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Crampton Classic

Posted on November 22, 2010 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 12 comments

Not many people have heard of the Crampton Classic, but that could have been a different story if things had gone another way. You see, this working prototype – which is based on the Triumph Speed Triple – initially had the full support of Triumph, but just as it was going into production Triumph changed their mind and decided not to supply the engines. Sadly, without the Triumph engines this put a halt on production forever.

This modern day café racer was designed and built by Ian Cramp back in 2001. The motorcycle only weighed 380 lbs (172kg) and had a power output of 147 brake horse power. This is how Ian describes his creation: “An exclusive, limited edition, hand-built motorcycle made in England using British parts wherever possible, combining traditional appearance and craftsmanship with modern performance.”

This one of a kind Crampton Classic is now owned by Dave Watkins Jones who purchased it from Ian a few years back. This unique machine takes number one place in his small collection of mainly Italian bikes near Wareham in Dorset UK. Regularly used and enjoyed with no complaints whatsoever. “In short, a dream to own!” says Dave.

I asked Ian if he regretted selling his pride and joy, because not only has it become a piece of motorcycling history, but it must have held enormous sentimental value to him. “The prototype was then just sitting in the workshop gathering dust, so it had to go. I try not to get sentimental about bikes, or indeed any “things”. I value my family and my friends… I don’t get attached to lumps of metal in the same way.”

Below is a short video of its current owner Dave talking to Cafe Racer TV about his Crampton Classic and the history behind it. If you want to see more photos and read the impressive spec list, hit this link.

  • SportsterMike

    Have seen on one these on Pooles Quays (England) Bike Night
    Its a regular turner upper and its there most Tuesday nights during the summer

  • SportsterMike

    NEXT time I'll read the whole post first!!
    Always assumed there was more than just the one as I had seen Ian Cramps bike at one of the Classic Bike Shows
    so the one I always see is the original and now Dave Watkins Jones bike… duh

  • KIK

    modern bike with classic looks, beautifully done, i wonder how the front suspension feels outside the track. my buddy has a girder like that and its kind of a rough ride up front.. nice work tho

  • JR

    AHH! AWESOME! Even a girder…. how did you know!?

  • Twostoked

    So Triumph shattered his dreams…bastardo!

  • w

    Smart move by Triumph – that thing is ugly!

  • Lowflying

    Technically interesting. Probably fun to ride. Pretty? Uh, that would be NO. Not an attack, just my opinion. Something about that tank and seat just don't work.

  • thom

    there is something wrong with the balance of that machine

  • Carbon Arc

    Ian Cramp is a very interesting charactor, who used to have a column in the Birtish renegade motorcycle mag Fast Bikes. The former owner of Fast Bikes, Colin Schiller had an ongoing battle with Triumph, though he was at a loss to explain why Triumph hated him and his magazine so much. It would be disappointing if Triumph changed their mind about the Crampton, due to Ian's friendship with Fast Bikes.

    Ian covered the development of this bike through his column and should I have had anything more than two brass farthing to rub together I would have signed up to have one of these beauties.

  • It's a pleasure to see David Watkins-Jones with "my" bike. He has obviously looked after it very well, and I'm glad that he's using it regularly. When I had it, it was neither looked after nor used. As a prototype, it had been thrashed and abused by several test-riders in deliberate attempts to break it. Afterwards, it just stood in my workshop gathering dust as I moved on to the next project.

    I acknowledge that the styling isn't to everyone's taste……this is deliberate. If you are a niche manufacturer, there's no point in making something bland or "mainstream". When the bike was first shown, I had complaints from other exhibitors because people were standing on their bikes in order to get a better look at mine.

    Bikes, like people, look different in the flesh compared with how they photograph. The bike's "balance" looks odd in photos because it's unusually small. I always avoided being photographed with it because I'm very short and this made the bike look taller than it is.

    Many thanks for all the interest shown in the project. I'm glad the bike has ended up with a good owner instead of being neglected and forgotten. I always vowed that I'd never make another bike, but maybe I'm beginning to weaken………

  • boohoo

    No loss, its an ugly as sin bike anyway. Go get yourself an air cooled motorcycle engine instead of one that looks like a car engine with a car radiator hanging off it. In a world filled to the brim with ugly ass liquid cooled plastic race bikes did we really need another one?

  • naomi

    this bike is still running and looking fantastic. i saw it a Poole Quay tonight (13th May 2014). it is gorgeous.