Attention to detail is everything in Lloyd Forrester’s line of work. Get something a fraction out and it’s back to the drawing board.
He’s the head cutter to the stars, the man who ensures the bespoke suits and trousers of rock stars and actors, from Mick Jagger to Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Cruise, fit like gloves. And he’s been obsessed with Triumph since he got his first pay cheque.
Perhaps it’s the bespoke craftsmanship that attracted him to a motorcycle brand as English and as personalised as the Timothy Everest atelier in London’s cool Spitalfields where he plies his trade. Or is it all about the ride?
“No, not really,” he insists. “Not completely, although maybe subconsciously the artisan element and detailing was a factor. If I’m honest though, it’s more to do with the heritage and the way they ride.”
The hand of fate
The tailor’s love affair with Triumph dates back to the early 80s when fate played a part in landing him his dream bike just hours after passing his test: “The owner of the company I passed with took me to his house and showed me this bike he had in his garage.
“It was a 1971 Triumph Trident T150 with a coffin-shaped tank and to a 20-something lad who’d been obsessed by pictures and footage of Slippery Sam and the TT races, it was all I’d ever dreamed of. It was an absolutely fabulous bike.”
The owner saw Lloyd’s eyes widen and he told him it was for sale. All the money he’d saved as a newly apprenticed tailor went in an instant, but he says: “It was worth every penny.”
Fast forward more than three decades to last year and Lloyd worked on the flamboyant three-piece suit worn by Phil Green – the face of the 2017 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride video – as he toured London on the Dapper Bonnie given to him by Triumph.
By then fate had again played her part in bringing him together with another stunning bike, this time with a little help from his boss Timothy: “We’d done a lot of the work for Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible II film in 2000 and the guy who provided the Triumphs gave one to him as a gesture.”
Years on and Lloyd bought the near replica of the Speed Triple 955i used in the film – the real one complete with bullet holes now sits in Triumph’s Visitor Experience – which he now uses to explore the country lanes around his home in Cambridge every weekend.
“There’s something so distinct about Triumphs that sets them apart from every other bike. The tradition is important but it’s also knowing that they are English. Maybe the craftsmanship is a part of it but when it boils down to it, I’m just drawn to them.”