Boardwalk Bitsa Bobber

Written by  Story By Fidel Sassoon Photos By Jack “I’d Like Some Peanuts” Cofano Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:10
Published in Non V-Twins
   A few days ago, Barnett Harley-Davidson GM, Mark Barnett, posed a question on Facebook if people wanted to see more Triumph choppers and, surprisingly to me, the overwhelming response was in favor of more. Even more surprising was that there were no nattering nabobs of negativity to paraphrase the late motorcycle freak, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. So kids, here’s one more custom Triumph with a slightly different twist then the one Mark Barnett presented for your approval/disapproval. 


  Okay, you’ve had a few seconds to think what that “twist” was. If you hadn’t noticed it the second you saw it (without even knowing there was going to be a quiz), you probably figured it out by now. No big whoop, but it is a big deal of a twist in its own way. This is not a vintage Bonneville., but an early version of the re-introduced Triumph Bonneville of late. There’s a stylistic tie between old and new, but the new version isn’t quite as svelte and cool looking as the late Steve McQueen would tell you if he could. McQueen was just like the original Bonny in that you can try to replicate but you can’t duplicate. 

   The new versions of the Bonneville have been around long enough now that you can find a decent or even a wrecked one for cheap dough. They are a bit on the lardy side so anything that can be done to slim them up a bit even if it’s done with a touch of smoke and mirrors is a good thing. Here our mystery Daytona Boardwalk Show builder cut right to it and whacked off the rear suspension and replaced it with a much more daring rigid rear end. Doing that alone ups the custom ante and the chance for custom success a huge amount. The line of the frame is visually altered with a feeling of the proverbial perfect straight line from the head tube to the rear axle. A bit of trickery was involved to create this by mounting a smaller custom tank at the same angle as the “theoretical” perfect line. Avoid looking at the front of the tank and it’s a imaginatively thought out solution. 

   What looks like a Harley springer has been mounted on a stock rake where the OEM telescopic forks originally hung. That’s a lot of chrome pizzazz where there was once none. Those infinitesimal dual disc brakes almost disappear into thin air giving more of a spool or vintage drum brake look. As far as how they work, I can only guess that they’re a hell of a lot better than nothing as a lot of customs run nowadays. 

   The 21-inch spoked front wheel wearing an always lovely looking Avon Speedmaster II ribbed front tire puts those baby brakes to the test. Out back a 16-inch spoked wheel with a 170/70 Bridgestone Excedra tire nicely fills up the space between the rear stays. One thing that I’m curious and maybe a bit uncomfortable about is the use of hard lines to feed both the front and rear brakes. It’s one thing to do it on engine oils lines, but quite another on brake lines. Cracking a line and losing some engine oil sucks but losing brakes really sucks. Plus they’re twist-tied on the fork legs too. H-m-m-m? 

  I doubt very much has been done if anything to the engine’s internals as it’s probably okay as is for bobbing around. Externally, a set of K&N pods do the work of the stock air box while stock mufflers hit the trash. A bit of header pipe fabbing was involved to mount the upswept classic cocktail shaker-style megaphone mufflers at a chopper-jaunty angle. The stock was getting kicked out of this bike with the builder’s every move. 

   There’s a bit of Steampunk going on just about anywhere you look from the crazy-cool gas gap to the lines-going-everywhere oil cooler(s) setup that looks more alien than anything motorcycle. Three’s a bit more in the almost-a-sissy-bar, drilled-out rear fender stay and chain guard. Throw in the steam boiler gauge-style speedo, the high-mounted spotlight/headlight and the big-spring leather seat and the punkiness is escalated. 

   Capping it off is the green paintjob that may be a nod to the fabled British Racing Green, but it’s anything but that famous hue. The gold under-base comes through the green when the light hits it just right and clearly shows where it’s used in the racing strip graphics with a nice red pinstriping to show it off. One thing that I do think is super cool about this paintjob is the graphic illusion that it has the old rubber knee pads on the dish of the tank. I had to look twice to make sure they weren’t real. Nice trick to whoever painted this bit of deception. 

    What the builder/owner ended up with here is their own little piece of the custom world that they can still get on and go s somewhere on just like a real motorcycle. In no way is that meant to be a sideways compliment, but a true one. They’ve got something to call their very own for what had to be a most reasonable price. One thing’s for sure, no matte the make of this bike, I bet it still gets a lot of looks. Now that I think about it, isn’t that what all this custom stuff is about? Job done.

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