Retro bikes Stun­ning old spe­cials

Old Em­pire Mo­tor­cy­cles take a T120 and gen­trify it with their own brand of in­spired clas­sic de­sign plus qual­ity en­gi­neer­ing ‘Getting rid of all non-es­sen­tials proved quite trou­ble­some with a new bike’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS - By Gary Pinchin

Sim­ply known as ‘Tri­umph’, this build marks a de­par­ture for Old Em­pire Mo­tor­cy­cles be­cause it’s their first col­lab­o­ra­tive build with a ma­jor man­u­fac­turer. There’s also a shift in styling, as Alec and Rafe in Diss have fo­cused on sleek café rac­ers – but with Tri­umph launch­ing the Thrux­ton R, they wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent. They’ve cer­tainly came up trumps. We got Alec’s take on this sensational build.

“Although it’s over- done, we dis­cussed Steve Mcqueen’s off-road Tri­umphs - getting back to ba­sics and rid­ding it of all non-es­sen­tials; some­thing we that proved quite trou­ble­some with a new bike!

“It came to light that the T120’s huge speedo/tacho unit was linked to the ECU. In the past we’d ‘flash’ this; un­for­tu­nately, the new ECUS are pro­tected by the fac­tory to stop tam­per­ing or flash­ing. Need­less to say, that se­verely lim­ited our op­tions.

“To plan B it was: gut­ting the speedos and leav­ing the cir­cuit board in­tact and re­mount­ing it in a sealed alu­minium box un­der the en­gine. The other is­sue to deal with was the hor­ren­dous-look­ing fly-by-wire throt­tle set-up. We gut­ted the in­ter­nals and ma­chined a re­mote hous­ing, which was lo­cated un­der the en­gine and then linked up to a stan­dard twin-ca­ble push/pull set-up. Clean and sim­ple.

“We’ve used this bike to trial a new mo­bile dash dis­play. It uses the Torque app avail­able for An­droid phones that reads a Blue­tooth OBD sender unit plugged into the mo­tor­cy­cles brains. Th­ese send all the in­for­ma­tion we could need – speed, revs, tem­per­a­ture etc – to our own cus­tom dash dis­play, com­plete with Smiths chrono clocks.

“Hav­ing no master cylin­der on the bars raised an­other is­sue of how we were go­ing to op­er­ate the front brakes. We de­cided to leave the ABS in­tact, as we were un­sure of how mess­ing with it would af­fect the elec­tron­ics. The so­lu­tion was to dis­creetly mount a re­mote master cylin­der on the lower yoke, with a pretty Ri­zoma reser­voir mounted next to the ig­ni­tion and the ca­ble pull mount off the other side. The ABS sys­tem sim­ply hooked into the master cylin­der, and the front hoses were re­placed with short­ened braided ver­sions.

“Ev­ery­thing was fi­nally fin­ished with a sim­ple gloss black with gold high­lights, which per­fectly com­ple­ments the ar­mour black cer­a­coat skil­fully ap­plied by Simon at Fly­ing Tiger Paint­work. Thanks also to Greg at Black Shuck, De­meanour Cus­toms, GB Up­hol­stery, Suf­folk Blast, Fox Sus­pen­sion, Cam­brian Tyres, So-low chop­pers and Ian Hawkins’ Torque app.”

Tank is from a ’64 Bon­neville T120 It’s all in the de­tail, even on fac­tory parts Cus­tom-made, fully adjustable Fox Podium RC shocks keep things in check Alu­minium and hide side panel con­tains new ve­loc­ity stack on left-hand side We’ve got it pegged: leath

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