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DEF METAL. Kiddo’s Slick & Silver T120 Triumph Bonneville

Posted on November 27, 2017 by Andrew in Classic, Tracker. 14 comments

Written by Andrew Jones

There’s some beautifully elemental things at the core of motorcycling. One is fire; I’m all for electric bikes, but you have to admit that internal combustion and motorcycles go together like guitars and rock. They are inseparable. The same goes for metal. If a super quick, super light plastic bike with absolutely no downsides appeared tomorrow, I’m sure many of us would feel quite nonplussed. Bikes have a metal soul and those that celebrate this tend to be the ones we really like. And this new Triumph build from Spain’s Kiddo Motors does just that.

Our interview with shop boss Sergio Armet finds him and the business at a crossroads of sorts. “I am now changing my business approach a little. We have been working on commissioned bikes for 8 years now. But from here on the plan is to build just one bike a year, entirely from our own designs. The only other bike we’ve built like this was the ‘Kiddo Uno’ from 2011, all the rest were from customer’s briefs. We are also moving to a new facility soon and we have to deliver 4 bikes in the next few months”. Sounds like someone’s missing out on Christmas holidays, then.

Next we asked Sergio what kind of bike it was. “I’m not fan of tagging bikes as one type or another,” he replied. ”I think that as per Triumph’s original design for the T120 this is a ‘Modern Classic’, so I guess that makes it a modified ‘Modern Classic’ for us”. Fair enough.

Beyond the minutiae of naming conventions, the rest of the bike’s facts are clear. Sergio used a factory-fresh 2017 Bonneville T120 that was purchased new from the owner’s local Triumph dealership in London. As with many Triumph fans, we’ve been waiting for the company’s newer models to turn up customised. And bikes like this do nothing but increase our excitement.

“I build all of my customs how I like my motorcycles in general: clean, light, elegant and sporty. In this case the weight battle was a hard one, but we managed to save around 20kg (or 44lbs) over the stock bike. So the idea was very simple; keep our own style. I think it is the kind of bike that will get older with a lot of ‘dignity’, if you see what I mean”.

Sergio started by testing the stock Triumph to see which of its parts needed the most attention. “As with the previous Bonneville models, the suspension is not one of its strongest point so the first step was to order some Nitron forks and shocks. In the meantime, Kiddo amigo Adrian set about drawing up a design for the side covers, which were then fabricated by famed Spanish builder, German Cornaglia”.

In quick succession, the rear loop was also chopped and fitted to a new seat pan while the shop’s Chris tested his concentration by cutting and welding the exhaust manifold slices and eliminating the cat converter.

When the Alpina Raggi wheels showed up, they made the call that Metzeler’s Roadtecs were probably the best tyre choice for the London weather that the new owner would be negotiating. Then two pieces of challenging news arrived all at once. “We were told that the front forks were running late and that Thibault, the bike’s new owner, wanted it ready for a 3000 kilometre (1800 mile) road trip with friends in a few short weeks.

“So we spent the last few weeks frantically working on the front-end, triple trees, fender and just about everything else to hit the deadline. Then there was some quick testing and a van trip to Bordeaux where the ride was due to begin”.

“This included the factory dash…it was the veritable Enigma Machine of the bike’s indecipherable electronic codes”.

In a common complaint, Sergio says that the bike’s electronics were a real source of stress. “We had less freedom on some custom parts due to the factory components that were nigh on impossible to replace: the ABS, ride-by-wire, switchable traction control and riding modes were all off-limits if the bike was to be delivered on time and on budget”. Naturally this included the Triumph factory dash; as with all modern rides, it was the veritable Enigma Machine of the bike’s indecipherable electronic codes.

“I love the Triumph’s stance,” says Sergio. “ It’s also an elegant bike and hopefully it has a good balance of high-end parts and craftmanship. I love the handmade metal side covers and how they speak the same design language as the throttle bodies and the engine covers. Oh, and I also like our triple tree; it’s the first time we’ve done a full one like this and it really makes the bike”.

[ Kiddo MotorsInstagram | Photos by Ricardo Miras ]

  • martin hodgson

    Ok, so this is perfect!!!! If Triumph had a special division like Mercedes has AMG this is the sort of bike you’d hope to see. It’s Everything that’s really good about the new Bonnie made brilliant! Going to a high end fork, but keeping it conventional rather than USD, maintaining a side cover but manufacturing a superior product, keeping a modern classic seat design but cleaning up the styling…, I’m in love!! Congratulations Kiddo, amazing job!!!

    • the watcher

      We’ve had wacky, wild, slick, classy, tours de force. But this is the Bike of the Year for me (and it’s not even a model I covet, in standard trim at least).

      • Jonesy

        Agree- pretty as hell- Bike o’ the Year it is.

    • HA! Interesting point re; AMG. I never thought of it that way. Which begs the question, why don’t bike makers have performance arms?

      • martin hodgson

        Not sure, would be damn cool if they did! But they all seem adamant about development being done in-house. Far more likely than car makers to lock ECU’s etc

        That said, looking at things like the new V4 Ducati, HP4 BMW… do you need more power? …….. wait, yes, yes you do!!! lol

      • AB

        Ducati do it with their special edition limited runs.
        Harley have CVO
        Honda could easily HRC select bikes.

  • Larry Kahn

    Very very very nice job! Tasteful clean and cool. And good tires!

  • the watcher

    I. Love. Kiddo.
    The very first trick new Triumph I saw was their white Thruxton and I’m yet to see it bettered. More great work here with the l/c version. Bar-setting stuff.

  • Al

    I like bit’s of handmade exposed metal work on a bike.
    I would be interested to know why the chain adjustment is already nearly maxed out (

    • Probably took the photos before the shakedown so the bike was clean. I.e. they might have lost a link for the first ride…

      • Al

        Having checked a few images of new 2017/T120’s on the net, they all come with chain adjustment like that…meaning that taking a link out would probably make the chain too short. Good to remember to remind the dealer at the first or second service to take a link out.

  • guvnor67

    Very nice indeed! Lots of little touches making one, very clean and tidy whole. The paint on the tank mimicking the fins on the motor is just superb. Would like a close-up of the triple trees.

  • Andy Rappold

    The boys from my ex neighborhood have class! Salutacions al Poblenou