Old Empire steals the show
This creation wowed the crowds at Motorcycle Live, but MCN blagged a go on it before the doors of the NEC even opened
Old Empire Motorcycles have called it simply ‘Triumph’. It’s based on a standard T120 Black and the result is glorious. From the one-off, underslung, open pipes; hand-formed, leather sidepanels; 1960s tank; clean and uncluttered handlebars (there’s no switchgear, mirrors, indicators or even clocks) to the exquisite paint, everything about it reeks class. And the idea is for it to inspire buyers to create their own specials – ideally around Triumph’s ever-expanding accessories range. Alec Sharp, OEM’S founder, told MCN the idea was to apply a “Steve Mcqueen, ISDT, On any Sunday type off-road style – but without compromising practicality too much.” On board OEM’S creation, which qualifies for a daytime MOT, reminds of a slimmer Bonnie, thanks to the new tank and seat, yet one with a slight scrambler style, due to the Fatbars. Then with no switchgear and clocks, let alone mirrors and indicators, you’re briefly flummoxed (although I rode it with Alec’s iphone clipped on which, via a Bluetooth-synched app OEM are developing, displays a ‘Smiths’ speedo – clever). And after that it’s surprisingly conventional. The T120 motor is as urgent as ever with its raw pleasure heightened by the vicious exhaust noise. The chassis is predictable and neutral, albeit with a slightly firmer ride (thanks to the Fox shocks and thinner saddle). The front brake is a touch dull (due to the remote mastercylinder being operated by a cable from the lever); yet even the knobbly tyres were up to the job. In short: I had a blast.
OEM founders and creators Alec Sharp (right) and Rafe Pugh