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‘12 Triumph Scrambler – See See Motorcycles


Posted on September 26, 2014 by Scott in Scrambler. 44 comments

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Portland’s Thor is an interesting character with an even more interesting name. Not only does he run one of the largest custom bike shows in the world – The One Show – he also builds top notch bikes out of his shop, See See Motorcycles. He recently sent us this bike and included such a comprehensive write-up that we thought we’d run it as is. So we’ll pass you over to Thor to take you through his latest build, this tough looking Triumph Scrambler entitled ‘Gap Tooth.’

Gap Tooth is a strange name for a custom built motorcycle. This is a fact I won’t dispute. Named Gap Tooth because Thor, the God of lightning, had a goat named “Tanngrisnir” which translates loosely to Gap Tooth. Tanngrisnir was his pet goat and when Thor became hungry, he ate ol’ Gap Tooth. After finishing his scrumptious meal, he would simply pile the bones up and poof, Gap Tooth would be resurrected as a live, stinky goat again.

So I found myself building a 2012 900cc Triumph Scrambler, a bike which needs little modification straight from the factory. Not only that but many, many folks have customized this bike into many, many variations – all equally cool and different. The idea was to tear this beast apart and rebuild it just a tad more off-roady, a smidgen more scrambly. In a sense I wanted to chew up and eat a perfectly new Triumph just like the god of thunder and lightning.

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The first part of the build was to remove most of the plastic bits: front fender, turn signals, mirrors, headlight, taillight, seatpan, reflectors, side panels, and air box. Pretty standard stuff on most builds.

We wanted to emulate some of the cues from Desert Sleds and Scramblers of the old days. Finding vintage parts that would work on a newer bike was tough. There are a lot of sensors and electrical components that make fitting old tanks nearly impossible. For one the fuel pump that bolts in the gas tank is entirely bigger than most gas tanks themselves. It is possible, and we had talked with others who had converted to an external pump. But what would be made up for with “looks” would be lost with reliability and usability, so we opted to use the stock(ish) tank.It was then modified with a centerline rib to match the old center welded tanks from vintage Triumphs. A small detail that would bring together the choice for front and rear fenders.

A set of brand new ribbed fenders from LowBrow Customs had the correct diameter to the wheels and could be shipped in just a few days. After mocking the bike up a few times I had a realization… the tank pinches in at the center of the bike, throwing off all the lines of the frame motor, and seat. A new tank bung was fabbed in and raised the tank at the rear just over 1.5”.

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The basis of a Scrambler is a bike that could be ridden from home to the track, raced and ridden home again at the end of the day. Back in the day racers would pull the headlight, mount a number plate, and off they went. Keeping with this spirit, both headlight and tail light assembly is simple as possible to remove and install. The tail light was handmade by James Crowe of Crowe Customs – the quality is top notch. The headlight bucket was chopped back to give it the old Lucas style flat bowl.

Another cluster simplification was to remove the tach. On modern Triumphs the tack is easily removeable however removing the speedo is a different story. The computer in the odometer will unable the bike when removed. Motogadget sells a computer to jail-break everything, but its spendy. A new set of the vintage bike bend Renthals were chosen for bars and capped with retro ODI Mushroom grips.

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Lets talk about the seat for a minute. The stock seat is BIG, massive in fact. its wide, long and flat. It makes sense why its like that if you have ever torn into a Scrambler, there are sensors, wires, batteries, frame, all kinds of stuff under there. We wanted more padding with a smaller footprint on the bike. The seat had to sit on the frame and cover the necessaries.

A lithium-ion battery replaced the stock one opening up a bit more room, but necessatating a ton of wiring and wire removal. Digital Directiv Joe is just the man for the job, He is a true wizard with the electrical components. Building a new seat also meant changing the rear frame. About 9” of the stock frame was lopped off and replaced with a loop giving it the classic scrambler look.

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An Arrow exhaust was necessary because it sounds amazing and gives good amount of added power. The rear frame modification warranted some new exhaust brackets, easy. Suspension, the stock suspension is one area that needs a little modification straight from the factory. Some friends over at Progressive Suspension have the fix: external reservoir 970 series shocks!

