The world’s premier custom bike culture show kicked off its 10th edition at the now iconic Tobacco Dock venue in London. FTR was there to soak up the atmosphere and chase down the coolest Triumphs.
The Bike Shed show is 10 years old – and the custom bike scene isn’t going anywhere. Maybe we’ve seen a slight shift from café racers to flat track and bobber styles as the most popular customisations, but the custom bike culture seems to be growing year on year.
This year really was a melting pot, the spiritual centre, and the one place you can feel the beating heart of custom sub-culture.
Trends come and go, but the art form of the motorcycle is immovable. Headlight. Seat. Engine. Frame. Wheels. It’s a simple formula but one with infinite expressions, and that’s really the main driver behind the Bike Shed – both the show and the club.
Bruce and Jay’s story
Individual builders brought their A game, and a restored 1971 T120R caught our eye. Turns out it’s one of a pair, both with clip-on bars, pan seat and converted to hardtails – put together by Bruce and Jay. Watch below as they talk through the ins and outs at the Bike Shed Show.
“This bare-metal bobber took a complete engine rebuild and conversion of this TR6R to Bonneville spec T120 with twin carbs,” Bruce explains, as he talks us through the technical aspects of the engine restoration. “Big and small end bearings, clearing out that infamous sludge trap, new rings, clutch plates and an essential process to get these engines looking beautiful – vapour-blasting cylinder head and rocker boxes as a minimum. Barrels painted and baked in the AGA don’t make you popular with the real cooks of the household, but the aroma wears off in a day or two.” The next shepherd’s pie probably had a little extra iron content…
Both the bobbers looked perfect and sat alongside the latest Triumphs, such as the Scrambler 1200, which highlighted how the style and spirit of the brand has continued even when the bike were built nearly half a century apart.
Bobber Build Off
Triumph’s dealers were challenged by Triumph UK to create the best custom they could in a Bobber Build Off.
Thirteen bikes were displayed at the Bike Shed and the variations were staggering. From original Speed Twin-inspired designs and retro plane influences to outrageous fairings and modern paint jobs.
Our personal pick of the bunch was the classic-looking bike from Pure Triumph Wellingborough. It looks like a chunky take on the original 1938 Speed Twin – and the attention to detail is unbelievable. At the front it has bespoke-made girder forks to emulate the early single-spring suspension design.
Many of the bikes use official Triumph accessories alongside some more specialist custom elements. What’s clear though, is that the dealerships haven’t held back. There are some major re-imaginings of the Bobber here.
Bobber as a drag bike? Oh yes (above), the team at Laguna Ashford created something that looks destined for the Bonneville Salt Flats. Working closely with T&S Engineering’s team of talented fabricators, they crafted a single fuel tank. The lines as it sweeps down from the tank to the rear is incredible.
The metal fabrications on the Bobber completes the new tail unit, which showcases a retro classic square single seat, complete with space for the all-important race number. To frame an authentic “drag bike” riding position, rearsets have been fitted. The team paired this with custom-made extra short, slash cut down pipes.
Flat track transformation
How about transforming a Bobber into a flat tracker? Triumph World was up to the challenge.
They also gave themselves an additional challenge – to only use Triumph parts and accessories. They wanted to build a Bobber that was different, settling on a ‘Flat Tracker’ style custom project, as this isn’t the first choice for styling a Bonneville Bobber.
Triumph World loves the flat tracker look and style, hence the design choice. More importantly, the lines and styling of the Bobber had to be perfect, so the team spent time switching seats and tanks to ensure it supported their original vision from front to back. As a testament to the versatility of official Triumph parts, this is probably the most extreme transformation of the Bobber we’ve seen in this competition.
You can vote for your favourite by liking an individual photo or the album for each dealer on Triumph’s Facebook page.
Voting closes at the end of August and then the final three will then be shown at the DGR in London on 29 September and the overall winner will be announced. The final three will be judged by a panel of industry experts.
Click the images to vote
A1 Moto Services
Jack Lilley Ashford
Triumph East London
We’re looking forward already to the 2020 event. As the styles ebb and flow and custom builders find new ways to express their love of motorcycles, there’s always a new slate for each show to blow you away.