Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

Triumph Rocket III Cafe Racer – Wenley Andrews

Posted on January 20, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer. 45 comments

In conjunction with Throttle Roll & CAFE RACER | Written by Marlon Slack.

The morbidly obese and slightly long-in-the-tooth Triumph Rocket III has been a favorite of the morbidly obese, slightly long-in-the-tooth riding sect for the last thirteen years. While a cruiser, many owners don’t really bother going down the custom route for their rides. Modified examples of the 2300cc beast usually just feature a pallet’s worth of matte black paint and around four hundred yards of exhaust wrap. But now Sydney-based builder Wenley Andrews has worked his cafe racer magic on a 2006 Rocket III and given it the looks to match the gigantic torquey engine underneath.

Now I said the Rocket is morbidly obese. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but in stock trim the bike weighs 770 pounds (350kg) ringing wet. But all that heft and road going presence was part of the appeal for head workshop provocateur, Wenley. He’d had his eye out for one for a while. “I’ve always wanted to build a Rocket III,” he says, “It has loads of power and it’s just really beefy. Little did I know the power is outright ridiculous!”

Having ridden one, I can confirm he’s right. Despite being the absolute antithesis of what I find appealing in most motorcycles there is something charming about that fat triple powerplant. Charming in a medieval, roaring, arm-ripping kind of way. But there’s no getting around the size and weight of the thing. So the first thing that Mean Machines looked to do was to shave some of that excess physical and visual weight off the bike.

The culprit for the latter sat right on top of the frame. “The main obstacle was the tank,” Wenley says, “It is just so huge and doesn’t look right, so I had a custom tank made to fit the purpose. It’s a full metal with the stock fuel pump fitted underneath.” That one part goes a long way to reducing the lines of the bulbous standard bike.

Before the fresh tank was sent off for paint a new air intake had to be fabbed up, to get the airbox sitting neatly alongside it. The team wanted to get the fit nice and tight. A twin intake was fabbed up in-house, sucking in from two K&N pods. Off went the tank to be painted and all eyes turned to the bike’s fat rear end.

Wenley decided to use a spare seat from a Triumph Thruxton on the rear but fitting it proved to be a little bit tricky, so he and the team threw the baby out with the bathwater and made up a whole new subframe to fit. The seat itself was recovered by Andrew from Beyond Trims with some threaded red highlights.

With such a slab-sided hulking mass of an engine, a kickass exhaust was needed. All went well, at first. “I drew up an exhaust on a piece of paper and handed it over to my mate Billy who welded the exhaust for me,” Wenley says. “Then it was sent for black ceramic coating.” And here’s where things went wrong. With the bike already having more black on it than a Gothic Christmas party, the exhaust didn’t stand out enough. “I looked at the bike and it was too much black. So it went back to be finished in silver.”

Finishing touches come in the way of a slimmer alloy radiator and chunkier front and rear rubber mounted to blacked-out standard rims. The front of the Rocket was tidied up with a 5.5 inch headlight, set of mini indicators, custom mirrors and Biltwell grips. To make the stance more aggressive, Ikon supplied some longer rear shocks, giving the bike a slight nose down bias.

In standard trim the Triumph Rocket III is a porky, rounded middle-aged cruiser with pretty uninspiring looks. Wenley Andrew’s cafe take on the English staple has it’s gut tucked firmly into it’s pants and chest puffed out into a heavyweight brawler of a custom that does that monstrous engine justice.

[Wenley Andrews: Web – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Throttle Roll/Pete Cagnacci]

  • Artem Terekhov

    Damn, never thought that Rocket can be turned into something like this. Me likes!

    • the watcher

      Damn, Artem, you pretty much stole my thunder! I shouldn’t like this but I absolutely love it. Congratulations Ashley, you’ve won the January “Top Titties” trophy (there isn’t one but you’d have got it if there was).

      • the watcher

        Sorry, it said “Wenley’ when I typed it. Poxy smart assed computer!

    • Marlon

      Neither did I. Every custom Rocket I’ve seen has left me feeling really flat. This looks tough as hell.

  • AB

    I really like this build. One heck of a engine in a slimmed down ride. One thing – I’m saying ‘no’ to cafe racer, but ‘yes’ to Hot Rod.

    • JayJay

      Agreed, no caferacer, but a great bike! Almost looks like it could go into production like this..

  • guvnor67

    Oh my!!! That 8th photo (the close-up of motor and exhaust) is now my screen saver! Apart from the motor, i too have been left cold by the stock bike, but this, this Cafe/Fighter meets Muscle Bike meets “Holy-Crap-Here-Comes-The-Horizon-and can-I-Have-My-Shoulders-And-Arms-Rejoined?!”, makes me grin like a clown on crack, and rejoice in the fact that silliness and creativety know no boundaries in the delightful world of custom motorcycles!! All I have to do now is convince the old bloke down the road that he really doesn’t need such a massive motorcycle …

    • Hi-res images now uploaded. Just click on the images for bigger versions…

      • guvnor67

        Ta!! Any idea of final weight? I think these pulled 0-100 KMH in about 2.6 seconds, so given that it looks like It’s lost half a Kenworth from It’s original porkiness, acceleration must be somewhere between oooh yer and HEEEELLLP!

