Chat customs with Australian builder Wenley Andrews and he’ll tell you he’s less a customiser and more a reimaginer.
“Most people say they’re building a bike, but for me that’s building something from scratch. What I do is reimagine an existing bike to what I like or what I think the factory should have done if there were no restrictions.” There’s no disrespect intended in Andrews’ comments though. In fact, Triumph are repeatedly his pick of base bikes and he has gone back to them to reimagine the 2016 Thruxton R as the ‘Phantom’.
We probably have Andrew Jones, co-owner of the Pipeburn site, to thank for the latest super cafe racer creation after he pestered Andrews – in a good way – to work on his bike.
“The cream of Triumph is the Thruxton”
So what prompted Andrews to join the race against the clock to build the bike in just three weeks before the Throttle Roll Street Party event in Sydney? “To be honest, I love my Triumphs and for me the cream of Triumph is the Thruxton, so it just felt right. I love the styling, that sound of the twin and plenty of power – and I mean plenty – from the old 900, so there was no better base.”
“I looked at a tank change but Triumph have done such a remarkable job and given the public a true cafe racer that I couldn’t change it,” he says. “But when I looked at the bike from the top, I wanted to slim the seat down slightly. It didn’t flow like a woman’s body, so I trimmed it a little. Now you see the tyres a bit more and it’s a nice, cute rear end.”
I love the styling of the Thruxton, that sound of the twin and plenty of power – and I mean plenty – from the old 900, so there was no better base.
The Phantom’s ‘make or break’ colour was critical: “I wanted to step into a new era, which suits the time we are in now, so went for modern satin with a splash of yellow. And the graphics I’ve designed were inspired by a sports car I saw every day as I walked to lunch. This, in my eyes, is what a super cafe racer should look like.”
“I wanted it to be loud… that was the only thing on my mind”
It’s the complete reinvention of the exhaust system and Andrews’ trademark huge back wheel which bears the word Phantom (which gave the ‘reimagining’ its name), that catch the eye though. He admits: “I wanted it to be loud… that was the only thing on my mind. From day one it was going to end somewhere in the rear, just wasn’t sure where. When it came to it, I accidentally put the two pipes on the rear while mucking around and stuck with it. It worked out great.
I wanted to step into a new era, which suits the time we are in now. This, in my eyes, is what a super cafe racer should look like.
“The wheels were a starting point. I wanted bigger rims, as per most of my builds, and wanted to go carbon fibre as I’m obsessed with it. I believe it’s the new thing now.”
“Seeing people’s faces… is the stuff dreams are made of”
Less is definitely more on the Phantom, with toned-down switches and blinker wires going through the internal throttle to maintain the sleek look: “I take a lot of time to make something look like it’s simple, but in reality it was a pain and took a week just to put all that together, not including wiring it.
“What takes the time is waiting for parts from suppliers, which is why I didn’t do much at first. It was a very late last few days but that’s part of the fun.
“Seeing people’s faces and their reaction when they saw it at the show is the stuff dreams are made of. I always knew I was going to finish in time because I’m a very determined, focused person when it comes to bike building. Sorry, I mean reimagining.”
Visit pipeburn.com for more on the spec of the Thruxton R Phantom Racer.