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

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

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

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