Mike, from the Ducati Sport Classic forum, has been a fan of the cafe racer scene for years and is exactly the kind of passionate home/shed builder that I want this site to be about, and to showcase thier bikes along side the pro-builder's creations.
Whether you can afford to get it made for you, or whether you're cheap/brave enough to grab a spanner and some elbow grease, t's all about making it your own. Here's Mike's story in his own words...
2005 Triumph Thruxton Café Racer
Café racers are quite the trend these days but some of us have been into the scene for years. I’ve been a fan of café racers since I was about 12 years old and started reading cycle magazines back in the early 70’s. When Triumph introduced the Thruxton in 04 I knew I’d have to have one. I bought a used 05 and started collecting parts for the transformation to what I thought was more in line with some of the original café bikes.
But, the longer I rode the Thruxton the more I liked it and the build just never happened. After a couple of years went by I had collected a lot of parts for the thrux but they were all hidden away on the shelves in my garage not getting used. Soon the time came for some maintenance on the bike and some major work had to be done. So, I decided it was time to start the project.
A couple of years prior I had an aluminum Tank and seat section hand built to my specs by Evan Wilcox here in the US. The first set was not what I had in mind so back they went and the second kit worked much better.
This first pic is the stock Thruxton with just the new tank and seat sitting on the bike to check fit.
Here's a standard Thruxton for comparison.
I wanted to add some color to the polished tank so I decided to pay homage to the early Triumphs. This is a picture of a 40’s speed twin.
Many of those early Triumphs had a similar paint job and I thought it was fitting for my retro café bike, so I got out the tape and a spray gun.
I ordered a set of the original Thruxton checkerboard tank decals from Triumph to give the bike some connection to the modern bike while retaining the mixture of vintage and café.
In the process I pulled the front end apart and added Racetech gold valves and springs and reassembled the forks after polishing the lower legs and adding a British Customs fork brace. The front brake received a new set of EBC HH pads which increased the braking power and enhanced feel. A slipping clutch was replaced with a new Barrnet unit and race springs. A complete set of OEM chrome engine covers for the Bonneville replace the brushed aluminum stockers for a more vintage feel, and the huge stock fenders were replace the Mas polished aluminum parts. There were also dozens of tiny additions like a vintage tail light and license holder, tiny vintage turn signals, billet alloy gauge cups, rear peg block-off plates and a genuine British tax disc just for starters. For Performance a full British Customs Predator exhaust system was fitted along with rejetting and airbox modifications and finally revised gearing.
The end result was a bike that not only performed far better than stock but looked great too. The execution was almost too good because most people thought the bike was a factory machine and many asked me where I bought it.
A couple of these pictures were shot before the bike was completely finished so you might notice they don’t have all of the details finalized. The bike was sold this fall to make way for new toys. It was a mistake to sell it, I knew it then and I’ll always regret letting this one get away.