Suzuki’s attempt at a Ducati beater was never quite the bike it should have been. In the guise of the TL1000S it constantly tried to frighten its owner, and in the guise of the TL1000R it was always slightly overweight.
The overlooked, but fundamentally sound, L-Twin found its way into the Cagiva raptor. A futuristic styled, but unfaired, “roadster”. Being Italian Cagiva borrowed from their neighbour and chose a trellis design for the frame, but using much thicker tubing, much along the lines of Suzuki’s own baby twin, the SV650. This made for a very rigid chasis, with a normal rear shock, unlike the TL1000S.
Raced by the importers, the Racing raptors were a heavily modified X-Raptor. Steeling heavily from the Ducati parts bin, the bikes were transformed into racers using Ducati forks, brakes, and injection system.
This setup reaped some success, however more was required to make them front runners. At this point the bikes were adapted to use full race ECU’s. However the conversion was never reliable, and the bikes slowly stopped competing.
The Cagivas became available just as it was becoming impossible to reach good results with the Laverda, and Alto Performance and Pete Whitelegg jointly purchased the bikes in order to use them to continue racing. However we had no idea how much work was needed to the ECU system in order to get them to work.
It took nearly 11 months of work to sort out the issues with the Cagiva. However perseverance paid off, and after a completely new wiring harness, a redesign of the engine speed pickups, and hundreds of hours on the data logger, we ended up with a running bike.
Then, at last, we could start to tune. This resulted in the infamous eyes (in reality just air ducts), and the two inch shorter exhausts.
Unfortunately all this development time costs money, and one of the raptors had to be sold off to finance the continued building of the other. Currently it is being raced in quarter mile strait line events with great success. Testament to the power of the tuned engines.