Celebrity juice

La-based Dustin Kott qui­etly earned a rep­u­ta­tion for turn­ing out metic­u­lous 1970s Honda café rac­ers. But Dustin’s lat­est build for Hol­ly­wood su­per­star Ryan Reynolds has thrown him firmly into the spot­light

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Built - Photography by www.alex­martino.com

Ryan Reynolds’ Triumph was all over Youtube. No sur­prise given the award-win­ning ac­tor’s cur­rent pro­file fol­low­ing the suc­cess of Dead­pool. But when we spot­ted the Kott Mo­tor­cy­cles de­cal on the tank we quickly got in con­tact with Dustin for his story of the build. Turns out the project was a wily piece of mar­ket­ing by Triumph USA who gave the bike to the A-lis­ter. But the real smart think­ing was done by Dustin in turn­ing a new (but pre-2016 model) Thrux­ton into this sleek café racer. Here’s the full story, from the man him­self…

You had a rep for build­ing beau­ti­ful Hondas. At what point did you start do­ing retro Hinck­ley Tri­umphs and why?

There are a num­ber of rea­sons. The ob­vi­ous one is that th­ese newer bikes are read­ily avail­able as donor ma­chines and have a tremen­dous amount of fac­tory sup­port in terms of re­place­ment parts. The next ad­van­tage is that the restora­tion process isn’t nearly as ex­haus­tive. When I use vintage ma­chines the pro­jects are equal parts restora­tion and cus­tomi­sa­tion. The restora­tive process can be over­whelm­ing, de­pend­ing on the dis­ar­ray of the project bike.

With the old clas­sics you can do what you like with carbs and ig­ni­tions but mod­ern bikes come with com­plex elec­tron­ics and fuel in­jec­tion. What’s it like work­ing with it com­pared to the old stuff?

The en­gi­neer­ing phi­los­o­phy I have adopted is that sim­plic­ity is key and the fewest mov­ing parts cre­ate the most re­li­able out­come. There is a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence in the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion process be­tween mod­ern mo­tor­cy­cles and retro ma­chines. The big­gest chal­lenge tak­ing on a ma­chine with so much tech­nol­ogy is try­ing to rid it of any en­cum­brance with­out stop­ping it work­ing. On retro ma­chines one never has to con­sider much more than just sev­eral wires that op­er­ate ig­ni­tion, light­ing and some form of a charg­ing sys­tem. The no­table mod­i­fi­ca­tions to this Thrux­ton in­cluded the re­moval and trans­fer of the fuel pump sys­tem into a Yamaha XS1100 fuel tank and the down­sized lithium ion bat­tery and ECU unit were care­fully repo­si­tioned be­neath the cowl­ing of the seat unit. The rest of the wiring was placed in a se­ries of trays that were welded to the frame un­der­neath the pan of the seat. I

'Cre­atively and aes­thet­i­cally Ryan turned me loose and trusted my in­tu­ition

was care­ful to main­tain ac­ces­si­bil­ity of com­po­nents for ser­vic­ing and the el­e­va­tion of the frame rails al­lowed for a per­fo­rated steel plate de­sign, which al­lowed tur­bu­lent air to cool com­po­nents. Ul­ti­mately the big­gest chal­lenge on this build was to try to cre­ate and main­tain me­chan­i­cal and aesthetic sim­plic­ity. All the while work­ing within the elec­tronic and tech­no­log­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters of what is a non-is­sue with a vintage ma­chine.

How did you hook up with Ryan Reynolds for this Triumph build?

I have come to the point where I re­alise the only things I can take credit for in my busi­ness are the will­ing­ness to put my work boots on ev­ery morn­ing and the gump­tion to walk through open doors of op­por­tu­nity. I have been a bit lucky to turn a hobby into a pro­fes­sion and I have been very for­tu­nate that some mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­asts have taken a gen­uine in­ter­est in my work. At the begin­ning of 2014 I re­ceived a phone call from Triumph say­ing they wanted to give Ryan Reynolds a mo­tor­cy­cle but they were in­ter­ested in hav­ing it cus­tomised. Ryan asked for the bike to be sent to my shop in May 2014 – he had ex­pressed in­ter­est in my work and felt that I would be able to ac­com­plish the de­sired out­come for the Thrux­ton.

Had you built bikes for celebri­ties be­fore?

I have had a num­ber of celebrity en­coun­ters in the past few years. My favourite meet­ing was with Ewan Mcgre­gor and an­other with Katy Perry.

How much ex­tra at­ten­tion and money has do­ing Ryan’s bike brought?

The no­to­ri­ety of build­ing a bike for a high pro­file ac­tor does not nec­es­sar­ily equate to mone­tary suc­cess but I have had an in­crease in in­ter­est since then.

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