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The wheels are steel, chrome, and clunky from the factory, not only that but the rear is a 16”. Something had to be done, 19” Excel rims were the answer. Given another chance to build the bike, it might be nice to use an 18” on the rear and keep the front at 19”. The overall look of the twin 19”s is great but limits your tire options to any flat track tire, or some obscure retro tires and maybe one or two DOT knobbys and basically any MX tire your heart desires.

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Removing the airbox looks clean and lightens the bike up by a couple pounds but man oh man does it create a cluster problem. Building the seat with a small hollow space underneath gives you just enough space to stuff in most of the crucial components. The seat cushion was carefully sculpted then sent over to New Church Moto to have the Chrome Bags HD Ballistic Nylon skin expertly applied, the final touch was the “Triumph” on the back painted by non-other than Ornamental Conifer.

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So how about the finished bike? Absolutely love it! Long distance trips no problem, offroad trails and dirt roads? There isn’t a ton of clearance but behaves a lot like a dirt bike – if you can man handle this beast it has amazing power!

In the city, it’s surprisingly nimble and comfortable in traffic, ergonomics are upright and give you good visibility. One downside is the knobby tires are a little squirrely at times, but still a good time.








  • TJ Martin

    Now here’s a bike I have every reason in the world to hate ;

    Its built by that pretentious and overbearing Portlandia ‘ Hipster ‘ thats putting on the travesty known as ” The One Show ” [ which in my opinion is the ONE show you should go out of your way to miss ]

    Its yet another ‘ Scrambler ‘ built on a Hinkley Triumph … which is to say … SSDD

    Its got all the originality of a Xerox machines output .

    As well as …. its got yet another one of those ‘ nostalgia ‘ saddles with all the comfort and riding pleasures of a Mercy Seat and serious ‘ Off Road ‘ knobbys that’ll never see the light of a dirt road during the bikes entire existence .

    And yet …. I kind of almost like it . Almost .

    Go figure !

    PS; In my never so humble opinion . See See is a bad joke in the world of custom bike building and deserves the imminent fate that awaits it . That being … bankruptcy and ultimately to be relegated to the back pages of history under the category of ; ‘ Pretentious Hipster Bike Builders of the 2010’s ‘ …. or even more appropriate ” InstaFamous /InstaBroke ” ( to borrow the title from the most excellent essay by Mr Paul D’Orleans )

    • Scooter

      Don’t worry dude. I know life sucks now but It gets better.

      • Mk

        Lol.

    • Brett

      Did Thor finger your girlfriend in highschool or something?

    • Kevin

      Off Road ‘ knobbys that’ll never see the light of a dirt road during the bikes entire existence

      ha! this is so true .. hate that “aggressive studio gangster” look for the camera those nipples on the side lugs are never coming off that tire ..

      it is a good looking bike though totally picture in a coffee shop (zing sorry couldn’t resist ) .. and he did use one of James Crowe’s machined bling parts.. and that dude does machine some sexy bits and pieces

      • Eli

        you all should go watch the video. Also I’ve met the guy who owns the bike now and at that moment he was going for a ride in the hood national forest

    • NemesisAdmin

      Haters gonna hate.

    • Thor Drake

      Its Great you had the time to write up such nice words about someone you have never met. Wondering….Do you have any noteworthy builds I might take a peek at? or even further what have you done in the last 4 years beside write bad, uneducated comments of other peoples hard work. Maybe your mom never told you, but if you don’t have anything good to say don’t say it all. I guess this is your 15 minuets of fame so shine on you angry man.

      • What he said.

        • it truly is amazing how aggressive people can get over such trivial things such as internet blogs. I tend to be in agreement with you and Thor… my Mum always told me the same thing (if you can’t say anything nice etc etc). Although I will admit, there are quite a few Triumph builds getting around lately, it is probably because they lend themselves so nicely to the scrambled look. That said, not all of them are as clean and classy as this one. Some people cut too much off a bike.. others clutter them up with too much ‘busy’ stuff. This is a nicely balanced Trumpy, and clearly about function before form. Which is great. Bikes should be ridden! 🙂 Looks like something Steve McQueen would ride if he was still with us, bless his soul.
          p.s. Also, I have loved your site too Andrew, since it’s humble beginnings. Cheers 🙂

      • Mr. Drake, I can only hope to someday have a hater of such magnitude of whom I’ve never met… You’re sphere of influence reaches far beyond your person. Pretty legit shit if you ask me.

