we are rarely surprised. While many continually attempt to break the mold, the current crop of customs has become increasingly… similar. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just odd to see an outlier like the old days. But if we look close enough we may find the bike that is mold free, and its name is Hector.
Hector isn’t someone, but rather something. ‘Hector’ is the culmination of not one, but 6 men’s dreams. Through collaboration, this small group of Swiss moto enthusiasts works together to make their fascinating dreams come true. The workshop is called Be Unique 2.22, a perfectly fitting name. Comprised of two bike builders, a metal worker, a boat maker, a leatherman, and of course a photographer, the team at Be Unique 2.22 has all the bases covered. With that, they designed Hector, a contemporary classic with a wild twist.
The bike was commissioned by Tresor Contemporary Craft, a fair in Basel, Switzerland that promotes using traditional techniques for constructing modern products, a form of 21st-century craftsmanship. Because of this Be Unique wanted to take a modern machine and put a classic spin on the entire design. The bike they settled on was the impressive and modern Hypermotard 796 by Ducati.
With a bike in mind, the team got to work creating a lasting product using minimal tools at best. That meant no computers, just old school building techniques. While it may not be the first time someone has had the ‘modern classic’ idea, the execution sure is unique. They stripped the Hypermotard of its stock bodywork, leaving the bare frame and components alone. From there they hand pounded a new alloy monocoque tank and tail section combo, modifying the frame to fit the new package. For styling cues the team looked to the past for inspiration, saying, “We got inspired by old race cars, airplanes, and boats. The bike recalls a time when motorsport was a synonym for having guts and being dangerous.” The hand-beaten look definitely gives ‘Hector’ the vintage feel they were going for.
The hand-formed sheet metal continues with the belly pan. Underneath all that bare beautiful aluminum sits a new exhaust system, the only performance modification made to the entire bike. The most exciting part is that every person on this 6 man crew had their own job to undertake. That tank we mentioned, that was all done by metalsmith Reto Berger, who left the welds intentionally to preserve a classic look. The seat was done by in-house leatherman Andy Mackay, who usually specializes in aircraft. Then there is the feature that sets ‘Hector’ apart more than anything else, the woodwork.
Yup, woodwork, on a motorcycle. Surprisingly, it is a growing trend in the custom bike world. Even then it has never been done like this before, a testament to how unique ‘Hector’ really is. Jan Lüscher is the man responsible for this beautiful Mohagony, a credit to his boat building background. Because they wanted to preserve working techniques from the past Lüscher had to steam and arch the wood to match the body lines created by Markus. Once the pieces were all curved and in place it was time to seal them, no doubt using the same process he uses on his boats.
There is no mention of how long the bike took to build, yet I have a sneaking suspicion that many long nights were had. The crew claims it was an ‘after hours’ build, which makes me wonder what their main projects look like. Either way, ‘Hector’ is a unique machine through and through. While many of the concepts used on this machine have been done time and time again, they have never been done quite like this. You can’t get a machine like this while breaking the mold, you have to ditch it entirely and start from scratch. It’s no wonder their shop is called Be Unique 2.22, a name that is essentially perfect for what they do.