Bikes & Customs: Workshop

Old Empire T120

Old Empire’s custom T120

Retro style renewed

You may recall last year’s Old Empire Motorcycles collaboration with Triumph. The stripped-back, sleek brown and black machine did the rounds at the shows and wowed us all. Now they’re back with a more practical road-going machine and it’s glorious. Alec Sharp is Old Empire’s founder and he explained the idea behind this latest design.


After being inundated with enquiries following the release of our T120 collab build with Triumph last year we decided to build a more useable and more refined motorcycle based around the aesthetics we created for that build but tamed and integrated with creature comforts… like lights.

Old Empire Triumph T120

Strip down

A new T120 promptly arrived at our workshop doors and the standard process of stripping her down to her knick-knacks began; being careful and aware that the build brief was to keep mad modifications to a modicum. We achieved the ‘line’ by dropping the front by a suitable amount and replacing the rear shocks with some uprated Fox examples.

Old Empire Triumph T120

Slicing and dicing

The back end was sliced and diced with a new hoop made and machined in sections to fit in a Z flex strip with integrated rear brakes, lights and indicators. A new aluminium seat pan was hand-formed and foamed to get a lower profile, then covered in specially sourced brown leather and gold diamond stitched waterproof suede.

Old Empire Triumph T120

The tank was left unmolested apart from de-badging and the removal of the knee pads so it retains its plentiful capacity for fuel. The old exhaust system was duly binned along with the catalytic converter and a new big-bore, mandrel-bent stainless one, made up with internal baffling, was added.

The vacant space was taken up by the new remote master cylinder bolted on to a custom-made bracket, which sits under the sump. The reason for the new master cylinder is probably due to the most extreme part of the modifications: the bars and controls.

Old Empire Triumph T120

Bring in the brass

Our classic leather grips and pegs tied in with the leather on the seat and a good splash of Black Shuck gloss black with gold pinstripes set the whole thing off. The final few details of a side-mount, curved tin number plate, brass water filler cap and changing the rubber to something a little more aggressive, along with a set of handmade, thick aluminium guards, completed things. A tune-up using a new power commander in the system meant she runs sweet!

Old Empire Triumph T120

Over to you

We have gone to some length to make as many of the parts on this build available on our web shop as possible, although each build we make is unique. After spending some years doing it, we have realised people seem to like some of the small details we put on our builds and we want to cater for that more and more. Don’t worry, we’ve still got a heap of more extreme builds to chew through (keep an eye out for those) but we’ve learned we get as much of a kick out of one of our complete one-offs as we do seeing some of our components on other people’s builds!