    • revdub

      In my humble opinion, you’re a troll. Sure, you share the privilege of posting online, with your access to a basic computer, but you stink up every place you enter. I am assuming you are an adult, but you haven’t learned one of the most basic things about being an adult: no one really cares about your opinion. No one. I can tell you this, we didn’t ask and we do not care. This is all the excitement you have in your life. I get it. You probably love the fact that others even respond to you at all. As someone who has been around this site for years and seen many trolls come and go, I humbly ask that you climb back under the bridge whence you came. Save us all the few seconds it takes to have to move past your vomit. Go ahead, spend a lot of time responding to me. This will only prove the point that you must get lonely and bored under there.

      • Revdub – you took the words right out of my mouth. I think TJMartin is the same dude who used the moniker “Guitar Slinger” once upon a time. Same MO. Same words. Same attitude.

        • christopherlee

          funny as i read his comment i thought of guitar slinger as well.

        • revdub

          You know me, Manxman, I usually don’t respond to these types. There is a saying, “Don’t feed the trolls.” But, this guy is the worst. And, it is totally guitarslinger. He hasn’t fooled anyone. Martin guitars, “guitarslinger”… yeah, it’s the same person.

          • And he refused to show any of his builds unless he was paid, “To see it is gonna cost ya!” I personally don’t care for the cookie-cutter-ness of this build so much, but it’s the current popular thing, so we’re gonna be bombarded with them for several more months whether we like it or not. I do like the 19″ rear wheel though.

          • Dacron Aorta

            Every one who regularly builds bikes could be accused of cookie-cutterness – particularly if they have a recognisable style or they’re God forbid, trendy.
            It’s his thing, when I went to the splendid One show in Portland I saw this very bike, for free and it’s pretty cool.
            There were a lot of other bikes there, to see for free, they were all cool, interesting and anything but samey – or trendy for that matter.
            So amongst it’s merits this bike is a great effort, if (but not) only because it helps to promote the noble cause of bike lovers like Thor.

          • Dacron Aorta

            I like a 19″ rear wheel as well.

          • I’ve always respected your comments, Revdub, you’re a straight shooter.

        • Someone run an IP address check on his Disqus account … that should probably provide some clues.

    • For the record, I was able to catch Thor on one of his ‘coffee shop princesses’ back in February at the Salem Flat Track Racing. I’m happy to photograph any of your builds out on the track if you’re ever up our way…

      http://23moto.com/salem-flat-track-02222014/

    • Bitter

      In my opinion no one would want to finger TJ Martin’s ugly stinking girlfriend!
      Obviously I’ve never met or seen her, I’m just guessing.

    • Adam_F

      This is ridiculous and far from the truth. I don’t know Thor personally, but he (and his staff) have gone out of there way to be helpful to me on multiple occasions. A couple months back I was parked downtown on a crowded street. When I came out, someone had backed into my bike and knocked it over. Bike was fine but my brake lever was bent to hell. Carefully rode to the nearest moto shop (see see). They didn’t have the lever for me in stock… so Thor went into his personal workspace in the back, found one that would work and just gave it to me. My impression was that these folks at See See are the furthest thing away from pretentious. They are all knowledgeable, they all are passionate about riding, and they are all friendly and approachable. Just had to throw in my 2 cents as a person who has actually been to See See in person.

      • I have had the privilege of meeting Thor and he’s a great guy with lots of talent, and commands respect within the custom scene. That attack was completely uncalled for.

    • Fast2Furious

      I stopped reading after, “Now here’s a bike…” because I realized you’d written way too many words.

    • STFU

      dude just shut the fuck up! show us one of your creations, then u can talk! always hating but i bet you are the biggest hipster out there

    • Mk

      Bit of a lonely cunt ain’t ya? Whats up with bitterness mate? I ordinarily wouldn’t post but farrrk me… Every post you do – your just a sad case. I feel sorry for what you must go through being you on a daily basis.

  • yeah…

    Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr (Thor’s goats that drove his thunder chariot, not pets per se) meant teeth-barer and teeth-grinder, not gap tooth.

