There are literally millions of two-wheeled machines on the streets of Thailand, with the market dominated by a huge variety of scooters and low capacity commuter bikes. With 15 million people living in the Greater Bangkok area it makes for the perfect form of transport, if not more than a little dangerous for the uninitiated foreigner. But where the streets of LA and London have been home to vintage-tyred, old school styled Cafe Racers for decades, in Thailand it’s not just a case of what’s old is new again, it’s simply never been seen before. For the huge motorcycle megastore K-Speed, with branches across the country, custom bikes play a crucial role in their daily fun and promotion. But for founder of the brand Eak they are a way of life, a passion and on this build his chance to deliver to the Thai streets the rare sight of old school cool; it’s a 2015 Triumph Bonneville with his trademark sinister spin.
There’s a famous saying in Spain that goes something like this. ‘De una boda sale otra boda.’ Despite our initial guesses about it having something to do with selling your body, it turns out it literally means “from one wedding comes another wedding.” As you can imagine, we were a little confused when Spain’s Tamarit used it in reference to their new bike build. As we started to express our support for what we assumed was Spain’s progressive new human/bike marriage laws, they explained that the first ‘wedding’ was the party to reveal their ‘Superstar’ build, featured a few short months ago on these very pages. Happy to see the bike complete but keen to move on, fate and serendipity conspired to bring them their next wedding and/or customer at the very same event. With their best suits on and a spring in their step, here’s Spain’s Tamarit Motorcycles with their latest build – a 2006 Triumph Bonneville named ‘Pantera’, or as we say in English, ‘The Pather’.
There’s a lot to thank Mexico’s Baja state for. Even with a mix of two and four-wheeled entrants, the Baja 1000 desert race and it’s legendary ‘Baja Bug’ VWs must have impressed even the most staunch cage haters. And that’s before you get into the region’s food, beaches and way laid back lifestyle. But what would you ride home once the Bug’s busted, the fresh fish tacos have run out and the cerveza is warmer than the afternoon sun? Clearly, Guadalajara’s Catrina Motosurf have faced this conundrum before, and they seem to have it sorted. Here’s their ‘Baja900’ Triumph Scrambler-based solution.
For a century now limited production run motorcycles have been a mainstay of the industry, from companies like Bimota and Confederate who use the engines of major manufacturers to power their beasts to the Harris and Rickman Brothers who made their own frames. It has always been about offering something that little bit special, Honda had Colin Seeley make them a batch of race replica CB750’s while Ronin picked up a bunch of unwanted Buell’s for their unique creations. But for Jose and Tito from Spain’s Macco Motors it all came about in a very unexpected way, rather than create a “special” they’ve simply had customer after customer want them to take a modern Triumph Bonneville and build it the Macco way. Each one comes with a little something different but all are built with factory level quality and a brilliant finish, their latest is a 2008 example known simply as The Trickster.
If you could go into the future to see which motorcycles would become classics you could make a hell of a fortune; if I had a DeLorean and some Plutonium I’d give it a try. Those who’d picked up Honda CX500s or BMW R series bikes for pocket change are now cleaning up and if you’d mothballed a Z1, a K0 or a CBX you can now add an extra zero to what you paid for it. Of course it’s never that easy or we’d all be rich but with Triumph going from strength to strength the early Hinckley Trumpets could be one of the future classics to keep an eye on. Fresh from their Ducati Scrambler success at World Ducati Week Russell Motorcycles are back with an old friend, a 1998 Triumph Speed Triple, that’s now a retro racer.
Great artists are always challenging themselves, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and creating new pieces that require them to go to a place they’ve never been before. When you live in the incredible city of Elche, Spain, with its beautiful historic town centre, Baroque splendour and you spend your days churning out some of the best custom motorcycles in the country, it would be easy to rest on your laurels. But not the team at Tamarit Motorcycles. Specialists in turning modern Triumphs into cafe racers and scramblers for their backlog of clients, they decided to set themselves a challenge. Throw off the shackles of a customer’s requirements, liberate themselves from their previous styling and time constraints and see what would emerge. It all started with a simple Google search and the end result is this stunning Dirt Tracker for the streets, a 2010 Triumph Bonneville known as “Superstar”.
Blood, sweat and tears; it’s what most of us pour into our personal bikes. It never ceases to amaze us how a professional builder can turn out some of the most amazing work for customers, seemingly without blinking an eye, and then almost kill themselves by simply trying to build a bike that’s designed to impress no one but themselves. And as it just so happens, blood, sweat and tears are just the ticket for bullfighting, too. Keeping in mind the parallels, here’s a bike to finish off a pretty courageous week of custom builds here on la Casa deTuberías Quemadas. Meet Analog Motorcycles and their ‘El Matador 2.0.’
The challenge Triumph gave themselves when redesigning the Bonneville was nothing short of Herculean. As a company whose entire brand rests on one hundred plus years of biking heritage, this is the bike around which their entire world revolves. How hollow would their references to legendary motorcycling heroes such as Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando sound if the new Bonneville missed the mark? So to this end, the brief from John Bloor, Triumph’s owner, was as clear as it was short. It had to be as good as the original ‘59 Bonneville T120, “and whatever you do,” he said “do not fuck it up.” Which begs the question, did they or didn’t they? To find out, Triumph Australia asked us to take the bikes on an epic journey over some of the most challenging landscapes in Australia to do battle with the weather and the road in a ride we’ll be telling our grandchildren about for years to come.
When you grow up in a city of historical beauty – the setting of a Shakespeare play and where Galileo lectured at the local university – that also happens to be one of the oldest in the world, richness of culture and a passion for creation are in your blood from birth. For brothers Diego and Riki Coppiello, it was the internal combustion engine that become their passion at a very young age. However when they reached university, art and physics became their courses of choice. But the call of the engine brought them back together and they founded North East Custom in Padova, Italy where they combine all their talents to create motorcycles like this 2007 Triumph Bonneville that focus on clean design and highlighting the beauty in mechanical simplicity.
Tradition, it would seem, is a double-edged sword. While some Japanese bike brands would salivate at the thought of having a model in their line-up whose roots went back more than a few years, the likes of Triumph, Harley Davidson and Norton are in the challenging position of marching headlong in the 21st Century with baggage tagged ‘please return to 1900’. For these brands, a big new model design requires a deft hand to strike just the right balance between influences spanning more than 100 years and the always-fickle ‘modern consumer’. The perfect balance is a bike that will appeal equally to almost any age group. The latest salvo in this old-meets-new battle comes to us from Triumph’s 2016 Hinckley headquarters via a greasy British motorway cafe from 1959. It’s their new take on what has to be one of the world’s best-know motorcycles. So now, after their biggest-ever bike launch, how does the new model stack up and should you really spend your hard-earned shekels on one?