Monday, June 18, 2012

Custom Triumph Thruxton Café Racer

Ravi Menon has built himself a wolf in sheep's clothing.  The modifications to his 2008 Triumph Thruxton appear relatively modest at first glance but upon closer inspection, it's clear that he has put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and money) into his ride.
"I did everything other than the sandblasting and nickel plating, though I did the hand sanding between those two steps to get the right texture. The engine was built by Carlos at TPUSA and then modified by me with Viton o-rings for the oil galleries in the head.  Anything else "custom" was me", said Ravi. The performance numbers boast a claimed 109 RWHP and 77 RWTQ. After reading the bike's long spec sheet (below), we believe him!
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Morad 3 x 17 alloy rim with Michelin Pilot Road 2CT 120/70 ZR17 tire and tube.
Heavy duty spokes from Central Wheel Corp. in the UK.
Polished lower forks.
Bitubo cartridges.
Pretech 6 pot caliper.
Speedo takeoff ground down and filled to make a passive spacer.
Speed bleeders front, rear and at front master cylinder.
Fender from TAB II Classics. Drilled and mounted to his own custom-made fork brace.
DeCaesar Triple Clamp, custom drilled cap for Ace & Farley Damper.
All Balls tapered steering bearings.
Joker headlight bracket.
Sylvania Performance sealed beam.
Rectangular turn signals front and rear with clear indicators and yellow bulbs.
CRG bar ends on Woodcraft 1” riser clip-ons.
Progrip grips.
Pazzo levers.
Triumph Direct mount reservoir kit on a 14 mm Nissin master cylinder (Speed Triple).
Motogadget Chronoclassic with speed pickup from 6 magnets in rotor nuts.
Custom rubber spacers and custom D9 mounting bracket for speedo.
Norton Sprint tank (14.5 liters), no dimples from TAB II classics.
Monza cap with custom anti slosh neck and redone hinge.
Triumph classic badges.
Nology ignitor with Bremi spark plug leads.
Triumph EFI headers (larger diameter than carbed versions)
LSL frame sliders.
Custom cut Uni filters.
MAS sprocket cover. 19T front sprocket.
Norman Hyde rearsets with custom linkages.
New Bonneville temperature gauge/oil cap.
Custom crankcase breather tucked between rear of cylinders.
Billet NPT petcocks.
Custom battery box.
Ducati rear 12mm master cylinder, custom pressure switch and Risoma reservoir.
TPUSA Dominator Touring Exhaust.
DeCaesar swingarm.
Sargent custom seat, shortened from stock and horn added.
Cowl from TAB II Classics.
Bitubo shocks.
Maund Speed Equipment Fender eliminator.
Custom Dynamics LED combined brake/turn signals.
Michelin 160/60R17 tire on Morad 4.25 x 17” alloy rim.
Heavy duty J spokes from Central Wheel.
Motogadget m-unit and complete rewire with my own custom loom. Connectors from Eastern Beaver.
Datatool alarm.

Engine from Triumph Performance USA (TPUSA)
Copper gaskets and Viton o-rings.
SUB cylinder head with oversize buckets.
SUB cams.
Billet cylinders.
Stroker crank, fully polish, balanced and knife edge.
Bored out crankcase to accommodate  billet cylinders.
Carrillo Rods.
Racing Clutch.
Triumph Performance Igniter Option 5+.
Racing bearings.
Antifriction treatment for bearings (mains and rods), cylinder walls, pistons, wrist pins, buttons, rings, cams.

Custom cut, welded, sandblasted and nickel plated.


  1. It's got allot of inexpensive bolt on parts but what really shines is the TPUSA Motor and the credit goes to them.

    Without that motor, it's just another backyard, inexpensive cut and paste cafe bike.

    Come on, at least do the finish work correctly.

    "I did everything other than the sandblasting and nickel plating, though I did the hand sanding between those two steps to get the right texture. The engine was built by Carlos at TPUSA." and it looks it also!

    It's a good first time effort but it's still an amature doing amature work. Which can be seen in the finish work and the short cuts in the body work.

    Sanded stainless steel body work, head light not centered. Fender Eliminator, Tail light and front fender crooked, MAS Chrome Sprocket guard (looks out of place) brake switch wiring, wrapped around the brake line? What's that!

    Custom frame work? It's a stock Thruxton Frame with the tabs and passenger peg a-frame cut off.

    Looks like he spent all his money on the motor and did the rest on the cheap.