  • Now here’s a bike I have every reason in the world to love: This custom was well thought out. Any body who has attempted to customize or modify a stock bike has run into problems. CC has addressed those problems with clever ingenuity. The seat looks great – maybe CC should offer it as an aftermarket seat for Triumphs – it’s shorter than stock but with more padding and looks the part of a single seater dirt bike. I like what was done with the electrics and I appreciate the changes made to the headlight and tail light. Getting rid of the plastic fenders was a good call. Love the Arrow exhaust – if I had a Triumph Scrambler this would be the first bit of kit I would buy. Great looking bike and one I would like to take to the back roads. Best looking Scrambler I’ve seen in a long time.

    • Amen brother on your notes, and if I may add, this centerline rib on the tank is like Jokonda’s smile: discreet but amazing at the same time 😉
      And if a ‘saddle contest’ ever existed, this would be no.1 for me, from every aspect; aesthetical and functional.
      As for the ‘mud’ that some people throw with no oral, (and moral), constraint,…well gentlemen be careful because sometimes the spills get back…

      • Forgot about the centerline rib on the gas tank – very subtle and cool.

        • arnold

          Matching roll on the (gasp)front fender.

  • Less is More

    Oh wow, how wonderful these lines are, both text and bike. I’m excited how Sleipnir would look like, but that’s maybe Odins Job;) GJ CC

  • Luke

    I like how the much smaller seat lightens up the visual weight of a scrambler – that bike stock always looked too much like a “high pipe bonny” to me. It’s probably still too heavy for much off-road fun, but it looks way better IMO.

    As a guy who is looking to start turning wrenches on my bike more, it’s really nice to hear about the challenges/issues encountered. I like that sort of insight into what one might expect when trying something like this. Thanks for sharing!

  • TwoSmoke

    Not a bad looking bike. Damn TJ did this guy molest you or what? It’s one thing to hate on a bike but a gathering tha celebrates bikes in general? Harsh man.

  • Michael Kork.

    **Gasp** speachless.. Great choice on the white/silver colours combo. The seat looks a bit like Mr. Martini’s seats that he sells. A question though. How the hell did you do that lines on the tank? did you pound it from the inside? Did you plaster it from the outside? Is there any youtube guide or something?? Please share the knowledge, oh mighty Thor!

    • revdub

      Good call on the Martini-esque seat. It really does have a similar vibe. I love it. This is such a cool bike, but the seat might be my favorite part, especially with Ornamental Conifer’s lettering.

  • MayDayMoto

    heh, love the visual pun of the CC logo eyeballs. very cool. aside from the quality of the build, it’s those clever understated touches that win me over.

    • arnold

      Reminds me of Mooneyes.

  • bjparker

    Beautiful build. As a shade tree mechanic working on an old scrambler, I see hard work, fine details, and skilled fabrication. If the wiring on an old machine gives me problems, I can’t imagine the cluster on something like this! Good job, Thor.

  • Dave Coetzee

    Re Thor’s comment about the knobby tires.
    I recently used my son’s little XTZ125 that is shod with Pirelli dual purpose, but mainly road biased tires, to marshall an MTB race in a nature reserve. Despite unexpectedly having to cart a TV cameraman with me, the tires never once slid out under me.

  • So nice to see a classy build with both fenders included! Clean and crisp. Well done Thor 🙂

  • With Triumph pumping out a lot of these machines it makes sense for a builder to master the ins-and-outs of this bike. Smart move then on Thor’s part for keeping goat on the menu.

    And so what if this build gets sold to some guy who just wants a leg-up on his not-as-hip friends at the coffee shop? I mean even if some of the critiques of hipster culture is valid (e.g., their lifestyle accouterments, no matter how high-spec or durable, serve only as ornaments on an underused life.) hipster money still serves as the crowd funding for what I wager is much of the know-how being developed at many shops contributing here. Eventually then even a so called hipster build will fall into the hands of a rider who is willing to ride it into the junkyard, or, hopefully, just down to a point where someone else will declare it vintage (with a known builder heritage no less) and restore it… So they too can have the pleasure of wearing it out.

  • Any update of this article coming soon? Maybe some add-on could be made like helmets, leather jacket or even bags going with it? A bit like that:
    https://www.self-madebags.com/module/csblog/post/31-1-simple-guide-to-embracing-camouflage.html