        • We’ve asked Wenley to pop on here and let us know…

        • Wenley Andrews

          if you consider the things i took off youre looking about say 40kg of extra weight which has been taken off, so exhaust, fenders , tank air box etc

          • guvnor67


    • Len Farquharson

      Truly jaw-dropping build! Guvnor you have nailed it again! Yes, “Ride of the Valkyries” up very loud too!

      • guvnor67

        Thanx Len!! Yes, this bike has so much presence, that a 100 piece orchestra belting out “Ride of The Valkyries” followed by some suitable Motorhead would be a great musical introduction, followed by dropping the clutch and leaving a large percentage of rubber, and screams of delight/fear in It’s wake!

  • David Elms

    Just amazing!

    • David Macdonald

      I thought so too.

  • I’d write a pithy comment here, but I’m too bust scouring the classifieds for 2nd hand Rocket 3s…

  • John in Pollock

    This thing is bad ass. It reminds me of a guy i knew back in the 90’s that obsessively hit the gym, and was on steroids. he was an absolute hulk. Comically, he had a late 80’s Honda Prelude that had the front seats removed, and he drove it from the back seat. -true story. Anyway, This bike looks like it would rip your head off if you accidentally spilled your beer on it at a party as much as Billy would.

    • Larry Kahn

      I think you meant to say BAD ASS!!!!
      Are you looking at this Mr. Bloor??

  • Dirk

    Man!!! I would love to hear some audio of this, that is one mean looking machine!
    Video would be even better, of course…

  • Mike Learn

    Bravo!!!!! Someone finally tackled that beast. Love those bikes. Really enjoy seeing someone tackling the less obvious platform.

  • Oh. My. God. YES! I have wondered for ages how a Rocket would look in the hands of a builder. The amount of work involved to transform a bike like this is a lot. And these are FAST bikes. Always loved that motor.

    Shoot. Now I’d almost consider one as a project now.

  • Jim Stuart

    With the bike already having more black on it than a Gothic Christmas party…

    Do Goths celebrate X-mas? How’s about a Goth funeral, wedding or Halloween party?

  • Neil_TonUp

    “The morbidly obese and slightly long-in-the-tooth Triumph Rocket III has been a favorite of the morbidly obese, slightly long-in-the-tooth riding sect …” Ai, yon wag doth bare the bitter edge of his trenchant wit. Crazy people are wonderfully entertaining. Do carry on! Seriously, I love your writing.

  • revdub

    Wenley just won the Rocket game.

    • Better than the Hunger Games…

    • Wenley Andrews

      hahahaha thanks mate !!!

  • Jim Roberts

    i keep envisioning that motor turning a long shaft that rides on exposed bearings and turns a 6 foot diameter cast bronze propellor…pocketa,pocketa

    • guvnor67

      Ha ha! Let the passengers be seated according to class!!!

      • Jim Roberts

        we’re totally devoid of class

  • ccc40821

    How many pounds were shaved off?

    • Wenley Andrews

      about 40kg

  • That is one big hot rod of a bike!

  • Hamish Lamont

    Best Rocket Custom EVER.

  • Cam

    Less is more (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) Less and more (Dieter Rams) More and less (Wenley Andrews)

    • Wenley Andrews

      hahahahaha well said 🙂

  • Jed

    Great job on this one.

  • rurhrurh

    That is crazy good.

  • bill smith

    Simply WOW, It is nice to open the page and see a build that makes you think “WOW”. This is the last bike I would have thought that about, but simply stunning in the way it actually looks light and fast.

  • haggis95

    Just wondering what that exhaust did for the performance.

  • The bike has now officially enter BOTY territory… 👊

  • Andy Rappold

    I never thought I would be ever drawn to oversized bikes , but boy I was wrong! This bike is straight gorgeous.

  • jlgace

    Awesome, brute of a bike. And I concur with and prefer the Hot Rod moniker vs. cafe. I can’t help but wonder if the passe open frame under the seat look is working against on this one [and many of the bigger bikes in general where a 1″ or less exposed frame tube just doesn’t cut it]. I like the rider aboard pic best, possibly because it camouflages that area. I get the desire for the ‘light and open’ look, but when your engine looks like someone took the powerplant out of a Peterbilt and cut it in half, I think you have to accept it’s going to have some presence. Either way, that’s nitpick and easily rectified. I think the tank is where the builder nailed it. Don’t mind the seat and tail either.

  • BoxerFanatic

    Amazing adaptation of an engine held up by two wheels. I don’t mean that as derogatory… the engine is just such a point of emphasis when everything else is stripped away, that an engine and two wheels, and just enough to fit a rider on top is all there is to it. It is a cool bike. I would have other plans for a Rocket III engine… just as British, and a tire count to match the cylinder count….