For a number of decades the AMA Grand National Championship was dominated by Americans riding American machinery from the big two; Harley Davidson and Indian. That was until the late ’60s when in the space of four years the likes of Gary Nixon and Gene Romero led the charge for British manufacturer Triumph to take out three championships. Unlike the Trackers created today, it was a time of big wide bars, tiny tanks and leather padded seats. The way you paid the racing bills was to be like legend Mike Anderson and work at the local dealership during the week. There were no corporates with big sponsor dollars, no millions to be made and some race tracks still displayed the sign “helmets recommended”. But it was a time of raw competition, big personalities and an authenticity that Italy’s Anvil Motociclette have come to love. With that spirit in mind they’ve built a bike named Foxtrot, a 2011 Triumph Bonneville 900, that dances rings around the competition.
I watched the latest film about Steve Jobs the other week. Directed by Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire fame, it was unfortunately a fairly average flick. Despite this, it did have a few memorable moments. The one that sticks in my head is the scene where Jobs is asked what he actually does by Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak. “I play the orchestra,” he somewhat pretentiously exclaims. The idea is a simply one. Some of us are good at playing an instrument, but unless someone is taking care of the whole she-bang, all you end up with is a big cacophony. And while it might be a bit of a stretch to compare today’s builder to Jobs, it’s clear he approached building the Bonneville you see here in the same way. Some creators use their hands, while others use their head. Poland’s Wojtek Borecki is clearly all about the latter.
We’re just adding a new entry to our ‘2016’s most obvious facts’ list. Right below the lines that say “American elections go for too long,” and “David Bowie was pretty good,” we’ve just added a fresh entry. It reads “Triumph Motorcycles is having an amazing year.” Even if we disregard their triple cylinder and off-road offerings and just focus on their Bonnevilles, barely a month seems to go by without us receiving an invite for another big launch. The Street Twin. The T120. And now, little more than a week or four after their big Thruxton R launch, comes the global reveal of their top-secret Bobber project. We were there. We went to the launch. We visited the factory. And then we pushed our luck and asked to ride the thing. What was it like? Read on, dear bobberphiles, read on.
Transport for New South Wales approached us earlier in 2016 to help keep riders safe. Specifically, they wanted us to start a conversation with our peers around how to stay safe on the roads we love riding. So Pipeburn, in conjunction with our good mate Cam over at Stories of Bike, were let loose to show how we’d do things. Sadly, our first idea where we were flown by space shuttle to the South of France for a month-long biker party in our very own Chateau was rejected almost immediately. But then we came up with something called ROADS WE RIDE.
Steak and chips. That’d be my death row meal, I think. And a bottle of really good Aussie red. Yes, I have thought about it before. Now it wouldn’t just be any old piece of meat and spuds. No way. It’d be something special. One of those melt in your mouth steaks that’s so tender, it almost cuts itself. That’s the thing about good steak; it’s so simple, yet so delicious. And awesomely unpretentious, too. Which brings us to tonight’s bike. It too is a perfect slice of meaty goodness, with nothing more than the bare essentials to make it perfectly delicious. It’s a killer black-on-black Triumph Bonnie and also it’s the latest build from Cognito Moto, so why don’t you tuck in?
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.