  2. Gotta agree that the alignment of the body pieces could have been better. Could also be camera angles, exaggerated by a wide angle lens. You can see in the camera was not square to the body in the front facing picture. Nonetheless, the rear seat is twisted to the right a touch.

    THe body work is aluminium, not stainless steel (you must be a Harley guy), and the sanded look was common on '60s bikes, including the renowned Seeley Norton. IT was common on bikes used for racing (easy maintenance) rather than show bikes that aren't licensed and sit in garages or living rooms. This bike is clearly a daily driver. It is licensed with a current tag and has that "patina" that comes with actual usage.

    MAS cover does look odd. Can't put my finger on it, but I think it looks like polished alloy instead of sanded like the rest. And the brake switch wiring should be wrapped in something like a braided cover to look good.

    The frame looks like a lot was chopped out in the middle. None of the air box holders, original battery box etc. remain. I can also see the wiring runs in the frame, so that would have had to be drilled out. Also the offset looks to be modified.

    I doubt you can call these inexpensive parts. Maybe you have more money than Mitt Romney, but the TC and the swing arm retail for about a grand a piece. The Motogadget chronoclassic and m-units are expensive too, as are those wheels.

    It's a clean look that can be fixed up with some small tweaks and further attention to detail. I think it would look better without the rear seat cowl. That cowl adds a disproportionate height to the rear seat and doesn't quite flow with the svelte tank. But as a gear head I can really appreciate that this bike is not a show bike. It's got all the fixings to be able to race and win. I think you are right, the rest is just a skin.

  3. Thanks for the comments folks. I fully admit to being an amateur with regard to constructing saleable motorcycles (the opposite, I assume, would be a professional). The bike isn't for sale, it's for me. The photos also weren't professionally done.

    The front fender and light are aligned to within 0.1 mm left-right of the steering axis. Clearly the photo doesn't reflect that. The rear seat is also perfectly aligned, the issue is the hand formed alloy cowl is asymmetric. Following the comment from the 2nd poster, I removed it, and wow, does the bike look better to me. The cowl was over 1 inch higher than the rear seat, and now the seat looks like it flows from the tank. Thanks for the suggestion. And yes, the tank, fender, FEK, TC, swing arm etc. are all alloy. In fact the bike weighs 380 lbs, or 90 less than stock. There is a significant amount of frame lightening that you cannot see. I'm no amateur in this regard. A full 3D FEM was used to drill out and shave pounds from the frame. You can't do that in a backyard (technically, the bike was built in my basement and garage ;-) ).

    And as noted above, it is a real racer. It can out accelerate and match the handling of a stock 2012 Speed Triple. Tons of people do the backyard cafe racer thing. Some, as seen on this blog, do it beautifully, much more so than I. But the bike is built as a performer first and a looker second, although equal amounts of time, effort and money did go into both.

    1. I noticed that the straight-on shot might cause some confusion before I posted the photo. With the bike on it's kickstand (at an angle) and the vertical lines of the garage door, it kind of messes with you visually.

      Thanks for your feedback Ravi.

  4. Holy crap everyone on the internet is a self proclaimed professional critic these days. Very nice ride man, nothing is better than the feeling of actaully making your own bike the way you want it. And to the two asshats who commented first this is a blog spot not the cover of a cycle mag....put up or shut up.

    1. This asshat builds custom motorcycles, numbnuts. When someone puts a custom motorcycle on display for everyone to see, there's going to be a critique of the work. Rather it's ridden daily or a garage queen, it needs to be finished the same care and attention as the TPUSA motor was built with.

      When I spend this type of money for either myself or others, it's right to the minutest detail. Short cuts only remove from the quality and look of the build.

      You're just another TriumphRat groupie that couldn't find his arse with both hands. I can tell by your comments, you've never owned a custom motor motorcycle, nor would you have the money, know how or intellegence or see the care required to build one.

      Grow up!

    2. So, like you stated, "put it up or shut up!" Let's see what masterful builds you've made.

  5. As a rider and not a garage showpiece fair weather toy as the typical Chrome shop Harley rider is keeping on display, this is a really sweet job.

  6. Ravi,
    I followed your work and know the blood sweat and tears you have into that back. Well done.

  7. Adorning these motorcycles with flashy colors and other types of fancy bells and whistles have turned them into show pieces rather than pleasure-riding machines.

  8. This is one of the best blogs I have read.
    I like this post.


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