Written by Martin Hodgson.
When you’re a workshop that specialises in Ironhead Harley-Davidson’s and a customer asks you to build them a custom 2001 Triumph Bonneville, there is only one way to prepare, boil the kettle and start watching Guy Ritchie films. And that is exactly what Brothers Jarrod and Justin Del Prado of DP Custom Cycles did when they were approached to build their first British bike. The customer request was clear; a simple and clean looking bike, dark in colour and fun to ride but the spanners they were swinging would have to change.
When you’ve been building custom Vespa’s for most of your life and you decide you want to build something with a bit more power, then a 1953 Triumph 500 hardtail is a pretty good place to start. Built by Marcus Offergeld and Martien Delfgaauw of the relatively new Berham Customs based in Berlin and Hamburg. “I’ve always ridden, raced, tuned and customized Vespa’s” says Martien. “It’s not what you work on, but rather how. Because for a great result you need to be driven by the joy of doing, rather than wishing to finish.”
After happening upon an “ugly looking and pretty run down” 80s chopper with raked front forks, the boys from Berham could see potential not in the bike itself, but certain aspects of it. Most importantly, the Triumph 500cc pre-unit powerplant had the 1957 Triumph race kit with the splayed port aluminium cylinder head kit. A good base for a build, the bike was given the Berham treatment.
Ironically, Wenley Andrews from Sydney based Mean Machines is one the nicest blokes you could come across. But give him a wrench and a Triumph and he turns meaner than a junkyard dog on a particularly bad day. This Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde split personality is probably why he keeps building these bikes; they just seem to have the right dosage of toughness, style and simplicity. The latest bike to roll out of the Mean Machines ward is this beastly 2013 Triumph Thruxton – not bad for someone with an identity disorder.
When it comes to custom bike builders in Portugal, there’s only a handful that immediately spring to mind. Porto’s Ton-Up Garage are one of the standouts in a country more famous for producing world class soccer players than world class motorcycles. Their latest bike is named ‘Hiawatha’ and was obviously given that moniker after the legendary American Indian leader who departed down the river on his hand crafted wooden canoe and came back up riding a modified motorcycle – but don’t quote me on that. Or as the guys at Ton-Up put it: “the green tones of nature sprayed the grey ashes left upon Hiawatha’s departure with the seeds of life and warmed by the Sun allowed the peacemaker’s return.” Ok, now pass me that peace pipe.
The nickname ‘flying Scotsman’ comes to mind when describing Lindsay Young and his previous builds. Over the years, this Scottish Mechanical Engineer has built some super fast sports bikes. This time, he decided to build something a little more “sedate”. Not to say that this Bonneville Streedrod isn’t packed full of performance features – just not in the same league of break neck speed. So when Lindsay’s good friend was selling his stock 2003 Bonnie with only 3000 miles on the clock, Lindsay decided to try his hand at building his first classic styled ground up custom. “I did initially think of some sort of café racer but there are so many of them around and it’s all been done before many times over.” says Lindsay. “I wanted to do something a bit different and unique so my thoughts turned towards a retro style minimalist streetrod/streetfighter.” And so, the Streetrod was born – well, he still needed to do the work.
Most of us will start a custom bike build with a genre, fashion or style in mind. You might want something that oozes classic café racer. Or maybe you’re thinking of a creation in a brat style with a touch of tracker thrown in for good luck. Hell, if you’re anything like me you’re probably planning the colour of the brake leads before you’ve even got a bike. But few of us have the skills or courage to just trust in your love of metal, your passion for bikes and your creativity and simply let the build happen. Which is exactly what Gian from France’s Tredici Custom Castings did. Meet his very groovy ‘Black Smoker’ Triumph.
Written by Ian Lee.
Speed hole: (noun) a sometimes superfluous modification where a hole is drilled into an automotive accessory, denoting a sporting aspect in relation to the machine. See also; ‘awesome’.
Sometimes a bike appears in the Pipeburn inbox that is truly something special. A high level of work, thought, and time, create a truly magnificent motorcycle, the sort of machine that catches your eye and won’t let go. BCR’s latest project, the ‘Steampunk Racer’, is one such bike. A transformed Triumph Thruxton with a beautiful finish, nicely matched with tasteful performance mods. And speed holes as far as the eye can see.
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It seems weird to say it, but there are actually riders out there who spend their whole life on non-customised bikes. Riders who are perfectly happy using a factory-prepared bike in exactly the same state that it left the maker’s premises. Stock pipes. Stock rubber. Hell, even the air in the tires probably has the whiff of aftershave from the factory worker who inflated them. Yes – such people do exist. Juan Manuel, the owner of this bike, was actually one of them. But through luck or through fate, he stumbled across the rather bitchin’ custom work of José and Tito from Maccomotors and the rest, as they say, is historia.
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There’s a lot of talk of ‘barn finds’ in the bike restoration scene; that mythical, magical moment that happens once in a lifetime (if you’re lucky) where you stumble upon a bike lost to the world that turns out to be the last of its kind in existence. And then you win the Lotto twice in the same day and become the President of the World. That’s right… chances are it’ll never happen. The more likely scenario is that your dream bike is a basket case that’s been abused beyond all recognition by an army of previous bad taste owners and you’re the only one who sees the diamond in the (chopper) rough. Because that’s exactly what happened to Donny Greene and the lads at Retro Wrench in Louisville, Kentucky.
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Triton. The name raises the hairs on the neck of any dyed-in-the-wool café racer. Often cited as the genre’s ultimate engineering expression, it came into being due to the fact that the 60′s best engine and frame just so happened to exist in two completely different bikes. Norton’s Featherbed frame was more than a match for their temperamental 650 and 750 twins, yet Triumph’s T120 650 engine was well known for reliability and a fondness for mods, but alas it was trapped in an average frame. Then hey presto, the Triumph-engined, Norton-framed ‘Triton’ was born. And the Tribsa, the Norbsa, the Norvin… and the Trdian. No, we hadn’t heard of it either, until a few days ago. And now we can’t get enough. Meet the world’s first Triumph Indian, Peace Frog’s rather amazing new ‘Trdian’.
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